Graphic Designer at Google Creative Lab
Shu-
Yu
Hsiao

Shu is a multidisciplinary designer from Taiwan based in New York City. She works with diverse mediums to create visually conceptual work for brands. Her work is rooted in storytelling, strategy and research, allowing to create dynamic design systems. 

She/Her • New York, United States • January 16, 2023

What led you into design?

I was always the kid, who didn’t know what they wanted to be when they grew up. I vividly remember all my friends having such distinct dreams of what types of careers they wanted, which was something I didn’t really know until much later in my life. 

The reason I got into design was greatly influenced by my cousin Wei, who I look up to as a brother. He was pursuing a career in fashion design. Watching him fall in love with design inspire me to do the same. Naturally, I began telling everyone that I also want to go into something design related. I was always a very crafty kid— I loved doing DIY’s, making my own playhouses from cardboard, painting my room the brightest colors you could imagine. It drove my mom crazy, but I just never put the two together that I could actually do something in arts. With a lot of support from friends and family, I started realizing my potential and began applying to art school. I went to School of Visual Arts and I initially entered as a fine arts major but ended up falling in love with Graphic Design… and the rest is history!

What does a typical day look like?

I am currently a consultant on Google Creative Lab and we just recently started working hybrid. If I’m working at home, I typically wake up around 8AM, make a quick coffee, play with my cat, walk my dog, catch up on some messages and by then it’ll be 9:30AM which is typically when I log on to work. I take a quick lunch break around 12PM and then its back to work until around 6PM!

When its an in-office day, I typically wake up at 7AM and take the bus to get into the office around 8AM, which will typically get me into the office before 9:30AM. I quickly grab a juice and coffee and get straight to work! I really like working in the office because you get to actually socialize with real people. I’ve only been starting to go into the office for a month so far, but it’s been a really good change of pace and I am really enjoying it. Then I typically am in a couple meetings throughout the day and commute home around 6PM!

What's your workstation setup?

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Where do you go to get inspired?

My environment. I love interior design so spaces really inspire me. I’m not a designer that typically looks at references, I just design whatever comes to mind, but recently I’ve found that architecture and textures really inspire me and allows me to think outside the box. 

What product have you recently seen that made you think this is great design?

I’ve been really obsessed with ceramics lately and have been wanting to get into making some myself.  I’ve been really into these cups from Brutes Ceramics and anything from Hasami Porcelain. Brutes Ceramics is very playful with its organic shapes, very fluid and circular. Hasami is just very minimal and functional which I love as well. Ceramics is something I really want to get into and hopefully expand my ability.

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What pieces of work are you most proud of?

Recently I’ve been lucky enough to work with a group of Taiwanese creatives based in New York City (Faline Lin, Lea Chi, Wei Hung Chen and Louis Kang). We’re in the process of creating a collective that helps other AAPI creatives through creative, economic, and strategic empowerment. It’s still a work in process but it’s been so fulfilling to create something so meaningful. We named it Patchwork for the sense of community it’ll bring to all the AAPI independent creatives out there.

I’ve also been fortunate to work on various branding projects at my previous job at Character NY along side amazing creatives. We helped create designs for many big and small brands such as Instagram, 1/ST, Greenvines and many more.

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What design challenges do you face at your company?

There actually hasn’t been any huge design challenges at my company yet— its been an amazing month so far, but there are a couple things I could do to grow. Since I’ve only worked at design studios/agencies before joining Google, it’s taken quite a bit of adjusting. Previously, I was designing for multiple brands often working on multiple projects with different design styles at the same time, which was a challenge in itself plus working with tight deadlines. But now, working in-house, I feel I have a little more time and ability to focus on one brand that I really enjoy!

What music do you listen to whilst designing?

Any advice for ambitious designers?

Don’t be afraid! That’s the advice I would give to my younger self. I’ve always been afraid of other peoples opinions on my designs. Do they like it? Is it bad? What if I’m not good enough? The more you doubt yourself the more afraid you’ll get! Design is very subjective and opinions differ from people to people. The less you’re afraid the more you’ll grow!

Anything you want to promote or plug?

If you want to see more work you can go here www.shu.work. If you want to see what I'm up to on a day to day you can follow me on @shuyu.hsiao.

interview