Yanming Chen: Balanced Fusion of Traditional and Modern Style

Creative Director

by Elizabeth Lavis


10 Jan 2024

Gold Winner in Apps 2023
“I find that engaging in diverse pursuits not only broadens my perspective but also fuels my creativity, bringing fresh insights and ideas into my design work”

Creative Director and Sichuan native Yanming Chen draws substantial inspiration from her Chinese roots, specifically her cultural heritage and artistic traditions. “The unique blend of ancient art forms, traditional motifs, and a strong cultural narrative inherent to Sichuan has been a constant source of inspiration for me,” she says. “It’s instilled a deep appreciation for balance, harmony, and intricate detailing in my designs. These are hallmarks of traditional Chinese art.” The counterpart to Chen’s foundation of rich tradition is her experience in the United States. “My college education was a turning point, introducing me to a vastly different cultural and artistic landscape,” she says. “This experience broadened my perspective and infused my work with diverse thought and style.”

The fusion of East and West allowed Chen to hone her voice, expertly blending traditional aesthetics with more modern design trends. “This fusion is evident in my design work where I strive to harmonize the rich, intricate patterns of my Sichuanese roots with the clean, minimalistic styles prevalent in Western design.” Through this process, Chen discovered that design transcends cultural boundaries and can achieve universal resonance and inclusivity. 

Chen found her love for design in graduate school. “Initially, I pursued a degree in Mass Communication, which provided a solid foundation for storytelling and audience engagement,” she says. “During my graduate studies, I found myself amid the challenges of navigating unfamiliar design software and principles and discovered the true power of design as a means of communication and expression.” as Chen delved more into UI/UX and graphic design, her passion for the craft solidified, and she became enamored with the ability to craft visual, impactful stories.

"PlantC app", Yanming Chen

Although Chen’s desire to pursue design blossomed in graduate school, she always leaned toward the arts. “I always had an underlying draw towards creative expression, whether through writing, sketching, or exploring digital media,” she says. “As I grew older, these interests began to coalesce around the field of designs, where I realized I could channel my creativity into something tangible and impactful.”

Chen’s top advice for aspiring designers is to cultivate continuous learning and observation. “Stay curious about everything around you,” she says. “Inspiration can come from the most unexpected places.” She also emphasizes the importance of grasping design fundamentals and using the base knowledge as a springboard for experimentation and pushing boundaries. Knowing the right people is also a key component. “Networking is crucial,” Chen says. “Connect with other designers, participate in forums, and attend workshops. Also, remember that all feedback, whether positive or negative, is a stepping stone to improvement.”

The most important design aspect for Chen is how it resonates with the end user. “The connection can be emotional, functional, or aesthetic,” she says. “It’s all about creating something that users find intuitive, useful, and beautiful.” Chen employs a user-centric philosophy in her design approach by addressing each project in a meticulous fashion, blending the user experience, strategic planning, and creativity. “It begins with a deep dive into understanding the client’s needs and user’s psyche,” she says. This research-heavy approach establishes the clients’ needs entirely and is an essential basis for the rest of Chen’s creative work.

Chen is a lifelong learner with a deep appreciation for cultural exploration, encompassing several different art forms, including the culinary arts, travel, and literature. “I find that engaging in diverse pursuits not only broadens my perspective but also fuels my creativity, bringing fresh insights and ideas into my design work,” she says.

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