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Tea Qiu: Visual Design is About Enhancing People's Lives


Associate creative director at R/GA New York on her career path, visual design and how to maintain creativity

Tea Qiu: Visual Design is About Enhancing People's Lives

For Tea Qiu, associate creative director at R/GA New York, visual design is a big part of her life. From dressing up to arranging furniture, all parts of visual design draw her in and bring joy to her life. 

Here, Tea discusses her career path, visual design and how to maintain creativity 


Q> Tell me about your career path. What brought you to R/GA? 

Tea> When I moved from Shanghai to New York two-and-a-half years ago, I was determined to start a brand-new life and career. I started as a freelance experience designer at R/GA. The project required a senior experience designer who speaks Mandarin and English, and someone who understands visual design and I had all the requirements - so I applied without hesitation. The initial project went very well, so I ended up having more opportunities where I could use my skills as both an art director and designer. Two months later, I was hired as a full-time associate creative director.


Q> What do you enjoy most about visual design? What are some challenges?

Tea> Visual design is a big part of my life and embedded in my every day. From dressing up to arranging furniture. From picking a vinyl cover to appreciating a beautiful movie. These are all parts of visual design that heavily draw me in and bring so much joy to my life. 

On the other hand, visual design is pretty much like fashion design, with new trends developing every year. It’s constantly changing and evolving, from different colour palettes, shapes, and compositions to philosophies. You have to be ahead of the game, always caught up on the latest news and inspirations. What I find interesting is the 'trendiest' designs are often aligned with youth culture. So, to me, staying 'young' and being playful are very important.


Q> What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

Tea> The key component of working in visual design is being ambitious and passionate about enhancing peoples’ lives. Never lose your passion, no matter how tough things get, or how frustrating a project can be. Without passion, any type of work becomes a painful process. Let your passion lead your way, both in life and work. 


Q> What makes you the most excited about a project?

Tea> Working with inspiring teammates. I’m fortunate to work with great people who have interesting minds. A great creative conversation not only avoids boredom, but it also sparks joy and enhances your life.


Q> What have been some of your biggest growth moments?

Tea> Since English is my second language, it can be a bit of a barrier, but also a growth opportunity for me. It made me understand that communication is more about having an open mind and heart rather than the words you say. Confidence and kindness can be very effective communication tools.


Q> What’s your advice on how to maintain creativity?

Tea> Live like a kid, and stay authentic. Be amazed by the people around you. And stay curious and be happy.


Q> Do you have any passion projects outside of work?

Tea> I’m an independent screenwriter and filmmaker, so living in the film dimension is my ‘M.O.’ I studied filmmaking in Paris and New York, and made a bunch of shorts and commercials.

I also write stories as part of my daily routine. It makes you see the world differently and observe the things around you more carefully. It also helps my creative mind stay active all the time.

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R/GA US, Thu, 13 Feb 2020 13:06:52 GMT