IDA 2024 NOW OPEN -- Early Bird Deadline May 30, 2024

Chingyu Lei
IDA 2021 Emerging Product Designer of the Year

I enjoy every little detail of the design process, and I adapt to different subjects quickly. I found it extremely satisfying when I can integrate technologies to provide features and connections that would bring immersive, realistic experiences to the end-users, allowing people to evolve.


View the Winning Entry by Chingyu Lei


What impact has winning this IDA Award had on your career/opportunities?

Reply: As the first award I have ever received in my life, this IDA award is definitely one of the biggest achievements for me. I was never an A student in high school, not even close to B, and after years of hard work, this award is the best reflection of the years of sweat and countless non-sleeping nights. It gives me confidence, passion, and motivation for my future work as well as re-evaluating myself in a more respectful way.

What was most important for you when planning the project and what were the biggest challenges you faced?

I see myself as a problem solver, I think the most important aspect of design when planning a project is to not create another problem when trying to solve one. And this is across the board of the physical design of the product, manufacturing process, sustainability, user ergonomics…etc

Where do you get motivation and inspiration for your work?

Talking to experienced people always helped me to get inspired, but motivation has always been in my soul. My motivation comes from exploring the unknown path and learning while failing, and I know eventually it will take me to somewhere better. Nowhere else to go but up, right?

How and when did you discover that you wanted to work in design?

I was lost when trying to find the path of my future career after high school. I was never an A student if not C- in my class. I barely passed the academic classes, but I have always loved to draw things, such as the clock that hangs on the wall, speakers that sit behind my monitor, images that contain objects that I just randomly search on the internet. Until I was invited to a friend’s graduation show at ArtCenter College of Design, I got the opportunity to look at graduating student designer’s work, I saw a wide range of beautiful yet functional prototype models with incredible craftsmanship; student designers dressed professionally and presented their work to the guests with confidence and passion. And that is the moment I discovered that I want to be part of that community and that I wanted to be a designer.

What do you think are the biggest challenges and opportunities in your career/industry now?

The biggest challenge is definitely the COVID-19 pandemic. The risk of going out and the consequences of getting the virus can result in days if not weeks stalling a project. However, this is also a big opportunity in the industry of pushing new designs and UX countering the remote working/lifestyle into our daily activities.

How do you decide to take on certain projects?

At school, most of the time I get to select the desirable subjects, and sometimes we will get prompts as the real world consultancy would. When I decide to take on certain projects, I look at the feasibility, viability, and if the product is actually needed in the market as well as the innovation aspect of the approach.

Tell us about a time when a client disliked your work?

There was a time when I worked for a startup company that didn’t have a clear path nor direct goals for a project, after I put hours of work on form development and CAD, the company went back and forth, taking out materials and adding additional and undiscussed features that forced me to change the form during the refinement process. It resulted in an inefficient workflow and wastage of valuable time and resulting in a form that was undesirable with unpleasant ergonomics. However, we sat down and talked about the condition and the problems we had, gladly we finished the project on a strong note and received positive feedback at the end of the day.

How do you deal with feedback?

Feedback is always good because you receive perspectives from different eyes. However, not all feedback is good feedback. Taking valid feedback, I think is a very important skill in this field. I take feedback seriously when the person who made the discussion knows what he/she is talking about, and generates valuable insights and points which actually push the design contribution further.