SVA Creators spotlights various SVA alumni, their impact on social media, and how their work thrives and flourishes on the medium. Our latest creator is the entrepreneurial, Chinese-born designer Zipeng Zhu (BFA 2013 Design), a New York-based art director and designer who runs his own vibrant design practice, Dazzle Studio.
In our ongoing video series, SVA Creators, we put the spotlight on SVA alumni who have crafted their own brand, established a notable following on social media and creatively leveraged that platform to become influential and independent creators.
Our latest creator is Zipeng Zhu (BFA 2013 Design), a Chinese-born designer, art director, illustrator and animator based in New York City who owns and operates the practice Dazzle Studio and gift shop Dazzle Supply. As the maker of colorful, eye-popping visuals, Zhu aims to “push dazzle to the next level,” and he does so daily in his practice and his dynamic, proof-of-concept Instagram account that has caught the eye of dozens of prospective clients.
Zhu’s clientele includes heavy-hitting brands such as Apple, Adidas, Adobe, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Twitter, Netflix, The New York Times, Harry’s, Viacom, The New Yorker, Fox, Away, Animal Planet, CNN, MTV, Refinery29, Chobani and Samsung. He was one of the Art Directors Club's Young Guns 13 winners and has been recognized as one of Print magazine’s New Visual Artists and The One Show's Young Ones. His work has been exhibited worldwide in major museums and institutions in New York, Barcelona, Dubai, Mumbai, Shanghai and other locations. Immediately after graduation from SVA in 2013, he started working for the notable design studio Sagmeister & Walsh, founded by SVA faculty member Stefan Sagmeister and former faculty member Jessica Walsh. In recent years, Zhu has struck out on his own to form Dazzle and bring his “razzle-dazzle” energy and design to the world. We spoke to the alumnus and entrepreneur recently about his branding, design and intent.
What lessons did you learn at Sagmeister & Walsh, and how were they a complement to what you learned at SVA?
One of the most valuable lessons I learned at S&W was how to present an idea. I have to say the four years in SVA with all the studio classes and the portfolio reviews really taught me a lot in that area.
Tell us your story. What is Dazzle and how did it start?
Dazzle is my creative studio; we make everything dazzling, not limited to any medium or discipline. After my time at S&W, I want to use all the knowledge that I learned from there to put it into my own creative practice.
How do you use social media? Tell us what your goal is with social media and how it helps what you do?
Funny question! I use social media for a few things: One, to express myself—whatever is my mind that I would like to get it out, I would make a post about it. Two, to experiment—whichever new idea pops up in my head that I want to test, I would put it out to gauge the interest. Three, to amplify voices—as a queer Asian immigrant, freedom of speech is very important to me, so I try to voice my own and hopefully help amplify other minority voices.
How would you describe your art and style?
Colorful, relentless, and exuberant.
Who are your biggest influences?
My mom and my grandma. No one is more important than these two badass ladies!