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Graduate Voices: Elaine Zhang

Image depicts a concept for 'The Candy Playground', a child's play area.
Image depicts a concept for 'The Candy Playground', a child's play area.
Image credit: Candy Playground, Elaine (Yiping) Zhang.
Written by
Chloe Murphy
Published date
14 April 2021

At London College of Communication (LCC), our professionally focused BA (Hons) Design for Branded Spaces course equips students with the specialist skills and knowledge needed to design for both commercial and cultural environments.

Working across experiential spaces, 3D installations and creative events, students are encouraged to develop solutions that offer unique reflections on their own curiosity, creativity and innovation. With opportunities to explore creative technologies and storytelling techniques, they learn about key principles of sustainable, interaction and human-centred design, complementing their practice with wider contextual knowledge.

Graduates from BA (Hons) Design for Branded Spaces might choose to explore careers as spatial experience or independent designers. They could work in creative agencies, interior or architectural practices, or as part of an in-house design team for brands. They might also decide to join a design collective, and work on projects across the world.

Elaine Zhang

After graduating in 2020, Elaine (Yiping) Zhang has used her skills and experience developed across the fields of brand and spatial design to join Auditoire, a global experiential marketing agency that specialises in creating live events to inspire, move, connect and engage with a range of audiences.

Throughout her time at LCC, Elaine developed work which often explored the relationship between design and the cityscape. One of her major projects, Candy Playground, proposed the redesign of Yi Shan Road, a busy public environment in Shanghai, by integrating traditional features of 'Lane Culture' to bring people together and create a sense of community.

We caught up with Elaine to discuss her work, highlights from her time at LCC, and her future plans in the creative industries.

Lane Culture Project | Elaine Zhang

Tell us a little bit about your creative practice - what are your key areas of interest?

The main areas I want to explore through my work are event design, experience design and interactive installation.

Why did you decide to study BA (Hons) Design for Branded Spaces?

I like spatial design very much, and I often read spatial case studies when I'm free. By chance, I saw an introduction to the Design for Branded Spaces course and thought it could deepen my understanding of spatial design, sensory design and, of course, elements of brand.

I chose this course because I felt that it would give me a clearer direction for my future career development.

What was the highlight of your time in the course?

My major project can be regarded as my most important moment, because I was able to apply what I’d learned to my practice. I could better understand just what spatial experience is, and how narrative space applies to the design process.

What have you been up to since graduating from LCC?

After returning to China, I saw recruitment information for a company called Auditoire on LinkedIn, so sent my CV and portfolio over to them.

I was then offered my current role as Junior Architect, which means that I'm responsible for creating interactive design and playing methods.

How have you been able to use the lessons learned on your degree throughout your career so far?

Firstly, I’ve been able to use my ability to analyse brand and identify its tonality by researching brand values, stories and concepts from previous events.

Secondly, my degree has meant that I’m able to consider sensory design, the way people interact with each other, and how spaces can be used to tell stories so that audiences can understand a brand through an experience.

What are your career plans?

My current plan is to continue working and learning in the event design industry, and then to develop my marketing knowledge to help me better understand each brand and create even better designs in the future.

How would you introduce your course to prospective students who may be thinking about applying to BA (Hons) Design for Branded Spaces?

This is a very broad course where you can learn a lot of new knowledge and concepts about the design of experience and branded spaces.

It will enable you to learn how you can create a space for people and brands to communicate with each other through storytelling.

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