Mind at Work: Senior Designer Denny Liu

Whenever possible, we like to sit down with one of our creative minds at VSA to find out what inspires them. In a world where there’s constantly pressure to “produce, produce, produce,” it’s important to stop and reflect on the special people, places and things that actually drive our creativity.

Today, VSA Senior Designer Denny Liu sheds light on the four things that inspire him and help him do what he does.

1. The Gap

I’ve always felt as if Ira Glass was speaking directly to me. I often refer back to his quote (shown above) about the discouraging gap between taste and actual skill. This gap makes you feel as if you’re not cut out for that thing you love and appreciate so much. But, he’s right—sometimes design does take longer to figure out. I’m reminded that it’s normal to take a while and that I just have to fight my way through it and keep developing my skills in order to close that gap.

2. By Foot

At home in Chicago or traveling abroad, my preferred method of transportation is always by foot. It allows me to take my time and discover things that I wouldn’t necessarily have noticed if traveling by car or bus. Whether it’s patterns on the side walk, a sticker on a lamp post or a tiny boutique with a cool logo, I’m able to see that design is everywhere while moving at my own pace and documenting what I see as I go.

3. My Shrine

My bookshelf serves as a shrine to the books and designed objects that I’ve collected over the years. Many of the items on the shelf have played a part in forming my design style and sensibilities. It’s a constant reminder that even though what we do on a daily basis for our clients is serious business, it’s also important to try and have some fun at the same time. Every time I add to the collection, it makes me fall in love with design all over again.

4. The Hunt

Those who know me know that I’m a slave to well-designed and difficult-to-find sneakers, particularly those designed by Nike, Adidas and Y-3. Learning how to track down when and where a shoe drops online has trained me to search the web both strategically and creatively. Strangely enough, this has become beneficial when researching and finding resources during the concept phases of my projects.