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Daily Inspiration: Meet Stanley Chen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stanley Chen.

Stanley, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I consider myself lucky because I grew up in a household that’s filled with creative energy. My mom was a photographer turned Creative Director, and my dad was an Oil Painter turned Exhibition Designer. I still remember the constant smell of oil painting solvents in my childhood living room. Not sure how healthy that was, but it had influenced my path subconsciously. One of my favorite things to do was to hang out at the museum my dad worked. And I was always doodling there while he worked. As a highly introverted kid growing up, the pursuit of art gave me confidence and a sense of identity.

I moved around often in my upbringing in China and eventually moved to the states in my late teens with my family. Over time, I became increasingly fascinated with Graphic Design. Perhaps that had something to do with my vast interest in music, film, art, design, fashion, and brands. Graphic Design permeates our culture and is evident in all of the above. It’s cross-pollinated and multi-disciplinary, which echos with my innate curiosity. Not long after I self-taught some design programs, I started to work for my mom’s agency and freelance for small clients. The pivotal point for me was going to ArtCenter, a design college known for its high-intensity workload, admirable work ethic, incredible creative output, reputable faculty, and extraordinary alumnus.

My career path has been both windy and straight. It was windy because I have worked in different types of environments—small studios, big agencies, cultural institutions, and massive corporations. However, it has also been a fairly straight path because I steadily moved up from a Designer to Executive Creative Director. It still feels surreal to lead an entire Creative Department at a big company. As an immigrant and Asian American, I am grateful to be in the position I am in today.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
The language barrier was a challenge for me when I first got to the states. Time is the only remedy for that. Ok… maybe binging a lot of TV shows helped as well. ArtCenter was challenging because of the constant sleep deprivation. I probably could have worked smarter instead of harder in retrospect. It was all worthwhile and a great learning experience though. Working in an agency environment could be rough from time to time, given the tight deadlines, processes, and politics that one has to navigate. However, it’s a great way to build muscle and work on high-impact projects for notable clients. Fast forward to where I am now; what keeps me up at night is our team and creative culture. I aspire to build and foster a humble and hungry team. We strive to respect one another, collaborate closely, and create smart and beautiful work that drives business impact. But, of course, we also can’t forget to have fun while at it.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am currently the Executive Creative Director of Cricut, a creative platform company with the mission to help people lead creative lives. I lead a team of thinkers and makers who thread all Creative, Design, and Production to help drive top-line growth for the company.

The goal for myself and the team is to create concept-driven, visually compelling, systematically sound, culturally relevant design and storytelling ground in strategy and insight. I believe in collaboration and advocate an approach that distills simplicity and amplifies impact with communication at its core. We work on everything from branding to graphic design, advertising to content development, retail to packaging design, and websites to various digital experiences.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
There are too many to mention as far as the people who have positively impacted my life. So with that, I am going to limit it to two people. First, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother when I was a kid, and we have formed a deep bond. Her love for me was unconditional. My mom was the backbone of the entire family, so she deserves all the credit in the world. She’s still an inspiration to me.

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