How a quiet childhood in China inspired a dazzling career, with Zipeng Zhu

Zipeng Zhu is a designer, illustrator and animator living in Brooklyn. Chinese-born, he's been in the States since he moved to New York to study design at the School of Visual Arts in 2009.

After graduation, he worked at two of the biggest and most respected design agencies in the world – Pentagram and Sagmeister & Walsh – an experience that he says helped him launch his own studio, Dazzle. Hoping to make every day a "razzle-dazzle musical" (more on this later), his clients today include Coca Cola, Microsoft, Netflix and The New Yorker.

He's gained recognition as Print Magazine's visual artist and The One Show Young Ones' winner, and he's exhibited his artwork around the world. Just recently, Zipeng launched his own shop, selling clothing and accessories in his signature style.

We'd seen and heard a lot about Zipeng before we visited his apartment in Brooklyn last month. We actually bumped into each other the previous night at a launch event by Wix, just one of the many brands he's been working with lately. Dressed head to toe in bright yellow and with approachable warmth and humour, it was great hearing more about his career so far.

With a mix of jet lag and rose wine, we chatted about New York, moving across the world from China to study design, learning to speak English through watching American television and what inspires his bright and bold style. If you can hear anyone in the background, that's his boyfriend, Angel Crawford – an artist and interior designer. Forgive our innocence for not knowing about ear gauges.

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