MFA. Yu, T.

Tia (Tian) Yu is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering exploring sustainability and circularity by integrating design and circular business perspectives within retailing contexts. Her major research interests revolve around social innovation, sustainable innovation, circular business model, circular economy, system thinking, service ecosystems, service design, strategic design, co-design. She is passionate about understanding how design and business come together to tackle wicked problems.

Academic Background

Tia's role as a researcher was influenced by the practice when worked for a specialty coffee start-up in Shanghai, where people use design thinking to solve practical problems and develop creative solutions, along with design research and practice on building brand identity and service experience in retail contexts. She was a brand designer and researcher who worked closely with people from other professional fields and cultures. Through the practice, she had been ignited an interest in design, circular business, social innovation, and mutually beneficial relationships between them. When she worked with local farmers in Yunnan coffee plantations, her ethnographic lens and curiosity about social innovation have also been sparked, utilizing ethnographic methods to understand local problems and situations. Her previous role has also included an intern in San Francisco working for a tech startup, a visual designer in New York working for a design studio, and an instructor guiding undergraduates' work.

Tia received an MFA in Graphic Design from Maryland Institute College of Art. Based on her background in design school, she trained to think critically and mastered the expertise in using visual language as a form of storytelling. She’s been thinking about individual wellbeing for a long time, especially with interest in what can constitute everyday experience delightful and sustainable. Her master thesis, Happiness Archive, is a series of engagements and explorations that use type, image, and sound to evoke feelings from contentment to joy, which provides new perspectives to look at everyday mundane objects and surroundings, and inspires better everyday experiences.

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