College for Creative Studies: Product Design
Ask Daniel Tu to define design, and he’ll tell you it encompasses more than creating something beautiful. Design empowers you to impact social and environmental issues affecting billions of people around the world.
Tu is the owner/founder of TUDESIGN, an inter-disciplinary design studio in the San Francisco Bay area. Since 2007, his studio has worked with clients representing Fortune 500 companies as well as non-profits and churches.
“We create brand identities, marketing campaigns and posters for organizations hoping to make a difference,” Tu said. “Some fight human trafficking while others provide shelters and educational programs for women of domestic violence.
“I also worked with a start-up whose goal is to help people find packaged food without the chemical ‘yuck’ that stirs up allergic reactions in you and your children. I believe design’s ultimate purpose is to find solutions for our unmet needs—not necessarily ‘wants.’ That’s what truly inspires me.”
Prior to opening TUDESIGN, Tu worked as a freelancer designing furniture, exhibits, interiors and a line of backpacks/lunch bags for clients and held full-time positions as a designer with an exhibit design company in Chicago and creative group director at Derse, a face-to-face marketing agency. He has worked with companies such as Intel, Microsoft, Pontiac, Cisco, Genentech, Nintendo, Carl Zeiss, SGI, Sony Imageworks, Virgin Galactic and Applied Materials.
“My advice to students pursuing design careers is to make it personal—know what you're passionate about,” said Tu. “Research how the business works and who the major players are. Present yourself well. A killer portfolio showing potential employers how you’ll contribute to their success is what gets you in the door.”