Allan Yu

Allan Yu is a New York digital designer who's worked on everything from scrappy e-commerce startups (Svpply) to tech giant moonshots (Google X). In his spare time, you can find him lecturing at The New School and nursing his Seamless addiction.

You've been involved with some pretty amazing projects. What are you up to these days?

I’ve been working on this Mars Maiers project where I make a composition a day just to practice my design chops. I started this 'cause I failed at a bunch of other things and felt sorry for myself for being a bad designer. You can read the whole story here. It’s at day 519 so far and hopefully I can keep this up for a couple more years.

What's impressing you right now?

Blackbox is an iPhone game that doesn’t use any aspect of the screen. It forces you to notice the more passive parts of your phone and how powerful those low-key features are. It’ll blow your mind, I promise. I’ve been using this service a lot to grab visual inspirations. The learning curve is a bit steep and I think it’s hard to describe but imagine it as a more cultural Pinterest with better annotations and references.

Where do you go online to find inspiration?

By far the best web inspiration gallery showcasing the newest web trends and practices. It's curated by one guy (Dan Howells) and it operates less politically than other gallery sites that run as a panel or committee.

Two art directors in Germany, straight fire aesthetics.

It's Nice That
Trying desperately to stay relevant.

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Allan Yu at his home in New York. Photographed by Austin Hargrave.

"Snapchat is dead to me."
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What’s the web’s best kept secret?

Can't tell ya.

What are you coveting these days?

For most of my online shopping, Ssense and Mr. Porter always have solid selections and great service, and for women stuff, The Line is amazing. Their editorial is low-key bonkers!

Vintage eskimo wool parkas with the patches will be very future. So future I can only find them on Etsy right now.

You're an Apple Music guy, what are your five most played songs?

"Dat $tick" - Rich Chigga - 54 plays
"Trophies" - Young Money (feat. Drake) - 52 plays
"Never Be Like You" - Flume - 48 plays
"Bring Yo Friends" - Tunji Ige - 45 plays
"Mask Off" - Future - 36 plays

What’s the best thing you’ve streamed lately?

"The Affair." It’s some grown-man drama but it really gives you perspective on your own reality and how drastically different people's perceptions can be on any given situation. I try to be less self-centered because of this.

If you haven’t watched "Rick and Morty" you should probably start immediately. It’s written by Dan Harmon (writer of "Community") and Justin Roiland. It’s the smartest, funniest and saddest show I’ve ever seen.

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What is your go-to GIF?

I don't really send GIFs but this one is good.

If you could make an app what would it do?

Delete your Twitter.

Ha. That sentiment aside, do you have any favorite social media accounts?

I don’t follow that many people on Twitter that I don’t know… and also Snapchat is dead to me. But I follow @dailyzen so I can feel guilty about being on my phone and log off. Also following your flavor of comedians on Twitter is a pretty solid move, you’ll get a kick out of your feed.

These are some really stupid Instagram accounts that always give me a good chuckle: @classicalfuck, @grapejuiceboys, @kontheabstract, @the cable guy , @subwaycreatures and @swipes4daddy.

Any other good recommendations up your sleeve?

I'm a huge podcast nerd. I don't need to recommend the starter pack like "This American Life," "Radiolab," "Freakonomics"... etc... but these are three lesser-known favorites of mine:

"We Study Billionaires" is super nerdy talk about economics and finances so I can pretend I understand the market and feel like a responsible adult.

Despite its name, "Kill Tony" is a comedy showcase where amateur comedians do one minute of material and then get critiqued by more qualified professional comedians.

"Scriptnotes Podcast" is about script-writing but it’s great for design-thinking. It helps you understand how to construct and order a narrative for an audience to be easily understood and compelling.

Keep up with Allan:

t: @allanyu_
i: @allanyu