This year at SDC18 the first-ever Best of 2018 Samsung Galaxy Apps Awards winners were announced! The awards recognize the top publishers who have stood out amongst the Galaxy Apps Store’s boutique of expertly curated apps. To kick-off our ‘Best of 2018’ series, we spoke with Zhu Guangxu, this year’s winner for best Themes Designer to get some insights on how he creates Themes that stand out from the crowd.
How did you get into designing Themes?
I graduated from college with a major in electrical engineering, but during my sophomore year, I inadvertently came across Theme stores. Out of curiosity, I did some research on Themes, and taught myself how to make them. I created some Themes which made it to the online store. Many people liked them, and that’s when I realized creating Themes could be more than a hobby.
How would you describe your approach to design?
A good Theme takes time to create and perfect before it is ready to be used on a smartphone. My inspiration comes from the world around me, examining every little detail, which is far more complicated than a Theme. That is the soul and essence of designers.
What is your process for designing Themes?
I start with the wallpaper, and base the logos on that design to match the colours, paying close attention to the details.
What is the most important thing to consider when designing Themes?
When it comes to Theme design, the user’s first impression is everything. Overall style and general likability of a Theme are the main things I consider during Theme design.
Watch Zhu Guangxu’s acceptance speech for the Best of 2018 Theme Designer award.
What is the biggest technical challenge you faced as a Themes designer?
When designing Themes, I would start off by trying to create the best design possible, and then would often would run into technical issues with the smartphone operating systems. However, thanks to a strong team, I was able to work around those issues to still create the quality Theme designs I had in mind.
What design element do you think all good Themes have in common?
Themes come in all kinds of styles, from super cool, to classic minimalist, to purely beautiful. Because Themes are so diverse, it’s hard to pinpoint a specific design element that makes them stand out. But no matter the Theme style, you can always tell when a lot of work has gone into creating the wallpaper and logos, a trademark of a quality Theme.
How do you keep your Theme designs fresh and relevant?
I pay close attention to the smartphone industry, specifically market trends and consumer insights. I’ll often create and design interfaces based on what consumers are currently excited about.
What advice do you have for designers who are starting out to have a successful Themes business?
Keep working on new Themes and promoting high quality free Themes. This will help you build a loyal following who will be looking out for your next designs.
How has Samsung helped your business?
I became a Samsung designer about six months ago and it’s been a great resource in my Themes development. Working with Samsung gives me access to monthly reports that help me get a sense of what Themes are popular with consumers, to help inform my future designs. So far things are going well, and I look forward to more ways to collaborate with Samsung in the future.
Thanks to Zhu Guangxu for sharing his advice on Theme design. Be sure to follow us on @samsung_dev for more interviews with the Best of 2018 winners coming out in the next couple of weeks. For now, you can find out more about the program in our Samsung Best of 2018 Winners Announced post.