Art Director Lulu Chen on Learning to Work in Retail E-Commerce

In Chapter 8 of 16 in her 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, art director Lulu Chen answers "What Does It Mean to Be an Art Director Working in Retail E-Commerce?"  In her online retail projects, Chen works to keep the photography simple yet useful to share the look, feel an shape of the clothes virtually with the consumer.  She shares examples how the lighting, photography and presentation can change based on the mood or presentation goals. 

Lulu Chen is a photo art director working in retail e-commerce in New York City.  Previously, Chen worked as a freelance stylist for leading fashion catalogs and magazines.  She earned a BFA in design and art history from the University of Michigan.


Erik Michielsen: What does it mean to be an art director working in retail e-commerce?

Lulu Chen: So, for the projects that I’ve worked on, we try and keep things simple so that it’s easy to view and we really try and do the clothes justice. You know, we try and present the shape, the silhouette. We try and show the texture, you know, we try and show the style, but—you know, there’s a lot of things that we’re trying to get across. But, really, it’s a selling shot. So we’re trying to show how many buttons it might have, you know, if it’s a boxier fit or a slim fit, or, you know, where it would—you know, the proportions of certain things, pockets—I mean all these details, really, it’s trying to get all of that across, so that it’s a fair representation for the consumer, because you’re not there, you’re not able to tangibly touch things, but, you know, so we try and show them.

So brand to brand, it’s different. And also there are some more editorial elements to certain retail e-commerce sites. Some have simpler backgrounds and they’re against gray or white. And it really just—the focus is on the clothing or the accessories. But sometimes, you know, with the more editorialized shots, it’s really about the mood.