When you think of a company, you might picture its visuals first—logos, an ad, or a commercial. But how do you visualize things like data, containers, and the cloud? How do you make the intangible not only tangible but also memorable?
It’s a challenge Pure Storage’s Creative Director of Design, Eric Chao, and his team solve every day with a focus on customers, simplicity, and—you guessed it—data.
Eric’s Path to Pure
Eric came from the agency world, working with big consumer brands like Pepsi and hotels.com and later in the broadcast world for brands like Dunkin’ Donuts and Liberty Mutual. You can see it in his style—bold visuals, a distinct human element, and a storyteller’s eye:
Both of these images were designed by Eric for Pure campaigns.
When the tech world called, Eric moved to the Bay Area, working in product design for Cisco, NetApp and Comcast. Since joining Pure, he’s been pivotal in the brand’s total refresh and numerous high-profile campaigns for Mercedes Formula 1, sustainability and ESG, and digital transformation.
Designing for (and with) Data
While working in product design, Eric was introduced to the world of user testing—on-site focus groups, one-way mirrored glass, the works. Turning that data into design direction showed him how insights can truly inform decisions, even ones about art.
“Testing can further your vision and your ability to see things through,” he says, adding, “It’s like having the ability to see the future and be able to change it.” The design team partners with Pure’s web and UX developers to gauge and fine-tune designs, iterating as they go.
Today, he may be designing with data—literally—but sometimes, he says the abstract is more about instincts than insights.
“We have conversations daily about what we say as a brand. It’s not actual containers or an actual, physical cloud—it’s something’s essence,” he says. “Say the cloud is about flexibility, not the cloud itself. Containers are about speed, efficiency. How do we convey that?”
With simplicity and a user-first approach.
It’s More than a Tagline—It’s a Philosophy
What the engineers behind Pure do for its technology, Eric and his team do to bring its impact to life. It’s why the “Uncomplicate data storage, forever” message is so important. “That’s our advantage,” he says, adding that even our name makes a statement.
But tuning out the noise and putting the user first isn’t always easy.
“Sometimes, you need to get back to basics. Simplifying isn’t just a core philosophy at Pure—it’s a core principle of our team, and it’s not easy to do. We start simple, then slowly add elements back in.”
Outside of work, Eric shifted gears from avid cyclist to wildlife and nature photographer, which also taught him to slow down and tune in. “Photography forces me to pause and see things around me. You have to be still and patient.”
Outdoor photos shot by Eric, himself!
That patience is another parallel he sees in the design process. Pure recently turned 13, and the team feels pivotal in that maturity. “It takes a long time to build a brand like Nike or Sony—and patience. We have an advantage: We’re new, we might not be a household name (yet!), but we get to establish what that looks like.”
Like all the teams across Pure’s global family, the design team has found a way to convey a powerful message: “It’s not always about the bottom line, but changing people’s lives,” Eric says. “The product speaks for itself. It’s truly something to stand behind, and the change it creates is exciting.”