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Lean by Design.

Design to nurture nature, humanity and the sacred.

Lean by Design is a graphic designer, video storyteller and marketing consultant based in New York City honoring wellness and inclusivity in business and the built environment. We are involved in crafting stories for community-informed architectural designers and co-designing  lifestyle and artisan brands. We have partnered with:

❃ Architecture and urban planning firms

❃ Wellness and holistic health brands
❃ Universities and cultural institutions

❃ Real estate developers and co-living building owners

Our work conveys a distinct vision of promoting harmony with communities and the environment. At the heart of what we do is forging a connection between people, space and earth.

Services + Portfolio


Documentation with a sense of place.


Melissa Chua, founder at Lean by Design, brings a grounded, thoughtful approach to co-creating brand identities with architecture firms, research institutions, and real estate developers. Her aesthetic draws from the spirit of community, natural elements and the human condition. As a Human Design Projector, she came to her own sense of place by immersing herself in travel, creating music and becoming a certified Raja yoga instructor in France. Melissa has  a Master of Architecture from Pratt Institute, a BS in journalism and an MBA from the University of Illinois.

Quiet mastery. Earth-centered approach.

Meet Melissa.

Meet Melissa
Third Eye Icon - Lean by Design
Lean by Design Logo
Earth Icon - Lean by Design


People make community.

Our holistic approach to design and storytelling is personal. We capture architecture through the eyes of the communities and people it serves. Our video storytelling services are journalistic, ethnographic, and intentionally unscripted to grow your brand’s authentic voice.

Place makes it home.

We are drawn to the power, spirit and beauty of place, as well as the sanctuary of home. Therefore, our designs are are organic and timeless in that they reflect the order of nature while embracing the impermanent and the imperfect. Stories are composed in a way to make spaces feel "lived in" and supported by their community.

Planet makes it sacred.

We work with purpose-driven clients in architecture, education and wellness who strive to improve the quality of life for others and operate in harmony with the earth. Client relationships are kindled with simplicity and elegance.

Purposeful storytelling, harmonic outcomes.

Grace Kim - Lake Forest Academy

"Melissa is a talented professional who brings great energy and commitment to every project. I enjoy working with her tremendously, and the communication between us has been clear and honest. I have my full trust that she can deliver on a project!" 

—Grace Kim, Dean of Communications, Lake Forest Academy

Matt Nink GYLI

"Melissa and Lean by Design are simply excellent. They grasped the key concepts of what we were trying to say and helped us craft a branding video that we are proud to display everywhere. LBD is professional, capable and visionary, helping you tell your story and polish your key messages."

—Matt Nink, Executive Director, Global Youth Leadership Institute

Garrett Pauley Gies College of Business

"Our office lucked out when we found Melissa Chua. She was extremely professional, fun and creative. We were searching for a videographer, but we got so much more. We found a storyteller – someone who could convey what it meant to be a business student, in and out of the classroom."

—Garrett Pauley, Director of Digital Media, Gies College of Business, University of Illinois 

Clients Trust Us.

Relationships are cherished.

Client Testimonials
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Iceland Portrait

Get in Touch.

Creative collaborations begin here.

  • Email
  • Lean by Design Instagram
  • LinkedIn: Lean by Design
  • YouTube: Lean by Design

Thank you! We will reach out to you shortly.

Lean Journal

Lean Journal.

Architecture and cultural travel.

Travel informs our worldview, expands our design and storytelling capabilities and allows us to excel in our international partnerships.


Click through the gallery below for a glimpse into Lean by Design's architectural journey around the globe and the iconic designs that inspire it.

We're available for editorial collaborations:

  • Email
  • Call us

+1 929-445-3707

Ready to discuss?

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