Making it official

Since before I graduated from design school back in the 1990s, I started freelancing. I imagine that most design students do. They volunteer to design a poster for their family’s yard sale, an album cover for their brother’s garage band, or a menu for their aunt’s restaurant.

I got my start designing a business card for a friend of mine. Oh it was classic early ’90s design, complete with letterforms crossing from white to black and inverting in the process. A bit later in school, a few of my friends and I started a little design studio. We made business cards and had a forgettable name. But we did have a salesperson—the boyfriend of one of my friends—who landed us a client, a jewelry retailer. So we dutifully designed, shot, and produced a brochure and a couple of ads for them. Like all young endeavors, we disbanded after that and didn’t land another client. We were a one hit wonder.

Roger's InMap
Data visualization of my LinkedIn network, circa 2014. Produced using their now-defunct InMaps tool.

After graduating from design school in 1995, I started my professional design career primarily working for other companies for the next couple of decades. At every career stop I learned from my bosses and the talented people around me. Some have become lifelong friends, and many others have become trusted collaborators.

While my career has been defined mostly as an employee for other companies, I have always had my own clients on the side. I worked directly with publishers like O’Reilly Media, legendary rock clubs like Bimbo’s 365 Club in San Francisco, and a little animation studio called Pixar. I kept myself busy and challenged.

Launching Wong.Digital makes it official. My side work now becomes my full-time work. While the studio’s focus will be digital product and experience design, we’ll also handle a range of services from the skills I’ve picked up over the years. Our approach is something that I was taught in school and in my early jobs, and that I believe in deeply: start with empathy. Whatever the project, our North Star is to keep the user and audience in mind. We’re proud to bring more than 20 years of experience partnering with over 30 Fortune 500 companies to our burgeoning agency.

While we’re starting out small, our bench of collaborators runs deep. Already we have a few different projects in progress. Stay tuned for announcements. ?

Do you need design help for a product or website? Contact us today for a free consultation.

9 thoughts on “Making it official”

  1. After 5 years of working in art departments I started getting enough freelance that I had to make that scary decision. Jump. At the time I had 4 kids under the age of 5. But what it gave me was the chance to work out of my house and watch my kids grow up (changing 3 diapers at a time). Best most creative time in my life. Enjoy the adrenaline! Congratulations friend.


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