I’m an early-career designer who’s passionate about finding ways to help people feel, relate, and understand better through visual, sound, and interaction systems. My approach comes from creative & collaborative practices common to digital design, filmmaking, and coding. 

I have a hard time with labels, but my work fits under the umbrellas of visual / UI design, graphic design, front-end development, and video editing—with my primary strengths being in visual polish and information hierarchy. My supplemental skills are in photo editing, coding, writing, and iconography.

Currently, I’m working a part-time in Philadelphia while taking on occasional freelance projects. I’m looking for a start to my design/tech career at a company where I can serve one or more of the following functions:
  • Making existing systems more comprehensible and intuitive.
  • Contributing to a mission that supports sustainability or socio-political wellbeing.
  • Aiding the design & development of new immersive experiences or paradigms (e.g., VR/AR/MR). 
  • Polishing details; making things look & feel more representative, expressive, or cool.

I’m open all forms of collaboration & learning. Please don’t hesitate to reach out!
︎︎︎ hello@nathancheng.work

Links


Graphic / Visual design, Front-end development, Concept work, Interface / UI / Web Design, Photo editing, Art direction, Photography, Film production & directing, Video editing, Screenwriting, 






Some history

I grew up in Cheltenham, PA (just outside of Philadelphia) with my parents, who immigrated to the US from Taiwan. My parents worked for the Philadelphia School District as an elementary counselor and as an art teacher. They raised me Christian, but I ended up somewhat Agnostic by the time I was in high school—which was around the same time I realized I was gay (a very dramatic time). That was also when I started developing my design skills by recreating iOS 7 elements in Sketch and making the posters for all the plays I was in.

I loved designing, but I also loved making movies with friends. So I studied both under Wesleyan University’s liberal arts program, graduating with a BA in Film Studies and a minor in Digital Design. I studied movies & series, designed interfaces; coded interactive art; produced & pitched a videogame; and wrote, directed, and edited a short film. Combining my interests into a coherent career is a complicated and ongoing challenge, but comes from a  pretty simple love for the way technology can make anything more relatable, fun, or meaningful.

Other facts

  • Currently based in Philadelphia.
  • Pisces sun 🥺, Scorpio moon 🥷🏻. First-generation. 我会说一点中文.
  • Constantly reading︎︎︎ about design, internet culture, web development, and film/entertainment. A fan of digital gardens and personalizing the internet.
  • Led a student forum & designed a syllabus on teenage TV shows and the phenomenon of “hate-watching.”
  • A go-to friend for tech stuff: recommends things, troubleshoots & cleans, optimizes your settings, watches every Apple event.
  • Loves Wikipedia (and this article about it︎︎︎).

Education

Wesleyan University, May 2020
B.A., Film Studies (honors) + Integrated Design, Engineering, and Applied Science 
  • Other coursework in: Computer Science, Data Visualization, American Studies, Anthropology, Theater, and Studio Art.
  • Frank Capra Award Recipient, 2020.


    Tools in use

    I’m obsessed with software, and I love finding and learning new tools that can best handle any particular job.

    Productivity, Management, Lifestyle
    • Notion — Reading list, shared docs, and personal spreadsheets.
    • Things — To-dos, goals, bucket lists, and reminders.
    • Obsidian — Journaling, life notes, thoughts & ideas.
    • Raycast — Replacement for macOS spotlight that’s more configurable and has an extension store.
    • Reeder + Feedly — RSS client for reading blogs & articles about film industry news, lifestyle insights, productivity tips, tech, and software development.
    • Raindrop.io — Cross-browser bookmarks sorting & tagging. I also use this to bookmark & tag tweets/memes so I can search for them later. And an IFTTT workflow automatically bookmarks my liked Tweets.
    • 1Password — Everyone should be using a password manager (until we reach a passwordless future with passkeys). Bitwarden is the best free option.
    • Spark — Email reader for multiple accounts. Organizes my inbox so that messages from people, newsletters, and notifications are in separate bundles. Makes it easy to reach inbox zero.
    • Soulver — Super intuitive & clean notepad for natural language math calculations.
    • Cardhop — The “Soulver” of contacts.
    • Flow —Minimal pomodoro timer.
    • Cloudflare 1.1.1.1 DNS — Set this up on your router or in your Wifi settings for slightly faster internet / added privacy.
    • 1Blocker — A blocker for web ads and tracking + firewall for in-app tracking. BlockBear is a good free alternative for mobile/tablet.

    Design, File handling, Feedback, Creativity
    • Adobe Creative Suite — As in Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, and After Effects.
    • Figma or Sketch — I self-taught myself digital/UI design using Sketch in high school. I’ve since moved to Figma, which does the same thing but uses the power & flexibility of the web for better collaboration.
    • ColorSlurp — Color picker and contrast checker for WCAG accessibility compliance.
    • Procreate — Digital painting & illustration software for iPads.
    • Blender — open-source 3D creation software.
    • Final Cut Pro — Faster & more intuitive than Premiere on macOS, better for independent or non-collaborative cases.
    • Keynote — This is soooooo much nicer than PowerPoint, especially in the animations and motion graphics department. I used this for our Slumber pitch presentation.
    • Descript — AI-boosted transcripting and video editing software.
    • Keka — Ever since I found out that .7z is more efficient than .zip I’ve been using Keka to compress files.

    Development / Programming
    I have an on-and-off relationship with coding. I’m more of a designer-first and coder-second, turning to code as a means to an end for tweaking appearances & behavior.

    As with design and filmmaking, I’m a mostly self-taught coder. My first experiences with code were in modifying my Tumblr blog’s theme in 2013, during my freshman year of high school. I also spend some time in the macOS Terminal for some deep system maintenance & setting-adjustments on my computer. In college, I took introductory courses in Python and R, along with a creative coding class with Processing/Java that made me comfortable enough with code to debug a few things in my game development project. I’ve also dipped my toes in a few app & webdev courses.

    This website runs on Cargo.site, and I tailored it by adding custom CSS & HTML. In 2022, I taught myself how to make a blog and built it from scratch as my first end-to-end web development experience. It’s built using Eleventy & Tailwind CSS, hosted on Github, and deployed with Vercel.

    • CSS + HTML, Tailwind CSS (strong)
    • Java / Processing (intermediate)
    • Eleventy (intermediate)
    • R, RStudio (beginner)
    • Python / Pyret (beginner)
    • React, GatsbyJS, Next.js (beginner)
    • Javascript (beginner)
    • Swift (beginner)



    Nathan Cheng

    Open to all forms of collaboration.
    ︎︎︎ Say hi at hello@nathancheng.work


    All content © Nathan Cheng unless noted otherwise.
    The use of any image from this site is prohibited unless prior written permission from the artist is obtained.