Kevin Wong

Featured Interview ~ Kevin Wong

Judging an international design competition is no easy task. It takes a special kind of person that is willing to give their time and experience for the betterment of the industry.

It's time to shine a spotlight on these special individuals and dig a little deeper to see what makes them tick. Therefore, on behalf of the CSSDA founders and crew, please enjoy the following interview with one of our esteemed judging panel members.


Kevin Wong is the founder and creative director of Why Interactive, a digital design studio in Hong Kong.

Time Warp:

1. When and what was your first ever computer? Can you remember the spec?

My first computer was a used 80286. I wasn't well aware of the spec, but remember that it had a monochrome monitor.

2. When and what was the first website you were involved in designing/developing? Which elements of the project did you do? Can you remember the 'cutting edge' tech used at the time? How did the site turn out and what did this experience teach you?

It was my personal website built in my junior high school period. I put my favourite music bands on it, an introduction of Emulator and some others about myself. At the beginning, I used a kind of web editor like MS FrontPage to build the site, but it often generated some codes that I didn't want. Then, when I found some beautiful and clean websites proudly carved "Built with Notepad", I was impressed and decided to learn this simple and concise coding skill. The final site was built line by line by myself with Notepad. I gradually added some Flash elements in later years until I took it offline.

3. Which project has been most rewarding for you over the course of your career and why?

It was CNY2012 - a mobile app mini-game for Chinese New Year. As a Chinese designer, I always want to create something to illustrate Chinese culture in a brand new way. CNY2012 is a punfound, crossword mini-game to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

We designed a series of graphical symbols with funny Chinese puns. Each symbol represents a Chinese character which commonly seen on Chinese Hui Chun (red banners with lucky messages). Players need to solve the puns and find as many as Hui Chun in limited time. Provided that we didn't do any promotion, this app became top 10 free app in iTunes App Store throughout the CNY period. What's more, we saw lots of people sharing the graphical Hui Chun downloaded from our app on social media.

Although there's room for improvement due to limited production time and budget, this project gave me much satisfaction than many others, because I could see that people really liked it, which was the biggest reward I had ever received.

4. What career advice would you give to yourself if you could send a 'temporal text' 5 - 10 years into the past?

"Think it through before opening your company.", though I think he won't listen even though it's my advice.

5. Better still, if you had your own hot tub time machine, what time period would you travel to and why?

Can it bring me to the future? If yes, I want to visit the planet earth in 50 years later. I will take some photos and show them to people living at the present. Hope it could tell people that human could no longer survive if we don't reduce pollution and protect our environment from now.

Favourite Things:

1. What are your favourite aspects about working in design?

I really like the feeling of making something from scratch, which gives countless possibilities and room for imagination.

2. What are your favourite design tools, sites, fonts and resources right now?

The favourite (and most frequently used) design tool must be Adobe Creative Suite. Behance, digg, Creative Application, SkillShare, Kickstarter and Indiegogo etc. are sites that I visit regularly. About fonts, since I often need to work on multi-languages project, including Asian languages, the appearance of Noto Sans indeed helps me a lot.

3. What are your favorite devices right now from mobile to desktop?

I am using iPhone 6s. I like the Force Touch feature so much. Looking forward to new apps applying this great feature. Besides, I like using Macbook Pro retina for work, usually with a dual monitor and mouse in office. Its portability allows me to bring it along with me all day, and easily handle my works anytime, anywhere.

4. Which 3 cities would be your favorite to open an office in and why?

Hong Kong - I was born here and this city is undergoing a drastic change, so I won't decide to leave at the moment. Amsterdam - Although I haven't been there before, I read a lots from internet and books about this city. It seems that the general environment is quite ideal for the creative industry. Silicon Valley - My ultimate goal is to build a successful digital product. I think the atmosphere and community there could bring me closer to my goal.

5. What is your favorite activity outside of work?

Movies, musics, nature, sports, PC games... These activities are something that I can't let go.

Life Hacks:

1. How do you stay motivated?

Keep exploring and learning. Tell myself if someone can make it, I should be able to make it as well.

2. Do you have a good life/work balance? Could it be improved? If so how?

I think I am doing ok in this aspect. To improve, I think we need to first change the pace of this city.

3. Do you have any career advice for young designers and developers?

This is a fast-changing industry. It would be easier to fit in if you could take learning as a pleasure rather than pressure.

4. How do you keep up with the latest trends & tech?

Just make it a habit, like reading news everyday.

5. If money was abolished and nobody needed to work anymore, what would you do with your life?

I would farm. I think people need food no matter how the world changes.

Versus: In your opinion...

1. Are great designers born Vs. made by experience?

I believe there are natural talents in every industry, but at the same time I know many great designers that work extremely hard. So, I think no matter if you are a natural talent or not, hard-work and experience could make you a great designer.

2. Is the best long term goal to be a founder Vs. freelance Vs. full­time job?

To be a founder of a digital product, and see people using it happily (at least in my city!).

3. iPhone 6s vs Samsung S6 vs other?

iPhone 6s

4. Printed book vs eBook?

Printed book

5. Star Trek vs Star Wars?

Star Wars

Thanks for your time. Any last words?

The digital product I mentioned above is actually a work in progress, but I think it will take a long time to develop. Wish me luck. Lastly, great thanks to CSSDA, for their team's persistent support to us and every designer in the industry.

Selected work by Why Interactive:

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