Born and raised in Shanghai. I moved to New York in 2013 and have studied and worked here since. After reading about Chinese American architect I.M.Pei, inspired by his life story, I started going by S.J. Zhang.
Though my bread and butter today is digital product design, I'm deeply fascinated about all design practices. I like to read about design histories and talk about iconic chairs. My master thesis included a design archive of influential 20th century industrial designs. During undergrad, I wrote papers on Jony Ive and Issey Miyake. In those years I was deep in the Fashion industry, learnt about the supply chains and sewn collections of garments myself. Born to an architect and interior designer father, I grew up paying attention to shapes, forms and spaces at every street corner. Across practices and throughout history, I believe the one constant about design, is that it always try to make objects or environments more usable and easier to understand.
Another big part of my life is my endless pursuit to understand how the world works. Complicated systems and economic patterns fascinates me. One of the most inspiring thing about startup culture to me is when a team go learn everything about another industry, then do things differently to "disrupt" it and accelerate changes. Executions matter of course, but the spirit is how we progress. Recently I’ve been reading Ray Dalio’s online series The Changing World Order thinking about where the post-COVID-world is going.
Currently a Kleiner Perkins Fellow at Zumper. I’ve been studying and working in design for 9 years now. After trying my hands in different practices, I spent the last 3 years learning to code and focusing on software products. I’ve worked in large design teams as well as performed as the sole designer for startups.
If you are interested to know more, you can find me on LinkedIn. I’ve also added a short preview below.
I started documenting my travels in 2014 and have traveled to numerous cities in over 20 countries since. I document my travel photographies on Instagram @woandworld.
I have been helping people with portfolios, designs, careers etc. If you feel like my perspective could help you with anything. You can book some time with me or send me an email.