Nathan Cheng

Nathan Cheng

Design, Front-end, and Video in Philadelphia, PA, He/him

About

I like finding crafty ways to improve connection & understanding through visual, sound, and interaction systems. Drawing on my skills in digital design, filmmaking, acting, and code, I take a collaborative and creative approach with a focus on putting together visually polished designs and clear information structures.

I'm currently looking for new full-time work or side projects. Here's what I like to do:

  • Polish details and make systems more consistent, comprehensible, and representative.
  • Contribute to socio-political wellbeing or environmental sustainability.
  • Assist the design & development of new immersive experiences (e.g., VR/AR/MR).
  • Work with new tools for image-making or interaction-building

Please don't hesitate to reach out!

Contact

Portfolio
LinkedIn
GitHub
Letterboxd

Education

2016 — 2020
Middletown, CT
  • Major: Film Studies — production elements + film theory, history, and aesthetic development.
  • Minor: "I.D.E.A.S." (Integrated Design, Engineering, and Applied Science), concentrated in Digital Design — an interdisciplinary and project-based track in technical + aesthetic design aspects.
  • Coursework in Film, English, American Studies, Linguistics, Computer Science, Integrated Sciences, Studio Art, Theater

Side Projects

Ongoing

See higher-quality textures & detail → nathancheng.work/Misc-Posters-a…

2023

SPCC is a small, discord-grown chess club that meets weekly in South Philly. The style reflects the eccentric and jagged look of the mosaic tiles seen throughout South Philly—most memorably in the South Philly Magic Gardens. The icon and background treatments blend this with a distorted chess board pattern, and the mark itself styles the club's initials into a knight piece.
Further treatments could take the checkerboard abstractions and geometric logo further with animations that represent calculated, mathematical thinking (e.g., the animations of @beesandbombs on Twitter).

2020

A prototype for a drawing tool allowing users to "paint" with color-filtered selections of a pre-defined image. The original image remains hidden to encourage an improvisational approach to painting and remixing.

2020

I made these because I didn’t want to wait for 3rd party developers to update to the new macOS app icon style Apple introduced with macOS Big Sur. I shared these icons on macosicons.com, where they’ve gathered over 3K downloads and counting.

2018

Projects

Ongoing

Various iconography and logo/branding work from throughout past projects.

2020

An expressionistic, frenetic comedy filmmaking thesis in film studies for Wesleyan's College of Film and the Moving Image.
nathancheng.work/Robin-Goes-Out…

2019

Proof of concept demo & pitch presentation for an immersive 3D videogame world introducing kids to sleep science. Inside a sleeping brain, players maintain brain function and fix neurons as they progress through the stages of sleep.

2017

Interface & motion design for a bespoke web gallery that emulates the sparse, “zen” feeling of coffee table photography books & museum exhibits.

Work Experience

2023 — Now
Remote
  • Led pitch deck design and brand storytelling initiatives to secure funding for high-potential startups across industries like AI, quantum computing, creator economy platforms, and more as part of the Techstars accelerator program.

  • Worked closely with founders to identify and communicate startups' unique value proposition, competitive differentiation, and growth trajectory. Distilled business models into powerful product stories and go-to-market strategies.

  • Integrated market insights and investor feedback to refine startup positioning and differentiation.

  • Audited and redesigned existing web designs and slide decks to optimize for visual polish, information hierarchy, stakeholder clarity, and brand consistency.

2023 — Now
Detroit, MI / Remote
  • Selected for competitive entrepreneurial fellowship founded by Andrew Yang

  • Honed entrepreneurial skills in rigorous, two-week training program featuring workshops from Frog, IDEO, and other business leaders

  • Led a 5-member team in a 3-day design sprint and pitch presentation for a motivating city exploration mobile app: Conceptualized and designed 3 high-fidelity mockup screens; Served as one of 3 pitch presenters → Received Crowd Favorite and Judge Pick awards over 4 other teams, with a panel of visiting VC and business executives.

2021 — Now
Media / Design / Admin / Sales Assistant at TAL Technologies, Inc.
Philadelphia, PA

Assisting as the sole employee with sales, support, and administrative tasks while providing design, front-end, and UX tips to an outside web developer for a major overhaul of TALtech's websites and store backend.

  • Collaborating daily with the VP of sales to identify user, business, and marketing needs and provide ongoing product strategy.
  • Sole advocate for design best practices for web and product UX.
  • Created tutorial videos using motion graphics to explain communications technology for customers. Notable users include SpaceX, Nestle, NOAA, EPA, Loreal, 3M, and AT&T.
2020 — 2023
Designer & Video Editor at Freelance

Focus: graphic design, web design, UI design, visual design, mobile app design, video editing (promo clips, narrative shorts)

2022 — 2022

Designed and developed a simple website & brand refresh for a local business.

2022 — 2022
ACT Tutor at Summit Educational Group
Remote

Helped high school students improve their scores for ACT tests over one-on-one virtual tutoring sessions. Tailored study plans & feedback for students based on individual learning styles & personalities. Distilled complex concepts and motivated students to stay on track.

2021 — 2021
Video Editor at Carroll Sisters Productions
Philadelphia, PA

Turned scrappy footage into a 40-min pilot episode for Betsey & Jackie Carroll's web series "And We're Live," making savvy changes to the tone, pacing, and dialogue of scenes as needed to solve production-related errors and technical issues.

2020 — 2021
Admin / Design / Multimedia Assistant at Berkshire Playwrights Lab
Remote

Served as a tech/design consultant and sole administrative support for a non-profit theatre/arts organization, where I refreshed the branding, organized records, and provided technical advice. Created assets for their virtual events and designed a new website that doubled online traffic.

2021 — 2021
Producer's Assistant / Video Editor at Dreamatorium Productions
Remote

Created video graphics for a critical virtual event of a new Sign Language play attended by dozens of stakeholders. Enriched the viewing experience with FaceTime-inspired floating cards for cast/team asides and subtitles, transitioning between documentary clips and play excerpts and integrating multiple interpreter feeds. Consulted with 6 sign language consultants to research and plan digital solutions in Zoom to make the event more accessible for both Deaf attendees.

2019 — 2020
Middletown, CT

Oversaw all stages of production for an 11-minute comedy film, including directing a 16-person crew over 4 days. The film stood out from 21 film theses and earned me the non-annual Frank Capra Prize for achievements in cinematic storytelling and combining humor with pathos. I also organized and edited a media library of over 400 assets, and researched and self-taught new equipment & production software as needed.

2019 — 2019
Middletown, CT

Led a team of 4 student artists & developers to develop a prototype based on my concept for an educational video game and immersive 3D world introducing kids to sleep science. Part of a double-credit, application-based competition course led by Bethesda Softworks founder Christopher Weaver.

Received First Place for best concept & execution against three other teams by engaging a jury of 6 business, film, and game industry professionals from companies such as American Film Institute, Harmonix, Warner Brothers Games, Demiurge Studios, and Wesleyan’s I.D.E.A.S. Program.

Designed a content-driven and animated keynote pitch presentation and gave the opening and closing remarks. Worked closely with the team to ensure open communication, wrote design documentation, and directed a cohesive visual style & art concepts. We integrated insights from research on three classrooms of target users, an interview with a sleep scientist, and multiple publications. At a critical stage late in the project project, I made significant cuts to the scope to ensure we had a minimum viable demo in time for the presentation.

2016 — 2017
Remote

Proposed a new brand and graphic identity to express a startup's health and ethics approach in the snack industry. Designed signs, sell sheets, and other merchandising materials that promoted key brand values and product selling points.

Speaking

2019
Teenage Television: Aesthetics, History, and "Hate-Watching" at Wesleyan Forum on Teenage Television
Middletown, CT

Led semester-long class discussions following a syllabus I co-designed. The forum examines a brief history of the teen soap opera and the ways it has developed and changed since the advent of the genre in the early 1990's focusing on questions of representation, expressions of contemporary societal values in their narratives, and how their asethetic systems create a unique kind of entertainment.

Writing

2023

A digital garden (not a blog) where you can peruse my notes and explore their links.

2019

Midterm paper for AMST / FILM308: "Television Storytelling: The Conditions of Narrative Complexity.

People love to hate-watch Riverdale, the CW's unhinged take on the once-wholesome Archie Comics. It's a fever dream of 30-year-olds playing teens, spouting nonsensical dialogue in plots that border on the surreal. A recent viral clip laid bare the show's signature brand of cringe, prompting collective head-scratching: "Why are they still making this?" But there's a special alchemy in Riverdale's devotion to narrative mayhem. This paper digs into how the series' commitment to chaos has spawned a singular and standout aesthetic spectacle.

Awards

2023
Judge Pick and Crowd Favorite from Venture for America

See Work Experience entry for "Fellowship at Venture for America" for details.

2020

Best film among 21 to exemplify the legendary film director’s blend of pathos + humor, and for “using the tools of filmmaking at the highest level.” Awarded on an ad hoc basis.

2019
First Place from Weaver Development Competition

Best concept & execution in competition for an videogame demo teaching a STEM concept to children.