On a laid-back Friday afternoon in the Essential design studio, I chose to conduct a conversational interview with the somewhat recent addition to our team, Edbert Wang. “Ed” or “Bert,” as he’s offered for choice, indulged in a drink with me while recalling his earliest introduction to design that would eventually land him his position on the Digital Experience team here.
Raised in West Roxbury to parents who are both chemists, Edbert remembers being really impressed back in 1st or 2nd grade when his grandfather, an architect in China, introduced him to perspective drawings. He followed this with a series of memories of a fondness of drawing graffiti in middle school and a knack for making “random things” during his early years in high school.
But it wouldn’t be until his sophomore year at Latin High, when a brief mention from his guidance counselor about a summer design program, that Edbert would make the first true connect. Youth Design is a Boston-based program that hand selects high school students for a summer internship opportunity to work amongst the creative processes of a design firm. Edbert thought it “sounded very interesting” and decided to apply for the program. As a part of the admissions process, Edbert presented his very own designed messenger bag made of floppy disks along with a Facebook album of all his unique creations. Despite being nervous, he remembers the program administrators being very impressed. Needless to say, he was offered the chance to work at Proteus Design (now known as Motiv) in Cambridge.
I asked him to describe his initial impressions, and he admits that his first day tasks of “changing light bulbs” made him uncertain about what was to come. But by the second day he was invited to join a brainstorming session of designing logos for a project and would continue to be thrown into various design works. With a full week’s schedule, Edbert got his first taste of what it felt like to be in a professional environment and “take yourself seriously.” The rest of the summer opened him up to the world of the design industry and down the path of his own future in it.
After high school, Edbert went on to Cooper Union in NYC to earn a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts. Throughout his academic career, he kept in close contact with the founder and director of Youth Design, Denise Korn, who he regards as a great mentor. It was no surprise that it was Korn who would encourage and advise him on applying for his first professional job at Essential.
Overwhelmed by the job hunt process, Edbert remembered “everything happening so fast,” moving from the interview to being hired at Essential. I tried to get him to explain his first impressions, but he simply recalled the normal feelings of being nervous and anxious. He was extremely excited to hear that Essential hosted their own Youth Design intern over the summer and hopes to become a mentor for future interns.
Edbert’s youthful and cheery disposition has made him a natural addition to the Essential team. To understand Edbert on a personal level offers some insight into the diverse nature of the business, so I had to ask him a series of off-the-cuff questions to finish off our session in style. Dialogue as follows:
Me: What song are you listening to on repeat right now?
Edbert: “Throw It Back” by ProleteR (feat. Taskrok) Its Jazzy and Funky and GREAT!
Me: (eye brow raised) Ok…
Me: What is one of your current digital/design projects of yours outside of work?
Edbert: I am working on a web app that will offer a new way of interpreting/interacting with food and local restaurant menus for ordering food.
Me: (eye brow raised, again) Ok…what does that mean?
Edbert: I don’t want to give it all away. But it’s a way to make ordering food easier and less overwhelming, especially if you aren’t good at making decisions.
Me: Hmmm…sounds exciting!
Me: Give me 1 word to describe “Edbert.”
Me: (laughing out loud)
Edbert: (joins in with his unique laugh)