“Everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones.”
Faculty Emeritus Dan Boyarski shared this quote from Herbert Simon with Victor Ng’s (BFA ’12) Typography class during his sophomore year. The idea that design is a powerful tool to enable powerful and lasting change is what inspired Ng’s career and has led him to the creation of the new Victor Ng Design Impact Award for Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Design students.
The Victor Ng Design Impact Award is an annual $3,000 award is given at the end of the school year to one freshman, sophomore, or junior “whose work demonstrates a passion for how design can advance social justice, promote equality, and improve the human condition”. The recipient is selected by faculty and is open to students in the Communications, Products, and Environments undergraduate design programs.
For Ng, who was the Web Design Lead for Hilary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential campaign and currently serves as Senior Manager of Newsroom Brand Marketing at the New York Times, his experience at the School of Design shaped more than just what he would accomplish professionally.
“A degree from Carnegie Mellon changed the entire trajectory of my life,” said Ng. “My mom didn’t get the chance to go to college but she knew how important it was for my sisters and me. I am where I am today because of the generosity and kindness of others. I’ve worked in Silicon Valley, on a presidential campaign trail, and now with one of the most iconic newsrooms in the world.
“I wake up each day knowing these opportunities did not happen by accident. I always knew I would pay it forward one day. Today is that day, and I could not be more excited.”
So why are designers better equipped to tackle issues of social justice and equality?
“We are in a historic moment,” explained Ng. “There is an undeniable opportunity for all of us to change an existing condition into a preferred one. The greatest issues facing us today require creativity to solve. The kind of ambitious, unconventional, and joyful creativity that the School of Design does best.
“As design is elevated into more and more boardrooms and governments, it’s increasingly important to think critically about how our work affects this planet and the people who inhabit it.
“Students have been thinking about these hard problems long before I attended, and it’s inspiring to see that this work continues.”
The first recipient of the Victor Ng Design Impact Award will be named at the end of the Spring 2018 semester.