What's in the Water?

Making Policy Public

What's in the Water?

Engage to Change

Technical Assistance

Engage to Change

Social Security Risk Machine

Making Policy Public

Social Security Risk Machine

It's Not Just Personal

Making Policy Public

It's Not Just Personal

Figuring Out FEMA

Public Access Design

Figuring Out FEMA

Who Benefits from Community Benefit Agreements?

Urban Investigations

Who Benefits from Community Benefit Agreements?

Meet the Designers: D Wang Shi Zhao and Chloe Chang

Meet the Designers: D Wang Shi Zhao and Chloe Chang

For our latest installment of, Meet the Designer, we chatted with designers Chloe Chang and D Wang Shi Zhao! Chloe and D Wang collaborated with CUP, the Bronx Defenders, and Legal Aid Society to create Your Truth Your Rights, a guide for Transgender, Gender Nonconforming, Intersex, and Nonbinary people in New York jails and prisons. Get to know them below!

Can you tell us a little bit more about you as designers? How would you describe your artistic practices?

D Wang: While I’m being paid as a graphic designer, I see illustration as the center of my artistic practice. I joke that being a graphic designer for start-ups/DTC brands helps me make the blood money that I then slowly redistribute back to my community. I’ve slowly been emerging from a hiatus from illustration as I had been burned out from the anti-Black, fatphobic, and transphobic commercial priorities of past clients. I’m now learning to prioritize more of my zine and comic work, and create in the complicated specificity of trauma-based narratives.

Chloe: I’ve unwittingly become a blend of designer, researcher, and strategist. I like to obsess over choosing the perfect font for the project as much as I like to obsess over creating an engaging discussion guide. I’m currently working hard to develop a design practice that achieves social justice not just through the work produced, but through modes of collaboration that are collective, equitable, and dignified for everyone involved. We’re at different stages in our careers but we share similar worldviews. Our project with CUP was actually our first formal collaboration together and we’re excited to continue growing individually + together.

2. Tell us about your experience with Public Access Design Fellowship!

Chloe: The Public Access Design Fellowship is a great opportunity to work with an advocacy organization in a way where everyone is bought into the goal of developing beautiful and informative design. In practice, balancing the priorities between design, messaging, and logistics on a project can be really hard. CUP acts as the intermediary and manages that for you, which is kind of a luxury. We found the project collaboration experience invaluable.

D Wang: I also felt like I really lucked out with getting to collaborate with Chloe, who’s an excellent designer and mentor. She was incredibly encouraging when I needed a push to explore more illustration styles, and really helped the art direction come together.

3. You also got to collaborate on a project! What was the most interesting part of working on Your Truth, Your Rights?

D Wang: The most fulfilling part of the project was getting feedback from previously incarcerated transgender, gender nonconforming, intersex and non-binary (TGNCINB) folks. Even as a trans person who spends a lot of time thinking about and drawing other gender nonconforming folks, I found how my own preconceptions of visually representing other trans folks was affected by how I personally present day-to day. For example, after sharing a draft we received feedback that more masc-presenting folks were absent and that it was more affirming to see the trans folks depicted in their everyday outfits rather than uniforms. In the latter case, rather than pursuing the most literal form of representation, what we heard was, This is how I want to be drawn, this is how I want people in my situation to be seen.

Chloe: As designers it was both a challenge and a relief to give more weight to what our feedback providers had to say than that we thought would be more “effective” or “correct.” The challenge is in identifying and setting aside our own design preferences, and the relief is in knowing that our work resonates with previously incarcerated TGNCINB people.

4. How did collaborating with CUP impact your work moving forward?

We’ll both continue to find ways to collaborate with the people impacted by design, no matter the project. And we hope there will be opportunities to do it together!

5. What’s a project you’re working on now, outside of CUP, that you’re excited to reveal soon?

Chloe: 2020–2021 has been a hard year for personal projects—I think we’re both still in survival mode. I’m redesigning my backyard in preparation for what I hope will be many summer days spent with friends and family.

D Wang: I’ve been fortunate enough to move into my first one-bedroom apartment during the pandemic, so a lot of my time has been dedicated to figuring out how to furnish it (and how to create the perfect home for my cat, DouDou). But in the meantime, I’m planning to release some new comics and zines with my publisher, Diskette Press.

6. What is your secret skill that has nothing to do with your design work?

D Wang: I know where to find the best deals in Chinatown when buying groceries.

Chloe: I have really REALLY good taste in clothes.

D Wang Shi Zhao (赵梦仪) is a queer, gender non-binary, second generation Han Chinese immigrant from Anishinabek and Odawa and Peoria territories (known as Mid-Michigan). They use they/them/their pronouns. They are currently transitioning on testosterone with the understanding that their journey has no end goal. Based in Lenape territory (known as Brooklyn, NY), they are a multidisciplinary designer and illustrator who is passionate about understanding the intersections of fashion, media, design and business so they can hack the system in order to give space and opportunities to marginalized folks. On the side, they make comics, care for their house’s chickens, and dream about ways queer, trans, immigrant, disabled, creatives of color can help each other thrive.

Chloe Chang (张洛书) is a designer, researcher and strategist with 6 years of experience working in advertising and human-centered design firms. She lived in Beijing for 12 years before moving to Brooklyn in 2009 to study Communication Design at Pratt Institute, and has made her home here since. She has experience in branding and marketing from her early advertising days, but is now focused on bringing design-led strategy and research methods to mission-driven spaces and initiatives. Most recently, she has been part of the team at design studio Openbox, designing greater low-income access to Neighborhood Trust’s financial services, creating opportunities for student-led education at the Williamsburg High School of Arts and Technology, and researching how community engagement in urban development projects in the Lower East Side can be more inclusive and beneficial to the communities who live there.

Power Trip

Urban Investigations

Power Trip

Up Closed and Personal

Urban Investigations

Up Closed and Personal

Blunt Conversations

Urban Investigations

Blunt Conversations

Store Stories

City Studies

Store Stories

Your Truth, Your Rights

Public Access Design

Your Truth, Your Rights

A Bet on Debt

City Studies

A Bet on Debt

Get It Back!

Public Access Design

Get It Back!

Dick & Rick: A Visual Primer for Social Impact Design

Technical Assistance

Dick & Rick: A Visual Primer for Social Impact Design