Tan Le

My design career is like Transit bus no.13 — you know, the commuter route that goes from the suburbs, through the sketchy hood, past the uptown hipster bar scene, and ends up in the downtown business district depot. And then in the evening after work, it takes the same route backwards. Not sure where I am along that route currently.

I'm a hired gun who's worked in design firms big and small all over the US, including Houston, Minneapolis, Seattle, and currently Atlanta. I ran my own studio, called Grip, for a few years. I also headed a satellite office for Landor as well as for global giant Young & Rubicam. After a few years of that, I got restless and joined a hip advertising agency with a funny, near-vulgar name, WongDoody, and built a formidable design team in an ad world. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Now, I work in the retail design world, creating designs that you can walk into, not just pick up and read or click. Let's see how this bus stop goes.

Along the way, I've given much to AIGA, and in return, they gave me a nice Fellow award. I've also taught design at a number of programs, and was a former longtime author on the much beloved blog, SpeakUp. So it's nice to be back writing for RPI.

I've had amazing, but tiny clients you've never heard of, as well as giant, global clients that you probably use everyday. Microsoft, T-Mobile, Nintendo, Walmart, Target, Walgreens, Michelin, Unilever, Pfizer, the list is long and stories are aplenty. "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe." – Roy Batty, Blade Runner.


Design Bully: Fearless Change

You want to know what one of the hardest, scariest things to do in life is? It's not bungee jumping, or rock climbing, or swimming with sharks.

Topics: Managing Design, Professional Development, Self-Promotion

Design Bully: The Art of Cookware

I love to cook. I sometimes love it more than actually eating the food I've made.

Topics: Branding Identity, Color, Product Design

Design Bully: Socially Unacceptable Tech Behavior

You know what I really hate? When I'm in line at Starbucks and the person up next is yacking on the phone, while the barista waits for the jerk to order.

Topics: Interactive Design, Product Design, Random

Design Bully: The Modular Phone - Genius or Gimmick?

There's no doubt we are living in the golden age of mobile devices.

Topics: Branding Identity, Fashion, Interactive Design, Product Design, Random

Design Bully: Fragments of Our Everyday Human Experience

In the 1987 German classic, Wings of Desire (Der Himmel über Berlin) directed by Wims Wender, Bruno Ganz is an angel named Damien whose existence and purpose on earth is to observe and bear witness to mortal life.

Topics: Interactive Design, Random, Self-Promotion

Design Bully: If a Logo is Redesigned Alone in the Woods

As the old adage goes, if a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there to hear, does it make a sound? The same existential riddle can be applied to a lot of things—if an action or effort goes unnoticed, or doesn't make a difference, then what was the point? In case you haven't heard, Yahoo is changing its logo, chopping down their tree and planting a new one.

Topics: Branding Identity, Color, Interactive Design

Design Bully: Skeuomorphism is Not the Opposite of Flat Design

If you currently use an Apple device, or any computer device for that matter, you've probably heard or read about the term "skeuomorphism" recently.

Topics: Branding Identity, Design Reference, Interactive Design, Product Design

Friday Feast: 20 mph through Peachtree City, GA

Atlanta is the heart of the South.

Topics: Profiles, Random