Company We Keep: Claudia Ng

Get to know the people behind the creative.

Here, we dive deep into how and why people at Square do what they do. Each interview spotlights one person in a creative role and unearths their inspiration, workday hacks, and career advice. Without further ado…

Claudia Ng

Senior Production Designer
Creative Studio Digital team
6.5 years

How would you describe your work to a five-year-old?

I use the computer to make pretty pictures or cartoons to teach people and tell stories about what my company does. And sometimes when people have an idea for what they want and don’t know how to do it, I help them.

What everyday activity inspires your creative work?

Honestly, Twitter. As a production design nerd, I enjoy seeing artists show their WIP and discoveries of process hacks. I am fascinated with new tech and software, and love seeing folks who’ve gone deep and created brand-new workflows.

What was your path to your current position?

I stayed in place and my environment changed around me. My role and responsibilities have changed drastically since I started six-and-a-half years ago. I’ve leveled up into a generalist, which I feel is odd. I can pinch-hit for almost any digital job that needs doing, but I might also be the only one who has learned and figured out how to do a specific thing.

I got to where I am by rarely saying no when asked to fill gaps. And there have been a lot of those moments.

I’m also constantly learning: motion graphics, 3D, machine-learning generative art, etc.

Who’s your favorite Square seller and why?

So easy: Boba Guys.

I’ve been drinking boba for 20 years at this point, so I have a lot of nostalgia tied to it. The price of your average boba hasn’t changed for 15 years: $2.50. That doesn’t even keep up with inflation! I remember when Boba Guys were just starting out and I heard them speak about their aspirations. They really wanted to elevate boba to a fancy treat worthy of paying double, and it worked! Over the last few years, they’ve managed to widen boba’s appeal and create a whole new market of Asian desserts and drinks in the Bay Area. Also, they let me do an informational interview during a hack week that led to me filing for two patents for Square, so they have a special place in my heart.

What’s a piece of advice you’d give on getting creative?

Look and ask around first. We are a big company but Square is exceptional in that you can message someone random and they’ll be super-helpful or try to point you in the right direction. Chances are, some work exists somewhere that’s similar to whatever you’re working on, or that can give you helpful context. You’ll learn more about the company’s history and make a few friends along the way.

Creative processing

If you had to describe your process in three words, what would they be?

Define problem statement.

What’s your favorite tool for expressing your ideas?

Mindnode — it’s mind-mapping software!

When are you most creative?

Before I had children: 1:00 to 3:00 a.m.
After I had children: 9:00 to 9:30 a.m. and evenings in the shower. I have a waterproof notepad.

What’s your primary fuel for the work day?

Coffee is vital sustenance. I also listen to drumming or binaural focus music while working.

What’s your go-to source for creative inspiration?

I’m not a traditional visual designer type, so I can’t say things like dribbble or Abduzeedo or anything. I’m more about process and outputting an enormous amount of work. Twitter has been a good resource, now that I have a curated list to browse.

What visual best represents you during your creative process?