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This is a common question entrepreneurs, product managers, marketers, and other decision makers ask. As someone who has been on both sides— previously the sole designer at two startups, and now running a small team that designs for startups—I have some insight.

If you have the time and budget, hire at least one full-time designer

Designers add a lot more value than just the work they produce. They can influence design thinking across the entire company, which is a benefit that‘s immeasurable.

Your first designer will likely have several responsibilities. But the best design hires are also brand stewards for your entire organization. That is, they ensure the brand experience is cohesive and…

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Logo and style guide. See full sample here:

We’re experimenting with Startup Packages at TomYum to make design more accessible to early-staged companies.

Design talent can be difficult to find. This is especially true for new startups where funds are very limited. Hiring a full-time designer or agency is costly. The result is that these companies often put off design for a future investment — a cost that increases over time as the company grows. On the other hand, design is an investment with compounding benefits across all functions of a business. With Startup Packages we hope to deliver this value early as possible, at affordable prices.

My most important advice to aspiring designers

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When an aspiring designer asks me how to build their portfolio, I always say to redesign something and write about it.

Cue the groans and the “design is more than just how something looks”…

I know, I know.

Redesigns are often frowned upon because so many people do it wrong. But there’s a way to do them effectively. I’ve done quite a few redesigns of my own, and they’ve led to some of the most exciting opportunities I’ve come across in my career. I’ll share them, and my thought process, below.

Make it purposeful

Don’t just mindlessly dive into redesigning. Think about both…

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This is a follow up to our last post:

Over 1600 of you showed your support by applauding more than 25,000 times. Thank you.

Since clapping is a new metric, I wanted to dig into the numbers a little. Here is the clap distribution from 1 to 50, of 700 people (making up ~10,000 claps) who applauded taken from our last post. For the raw data, see here.

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By now you’ve probably heard of or tried Medium’s new feedback metric, Claps . There’s already been a lot of good discussion on why the previous Recommend system is better than Claps, and vise-versa. This post will not be adding to that.

Instead, we want to look at how Claps is currently implemented on mobile and share our thoughts on how the interaction can be improved. And then we’ll critique our own solution.

This is how Clapping currently works:

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Perhaps you’re in the process of getting a new logo designed. Or maybe you’re thinking about getting one done for your new venture. A logo is one of the most important investments a business can make, but many do this step poorly. If your logo looks amateurish, so does your business.

The best thing to do is to hire a proper designer or agency. Real professionals know how to design a logo that is readable, memorable, flexible, scalable, and have enduring value. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of poor logo design work being done by inexperienced designers. What’s worse, is that…

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Taking the next step in my career

Published January 10, 2017 🎂

When I turned 22, I wrote a blog post about the state of my life. Now, 4 years later, I think it’s time for another update.

A week ago today, I informed my manager that I was ready to leave Thanx. February 28 will be my last day of work, and I will be returning home to Toronto on March 7.

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Photoshopped screenshot

Update November 10, 2017:
Looks like Instagram is now doing this in their
Stories Update :)

So I’m browsing through Justin Kan’s Snapchat story. Suddenly Qasar appears in one of his Snaps. Justin tells everyone to add “qasar” on Snapchat. Of course I’ll add the COO of Y Combinator. So I exit out of Justin’s Snapchat story and pop open the Add Friends menu and then…

What was his username again? Quasar? Qasar? Younis? Oops…

I go back to Justin Kan’s story to rewatch the Snap of Qasar’s username. Shit. It moved onto the next Snap. I exit out of…

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It’s seriously going to blow your mind

I sent the following as an email to the Thanx team on April 1st.


April 1st marks the 10-month anniversary of Thanx’s rebranding. Unfortunately in this current tech landscape, companies must constantly rebrand or die. Luckily for everyone, your new Design Overlord has the situation handled (Thanx JSON. You’re welcome).

🔑 They don’t want us to make a new logo. So we made a new logo.

Today Design is proud to reveal the new Thanx brand for 2016. You can share your excitement on Twitter by using #NewThanxBrand and tagging @ImJasonLi + @ThanxInc.

But first…

A Brief History on our Current Logo

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Let me preface this by acknowledging that I have no insight into the minds of Casey Neistat and Matt Hackett regarding Beme. These guys are thinking about their product every single day with a team of talented individuals. Chances are they’re aware of their shortcomings and challenges with the app. Regardless, I thought I’ll share my thoughts in case something was missed. Also as this is a direct letter to Casey and Matt, I won’t be actively promoting this post.

Casey and Matt,

Various public signs that I’m sure you guys are well aware of indicate that Beme may be…

Jason Li

Co-founder of TomYum. . Toronto-based

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