In March of 2009, Jeff Ng, founder and creative director of Staple Design, was one of 30 entrepreneurs invited to the White House to participate in a forum on economic recovery with senior officials in the Obama administration. Ng says the forum opened a dialogue that continues today through emails and conference calls.
Ng likes to say he founded Staple Design in his silkscreen lab in 1997 during his senior year at Parsons, where he received his BFA in Communication Design. “Night after night, I snuck in with a pillowcase full of blank tees.” On the t-shirts, he printed political messages relating to Tiananmen Square, the African slave trade, and Native American rights. Today, Staple Design, a visual communications agency, has staked its claim on the youth market with a client list that includes Apple, Nike, Virgin Records, and Sony Playstation. He has a fashion line, a retail store called Reed Space in New York’s historic Lower East Side neighborhood, and a quarterly magazine devoted to emerging art and design.
“When I came to Parsons, I was really only interested in making cool, pretty things,” he says. “Parsons introduced me to the idea of designers as communication drivers, whose work can effect change on a global scale. I realized that you have a great responsibility as a designer, and if you are not prepared to say something substantial, you better get off the stage.”