Victor Ng spends his days at work trying to answer one question: Why would someone pay to read The New York Times?
The Times hired the Carnegie Mellon University alumnus in December to be its audience and brand team’s senior art director, a position created especially for him.
“Given the plethora of news outlets now available to consumers, many of them free, it’s tough,” said Ng, who earned his undergraduate degree from CMU’s School of Design in 2012.
For his first project at the Times, he was part of the team that created the “Truth” campaign, which included the commercial “The Truth Is Hard” that debuted during the 2017 Academy Awards broadcast. Ng worked on the campaign’s digital launch. His latest creations include a pair of landing pages: Why the Times? and What You Get.
Ng said he relies on his CMU education to woo paid subscribers.
“Receiving a strong foundation in typography and color certainly hasn’t hurt, but for me CMU design was never about chasing current trends or design tools,” he said. “I learned to adapt and change with the complex challenges we face today.”
Ng began his career as a communications designer at Pinterest, and he served as the lead web designer for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
One of Ng’s CMU professors, Dylan Vitone, was impressed by Ng’s ambition.
“What I remember most is his desire to get as much out of his time at Carnegie Mellon as possible, to expand his voice as a designer,” Vitone said. “He created a magazine, worked as a photographer for nonprofits, pulled together high-end fashion photo shoots and mentored younger classmates.”
With the Times intention to double its digital revenue to $800 million according to its 2020 report — primarily through increasing subscriptions — Ng’s mission is integral to the media company’s future.
Ng and his team’s efforts are paying off. In 2017’s first quarter, the newspaper added more than 300,000 digital-only paid news subscriptions, the largest quarterly addition ever for the company, and its digital-only subscription revenue grew by 40 percent.
“Victor is focused on solving our biggest challenge,” said Laura Forde, the Times’ executive creative director of brand marketing. “He has suggested new tools and technologies and has encouraged more social interaction among the larger creative team.… He is a wonderful asset to our team and The New York Times design culture.”