Willy Wong and Jake Barton

From pitch to launch, what transpires between designer and client is often unseen and little talked about, the details known only to a privileged few. But what if we could have a seat at the table? Or be a fly on the wall in the conference rooms of design presentations between designers and clients? With “One + One” we can!

The official NYC information center in Times Square is a hub for thousands of tourists each day, but by 2007, the space was dark, unwelcoming, outdated, overwhelmed with brochures and just not very people-friendly. New York City's official marketing agency, NYC & Company, knew it was time for a major overhaul. NYC & Company creative director Willy Wong and designer Jake Barton discuss the process of transforming the former info center into what is now a modern, interactive, user-friendly source of all things NYC. 

Jake Barton is founder and principal of Local Projects, an award-winning media design firm for museums and public spaces. Barton is recognized as a leader in the field of interaction design for physical spaces, and in the creation of collaborative storytelling projects where participants generate content. Currently, Local Projects is partnered with Thinc Design as lead exhibition designers for The National September 11th Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center. Other projects include interaction design for StoryCorps, six films for The Beijing 2008 Olympics, media design for The National Museum of American Jewish History, media design for the Official New York City Visitors Information Center and co-creation of Timescapes for the Museum of the City of New York. Additional clients include jetBlue, the Tribeca Film Festival, the New-York Historical Society, the National Building Museum and the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum. Barton has lectured extensively across the country and his work has received awards from IDSA, I.D. magazine and AIGA, among others. He has a master’s degree from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, where he currently teaches the master’s thesis class. Before founding Local Projects, Barton worked as an exhibition designer for Ralph Appelbaum Associates.

Willy Wong leads the creative vision across major initiatives on New York City’s behalf as SVP creative director at NYC & Company. He started out in banking with JP Morgan, crossed into management consulting with PricewaterhouseCoopers, shifted to interactive development with Sapient, and ultimately lept over to design and art direction with freelance projects for Yale School of Architecture, Creative Time, Wingspace, Nylon, Rizzoli and Cynthia Rowley. Prior to NYC & Company, he worked at a small agency on brands like Coca-Cola, Clinique, Perry Ellis, Godiva and The Grinch Musical. A frequent guest critic and lecturer at NYU, Yale, Columbia and Parsons, Wong received an BA from Dartmouth and an MFA from Yale.