Arvin Dang

Product Designer • Mentor • Instructor

“A good designer can organize chaos. A great designer can eliminate chaos.” — Michael Wong

Design Approach

“Whoever best describes the problem, solves it.” — Dan Roam

In my twelve plus year journey as a product designer, I've navigated the full spectrum, from front-end and Rails development to research, design strategy, and finally to interaction and product design. This path has ingrained in me a philosophy centered on clarity and the importance of active listening.

Design Principals:

  1. Immerse Yourself: Dive deep into the problem space. Understanding is the bedrock of innovation.
  2. Look Beyond the First Solution: Good design is iterative. The first solution is rarely the best.
  3. Change Perspectives: The goal is to bring coherence and clarity at both the macro and micro levels, ensuring that the overall vision and the intricate details complement each other in the final solution.

I’ve had the pleasure to work with TXI, Salesforce, Techstars Chicago and The Starter League.

Mentor Philosophy

“Think about it this way: If you had to launch your business in two weeks, what would you cut out?” – Jason Fried

My journey is deeply rooted in my experiences with early-stage companies, first as part of my own growth in a startup environment and then through active engagement in the startup community in Chicago and Techstars.

My philosophy blends a passion for practical, real-world problem-solving with a commitment to sustainable, impactful growth. I focus on supporting companies that prioritize steady progress and customer-centric solutions.


  1. Practical Solutions for Real-World Challenges: My investment strategy is deeply rooted in practicality. I focus on startups that are solving tangible, real-world problems with achievable and realistic solutions. I steer clear of ventures that seem overly ambitious or speculative in nature.
  2. Customer-Centric Approach: I prioritize companies that place a strong emphasis on customer service and have a dedicated customer-oriented approach. I value organizations that prioritize listening to their customers over promoting themselves.
  3. Capability and Depth in Small Teams: I have a preference for working with founders who demonstrate a rich blend of deep domain expertise and strong product development skills. My ideal teams are efficient and compact, yet rich in experience and capability.

Teaching Methodology

“To teach a thing, is to learn it twice.” – Joseph Joubert

Recognizing a gap in practical skills in design education, I've developed a hands-on product design course. This program is more than just theoretical learning; it's about applying these concepts in real-world scenarios.

Course Outcomes:

  1. From Concept to Wireframes: Learn to transform app ideas from broad concepts into detailed, testable prototypes.
  2. Collaborative Skills: Gain the ability to effectively work with both designers and engineers.
  3. Foundation for Testing and Development: Establish a solid base for further user testing and development.

DSGN 241 is currently taught at Northwestern University. See the syllabus for more details.