People of Kuato: Main menu mastery with Selina
Kuato Studios take pride in having sleek, intuitive and often evolving interfaces in our games. Our User Interface (UI) team are responsible for this, whether that be the character selection screen on Marvel Hero Tales (watch this space!) or the bookshelves bestowing our storybooks in Disney Story Realms. Selina Wong is an exceptionally talented UI Artist, who has been working at Kuato since 2017.
What do you do at Kuato Studios
I create user interfaces to help kids navigate our Disney Story Realms (DSR) app. This includes menus, pop-ups, loading screens, bookshelves and selection screens.
Translating the beauty of Disney’s brands into DSR is one of my favourite elements of the job. Wreck it Ralph has a cyber theme, which must be evident in all of the screens within that section of the app, and it’s the same with Toy Story, The Lion King and The Incredibles. My work empowers me creatively – all of the below loading screens contain animation, for example in The Lion King screen, Timon, Pumbaa and Simba are doing their iconic walk from the movie.
My very first task at Kuato involved designing the monsters that make up our brand. At the time they were 2D characters, and have since evolved into the 3D-style that you see today. Each character has its own style, personality and backstory. I created nearly fifty designs, tested lots of different colour combinations and poses, until I nailed down the final five, which were tested and approved by kids. Each character represents a different letter of our name (K.U.A.T.O. – now you see it!)
How did you get into graphic design
I have been doodling ever since I could hold a pencil. I was born raised in Hong Kong, so was hugely inspired by manga culture, which involves a lot of character drawing. It’s no surprise then, that I studied digital character and animation media design throughout my education.
I eventually moved to London, and realised that I needed to specialise in a particular graphic segment. I secured many work experience placements and found I enjoy being able to communicate with a user through interactive design, so eventually I settled on UI, and have never looked back!
What have been your career highlights before Kuato
After graduating, I worked for Leovation Limited in Hong Kong, who were developing Augmented Reality (AR) tech at the time. This AR project introduced me to new possibilities, and inspired me to dip into the field between reality and the digital world, and the connection between the app and the user.
This experience gave me a broader vision and motivated me to explore new ideas, and was a valuable step in evolving my creative potential.
Which video games/ artists/ projects inspire you?
There’s a lot of modern games that inspire me from a UI perspective – notably ‘The Animus’ interface in Assassin’s Creed II as well as the functionality of Persona 5 and Horizon: Zero Dawn.
However, as a child, there was a classic strategy game that I enjoyed, which shaped my earliest understanding of a great user interface. I have such fond memories of playing a game called ‘Populous: The Beginning’, which was released in 1998. Players control a shaman, who leads her tribe, combining strategic battle planning with devastating spells to demolish their opponents.
All of the commands and building options are housed on a panel on the left hand side, and even as a child, I could navigate the game so easily. There were lots of fascinating concepts – how the energy bar depleted once spells were cast, how easy the onboarding process was, how a 2D icon represented casting a 3D spell in the game.
In terms of artists, I always had aspirations to see the masterpieces up close, which was one of the first things I did after moving to London. I am a huge fan of Claude Monet, Gustav Klimt and Mucha. I admire the way Monet perceives colours and the meticulous evolution of colour within one painting. He has inspired me to boldly use intense colour through my works. I would also like to acknowledge my favourite modern artists: Little Thunder, Ruan Jia and Bluesssatan.
What’s your proudest achievement to date?
I would like to mention a painting collection that I’ve done, with ‘Youth’ as the theme. I painted three different colour themes of acrylic paintings for the collection. Blue represents “the masks”, red represents “the truth fairytale” and pink represents “the blooming”.