Photoshop Blog

From Photoshop to Adobe XD: Michael Wong’s Journey into Freelance Design

Michael Wong, a full-time freelance designer, fell in love with web design at a young age. As his skill set and experience broadened, though, so did his need for more advanced and adaptable tools. This is the story of Michael’s relationship with Photoshop, Adobe XD, and the freedom and fulfillment of a freelance lifestyle.


On His Entry into the World of Design

Once an aspiring Kung Fu master, Michael Wong quickly shifted his sights to a career in design. After his first exposure to the World Wide Web, his eyes were opened to the limitless opportunity and creativity offered by web design. The real decisive moment for him, though, was receiving a six-figure paycheck at age 17 for affiliate marketing work in the design space.

Michael recalls, “I joined a very active web development and internet marketing community, where I continued to learn the tricks of the trade. Entrepreneurs began reaching out to me to help them design and build their sites and I realized I had a newfound love for web design (oh, that term sounds so dated), so I pursued it as a strong passion of mine.” A few Australian startup successes and digital corporate partnerships later, Michael is now a full-time freelance designer.


On Photoshop and Adobe XD

For a significant part of Michael’s design career, he exclusively used Photoshop for all photo editing and UX/UI design work. However, in UX design, files can contain hundreds, or even thousands of layers and folders, which became problematic when solely using Photoshop. Michael says, “I jumped on the Adobe XD bandwagon right after the Adobe MAX event last year. The launch of Adobe XD is a dream come true. As a designer, I can make appropriate edits to the photo or stock image I’d like to use in Photoshop and seamlessly bring it over to Adobe XD to finish off the interface design.”

Michael’s favorite Photoshop features include the Clone Tool, which allows him to touch up stock imagery or perfect his shots, and Actions, which allow him to utilize photo filter actions created by himself and others to quickly apply and gauge a new look for an image.

On Adobe XD, Michael remarks, “While it’s currently still in BETA, it has already positioned itself as the end-to-end platform for UI and UX designers.” His favorite features include:

  • Repeat Grid, or “the holy grail of UI design”, as Michael calls it. The feature addresses a critical and time-consuming task for UI designers: instead of duplicating and adjusting spacing for repeated elements (like a list of profiles,) a quick drag of the bounding box does the work for you.
  • Prototype, which allows for a birds-eye view for simplicity and ease in Adobe XD. On top of the quick-linking, you also have the ability to play around with transitions, easing, and durations.


On Freelance Design


When asked about his decision to remain a freelance designer, Michael believes that freedom is what brings richness to his life and his work. While he has worked for companies on larger teams, he finds he always returns to freelance work. On the subject, he says, “Ultimately, I can do what I love, where and whenever I want. And I’m not only a designer, but also a marketer, business owner, accountant and the list goes on. You never stop learning!”

That being said, Michael also values the power of the design community, particularly online. He writes a weekly UX Design newsletter with over 6,000+ readers and is hoping to launch a UX & Freelance course this year in order to strengthen and give back to this community.

While Michael understands better than anyone how challenging it is to take the leap and commit to full-time freelance work, he advises “Never underestimate how much further you can get with just a bit of guidance.” His goal is to continually share all his experiences and knowledge with the design community to guide and support other designers who want to take the leap in hopes that they will find the freedom and fulfillment that he has in a life of freelance design.

When he isn’t busy freelancing, you can find Michael at the gym, swinging around on the bars. He also loves writing his weekly newsletter and road-tripping out of Sydney along the coast of Australia with his friends, his surfboard, and his GoPro.

For more on Adobe XD, or to download the beta and test-drive it yourself, visit

Also, check out more of Michael’s work here: Portfolio | Twitter | LinkedIn | Dribbble


Inspiration, Photoshop

Join the discussion

  • By Michael Wong - 12:27 PM on March 15, 2017  

    Thank you for the interview Adobe! Happy Hustling!

  • By Muslim Mahmood - 3:19 PM on March 15, 2017  

    Wow.The best thing that ever happen in the design, art and tech industries is Adobe and its Products. Very inspiring. Thanks guys.

    Muslim A. Mahmood
    Abuja, NIGERIA

  • By Klangwelt - 8:50 AM on March 16, 2017  

    Great interview! Very inspiring and informative.

  • By Sourav Arora - 3:56 AM on March 17, 2017  

    Nice Article. i love it

  • By joy johnson - 9:34 PM on March 17, 2017  

    wow, see about me!

  • By Dhanpat - 6:02 AM on March 19, 2017  

    Kudos to Wong. A very inspiring journey for any creative designer. Great to see such stories by adobe team.

  • By Steven - 5:39 PM on March 19, 2017  

    I have been experimenting heavily with XD and I like it. I’m wondering how the transition works after you have built a nice UI and have the idea complete for your app, passing it on to an app developer. Can the app developer use the XD files to code and make the app functional?

  • By Francis Kim - 5:09 AM on March 20, 2017  

    Michael the Kung Fu Master… love the pics!

  • By a - 4:29 AM on March 23, 2017  

    Great article! Love the content. I had fun reading, really. Thanks for this.

  • By An - 4:30 AM on March 23, 2017  

    What a great article! Love the content. I had fun reading, really. Thanks for this.

  • By stucel - 12:43 AM on March 24, 2017  

    Who that guy?

  • By babynamesworld - 3:03 AM on March 29, 2017  

    Great interview! Very inspiring and informative.

  • By hdpunjab - 5:20 AM on March 31, 2017  

    Great Blog!

  • By photo editing - 8:46 PM on March 31, 2017  

    Appreciate your exclusive and instructive interview! Love these inspiring images.

  • By photo editing - 8:47 PM on March 31, 2017  

    Appreciate your exclusive and instructive interview!Thank you so much for sharing with us this information.

  • By FunnyWorld - 5:38 AM on April 1, 2017  

    I tried the same technique but did not get the results. May be I did something wrong. Came to read your article again.

    Thanks for sharing it.

  • By kumar - 3:06 AM on April 14, 2017  

    Inspiring journey. Adobe tools are best for creative designing.

  • By Hyper - 4:40 AM on April 15, 2017  

    Great interview! Very inspiring and informative.

  • By balina - 12:45 PM on April 15, 2017  

    nice tips,
    i am a freelancer and do somthing with photoshop 🙂

    nice to follow this blog

  • By Onur UNURU - 12:35 PM on April 25, 2017  

    Wonderfull blog

  • By Karim - 2:29 PM on May 5, 2017  

    inspiring and informative

  • By Sheikh Shahik - 11:26 AM on May 6, 2017  

    Lex van den Berghe brief details about Michael Wong’s Freelance
    career in design. You’re so great and easily describe any hard matter.
    Again thanks a lot.

  • By Prosper Ken - 5:19 PM on May 11, 2017  

    John wong’s story is very motivational

  • By seo - 1:23 AM on May 22, 2017  

    I tried the same technique and get the excellent results. Thanks for this great blog

  • By richard - 9:43 PM on May 25, 2017  

    All to collect good stuff for amazing updates

  • By richard - 9:44 PM on May 25, 2017  

    Thanks for the update, I’ll take good use for this in my webpage

  • By Tejasvi Singh - 1:39 AM on June 1, 2017  

    I really Loved this article! Thanks for sharing this informative interview.

  • By Alimul - 1:09 PM on June 2, 2017  

    Hi Lex van den Berghe,

    So i have the windows XD beta version
    And everytime i export the views to png the quality drops
    is there anyway to fix this?