Hello, I'm Willem Van Lancker, a designer & entrepreneur living in New York.
I work on brands, products, and companies built on the internet.

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Something New

Past
Oyster (acquired by Google)
Designer Fund
Google Maps
IDEO
Apple
RISD

 

 


 

Projects

In 2012, I co-founded Oyster, where we launched the first Netflix-for-books service — unlimited access to more than 1 million books for $10 a month. I was the Chief Product Officer and worked as the company's only designer for the first year through launch.


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Our team led the way in mobile reading, books discovery, and built a brand that celebrated the very best of books. We also launched an editorial magazine called the Oyster Review and ran several service projects supporting reading education. I talked to the Wall Street Journal and The Verge about our products.

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Oyster's design was recognized by TechCrunch as one of the "Best Apps of the Year" and was awarded a Google Design Award.

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After 3 years of building and growing the business, Google bought Oyster to accelerate Google Play's efforts in their books business.


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At Google, I oversaw the Books business and design teams across Google Play. During that time I led the creation and launch of Google Play Audiobooks, directed a complete redesign of our apps on iOS and Android, and worked to double Books’ Global ARR.

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Over the last year, I collaborated with Greg Leppert on an open source resource for naming things called Onym. From this, we started taking on some select clients and created a monthly newsletter on naming news.

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In recent years I've used design as a tool for activism and civic change including design for immigration groups and progressive candidates. 

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I also still do work in branding and graphic design — the field where I started my career and education (at RISD).

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Before starting Oyster, I was a lead product designer at Google Maps, where I worked on a complete design and technology of the product and the launch of Google Maps for iOS, an app people we’re really happy to get back on the iPhones. Fast Company awarded the app an Innovation by Design Award and TechCrunch gave us a Crunchie for Best Mobile App.

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I started my career as a designer at IDEO, Apple, and Adidas.
I studied graphic design at Rhode Island School of Design.

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