About me

My name is Hieu To, I go by Sam. Originally I’m from Vietnam and I moved to Seattle in 2009. As a creative problem solver with experience across all mediums, I work on immersive design and storytelling to engage, empower and educate.  With dynamic visuals, thoughtful interaction design, quick prototyping, and impeccable fabrication, my work as a visual designer and maker incorporates a passion for connecting users to all of their senses.

My work
Contact me

Personal Skills






Professional Skills

Visual design (2D/3D)

Brand Identity



Motion Graphic


Environmental Design

Prototyping | Fabrication





After Effects

Premiere Pro




3D Modeling – Rhino 7

3D Printing – Makerbot

Laser Cutting – Epilog

Screen Printing

Work Experience

  • Valence/ Nov 2018-present

      Senior UX/UI Designer & Resource Manager

  • 8ninths/ Feb 2017-Nov 2018

      Lead Visual Designer

  • Rhodeswork Design Studio/ Feb 2017-present

Part-time Visual Designer

  • KANAWHA Design Studio LLC / Sep 2016 – Jan 2017

Visual Designer / Environmental Designer

  • Julie Paschkis / Apr l 2016 – Jun 2016

Video editor

“Zuileika and the strange bean” – a short stop-motion video


  • Seattle Central Creative Academy/ 2014 – 2016

A.A.S. in Graphic Design

Projects and specialties include print design and interactive design, advertising, branding, poster design, typography, environmental design, packaging, web design, UI/UX, mobile apps, and motion graphics.

  • South Seattle Community College / 2010 -2013

A.A.S. in Culinary Arts

Certificates in Restaurant Production and Banquet/Catering Operations

  • Informatics Institue, Singapore/ 2008

International Advanced Diploma in Gaming and Animation Technology

Anna Heatwole

Senior UX Designer – Amazon

Sam and I worked together in design for 8ninths for a year, and in that time, I was blown away by his ability to pickup and learn new tools to get the job done. He had significant animation and motion graphics skills under his belt when we started, but was thrown a curve ball with new technology and platform limitation that were demanding to say the least. In no time, he was flying through designs to deliver concepts to our satisfied clients. He demonstrates his eye for style, color and typography, across mediums. I’m floored by the creativity and professional polish he lends to print, marketing, animation, and digital product design. He works at speed, for scale, and delivers executive-review-ready presentations. Sam would be an incredible asset to any team, for his professionalism, dedication, and can-do attitude. All that said, he’s also an Artist of a caliber that I’m excited to follow. I can’t wait to see what Sam does next.

Sam is a multi-talented individual who is able to adapt to any creative challenge you throw at him. During his work at our VR / AR company 8ninths Sam worked across multiple disciplines including 3D Modelling, Animation, 360 Video, Video Editing, After Effects, UX Design, Visual Design, Logo Design & Branding and Development. He brought a strong work ethic, flawless execution and creative problem solving to every project he took on and I found the standard of his work to be very high. I would highly recommend Sam to anyone seeking a design professional at the top of their game who is able to adapt to a multitude of needs.

Adam Sheppard

Co-Founder & CEO – 8ninths Inc,

William Lai

Co-Founder & President – 8ninths Inc.

There are two qualities that I highly value in any employee and colleague: work ethic and talent. Sam has a tremendous amount of both. He is one of the hardest working designers that I’ve ever hired, and we’ve never once heard him complain about a short deadline or a last-minute change requested by the client. He always delivers quality designs, on time, no matter what it took. But the best quality about Sam is the creativeness and meticulousness of his work: he is a very talented designer and talented in a range of design activiteis: UX, illustration, wireframes & comps, print/web/mobile layouts, 3D modeling, and even conceived, designed, and hand-built a combination-locked treasure chest with a steampunk theme, a gift that we sent to a VIP client. All of Sam’s work regardless of activity is of extremely high quality. For someone so talented to stay humble and ego-free, and continually put in his best effort, well it’s a rare treat to work with Sam.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Sam on a variety of projects. From branding and UX design to motion graphics and character animation, Sam never ceases to amaze me with his unique creative lens, attention to detail, and collaborative spirit. He not only has brilliant ideas, he executes on them quickly and with precision. I highly recommend Sam and would hire him in a second.

Lindsay Shelmire

Program manager at 8ninths

Erik Fadiman

UX/UI – Developer Instructor

at Seattle Central Creative Academy

In ten years of teaching at Seattle Central, Sam stands out as one of my most exceptional students. With every project and every medium, he always pushed himself beyond my expectations. He is incredibly talented, hard-working, and he has a meticulous attention to detail. Furthermore, he has excellent communication skills and is a delight to work with. He has incredible potential and if you choose to hire him, you will not be disappointed.

Sam is one of the more creative students I have ever had the pleasure to teach. He is fundamentally a three-dimensional thinker, making his work dynamic and multi-faceted. He is an agile designer – he tackles new and unfamiliar technology with curiosity and intelligence and he is able to apply fundamental design concepts to a variety of applications. His work is always executed smartly and gracefully. On top of all of this, he is a positive, open person and very enjoyable to be around. I highly recommend Sam.

Katie Davis

Adjunct Instructor at Seattle Central Creative Academy

Founder and Lead Designer at Kanawha Design Studio LLC.

Jill Vartenigian

Professor at Seattle Central College

Sam is one of the hardest working students in his graduating class. He’s naturally curious and is an avid learner, often experimenting with materials, techniques, and new media to surprise and delight the viewer. He comes up with intriguing ideas and has the grit to rework his projects until the problem is solved. Sam works well on teams and individually, is open to art direction, and is always professional. He’d be an asset to any team.

“…He is comfortable with technology. He is efficient and responsible and flexible….He is capable, creative and responsible. He has lots of ideas and can make them happen..”

Short stop-motion video Zuleika & The Strange Bean

See more on her blog “Books Around The Table”

Julie Paschkis


A painter, textile designer, and award-winning illustrator and author of books for children.

My mom told me that when I was a child, “crayons and a plain paper” were two things that stopped me from crying. In my mind as a child, crayons were my magic wand and plain paper was a place where my magic would come alive. While growing up, I took some artistic classes every summer such as hand crafts, drawing, and painting.

After graduating high school, I’ve began the Advanced Diploma of Gaming and Animation Technology in Singapore.

After two years studying and graduating in Singapore I came to Seattle. By that time, I had missed a date to apply for the graphic design program at Seattle Central Community College. Due to my Visa requirements, I couldn’t wait to apply to the program the following year. I decided to start my second favorite hobby, cooking.

After 2 years, I graduated from culinary arts program at South Seattle Community College. Nevertheless, I didn’t feel satisfied with cooking as a career and decided to pursue my old passion.

Fall 2014, I enrolled in Graphic Design in Seattle Central Creative Academy.

Spring 2016, I’m graduated with AAS Graphic design with high grades and Dean’s list honors.

After traveling and studying in different countries,  I’m excited to lay down my roots in Seattle and start my new career as a graphic designer.