Superb products need a strong Foundation.

Simple design for complex software

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Fundamentals-first design

Foundation, a boutique design studio solving problems that matter

Foundation opened in 2021 to help startups build better products. We focus on fundamentals: prioritizing the right features, communicating clearly, and finishing projects on time. No walls of sticky notes here.

We want our partners to benefit from our work for a long time, so we include them in the design process. That means we show work in progress and explain rationale for decisions.

In 2022, Foundation was named a Top 5 Seattle Web Development Company by DesignRush.


UX and UI design

We start by understanding the people using your products, then translate needs into clear, detailed designs that are ready for development.

Web design and development

We design and build websites that highlight the value of your products. Our work combines crisp writing with striking visual design to set you apart from competitors.

Visual identity design

We leverage logos, typography, color, and layout to build recognizable brands that attract the right customers.

“It is not the beauty of a building you should look at; it's the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time.”

David Allan Coe


You’ll work with Sam Summer plus a team of handpicked designers, engineers, and artists.

We build a custom-fit team for each project. After a discovery conversation, we draw from our pool of specialists to make a team of one to four that reflects the skillsets you need. Teams start with a designer, and we build out from there.


Prior to launching Foundation, Sam led a redesign of software that helps researchers at the University of Washington win and manage $1.6B in annual funding. Earlier in his career, he joined Wisr, a venture-backed tech startup, as the first design hire. Wisr grew from five to over a hundred clients and was acquired by EAB in 2021.

Sam graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, where he won the John & Beatrice Wesley Memorial Prize for excellence in design.

Bringing experience consulting for over a dozen startups and small businesses, Sam serves as the main point of contact for projects.

Select clients

Working with conscientious teams across industries

Our partners range from deep tech startups to coffee roasters to hardware manufacturers to fashion designers. We specialize in complex software but favor a compelling why over a compelling what.

“Sam takes the time to understand user needs and complex business processes in depth. He's a wonderful collaborator and top-notch designer.”

Judy Chung
Product Owner
@ University of Washington Office of Research Information Services

“Foundation’s thoughtful discovery process resulted in a great product design that has continued to guide our development.”

Leo Peña
Cofounder & CEO
@ The Opportunity Exchange

“Sam demonstrates the insight of both an artist and an engineer.”

Jeremy Tong
Cofounder & Software Engineer
@ Knit Software

“Sam quickly understands both the small details and big picture of design challenges.”

Rahul Narain
Growth Consultant
@ MAGNET Iterator

Design principles


Beautiful is a byproduct of consistent and functional.

Design trends come and go. We think long-lasting work comes from solid fundamentals and uses visual design to communicate, not decorate.


The easiest way to test an idea is to build a prototype.

Our backgrounds help us make strong first drafts, but we always pair experience with evidence. We prototype early and often.


No single framework can solve every design problem.

Design never happens in six easy steps. Outstanding products come from research, iteration, and asking hard questions—not a standardized process.


Adjacent disciplines should inform product design.

Novel ideas can come from anywhere. Our work has drawn inspiration from architecture, typography, and computer science.


Tell us what you need, and we’ll get back to you the next day.

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Made in Seattle

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