About Focus97

What is Focus97?

We actively follow the philosophy that you should do what you love and love what you do.

Focus97 brandmark | San Francisco Creative AgencyThe name derives from a genesis — 1997 was the first year that Mike (who will sometimes speak in the third person) began to actively focus on pursuing a passionate life. The year marked a dramatic shift in focus towards academic pursuits, and it was shortly after that he began regularly carrying a camera.

Photography was the original driving force behind what would become Focus97. While most of the work running through Focus97 is design work – web, print, identity – the creative core for any project is still based on strong imagery.

Our creative works have helped to launch and propel brands across the spectrum – from fashion to financial, local artists to public figures. We have fun with all this stuff.

The People

Michael Travers Lee | Founder of Focus97

Mike Lee


“A UX designer, developer, photographer, and none of these.” -says Mike, about Mike

Mike’s been crafting digital experiences since 2002. And he practically invented coffee.

The design/development business sort of happened by accident. Formal education and training is from UC Davis, with a degree in Neurobiology, and a minor in Philosophy. The affinity for web design/development happened amidst course studies. After taking up photography in college, and eventually selling a few prints, it seemed prudent to build a website to showcase photos to the larger world wide web audience.

Since then it’s been years of academic-style training and appreciation of web standards, minimalist principles, typography, technology, and a few coding languages. Designing interfaces and developing brand experiences for people is a great gig indeed.

Paul Au | Web Developer at Focus97 | San Francisco

Paul Au


“Yeah, this is about to happen!” -and then something awesome happens.

Paul grew up in Sacramento, then got the heck out for college. Enter, UC Santa Barbara.

After some exploration in chemical engineering, for which he felt, ‘yeah, not so much’, he migrated to UC Davis and landed in biology. Paul’s work life has ranged from… all sorts of stuff. It fits with his creative, exploratory nature. He’s made coffee, crepes, played in a garage-rock band, and has spent a few years in anesthesia research at UCSF. In the end, it’s made him a people-person.

These days he navigates around Photoshop with ease, dives into HTML like nobody’s business, and helps to ensure Focus97 projects (and hence the web in general) stays clean and usable. He also happens to be an awesome cook and a fantastic musician. A constant search for novel dishes and the desire to make music means creative is at his core, and it brings a different style of thinking to the table. Not to mention good eats.

Amanda Mathson | Marketing Strategist with Focus97 | San Francisco

Amanda Mathson


“My greatest nemesis: The Typo.” -she gets nuclear on typos.

Amanda is originally from a small town in Wyoming that nobody’s ever heard of.

Since she watched that small town grow even smaller in her rear-view mirror, she’s traveled to more than 100 cities in 10 different countries (she actually counted once). She’s now happy to hang her hat in San Francisco, a city everybody’s heard of.

Her background in marketing, PR, communications and behavioral sciences has given her a well-rounded marketing perspective, complemented by a strong creative bent. Along with developing and executing content marketing campaigns across multiple channels, she loves a good SEO puzzle to solve and knows way more about Google Analytics than most people would ever want to. She’s also a portrait, product and lifestyle photographer, and her work has appeared in many online and print publications.

When she’s not working, she’s usually out exploring the city with her dog or cooking up some new, experimental dish in the kitchen for Mike Lee to test out.

josh bw

Josh Levy


“Design is about solving problems.” -the problem, he says, is where to start with the design!

Josh is a native of San Francisco. Born and bred, and here to stay.

Between skateboarding and chasing girls in jr. high, Josh was drawing 8-bit masterpieces, so his mother declares, on his Apple IIc. With a healthy addiction to technology, gaming and pop culture he decidedly chose psychology as his major, with a minor in Communications. A fitting education for what was ahead…

Nowadays Josh focuses on understanding motivations in order to help craft design or development execution strategies that serve project goals. Ever focused on emerging technologies and platforms, he keeps a keen eye toward innovative solutions. And thrives in environments where coffee and vegetarian options abound.

The f97 ideals

Age quod agis


LATIN: “Whatever you do, do well.”

Why list our ideals?

Sure, we do business and get paid for it. But there’s more to us than that.

Focus97 is intentionally small and service-oriented. And because we’re staffed by humans, with ideas and hearts and affinities and stuff – we want to showcase the kind of people we are. If you’d like to see our work, just look at our portfolio. But here, we’d love for you to know what drives us (with all our hearts and stuff).

  1. Do your task well.

    No matter what we’re doing, we put everything we’ve got into it. Not all tasks are fun. A lot of what Focus97 does is in fact quite fun – but even for that stuff that isn’t, we still put our heart into it. Our name is on our work, and besides loving what we do on the fun end, over and above that we love the feeling of a job well done.

  2. Take care of those that aren’t so fortunate.

    Focus97 volunteers with and supports Operation Rainbow, which you can learn more about in the Photography section, or by visiting their site. This humanitarian organization provides free orthopedic surgery to Central and South America. It’s an honorable endeavor, and we’re honored to take part.

    Focus97 also supports homeless groups here in San Francisco via photography and art auctions. It’s a terrible thing that some of us can sleep under a roof while some of our less fortunate neighbors can’t. We try to remedy that.

Are photography prints for sale?

You betcha.

If you are interested in ordering a print, just let us know the image and desired size in the form below. Prices range from $200-$400, depending on size and paper type. Generally sizes start large – 12×18 or 16×24 – to showcase detail, with the most commonly printed size of 20×30. The images themselves are captured with Canon’s pinnacle system – the EOS 1Dx. This means tremendous detail, even when printed poster size.

Prints will be signed and shipped direct to you.

Getting in touch

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