In the design industries in Singapore, designers seldom have direct contact with their clients, as they tend to focus exclusively on the content of their work. Instead, sales persons are the one who communicates with clients and then relay the pertinent information and requirements to the designer. The end result of such a system is that designers produce work in relative isolation of the actual needs of clients; the work, while of high quality, suffers from the obstacles presented by the lack of communication between the designer and clients. I have noticed such challenges in my own work, whereby the effectiveness of my designs is often hindered by a lack of direct communication with clients, which can result in differences between the clients’ expectations and the actual finished product. It is largely for this reason that I have decided to pursue a master’s degree in Europe, as I feel that the comprehensive education offered in such a setting will instill in me the fresh ideas and skills that will allow me to transcend the limitations of the design industry in Singapore.
I earned my Diploma in Product and Industrial Design at Temasek Polytechnic School of Design in 2011. This school is renowned in the field of design, and I learned about sketching, Marker rendering, illustrator, Photoshop, AutoCAD, computer aided drawings, Alias Studio, Hypershot, KeyShot, google sketchup, basic Flash and various other subjects related to this field. As I was initially relatively unskilled in the design field, I found the content quite challenging, but as I progressed, I found myself building skills and learning to creatively apply what I learned in classes.
In 2010, I was posted to Better Minds Pte Ltd as a play facilitator and a designer for my Student Internship Program. My main role was to act as a designer in an attempt to use the concepts learned in the classroom and develop practical experience in designing. I received high scores for that module and gained considerable experience portfolios and research methodology. In addition, as a designer who loves to design children products, this was the best chance to widen my connection with them. I get to work closely with the children, to deepen my understanding for their thinking and behaviour. The working environment tends to require a great deal of group work, and I was fortunate to refine my leadership skills during this time. Perhaps one of the most valuable aspects of my education was the opportunity to develop these skills and learn to share and mutually develop ideas with others.
Since the year 2008, I accumulated a wealth of professional design experience, through which I have developed into a confident and effective designer. Upon graduating from Temasek Polytechnic, I decided to seek for a job in the design field instead of pursuing further studies, as I was eager to apply the theoretical knowledge I had acquired in school in real practical work settings. I initially worked as a temporary graphic designer at OWL INTERNATIONAL Pte Ltd. I was then offered for a continual extension twice due to my effective performance in this position, and subsequently being offered to design a brand new packaging for the top world leading design country, Japan. This was my biggest project where, as the only designer in the company handling this project, I had much flexibility and responsibility for designing and communicating with clients. From this project, I have acquired management and communication abilities, and I feel that my ability of communicating with customers and producing designs to meet their specifications is one of the most essential roles performed by a professional designer.
As shown in my portfolio, I have repeatedly sought participation in design competitions both locally and abroad, in order to strengthen my abilities and further accumulate experience. Some of my works were published online and on magazines in some countries, for which I am very proud of. These experiences have been extremely important in providing me with confidence and a broader viewpoint in regards to approaching the field of product design.
Although I have some experience in design, I realized that good design skills alone are insufficient for achieving my long-term goals. It is relatively important to have management and leadership capabilities, as well as a deep understanding of international cultures and markets. Perhaps most importantly, designers must beware of how to sell and market their work in the best way. In this way, designers will then be different than artists; whereby designers must be capable of integrating and understanding the desires of clients, and keeping in mind that the development of brand image is increasingly important as well. With good designs and extensive planning, it is possible to produce high quality work while meeting and even exceeding customers’ needs.
Despite the countless amount of talent in the design field in my country, there are only a handful of globally recognized names. I have long believed that the design industry in my country suffers not from a lack of talent, but from a dearth of complete planning and management. Therefore, my ultimate goal in pursuing advanced education in this field is to become one of the top designers in the world, and in this way, I hope that I will be able to contribute greatly to the overall progress and development of the design industry in Singapore.