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Your Questions Answered
Our speakers Steve Lawler (Co-Founder and Head of Creative, EYEYAH!), Larry Peh (Founder and Creative Director, &Larry) and Eric Widjaja (Design Principal, Thinking*Room) tackle more of your burning questions below:
What would be the best route to becoming an experiential designer?
Larry: Hands on. Work in a right environment where you’ll get to interact or co-create with people-centric research, interviews. Create or participate in hands-on workshops and prototyping. It’s hard to design in silo these days where disciplines or mediums are all crossing over each other.
Any start-up that embraces both digital and physical, across channels and mediums, would probably be a good place to start.
How do you feel space-making, narrative and sensory immersion fit into traditional spaces and mediums?
Larry: It all starts with the intention and the experiences you wish to create. The rest are simply ‘vehicles’ to get there. What’s stopping a groundbreaking concept from being executed in an old run-down factory? Likewise, it doesn’t mean you’ll need groundbreaking experiences if your medium is Jeff Bezo’s Blue Origin cabin.
“We march backwards into the future” suggests that the more we progress into any new media, experiences or environments, we need something familiar in order to not feel disorientated. I am pretty sure our Metaverse will share lots of commonality with our physical world in the beginning before we evolve to new ways of looking at things. Fortnite is fun because we get to do what we can do (or can’t) in our real world except everything is exaggerated.
In short, match the experience you wish to create with the right tools, medium, budget etc.
To Steve, can you explain the Caption Contest? How is it played and what is its intent? (27:52 of recording)
Steve: The idea of a caption contest is to nurture the creative part of the brain. To have a question where there is no “right or wrong” answer, it requires empathy and invention. If you are to create a caption or title for an artwork, then you are required to look at the image and understand what is happening to inform your title. Most people are afraid to say wild, creative things because conventions or inhibitions, and they might be accused of saying something stupid. But in reality, it’s only when we explore these so called “stupid” answers is when we start to discover new thoughts and connections.
I would recommend to any company or team to have a “bad ideas only” brainstorming session so that they can overcome this fear of looking or saying something stupid. Who knows, there maybe some big leaps in innovation when this happens.
How do you create space to move into new areas and not get stuck while fully loaded with your current work?
Steve: The trick is to try and find ways to build expansion into each project. For example, if you are asked to create a poster for a client, do the poster, but then also make an animated poster as well. Or mock the poster up into an environment you would like to see the poster – make it huge, make it unreal. It doesn’t matter if the client didn’t ask for it. As long as you meet the deliverables you are totally allowed to over-deliver and they will be happy to see you spending this much thought on them. You never know, you might be able to upsell them on something.
To Eric, how did you start Thinking*Room? What initiated the design of its logo and what is your vision for the studio?
Eric: Two reasons. Firstly, good and proper Indonesia or Jakarta-based graphic design studios back in 2003 were rare, in my honest opinion. Secondly, there was only one studio that I really admired. I was inspired by them and so I started my own.
Thinking Room’s logo was created through a no-brainer process. I was thinking about how to make the logo and just by typing the two words (Thinking and Room), it had already become one. I then put an asterisk in between the two words. The vision for the studio has always been the same from day one – consistently producing good pieces of work to improve and inspire the Indonesian graphic design scene.
How do you balance research and the design process for the projects that you work on?
Eric: We usually need more time at the beginning of a project up until the first presentation to the client, which usually takes about 4-5 weeks. Since we hardly give design options to clients, we heavily participate in discussions, research, sketches and dot-connecting until we discover the best route for us to take. On the other hand, the design (and the process) is essential as well. It needs to show clients that what we are proposing is the best design route to be taken, and it needs to be believable.
A good experience is often hard to define in concrete words and its value and impact can be difficult. In the most direct terms, good experiences are exemplified by how they can shape events and interactions we share with people, things, places, services, rules, and anything else we encounter in the world round us.
There is, therefore, an unlimited potential of designing for human-centred experiences. From physical to digital, and anywhere in between, the mindset of putting people first can help to create unforgettable experiences with positive impact and create the future we wish to see.
In our third talk of the quarterly series presented by SEGD (Society for Experiential Graphic Design) Singapore Chapter, we discuss what good experiences actually entail and whether anyone can learn how to design for good. Join us in this inspiring conversation with design practices from Singapore and Indonesia as we discover how they design good experiences through their diverse projects and approaches.
About the Speakers
- Steve Lawler, Co-Founder and Head of Creative, EYEYAH!
Steve Lawler is the Creative Director of EYEYAH! – an independent publication and art platform created by Steve Lawler and Tanya Wilson, which “Uses creativity for social good”. Having created a name for themselves with the seminal kult magazine in the early 2000s, they went on to develop a strong network of creators for the educational space through EYEYAH! – recent recipient of the President*s Design Award 2020.
A veteran of the design industry, his career has spanned graphic design, advertising, art, interactive design and exhibition curation. In addition to his work on Kult Magazine and EYEYAH!, Steve will also share with us his experience of working with the likes of COLORS magazine and Oliveiro Toscani.
- Larry Peh, Founder and Creative Director, &Larry
Recipient of the President*s Design Award in 2014 and 2016, Larry Peh is the founder of &Larry, an independent branding and design studio. Since 2005, he has produced a body of work that exemplifies the spirit of collaboration, resulting in innovative experiences and stronger connections between people and brands while respecting business needs.
Codifying the studio’s creative process under the Soul Purpose™ methodology, Larry is a staunch advocate for bringing out the true essence of a brand. He believes in leaving his mark not through his creations, but by the good that they deliver.
- Eric Widjaja, Design Principal, Thinking*Room
Eric Widjaja graduated from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco. Initially studying Industrial Engineering, he then laboured his passion for Graphic Design for a decade and a half – realizing that design is another form of language in the visual context. After leaving parts of his heart in San Francisco, Eric flew home and founded Thinking*Room a few years later.
Since day one, Eric has always enjoyed immersing himself in the process – more so than the end result. A big fan and a practicing craftsman of emotion-driven design, Eric believes in creating designs that resonate with people and an environment that centres around togetherness for his team.
About the Moderators
- Olha Romaniuk, SEGD Singapore Chair / Creative Director, Devarch
Olha Romaniuk is a creative director at a design-build firm Devarch and a co-chair of SEGD Singapore Chapter. With a background in architecture, Olha Romaniuk has honed her spatial and environmental design skills working at architectural and exhibition design firms in the United States and Singapore. Currently, a creative director of Devarch, Olha oversees projects in entertainment, attractions, cultural and commercial sectors in Singapore and the region.
An avid proponent of taking a holistic approach to every design challenge, Olha believes in meaningful and purposeful solutions that go beyond the pure aesthetics or latest trends. She is inspired by designs that break the mould – whether it is through the exploration of construction methods, innovative space planning, graphics or simply through rethinking everyday objects.
- Yann Follain, SEGD Singapore Chair / Managing Director, WY-TO
Yann Follain is the founder of WY-TO’s Singapore practice and co-founder of WY-TO architects in Paris. He has built a rich multicultural experience from his formative years in Indonesia, France, and Singapore. Embracing multidisciplinary approaches to grow the Singapore practice has established Yann’s diverse expertise in sustainable architecture, cultural curation and exhibition design. Together with his team, WY-TO received the Future-Maker award at the Beijing Global Innovation Conference, an Honourable Mention at the international Red Dot Design Competition in 2016 and finalist at the INDE. Awards in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Yann is also an Associate Member of the Singapore Institute of Architects since 2013 and served as a member of the Advisory & Commissioning Panel for the Public Art Trust within the National Arts Council Singapore from 2015 to 2017. He is a member of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) from 2017 and the Singapore Chapter Co-Chair of the Society for Experiential Graphic Design (SEGD) from 2021.
Presented by the Society for Experiential Graphic Design. Supported by the DesignSingapore Council and the National Design Centre.
About the Society for Experiential Graphic Design
The Society for Experiential Graphic Design (SEGD) is the global, multidisciplinary community of professionals who plan, design and build experiences that connect people to place. SEGD’s mission is to promote awareness of and lend support to the professionals In this diverse field of experiential graphic design, nurture demand for design excellence within the built environment and serve a source of education and inspiration for our community. Furthermore, SEGD seeks to continue to define and refine our standards of practice, promote collaboration across multiple disciplines and strengthen ties with educational programmes that provide the academic underpinnings of our field.