Branding and Identity for Hans Tan, 2012
Today we speak to Yong from Somewhere Else, Singapore.
Yanda: Introduce yourself.
Yong: Hi, I’m Yong and I run a tiny studio called Somewhere Else based in Singapore.
What do you do first when you get up in the morning?
These days, I have a tea and some light readings at a coffeshop near my office before heading into the office everyday.
What daily routines you cannot do without?
Because of my gastric problem, I have to eat on time which is about 12 sharp for lunch and before 7 for dinner; failing to do so leads to quite a fair bit of pain.
What do you wear for work?
If I don’t have any client meetings, I’m usually in shorts because the weather has just been too hot for dressing up. Otherwise, you might find me in a shirt-tie get up.
How would you describe your work in three words?
Not Trying Enough
When did you first get involved in the design?
My first encounter was with MUJI when I was 12. I first got involved when I was 14. My friend’s brother happened to be going to design school and he taught me a bit of Photoshop.
How do you approach design now then?
With a lot of fear and anxiety, it’s very difficult for us to decide on which solution/direction to take with every project.
Do you think design is for everyone?
Design is definitely for everyone but everyone appreciates and understands design at very different levels.
If you have a chance to own someone’s work and wish it was yours, what would it be and why?
Off the top of my head would of course be Theseus’s entire output of WERK & Pedderzines, I’m always amazed by how he pushes the print medium. Amongst many other things, it’d be nice to own a famous architect’s building or something in that category.
There are more and more studios sprouting out. While the pioneers have pathed ways for the younger generation, how has that helped us and what do you think the future of the creative scene would be?
I think the pioneers have really forged a very clear path for us; before it used to be a dense jungle with many obstacles but today we’re like cruising through on the shoulders of giants. They’ve changed the design landscape of Singapore and partly due to that, the public has begun to become more sensitive to design as well.
Currently, the community is really small and everyone in the industry is friendly with each other; I do hope to see it expand further to include designers from other disciplines. I think the future will be very exciting (provided the economy continues being robust).
Misomber Nuan LookBook, 2012
Misomber Nuan LookBook, 2011
Keong Siak Snacks Press Kit. 2012
Do you think there’s a drastic difference between the people in the internet age and the pre-internet age? Seems like the taste and acceptance is different. What do you think?
Every era being different, I suppose people of our pre-internet age, we’ve certainly have had more real encounters and memories whereas people immersed in the internet age carry with them more virtual memories and encounters; and also their’s is a more affluent generation so their sense of reality is probably very different from ours.
Because of their wide exposure, their taste is more developed than when we were younger.
Who do you dream to design for?
We’ve been very fortunate that 80% of our clients now are clients that I’ve always dreamt of working with. Most recently we did some work for Hans Tan whom I’m a big fan of. I’ve been harboring a dream of redesigning textbooks for students, I hope that would happen someday soon.
What’s your definition of happiness?
I’m not an easily contented person so this is a tough question. But I do believe that I have all my basic survival needs covered and my friends are really good people hence I should be very thankful.
What makes you guilty?
Working too much and not working hard enough.
How do you set your benchmarks?
There’s so many great designers out there, we’re doing what we can do be half of that standard at least.
How do you keep educating yourself?
I try to read; and watch as many films as I can. I watch a lot of films and documentaries but I don’t quite think it’s enough.
Any heroes? What do you admire about them?
I’m a product of many influences… I’m inspired by quite a few people but mainly, M&Co. , Tibor Kalman, Martin Margiela, Rei Kawakubo, 2×4, Graphic Thought Facility, Kesselskramer, Tim Walker, Yoshitomo Nara, Andy Spade, Kenya Hara and many many more…
Can taste be taught or nurtured?
I do think terse is and always will be a product of cultivation.
What about hunger?
That I think is a matter of circumstance and awareness; one has to realize that one is empty before he/she will feel the hunger and the desire…
Magnum Temptation Press Kit. 2012
Branding and Identity for Smoulder. 2012
National University of Singapore – Division of Industrial Design Catalogue. 2012
Do you think our design scene in Singapore is lacking of what they have in the advertising or art world — critics, bitches and their own magazines to hype things up.
We have The Design Society Journal which is a good magazine in trying to be objective and accessible to the uninitiated. We have people like Justin Zhuang and Shirley Surya who have an interesting perspective on our craft and I think in time to come we’ll have more of such talented people and maybe something will spring from that… Perhaps not a magazine but a blog that contains critical writing.
Lastly, if you have a chance to change a public space for the better, what would you do to it?
I’m not sure… perhaps if we have a centre for homeless people to spend the night that would be quite nice?
View more of Yong’s works at http://somewhere-else.info/.