Browsing Copy Catalog, 2012
Packaging for Milk & Me, 2012
Today we speak to Roy Poh of Beautiful, a design studio from Singapore.
Yanda: Introduce yourself.
Roy: My name is Roy and I’m the creative director of A Beautiful Design, a small design studio set-up on April Fool’s Day in 2008. Before I was at Kinetic for 8 years running the design and advertising department together with Pann Lim.
What do you do first when you get up in the morning?
Take a dump while checking mails on my phone.
What daily routines you cannot do without?
Read emails. Watching at least 1 movie (online). Go through books or the internet to find something nice to satisfy my daily creative hunger.
How would you describe your work in three words?
Not too shabby.
When did you first get involved in the design?
When I was in primary school. I used to scribble logos, create typefaces and draw characters all over my desk. Then I used the montage to design my school t-shirt but it was rejected by my teacher. I thought the idea was quite nice. Still do. Also at the age of about 9 or 10, I was cutting out magazines (which belongs to my elder brother) from The Rolling Stones and The Face. I wasn’t sure why then but I just like to collect these ‘nice’ design pieces like logos and advertisements and stuck them in my jotter-book.
How do you approach design now then?
I dislike things that are regimental and I never follow a fixed system. That was the reason I wanted to be a prefect. And I was for the whole of my secondary school days. I don’t have to ‘line-up’ and attend assemblies, I can go recess earlier than everyone else, I can come late and my fellow prefects at the gate would let me in. And also I hated army, the most uncreative place anyone can imagine (something that I shall not elaborate). Which is why I like design, it is free, it has no rules and it’s alive. My designs don’t follow any thing or any philosophy. As long as I’m happy doing it and the recipients are happy. My designs are also conceptual but not complicated. Something that is easily understandable and not abstract. I always treat work as something fun, that way, you’ll like what you’re doing.
If you have a chance to own someone’s work and wish it was yours, what would it be and why?
I always wish for 2 things. Playing music and doing awesome illustrations (both I can’t do well). I really like to paint like Mark Ryden. His work is serious yet whimsical, happy yet sad, colourful yet dark. If I can draw like him, I’ll get all the girls… heh heh heh!
Who do you dream to design for?
No one. I like doing design for myself, my own projects. Because I am my worst client.
Do you think personal work and collaboration is important?
I believe in sharing. Collaboration allows that. It also allows the project to be on a bigger scale. Collaborators will have their own friends and followers thus the project will be more wide-spread. Personal projects can sometimes keep designers sane. Designers like to create, and not many clients out there allow us to do exactly what we want to do.
What do you see a change in the clients of now and the then of ten years ago.
My first paid design job was to create posters, directional signages and pin-buttons for Sentosa’s Cable Car when I was still in school. That was in 1993. I got the job when someone had to take leave and they needed a visualiser (that was what designers were also called). I was paid $60 a day and the client was very happy with my work because they were not designers and they believed in what I did (even though I wasn’t so sure then). Now many clients are also ‘designers’, they tell you exactly what they want because they think they’ve the knowledge. Selling your ideas to clients are now are more difficult.
Do you think design can really save the world?
What’s your definition of happiness?
Managing my own time… I can go for a swim when I feel like it. Have lunch with my children everyday, watch a movie in the afternoon…I control my own time and I am quite proud of that. I guess when you run your own show, you create your own happiness.
What makes you guilty?
Doing 2 projects at the same time and a particular font is ideal for both.
How do you set your benchmarks?
I guess through experience, you know what is a good piece of work when you see it. It’s usually a feeling. So I’ll not stop a project until I have this feeling. And if I have more time to re-look at a piece of work, I’ll remove elements rather than add things. So sometimes a short deadline is better for me, if not the client will have nothing to see in the end! I don’t like to dread things too long because when I approach a project, usually my attention paid to it is 100%. To go back to an unfinished work, sometimes I might loose a bit of thoughts here and there.
Honest, Contributed Poster for Plus Minus Ten, 2012