CMA Design Courses - Roy Poh

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Marketing, Advertising & Design course

roy poh

Roy Poh
Founder. Creative Director. Owner of A Beautiful Design
Founding Committee Member of The Design Society

How I entered the Creative Industry.

I remembered when I first wanted to go into a design school. I didn’t even dare tell my parents. After 3 days in an engineering course, I told myself it didn’t feel right. I quitted school, forfeited 30% of my course fees and enrolled myself in a design school. My parents weren’t told only after 6 months later. Gone are the days where you need to grow up to be a doctor or an engineer, the youth no longer feel the need to live up to expectations and design is now more respectable than ever.

Getting into the design industry is not thehard part. To stay and to excel in it, is tougher.It takes more than just hard work and talent tomake it in the design industry. You can alwaysbe mediocre but that’s not what this industry isabout. It’s about passion. A person with passionfor design will not do things half-hearted, it’llshow in your work whether you’ve put in thatextra effort or you just want to finish the project.The latter will not succeed in the real world.

During my school days, I’ve known quite anumber of people that took up design coursesthinking that it’s all about coolness. Theirperception of design is doing super cool graphics,cutting edge typography, photo shoot with sexymodels, disco fliers, abstract posters, etc.. part and parcel of the job. The more informationyou have, the better the results will be. Designersalso need to be well verse with techniques as wellas technology. Different brief requires differentways of executions. Knowing only one style islimiting. Unless you’re famous for that style. Butthen again, people will only look you up if theythink your style is suitable for their product.

Knowledge and learning. It brings new thoughtsand ideas into life. Everything is interesting whenyou see it differently, in a new perspective. Thesubject doesn’t usually matters, most of the time, themeaning is always more important. Keeping up-todateis also another important factor. Designers needto know what is happening around the world, whatis the latest fashion, the most unique style or the mostinnovative inventions. In short, a good designer is amaster of all trade.

When a design brief is given, the first thing to dois to understand the problem totally before trying tosolve it. Think of all the possibilities before executingit. Explore all kinds of methods before presenting it.That way, any questions asked by your clients, I’msure you’ll be able to answer. It is definitely easier tosell a design with depth than one that just look nice.Design with no idea doesn’t interact with people. Allideas come about through some sort of observationand recognising an idea in them from what you’veobserved (A bit of lateral thinking will be neededmost of the time). Coming up with ideas is a pieceof cake. Anyone can do it. But a good one needs anopen eye, an inquisitive mind, lots of hardwork,patience and a bit of luck.

All these exciting things probably takes up less than 10%of the design work available in the market. Disappointed,they eventually left the industry to pursue something totallyirrelevant to design. Look around you, all printed materialsfrom black and white sales fliers handed out at road sidesto 2nd hand cars’classified ads found in yellow pages to acoffee-table book for sports giant Nike to an award winningshop display for LV. All these require designers to do. Ofcourse, if you want to do the best project, be the best designer.

So how do you be the best designer? Foremost is interest.You’ll be more excited by art classes than any other subjectsin your earlier schools. And you’ll probably try to do someof your own design pieces or drawings on your own freetime. If you don’t have the passion for the subject, you’ll bewasting your own time. Famous designers live and die fordesign. They made it because design is in their blood. Theydon’t work a single day in their lives because they love theirjob. It’s as simple as that.

Designers need to have an open mind. They also need tobe naturally inquisitive. That is because every project needsresearch. And some topics could be boring and some couldbe sensitive. You need to understand and solve your clients’problems through design solutions. Challenge conventions,experiment with new styles, mix and match influences fromaround the world. You can’t depend on old experiences andstick to defunct technology forever.

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