Over the last decade, some 20 titles have sprung up from Singapore, riding the wave of its cultural renaissance and defying the fact the city-state was once known for its tight media censorship (Singapore still ranks 154 out of 180 in the 2016 World Press Freedom Index). Over the decade or so though, the Singaporean government has pumped in millions of bucks to grow its creative sector and nurture creativity among its citizens—and an independent magazine scene has flourished from this intersection.
Though the way Singaporean design studio Fellow describes itself on its website may beat around the bush a bit, the young practice is all about creating approachable work. In just the past year, founders Izyanti Asa’ari and Iffah Dahiyah have steadily built a reputation with projects like interactive exhibitions on lost Southeast Asian films, or a series of booklets showcasing the national library’s arts collection—just two examples of the bright, typographically sensitive designs that Fellow delivers to its mostly arts and cultural clients. Some have labeled Fellow’s designs “cute,” which Izyanti refutes outright. “I don’t wanna be cute!” She and Iffah prefer empathic.
Featuring virtual desktop windows, stickies, folder icons and even an open iCal calendar, the campaign collateral for this year’s Singapore International Photography Festival resembles a series of Mac screen shots. Well, that’s because they are.
In response to the biennial’s theme The Archive, Singapore-based design consultancy H55 created this visual identity to challenge the traditional image of archives as “dusty boxes of physical materials” and make a statement on photography and its digital nature today.
“Photographs are circulated more than ever online. You may not even have a gallery space or a museum showcase, you can just circulate them on Facebook and Instagram or email your work to somebody,” explains the studio’s creative director Hanson Ho. “A lot of photographs are actually stored in desktop folders, not so much on shelves.”