Tag: Anonymous

Swapping Designs and Cultures

WebLiving up to its studio name, Foreign Policy Design Group, is helping promote Singapore graphic design by holding an exhibition exchange with design studios from around the world.

The first edition of The Swap Show will see the Singapore studio play host to the works of four design studios from Barcelona. Foreign Policy’s creative director Yu Yah-Leng had stumbled upon the works of Hey Studio, Mucho, LoSiento and TwoPoints.Net online, and was impressed enough by their work to approach them to do an exhibition exchange on a visit to Barcelona last year.

“Most these studios are not super super well-known, but they have wonderful body of works. We thought it’d be a good idea to let people know about them and their works, and not just by looking at them online but seeing the real piece of work up close,” she said in an e-mail interview.

Attendees who pay $15 (on sale for $10 until 1 March) for this month-long exhibition held in the offices of Foreign Policy can expect to see a variety of posters, publications, brand identity, packaging and typographical works from these studios. Yah-Leng says the exhibition, which is part of The Design Society Festival 2013, is not only about celebrating good works, but also a way for Singaporeans to see how design can be culturally, geographically or ideologically influenced.

Besides exhibiting the works of overseas studios, Yah-Leng was also interested in promoting Singapore graphic design to the world. So as part of the exchange, the works of Foreign Policy as well as fellow Singapore design studios Roots, Bureau and Anonymous will travel to Barcelona to be exhibited in June.

Explaining this policy, she said, “We’d think it should benefit both sides and for both cities to see what the other graphic designers’ works are. It’s not just a one-to-one but many-to-many concept.”

The Swap Show is just one programme that reflects the studio’s belief in staying connected with the rest of the world. In the middle of this year, Foreign Policy will swap designers with a studio in Oslo, Norway as part of its Design Diplomacy programme. This is to expose their staff to working in a foreign environment for a period of time and also a chance for Foreign Policy to work with overseas designers.

Said Yah-Leng, “We’d like to think it’s always great to be exposed to things new and alien, that which will open our eyes more, push us to think more/ think deeper/think wider, inspire us and elevate us to high grounds in the cognitive factor.”

Crafty 2010 is Cancelled

After months of teasing and enticing designers to sign up for a conference about the role of craft in design, Anonymous abruptly cancelled Crafty 2010 a week before it was scheduled to happen. “Yes. The rumors are true. Crafty is postponed indefinitely”, read a post it uploaded on to its its Facebook page last Saturday.

When contacted about the cancellation, Anonymous partner Felix Ng apologised for the decision, explaining that ticket sales up till then were “a long way to go” from reaching a “respectable audience size”. While he had considered lowering ticket prices and even offering free tickets, he decided against it as this would only devalue the efforts put up by the speakers and collaborators. Moreover, he said that this would contribute to the problem of audiences who didn’t believe in paying for content.

In the weeks running up to Crafty 2010, Felix said the conference received great feedback from around the world, but for some reason the excitement did not translate back to ticket sales. When asked if he thought that Singaporean designers were not interested in craftsmanship, Felix thinks it is quite the opposite.

“So far our post-mortem points to the possibility that we designed a conference that Singapore needs, but don’t want (yet),” he replied in an e-mail interview.



There were also rumblings that the conference tickets were too expensive and there was no subsidy for students, he said. However, Crafty 2010 was meant for working professionals and it was not going to be a “half-baked event” where speakers showed pictures of their work that one could already view online. In fact, at the price of $250 for each ticket, Crafty 2010 was not going to be profitable at all. Moreover, the conference had no sponsors, which in Singapore was “commercial suicide”, he said.

“[It] makes us a little insane I guess, because we rather spend our time making sure the content is great rather than chasing corporate sponsorship,” he adds.

According to Felix, Crafty’s ticket price was comparable to recent design-related conferences held in Singapore. Tickets to a Kenya Hara lecture last year cost $600, while the Business Evangelism 2010 conference featuring Malcolm Gladwell, Pico Iyer, Marc Ecko and Stefan Sagemeister were selling tickets at $2461 each.

While Crafty 2010 is cancelled, Anonymous is going ahead with A Crafty Paper, a 44-page newspaper featuring a foreword by Duane King and profiles of 15 other individuals, which it produced for the event. It will now be published as Bracket, a eight-volume publication that will be published between now and 2012 on topics ranging from craft, hunger, and ethics to failure.


The return of craft in design?

Been interviewing graphic designers from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s recently for a project. One thing that always lights up their eyes is when I ask about how design was done before the era of computers. Their hands suddenly come alive as if to animate how design was done via traditional craft. Though they love how the computer has made life so much easier for them, they all insist how important it is to start sketching ideas with just a pencil and paper so as to not be limited by what the computer can do. Craft, they fear, is increasingly lost on a generation who grew up only knowing how to design through computers.

An upcoming conference in October plans to bring craft to the forefront of the creative process again. Crafty 2010 brings together nine creatives to share the role of craft in their designs. The speakers include Portland-based The Official Manufacturing Company,  The Glue Society from Australia, as well as local creatives such as B.A.L.L.S and Plate Interactive. To add suspense to the conference, there is even a secret speaker, whom according to one of the hints given is friends with Jay-z.



Those who sign up for this conference will also receive A Crafty Paper, a 44-page newsprint paper featuring interviews with 15 creatives such as Aaron Rose, Jessica Hische and Stanley Donwood. Crafty 2010 is organised by Anonymous, the research practice of local design agency SILNT. The team led by Felix Ng is also behind the recent Design Film Festival held earlier this year.

Conference tickets are going for $250 each till October 1st, after which it goes up to $300. The price seems to have put off some people, and the latest post on Anonymous Facebook post seems to suggest they may lower the price, so keep a look out there!

Crafty 2010
9 October 2010 (Saturday)
Conference: 0930 – 1700
Party: 1700 – 2100
Lasalle College of the Arts