Tag: Singapore Design

Becoming Modern by Design: Modernist graphic design’s nation-building role in Singapore, 1960s–1980s


Singapore’s graphic design has often been described as “international”, “trendy” and “western”. The seeming lack of a distinct visual style is attributed to its small population of 5 million, an economy geared for export and that the former British colony only became independent over 50 years ago.

This lecture challenges such snap judgements that suggest Singapore is a mere follower of trends. By examining more closely the rise of modernist graphic design in Singapore beginning from the 1960s to the 1980s, it outlines how the movement was adopted and adapted as part of a larger nation-building agenda.

The presentation was first conceived in 2019 as a guest lecture for Greg D’Onofrio’s design history class at the School of Visual Arts, New York City. It was further developed over several return lectures and also for design classes taught by Sandra Nuut (Estonian Academy of Arts) and Vikas Kailankaje (LASALLE College of the Arts). This is the December 2021 version.

Illustrating a More ‘Singaporean’ Digital Identity

From a public housing block to an otter, familiar sights and scenes of Singapore help create a delightful user experience in the redesigned Singpass app.

Void decks are a common sight at public housing estates of Singapore where most Singaporeans live in. These ground-level spaces are typically open and empty, except for a few sets of public furniture, to allow for various activities like weddings, funerals or simple hangouts with fellow residents. Now, void decks can also be found in the Singpass app!

➜ Read the full story on GovTech’s National Digital Identity Medium account

Not Just for Logging In: Redesigning Singapore’s Digital Identity App

The new Singpass reframes the app’s role as Singapore’s trusted digital identity platform while allowing space for its future expansion.

Every Singaporean and resident holds an identity card as proof of one’s citizenship and identity. Now, they can also have a digital version on their smartphones by downloading the Singpass app.

While this Digital Identity Card (IC) was introduced in Singapore’s national digital identity app in May 2020, few of its then over 2.5 million users knew of its existence then. Singpass had also been associated with simply authenticating and logging into government services online. However, the service set up by the Singapore government in 2003 had always been conceived as a national digital identity platform.

With the rebranding of Singpass in early 2021 to mark its evolution of becoming Singapore’s trusted national digital identity, the designers at Government Technology Agency (GovTech) decided it was timely to redesign the app.

➜ Read the full story on GovTech’s National Digital Identity Medium account