How did you find living and working in Singapore different to the UK?
There were a lot of differences, mainly down to the size of the agency I was working in and the type of the work we were doing. What I most enjoyed, which is unique to Singapore, was working with people from totally different backgrounds and cultures. I was working alongside people from China, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Canada, USA, Sweden, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Russia and more. We think about London as being pretty diverse, but the design companies I’d experienced were overwhelmingly white European. It challenged some of my own habits and assumptions, and I learned a ton.
The direct nature of the work relationships was challenging at first. Clients will communicate with you directly via WhatsApp and things can become quite informal, but still very demanding. It made it hard to keep track of decisions and encouraged the client to make quick calls on the fly. However, it did mean that often we eventually became friends, and could work well together.
Why was it a good place to be for your career?
Singapore is a hugely tech-oriented country, with lots of government subsidies and support around tech and innovation, which means you’re in touch with that side of things all day, everyday. You start thinking about it all differently. I met a lot of hugely talented people that taught me a lot and motivated me to develop skills around areas I was interested in.
I worked on a campaign for Desperados beer that we won a Cannes Lion for, and got to present my investigations into neural nets and graphic design at the Singapore Creative Coders meetup. I also met some people that I hope to be able to call friends for life.
Could you do this job forever?
Absolutely. The role of a designer will always be evolving, it’s more likely to outgrow me than I am it.