Through sophisticated design, communication, branding and photography, four artists provided innovative solutions to promote universal values and elevate social justice.
In conjunction with the Advertising and Graphic Design Week (ADDW13) themed Pulse, four creative masters were invited to share their ideas. First was Alexdrina Chong of So+Co, a design agency that aims to enable sustainable positive change through innovation. For example, she spearheaded a social collaboration with Tang’s Art to create Braille greeting card for the blind under the theme ‘Dot2Dot, Love beyond Sight’.
Successful designs usually integrate user experience, brand reputation, and form strategic partnership with others, allowing users access to culturally relevant contents. As Albert Einstein once said, ‘We can’t solve problems by using the same thinking we used when we created them’, Alexdrina concluded that ‘The best way to predict the future is to create it.’
Next was Indonesian artist and poster designer Sandy Karman, who relentlessly tries to infuse his designs with native Indonesian motives, and execute them with traditional craft methods, as he believed that the onus was on us to promote our shared legacy.
To breakthrough mental blocks, Sandy revealed that, 'Talent is nothing without hardwork.' When business was slow, Sandy advised designers to stay positive, take up whatever assignments to stay afloat, as the saying goes, 'Enjoy when you can, endure when you must'.
The next day again saw two articulate speakers sharing their expertise. First was Alex Au-Yong Wai Weng, the brand manager of Athlete's Circle. He presented his innovative way of fundraising - Xtra Mile Run campaign in 2011, in which he volunteered to run 100km in 17 hours from Putrajaya to StART Society in Petaling Jaya, inviting various corporate and personal sponsors to pledge RM100,000 for StART Society, a charity for underprivileged children.
Community work is teamwork, as Alex quoted an African proverb, “If you want to run fast, run alone; if you want to run far, bring a friend.” For him, people with different talents may contribute by cooking or painting. To designers, Alex advised that with balanced lifestyle comprising work, exercise and rest, minds are freshened, and ideas emerge more readily.
The final speaker was Zann Huizhen Huang, a self-funded and self-taught Singaporean photographer covering humanitarian issues. She won Humanity Photo wards UNESCO 2006 through her ‘Life on Tonle Sap’ Cambodian fishermen series, and won two bronzes in PX3 Prix De La Photographie Paris 2011 for her work on the Palestinian refugees in Sabra and Shatila camp, Beirut and Cambodian glue kids. Through photography, she has raised the awareness of many that the gruesomeness of war and disaster is never far from us.
With art and design experts demonstrating innovative ways to further social causes, such ‘Masters Train Masters’ forums brainstormed students on harnessing powerful designs to create a harmonious community. Mobilising the mass for the benefit of all especially the underprivileged, it’s the nobel aim we strive for!