Work Related : 634 days with LGM & TRP team - Part 1

I received another great offer from a local start-up company about a month ago. It has been 6 months since they approached and offered me a job but that was the time when I was too busy with the Hello Kitty Cafe project so I had to decline. 

Surprisingly, they approached me again and after a week of consideration I think it's time for me to go and spread my wings to new challenges and skills. It is hard to leave, but they had a better offer, new scopes that I wanted to learn and I've been wanting to work with a startup company for awhile. T^T

To make it official, it was a great 634 days with the team. 


Here is what I learned from LGM & TRP team :

1. Always be aware of your weaknesses. 
My boss mentioned that my weaknesses are : Colour combo, style variations, and basic designing rules/terms. I wasn't majored in design, I was majored in IT so I didn't know a LOT especially basic theories. I asked her what I was bad at, and I gave myself space to learn from my colleagues. They critiqued my works as I critiqued theirs. We have a very healthy working environment.

I also keep links to my references : Colourlovers , Flat UI Colors

Knowing your weaknesses is supposed to help you improve. 

Always refer from any resources and create a moodboard before you start on a project. 

For example, this is the colour combo I originally chose for Hello Kitty Cafe and that was the mood/style I was looking for : brush/watercolour/soft style :-


2. Keep a huge collection of inspirations + researches
I'm using Pinterest, Behance and Dribbble for my personal library. They are my ultimate teachers. If you think learning from other people is low beneath you, then you will never reach anywhere - *because you are being arrogant. The important thing in teaching ourselves how to be good in something is by learning from our surrounding. Just like how you learn when you grew up as a baby, it was really fast, isn't it?

I have a Pinterest folder of everything from : Magazine, Poster, Packaging, Website, Infographic, Uniform, DIY, Branding to other little things like : Machine, Girls, Little Apartments and stuffs.

I also have my own book where I keep every moodboards I ever printed on projects :


3. Learn the right way to imitate

Not everyone is born with a good talent in designing and own a 4-year graphic degree, as I said before some people like me needs extra effort and time to learn the skills & techniques. Learning shouldn't be intimidating. It should be fun, exciting and challenging to the point that one day, you will find you, in every one.  

So I learned a lot by :
1. Imitate the pros,
2. Learn their techniques,
3. Pour everything you learned in a bowl,
4. And bake your own cookie and do magic !

As Steve Jobs said :  " Creativity is just connecting things ". 
So you just have to learn from the pros. 

Note : Imitate and copycat (plagiarism) are 2 different things though.


4. Adapt fast
I realized that every art director/clients have their own favorite and style. My task as a senior graphic designer is to adapt to their likings fast and time-efficiently, but not to forget my own style completely. It is important to be flexible and accept things requested with an open-mind. 

As a designer, I know it is hard for you to put limitation on certain things because you have your own way of doing things but; work is work. You can always do freelance or personal jobs using your own styles and strokes, but at work you need to adapt to what is needed and requested.

Lower down your ego, follow your art director or supervisor. 


5. Keep all the rejected works
I have tons of rejected works in the past 2 years. All because of my try-and-error artworks and having a perfectionist art director. Sometimes it is quite frustrating to have things rejected for weeks, but those things can always be used for other projects or personal portfolios.

So it is not a waste of time & effort.

See all these rejected icons for various projects that I did since last years.

Other illustration from rejected project : The Wise Bear


Book : Steppenwolf

It's like that day was meant to be the day that I asked AF to go to Grand Union to buy groceries and stopped by at EZ Used Books after work. I mentioned to him about how long it has been since I went there to find random books *because there wasn't many options. 

Unplanned, we stopped by for a quick look.

I went through the 2 racks of old musty English fictions when I saw a name I can't possible believe;
"Hermann Hesse". 

Last year my boss lend me a book called "Siddhartha" by Hermann Hesse, I didn't know the author back then and she said to me that it's one of her favorite book. "Nothing religious, but more to spiritual." I read the book and I liked it so much that it just got stuck in my head like a song. I never found anyone from the European country to write something so modest and pure in passing messages to the world using one of the Asian religious icon. *Except for Paulo Coelho I guess. But Herman Hesse wrote books from 1904 - 1953, so it was quite rare - it was during World War period so it goes back to the hard & tough time of those people. 

He was one of the rare writer in this world that managed to write something really pure, beautiful and humble. I am still inspired by his sensitive soul T^T And he was a German, during Third Reich. 
So can you imagine? 

Back to the book, Steppenwolf. It was originally written in German - Der Steppenwolf  in 1928. I didn't read about the synopsis, I just simply took to book to the counter and felt like I just found a rare pearl on a one fine night. 

With a grin, I paid the casher; RM 3 :

Look at the classic illustration on the cover :D
It feels like looking at my dad's library all over again.


I haven't been able to read it yet. 
But it's in my bag since several days ago, waiting.

Little Things 197 : Big

Even after 28 years, I am still surprise by :

  • how open people can be in judging and putting labels on someone else like we have the right to do so,
  • how no one seems to see this so called nationalism and individualism are making us arrogant and dividing us human into as much divisions as we can create,
  • how rude and blatant people can be in spreading rumours and negativity through social media,
  • how people don't realize that label, title and self-created ranking never really put anyone anywhere,
  • how fast we can think and type and share without thinking about the consequences to other people,

I'm still surprise by so many little things and I heard people said before, 
those little things are actually things that matters to you. 

This post is inspired by Newsfeed in my Facebook, Diva Azwan, political uproar, and current social media posts.

Image from Pinterest


Work Related : Begadang Backpackers 2

Usually it takes several attempts to have a task approved by my boss. Take for example this little poster of "Keep Calm", I tried around 10 times of having it improved or rejected. Certain design even took several days or weeks T^T

She taught me a lot about doing research and keeping inspiration moodboards on Pinterest so that we keep on refreshing our mind with designs from all over the world.  Learning to be a designer takes a lot of time and huge amount of practices, and even after 2 years of trying to be a designer, I still don't feel like I'm good enough to label myself as one. 



My personal Begadang character :


Ohhh, and I posted the Behance post for Begadang Backpackers,
>> here, here, hereee. <<

Little Things 196 : Believe

I believe in the small things I randomly write in my book, in the unfinished stories, in those drafted posts, in those repetitive shots in my mind that still waiting to be written down. I believed in the whole process of reading and more reading, and buying books that I don't have enough time to read. I believe in being surrounded by people who write for a living. I believe in those short moments of hiding in the toilet, or while waiting for my husband to arrive, or when the euphoric caffeine-effect kicks in.

I believe that some people just enjoy writing as it is. 
And those promises of finishing up a piece are just promises that we tend to ignore, just because the thought of having to end it depresses us. We don't write for those who want to read, we write for ourselves. That's the thing. We don't want to end it, like putting a full-stop on something that has been in our mind for so long.

We want it to keep on living.


Image from Pinterest



*Believe is inspired by Megfee's post