Author: Benjamin Kuah

the dream is free, the hustle is sold separately

Design Artefact 2: Process

Design Artefact 2: Website

I started off looking at sleek, efficient websites and collated a moodboard that featured websites with a strong color theme, attractive visuals, shapes and a clean overall composition.

I admired the clean simplicity of websites like these and decided to emulate them. Financial services tend to be complex, and the ability to simplify complex concepts into bite sized chunks would be crucial to communicate effectively with our customers.

I stuck to the gold and brown color theme which on hindsight I should’ve adopted for my other posters but the directive came from above in which they wanted the posters to be more youthful and exuberant, whereas the posters would be more serious and elegant.

It was important to get our vision and mission statement out early on so that potential clients would know what kind of company we are, and how they can benefit from our services.

The founding team is on the About page; I kept it simple and clean for visitors to take a look at the different skillsets that we bring to the table.

We also needed a page to channel our clients into our sales funnel, and this would be the page where clients could sign up for an introductory portfolio review where our brokers would analyse their portfolio for them.

I am a strong believer of giving value before asking for anything. From a marketing perspective, we must be willing to give more than our competitors if we hope to reap the rewards of customer loyalty and brand image. Thus, we provide up-to-date news coverage for early investors and people who want to learn more about the financial markets. These tabs then open into full articles.

I made a few adjustments after the consultation, where the colour scheme was not consistent, and to make the overall design “tighter”.

Design Artefact 1: Process

Design Artefact 1: Posters / EDM

I started off designing posters for the financial brokerage firm Millennium Associates. The posters were intended to target the recently married or married couples who just had children. This would allow the brokers in the company to help to facilitate setting up a trust fund to help with their children’s education and future expenses.

Poster 1: Don’t lose your children’s bread and butter

I started off by taking a simple top down photograph of my baby sister’s cutlery, and rending it in photoshop to make it look better.


The attempt to express a visual metaphor came from the idea of a plate, and playing with the idea of a plate to communicate the urgency of financial planning and ensuring that clients’ families are well protected.

I did not like the outcome of rendering the plate on illustrator, and I felt it may be a bit too boring, hence I decided to merge the mediums of photography and illustration to get a desired effect.

The idea of “loss” is conveyed through putting a couple of dollars on a baby’s plate, communicating the lack of sustainability in the way most couples are going about planning for their children’s education.

This was draft 1 of the poster. I created a table cloth patterned background and information that was placed in a central composition, while the logo was placed in the top right. During the consultation, it was mentioned that the message might be too strong, as “losing your child” can mean many things; like a child dying etc. Therefore, I had to rework on the message, and perhaps make the logo a bit smaller.

Poster 2: The race begins early

I started off with a simple concept of the race track, where every parent wants their children to get a headstart in the rat race. There are different ways to ensure that one’s children have an advantage, but the firm’s focus was to start early to end well. Thus, our ads have to be targeted at children, so that the trust fund has time to grow and deliver the results needed.

Again, it was a blend of vector illustration and photography. This gave the poster an element of youthful playfulness, and would not feel as static as a poster incorporating just one medium.

The advice given during consultation was that the 2 posters had 2 radically different compositions; the first adopted a central composition whereas the second was more dynamic and off-centre. Thus, I worked to ensure that both posters had the same composition, tightening the grids and playing with type to ensure that both posters conveyed the same kind of playfulness and yet gravitas of the message.

Infographic Poster: Process

I began working on the infographic poster by identifying the target audience and looking at what type of poster would best appeal to the target audience.

Target Audience: married couples, above 30, planning to have children or already have children.

Purpose: to explain legacy planning to these people, getting their buy-in and helping them set up a trust fund or engage in tax or legal services to preserve and grow their wealth for their children.

Problem identification: the biggest issue that I faced when doing data collection is the fact that most people are not aware of the avenues available that will counteract the problem of their wealth depreciating over time. A lot of Singaporeans are generally complacent as we think that CPF is sufficient to live a good life after retirement and to pass on to our children but that is hardly the case.

Based on the chart above, I strove to achieve a poster that was declarative and simplified a concept. The reason why was because the poster is meant to sell the consultancy company’s services, by educating clients and simplifying the concept of legacy planning into 3 basic strategies.

The use of a visual metaphor to integrate the information into a singular image would be important to drive home the importance of legacy planning. On top of that, the poster also needs to drive home the big picture framework / process of legacy planning.

First, I came up with the logo for the consultancy firm. This look a while as I looked for a metaphor that was suitable to convey boldness and wealth. I did toy with the idea of using an umbrella / tree but that turned out to be too esoteric.

I finally rested on this design as I felt it best conveys the boldness and wealth of the consultancy group giving tax, legal and advisory services. Another consideration was the target consumer; which eventually will be upper middle to upper class.

Logo: By using a lion masthead moulded into a Chinese infinity symbol, it is a suitable metaphor to convey the longevity and steadfastness of our brand.

Color: The yellow denotes gold and the colour of wealth and vitality while the earthly brown denotes our hardnosed practicality and trustworthiness.

This is the first poster that I came up with, based on a 4 column grid with the use of Futura as a preferred typeface.

During the initial critique, some of the comments that I received were that the titlehead was too small to be visible from afar and more could be done to integrate the information and the artwork. The use of italics and regular font was a bit haphazard as well. The NOW VS 2050 was a bit confusing as it seemed to some that the coffee got bigger over time, as one put it, “issit upsize?

Overall, the first draft had a lack of dynamism that made it feel dry. It was something I would try to overcome over successive drafts and revision of ideas.

Some of them gave the suggestion to turn the stack of Jenga blocks into gold bars. I did initially toy with the idea, creating a few gold bars via vector illustration, but I soon realised even with a Jenga tower with gold bars, it still lacked the human factor; it felt too stiff.

Thus, I explored the idea of walking the tightrope towards the Jenga tower and using that as a metaphor for the timeline of one’s life, and what would happen if left unplanned.

Task 1B: Exploratory Research

Task 1B: Exploratory Research:

Gaining Insight into people’s understanding, attitude and preferences on wealth management / legacy planning — Questionnaire

  1. Are you aware of legacy planning?
  2. What does legacy planning mean to you?
  3. How do you think you can preserve wealth? (what are people aware of?)
  4. When do you think it might be a good time to start legacy planning?
  5. What would be a desirable amount of money you would like to accumulate during your lifetime? (WM)
  6. In terms of asset allocation, how would you manage your assets such that you could achieve maximum returns with minimal downside risk?
  7. As a consumer / distributor of financial products, what are the ways we can understand / advise on legacy planning better?
  8. Currently, what would be your opinion on legacy planning / wealth management?
  9. (What’s holding you back from legacy planning?)

Focus group, one-on-one interviews

In the process of collecting data for the infographic, I interviewed my colleagues as well as strangers at Synergy about wealth management / legacy planning. Here are some of the responses:

Dwayne // HP: 91442980

  1. Legacy planning is about leaving money to your children, but unsure of how important it is.
  2. Don’t find the need to.
  3. Leaving money in the bank / property / investments
  4. When they are planning to have kids (late 20s to 30s)
  5. 300k / head for 2 kids
  6. Allocation — Equities at a younger age (80/20 equities v fixed income)
  7. Getting a universal life and pledging to liabilities
  8. Making the money work for you (wealth management) goes hand in hand AKA portfolio management
  9. Relative youth, no need for kids (hard to visualise) + stigma of getting something you don’t need.

Alfred // HP: 9220 9489

  1. Not really.
  2. Leaving something for your dependents
  3. Banks — “safe” investments — fixed deposit or UL (higher payout and higher accumulation)
  4. Early 40s, kids are growing up
  5. 1-2 million, one child
  6. Education: risk management
  7. Understanding the needs of the consumer when doing tax planning / estate planning / universal life
  8. Stigma: Will writing
  9. Asset lockdown, expensive

I also carried out a focus group discussion. Some of the things that were pointed out were:

Legacy planning is the “distribution of wealth” so that your legacy lives on.

One should consider legacy planning the moment one enters the workforce, or once “career is solid”, in about 10 years’ time when one has sufficient savings in their mid 30s.

On average, each individual is looking to amass about $1 000 000 for their children

In terms of asset allocation:

60% equity / 40% fixed income

40% / 50% / 10%

Estate planning, will writing and unit trusts / universal life go hand in hand and should be explained in detail to the clients.

Some of the stigma that is being faced:

  1. Lack of knowledge
  2. Taboo topic of death in Asian societies aka death denial
  3. Lack of money to do planning
  4. “Not relevant” — abstract idea of death

Interviews with strangers:

Most of the responses that I’ve gotten so far from a sample size of 15:

  1. No, never heard about it.
  2. It is something negative, because of the stigma of being accosted
  3. Savings in the bank à let it grow interest
  4. 40 y/o is a good time to consider
  5. $300 000 -500 000
  6. Not sure.
  7. Ask questions that make you think about the future
  8. NA
  9. No money

Task 1A: Exploratory Research

Task 1A: Exploratory Research

  1. What are some of the current issues confronting our world today? Amongst them, what is of interest and a cause for concern to you?

Wealth Management

As Singapore grows into a global financial hub, there is a greater need for Singaporeans to put their money where money can grow. More often than not, foreigners that come to Singapore for work are also looking for solutions that can enhance their wealth. Wealth management firms are competing to provide the best end-to-end service for high net worth individuals to fund their next big purchase or retirement needs. These aforementioned services come in the form of asset management, tax planning, investment vehicles and insurance protection.

Animal Conservation

As the wealth of the Asian continent shows no signs of abating, steps should be taken to prevent rapacious hunting of wildlife for the sake of exotic collectibles or delicacies. With illegal animal parts being sold on the black market for high prices, it is no wonder that a lot of animals are facing extinction. With recent arrests of high profile kingpins in wildlife trafficking syndicates, this demonstrates governmental effort in tackling conservation at its core; demand and supply of illegal animals.

Healthcare Coverage

Admired by countries around the world for her stellar healthcare system, Singapore is no stranger to healthcare. The tier system of hospital wards allow the population to be segmented according to affordability, and Medisave / Medishield provide sufficient healthcare for the average Singaporean. However, according to a recent study done by the Straits Times, Singaporeans are still generally under-insured.

Ageing Population

The biggest issue facing Singapore would be an ageing population. Just like the other 4 Asian Tigers, Singapore has become an Ageing Tiger. With that comes cause for concern, as with population growth comes lower productivity. Although the minimum retirement age has been raised again to 67, there is a limit on the lifetime productivity and output per head.

Out of the 4 current issues, I would combine the themes of wealth management and an ageing population to research on legacy planning.

  1. Why is the issue important? Who does it affect and how?


Legacy planning is a financial strategy that prepares a person to bequeath his or her assets to a loved one or next of kin after death.

After a person passes away, his or her wealth and possessions are passed on to next of kin or to people or charities specified in a will. If you don’t have a plan in place for your estate, its management might go against your wishes once it is passed on. Legacy planning is especially important for those with small businesses or other assets that require maintenance.

Reducing equity exposure:

Even as the stock markets are rallying, retirement money can be wiped out in the dicey game of equity investments. However, that doesn’t mean you have to sell something to buy something else. Rather than unloading a winner (and having to pay tax on those gains), use cash that’s sitting on the sidelines from dividends or earned interest to buy bonds or laddered CDs — or just plain leave it alone. Strategies like readjusting your asset allocation from a 70/30 stocks/bonds mix to enter retirement with a 50/50 split will help reduce risk exposure to your portfolio.

Multigenerational planning:

In the U.S. alone, $30 000 000 000 000 USD is about to be passed on from the baby boomers to their heirs. If not handled well, things like estate taxes and probate court fees can take up a lot of money and time. Across developed countries, tax planning and setting up trust funds are some of the ways money can be kept within the family for generations.

  1. Who do you need to communicate to, and why?

The target audience will be based on 2 criteria: family nucleus and occupational income. For legacy planning to be effective, per capita income in the household should be more than $50 000. The ideal age range should be around 30-50, where couples would have started a family and have high earning capacity. They are likely to be either expats (Employment Pass holders) or Singaporeans in the STEM professions. Business owners and entrepreneurs are also included in this segment.

The needs of this demographic would be to look for legacy planning solutions for wealth preservation and transfer. As most of them would not have the knowledge or expertise to carry out tax planning, estate planning and setting a trust on their own, independent brokerage services can be offered to them to facilitate an end-to-end solution for their financial needs.

  1. How has visual communication contributed to address the cause?

The infographic designed by Search3W is clear, instructive and formatted in a logical way. They chose to use an infographic because there is a lot of technical detail required in constructing a savings and investment retirement portfolio.

I like how the design firm used the concept of percentages to explain asset allocation. They also included appropriate graphics so that it would be easier to remember the detail. Included are also certain principles one should follow in order to get the optimal savings needed for certain goals: i.e. car, children’s education fund. I like the font as it is friendly and engaging, the colours also appeal as they are bright and flashy. In terms of clarity I can see where they put emphasis in e.g. Money needed at retirement: 75-80% of pre-retirement income.

The other infographic by Visual Capitalist lists down the key terminology used in stock trading. They succeeded in making the terms look less daunting and more accessible to the everyday man. I like the composition of the infographic, where they package each term and give it a little “story” and illustration to accompany the story. The colour and font is also bright, easily legible and friendly. There is also a colour pattern in terms of the trading card arrangement.

I couldn’t find the source for this poster by Kararfarin Advertising, but the concept is poignant and delivers a punch with simplicity. The analogy of saving / preparing for a rainy day is never better demonstrated than here.

Assignment 4: RnD + Final

My project’s theme is based on architecture x photography. I aim to use architectural photography to express the 26 letters of the alphabet. This is achieved through composition and cropping of architectural features.

I started off with 2 moodboards with the central themes of type as architecture and type as human anatomy.

I decided to go with type as architecture as I felt it would be more interesting looking for local architecture with interesting features rather than simply illustrating human organs and morphing them into type.

The following are the images taken around (but not limited to) Suntec City, Promenade, City Hall (National Gallery, Victoria Concert Hall), Outram Park (People’s Park Complex, Pearl Bank Apartments), Clarke Quay, Bencoolen MRT station, Victoria Street, Dhoby Ghaut.

With this compilation of photos, I began to work on creating the alphabet.

After editing the photos, I managed to come up with the 26 letters.



























On top of the book, I also designed a promotional poster for architectural photography.

This is the printed version of the typographic book. I chose Futura as the typeface as I felt it was clean, geometric and simple, much like the architectural forms I tried to simplify. I also used ring binding as I felt it would better resemble an architecture lookbook with a skeletal spine exposed, almost like “scaffolding”.

Project 3: Final Design

Taking into account the feedback that was given during the consultation, I pushed the graphic elements even further, removed non-essential elements and weaved in a narrative flow to the information of the arts and health programme.

Front cover: featuring the uniform of the nurses and the vests of the volunteers

Full spread: pictures showcasing the full breadth of the arts and health programme at Ng Teng Fong Hospital