Design for Better

Massimo Vignelli, whose work covers nearly every field of design including advertising, identity, packaging, product, industrial, interior and architectural design.

‘design is one’ – Massimo Vignelli

He believes that “if you can design one thing, you can design everything. The methodology is the same no matter what the content.” His philosophy reminds me of the new system that ADM students are going through. We seem to be learning the vocabulary of the visual language, and we can extend it base on the requirements of the project. It is all generated from similar logic related to material and the function as mentioned by Massimo Vignelli. Designer’s role is changing in this digital age, for instance, graphic designers are all working with digital technology. That is why he prefers the new name, ‘information designer’.

“A good designer who understands his business can make things memorable, make them easy to recall which is very important, and improve the general quality of life, which is the only reason for our existence.” – Paul Rand

The industrial revolution pushed the companies to present themselves better to the public to survive in the competitive market. Companies where shaping their brand in order to adapt to the society. Thus, many good brand designers appeared after the rise of the industrial revolution. Paul Rand is one of the examples. He designed numerous corporate identities that are still in use today, such as IBM, NeXT, Westinghouse, UPS, and etc. He also sees logos as the marketing tool, as the logo tells the story of the company and its products.

In Conclusion, design is flexible yet has its logic. It is a way to improve people’s everyday life in the form of logos that make the product or services memorable, furniture that make our life easy and comfortable and etc. Designer’s role is always changing as we look through the history. It is up to us to decide how we can apply the design language, and what impact we want to make using design. 

How is Your Vision?

“I don’t believe in change for the sake of change. Change comes about through a natural process of development or because something needs improving. Modernism suggests movement which is ahead of its time. If we do something that has been done before, we are not being creative; we are being redundant. Creativity, which is what Modernism is all about, is a constant searching process that promises a greater chance for failure than it does for success.”                                            – Bierut, Michael. Looking Closer. Allworth, 1997.

During the first lesson, we talked about the design culture in Singapore. The design industry in Singapore is still developing. Trace the history of design back to the Modernism which was a movement about being ahead of its time. Artist and designers were trying to make changes to the society and move the creative industry forward. Even earlier during the Bauhaus movement, Wassily Kandinsky asked the students and faculty that the basic shapes and three primary colours at Bauhaus. My ideal colours for those shapes are the same as Wassily’s, however, the meaning behind my matches are quite different. Firstly, the red square is at the top of the vision chart. It represents the burning passion that can multiply by itself (math). I think the burning passion is what Singapore needs the most to push the design culture onto the international stage. Secondly, triangle has a very stable structure and matches with yellow that symbolizes energy and positivity. The stable energy and positivity are what the local designers should have. Lastly, the blue circle, represent intelligence and the wholeness. The slogan of Bauhaus was “Art into Industry”. The most popular in Singapore is probably the ones helping Singapore to be a smarter nation, and I believe that design is important along the way, thus the blue circle is the smart nation that we are trying to build. I hope that the vision of Singapore design industry will be better and clearer.


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This collage is about the Singaporean ‘pick up’ culture, also known as ‘dabao’(take away), where females are objectified as something that can be taken away. I arranged the items that symbolize the female body, pick up lines and the materialistic objects that often used in this kind of situation. The style is inspired by Hannah Hoch, a Dada artist famous for her incisively political collage artworks. She used metaphoric imagery to represent the social issue such as Das schöne Mädchen (The Beautiful Girl).


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