Once in a while, you get hit by a sense of pleasant surprise or that "fine hair standing on ends" feeling. That's when you know inspiration is at your doorstep.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
My name is Sean Lam and I'm with Kinetic Interactive Singapore, an agency I set up with 2 other friends in 1999. My role is basically like that of a creative director though at Kinetic, we believe in a flat structure and since everything is still pretty much "hands on" I prefer to still be called an Art Director.
I've been in this industry for about 6 years now and the reason why I got into it (other than the fact that I'm not particularly academically inclined) was because I like the interactivity of these media and how they allow me to think of creative ways to showcase a brand or product. I particularly enjoy crafting a mood or "taging" an emotional value to all my works in a way that brings out the essence of the subject/ product.
What do you do for inspiration?
I believe inspiration comes in all forms and it could hit you at anytime, so it's kinda hard to associate it with an action.
I guess the most obvious source of inspiration for me comes in the form of music. Music instantly sets a mood/tone and from there, visuals can easily be formed.
To me, being inspired equates to being aware of your surroundings and noticing the most subtle of details. And once in a while, you get hit by a sense of pleasant surprise or that "fine hair standing on ends" feeling. That's when you know inspiration is at your doorstep.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
de-construct.com (mentioned version no longer online) - minimalist but very engaging site, milla.de - one of the most beautiful and surreal corporate sites around and designiskinky.com - for an endless source of inspiration.
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
Having Kinetic Interactive where it is today. The fact that we're just a small local company in a sea of multi-nationals and yet able to stand out is something I'm really proud of. Back then when I was a student, an achievement like this would be undreamed of. Especially so in a place where foreign talent is usually perceived as better than locals.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
I'm currently working on Honda Singapore's website. Although it's pretty much a conventional site in terms of the content provided, it has proven to be surprisingly challenging.
Unlike most "Flashed" car sites/interstitials that usually focus on one product (usually for a new car launch), I have to create a dynamic and visually interesting way to showcase not one but an entire range of cars and at the same time bearing in mind that it has to be relatively easy to maintain/expand. It sounded like a tall order, but I think I've met the brief. The site should be up and running in a month or so.
What software couldn't you live without?
That's a tough one....hmm I think I wouldn't be able to live without at least 6 softwares. My 4 cats, Photoshop and Macromedia Flash.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
Positive ones ...I hope
Who is your target audience?
As Kinetic is more advertising skewed, our target audience vary from product to product.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
A badly drawn cartoon. Hopefully not.
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
No. Maybe an illustrated children's story book when I retire.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
As with all softwares, you'll never know..but I certainly hope so.
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
As with all schools, the 0bjective of a Design school is to help lay the foundations and nurture the talents of tomorrow. How much influence a school has on an individual depends very much on the teaching method and the teachers themselves.
A good design school should always challenge the students to think against the grain, as there are no absolute rights or wrongs in design. Sadly, some design schools here are still being run like a 'paper chase' school, where there can only be one solution to a problem.
One does not necessarily need a design school background to do well in the industry, although it would give a good head start. I believe the key ingredients to success is an individual's gift, passion and determination, backed up by a strong portfolio.
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
Winning international awards. As our awards list grew, so did our clients.
How have you learned so many skills and can you offer any advice for newbies?
Mostly through trial and error. Newbies need to know that FORUMS ARE YOUR LIFELINE.
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
Believe in your own potential and enjoy what you do. The rest will follow.
It's been a privilege, Sean, thanks very much.