‘Our current generation, now appreciates and understands the importance of design and branding. This has given rise to a new breed of entrepreneurs who are changing the local landscape — designers are given more freedom to create better work; work that is different. We see it as a win-win.’
– Foreign Policy co-founder, Yah-Leng Yu
Brand Guide’s our first publication after a good run for the past 8 years at bringing brands to life for our clients. We’ve shared their visions, heard the stories and through each project and we find our work ever so rewarding, with a lot more to be learning from. The profile of good design has steadily gain popularity in Singapore and most parts of Asia. While we may have a bit of catching up to do, we will have to start somewhere.
The vision to put this book out was shared by Arthur and Yah-Leng and they made that decision to see it to its fruition 2 years ago. So we began looking at the local brands around us that inspired us and made us believe in designing and developing brands project after project.
Unlisted Collection has been one of the earliest supports of Foreign Policy’s works. We’ve worked on a whole arsenal of brands, from Wanderlust back in 2010 to the recently minted Sorrel earlier in the year. Working with owner Loh Lik Peng (founder of Unlisted Collection) always gave us the freedom to dig deeper, think harder and conceptualise within the parameters of each brief to its fullest potential. With different businesses each with their own distinct personalities, it wasn’t hard to imagine that this successful umbrella group would be first on our minds as an exemplary core brand specimen for the Brand Guide.
Loysel’s Toy was our first project with Leon Foo, and as they say the first is always the most memorable. With a unique riverside location and being one of the early adopters of third-wave coffee movement in Singapore, the concept was fresh and presented itself as a rich ground for creativity to breed. Following the success of Loysel’s Toy, Papa Palheta went on to launch its next establishment, Chye Seng Huat Hardware, pushing the boundaries with this speciality coffee haven which houses a roastery, retail annex and café within one compound. The ample consideration of design and branding in relation to its business model is a feat that we truly admire. We knew that we had to feature it in detail and share our admiration for this locally grown brand with our readers.
Most would know that a strong suit of Lo & Behold Group is Wee Teng Wen’s great foresight in the property market and deft use of design that developed such strong admirable brand identities for each establishment and the parent group simultaneously. While we swooned over the architectural elements of each establishment that never fail to impress, we got the opportunity to learn about the process and the spatial challenges that the team had to overcome with each undertaking. Speaking to Teng Wen himself unravelled such a great story about his serendipitous find and how that led him into the F&B industry. We eventually decided to feature Loof, Tanjong Beach Club and The Black Swan in the Brand Guide, anchoring it with tips and advice straight from the horse’s mouth.
Why did we decide to do this and go through an arduous journey of seeing this publication through?
Well, we really wanted to inspire, to share and to start people talking about the synergy that design, branding and business possess starting with our home city. There is no better time than now, as Yah-Leng has rightly pointed out, we are going through a design renaissance and we need to tap on it now, when design and appreciation for design is burgeoning before the demise of this Golden Age. We’ve observed more and more start-ups that look to branding as early as business planning phases. We are heartened by this shift in mindset but there can be more to be done so that the process is conscientiously handled and well thought out.
The process matters just as much as the results for any brand to withstand the test of time, and we have a tip or two to share with readers that we’ve learnt from these visionary business owners in our midst.
If you haven’t already, you should pick up a copy of Brand Guide: Singapore edition and let these 17 local brands inspire you.
December 3, 2015