News

Evolution Through Innovation

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Cheang Lin Yew is one of many specialists in this field who is educating the public about digital media design’s practical beauty one breathtaking installation at a time. The 46-year-old who come from Sungai Buloh completed his higher education in Malaysia and New Zealand, and is currently the Head of Department, School of Digital Media Design at The One Academy, Malaysia.

His transition from graphic design to multimedia design began when he was offered a scholarship to further his studies in New Zealand and obtained a degree to equip himself with the necessary expertise. Coming back to Malaysia, he became the key person to develop the multimedia design programme for The One Academy. He went back to New Zealand to attain a master’s degree and became a lecturer at a prestigious design school.

It was in 2005 when he started a Shanghai-based creative studio named Super Nature Design with two partners. They secured their first project with the client Adidas for the 2008 Beijing Olympics; assembling a section of the flagship store in Beijing to showcase 26 pairs of specially designed shoes – representing one for each sport.

He made the decision to return to Malaysia two years ago, going back to The One Academy and helping to develop the Digital Media Design programme to integrate more emerging technology in art and design.

The One Academy is committed to providing the best art education programme and continues to nurture its students passionately through its ‘Masters Train Masters’ coaching philosophy, which has been practised for the past 25 years, by providing diploma and degree courses namely Advertising & Graphic Design, Digital Animation, Film Visual Effects, Interior Architecture & Design, Illustration, Digital Media Design, Fine Arts and ESMOD Fashion Design & Pattern Making. For more information on The One Academy, visit www.toa.edu.my or call +603-5637 5510 or e-mail your enquiries to enquiry@toa.edu.my.

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Photo 01: ‘Lost in Pascal’s Triangle’, an installation that allows the audience to explore the concept of Pascal's triangle mathematics formula to generate a series of music and lighting sequences.
Photo 02 – ‘Fly Beyond’, a sculptural lighting piece laid above the bar of The Nest in Shanghai and is also the artist’s favourite.
Photo 03 – ‘PRISMA1666’ is a light interactive installation inspired by Newton’s prism. It won the ‘Best Creative Design Award’ at the Shanghai International Art & Science Awards 2011.
Photo 04 – ‘Rabbit Wonderland’ is a series of innovative outdoor LED interactive sculptures that aim to bring colour, laughter and warmth to the streets of Shanghai.
Photo 05 – ‘Dreamscape’ is an interpretation of vision and representation of 'hypercube' via explorations on architectural landscape.
Photo 06 – ‘Me’, an art installation commissioned by Converse for its 2010 Summer campaign "You're It".
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A Global Take on Interior Design

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The One Academy’s Interior Design Department had recently organized ID Material Day, in collaboration with Goodrich Global Sdn Bhd – a leading company in the field of soft interior furnishing in South East Asia. The Lifestyle Trends of 2018/2019 were presented along with the various products of the company - ranging from wallcovering, fabric, carpet and flooring. Therefore, the students were able to familiarize with the latest development and products available in the field and gain an insider insight into interior furnishing.  

Interior designers need to start creating a flexible work-living environment and optimizing the space within studio apartments. The Healthy Space calls for innovative designs that promote our health, satisfaction and productivity by bringing nature indoors. The integration of plants in the interior space and solutions for clean and purified air is a wellness trend on the rise.

The amount of waste products in cities is growing faster than urbanisation itself. To cope with this problem, we need to provide initiatives for a sustainable future by reusing waste materials to create re-made spaces.

Also unveiled were the Design and Colour Trends of 2018/2019. Colour is an important element in the design, able to enhance the mood and bring balance to space. The key colours predicted to be in trend are tone to tone and ombres, ranging from calming red to energizing blue, indigo, soft cosy pastels and shades of green. For design, simple and honest is the way to go, creating grid-patterning such as geometry and interchangeable shapes and materials.

His advice to Interior Design students is not to just fulfil the requirements to obtain a certificate but to see how their creativity and passion can be translated into their work, and be proud of what they have created. That aspect is what sets designers apart from the interior design market. He shed some light on potential career options of interior design graduates, who are not just limited to drawing and designing. They may go into the path of product specialists, who attend exhibitions all around the world, talking to suppliers and sourcing for materials that will be popular and suitable for the Malaysian market. They will have to have a keen eye for colour and design, and a thorough understanding of the market.

The One Academy is committed to providing the best art education programmes and continues to nurture its students passionately through its ‘Masters Train Masters’ coaching philosophy, which has been practiced for the past 28 years, by providing diploma and degree courses namely Advertising & Graphic Design, Digital Animation, Digital Media Design, Film Visual Effects, Interior Architecture & Design, Illustration, Fine Arts and ESMOD Fashion Design & Pattern Making. For more information on The One Academy, visit www.toa.edu.my or call +603-5637 5510 or e-mail your enquiries to enquiry@toa.edu.my.

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Photo 01:  Interested students interacting with Goodrich Global’s personnel at the material exhibition. 
Photo 02: ID Material Day; a collaboration between The One Academy’s School of Interior Design and Goodrich Global, a leading company in the field of soft interior furnishing.
Photo 03: Head of Interior Design Department, Dr. Eric Leong, presenting a certificate of appreciation to General Manager Jansen Poon and his team.
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To Be Game for Anything

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P’ng Yi Wei, an alumnus of The One Academy’s School of Digital Media Design, shared his journey of how his class assignment inspired him to start a career as a game developer. Through this sharing session, he aimed to inspire students to broaden their horizons and see the potential of their assignments.

P’ng has won grants from Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) to develop games, and upon graduation in 2009, he established the Malaysian-based game studio, Kurechii, with a team of four where he is the Founder and Director.  

The foundation started with Yogipoco Adventure (2008), his second-year third semester class assignment. Like most assignments, it was shelved as it was ridden with bugs and did not function well enough for gameplay. However, after graduating, he thought about his time at the academy where he had created many interactive contents, a process he enjoyed doing but prevented from releasing any, out of fear of not meeting people’s expectations.

Then, he decided to put his project assignment out there for someone to try it. He opened back the project files and try to complete it in the perspective of a player. With the necessary changes made and put up on game portals, that first game made him RM8,000. It was an exciting revelation that his assignment actually turned into something that makes money. In the process, he figured out that games have to be self-explanatory and fun.

In 2010, he developed Reachin’Peachin, a jumping game that took them eight months to complete.    The game was published by King - the same developer of the immensely popular Candy Crush Saga, and has garnered 1.2 million downloads up to date. It won ‘Best Casual Games’ at the Kre8tif Awards.

His next game, King’s League (2011), was completed in 217 days and garnered 3 million downloads. Its sequel – King’s League: Odyssey (2013), took 12 months to complete and has more than 10 million players. It won the grand prize - ‘Best Game’ at the prestigious IGF (Independent Games Festival) China 2014, marking their proudest achievement, as they created the game from scratch together, all of them being alumni of The One Academy. In 2017.

Passion may be what makes him get started on a game, but discipline is what drives him to complete it. Constant improvement of the mindset is crucial in keeping up with the goal. It is also very important to build a strong rapport with the team. A team that helps and motivates one another through the ups and downs will only become stronger and better. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,” he advised.

The One Academy is committed to providing the best art education programme and continues to nurture its students passionately through its ‘Masters Train Masters’ coaching philosophy, which has been practised for the past 28 years, by providing diploma and degree courses namely Advertising & Graphic Design, Digital Animation, Digital Media Design, Film Visual Effects, Interior Architecture & Design, Illustration, Fine Arts and ESMOD Fashion Design & Pattern Making. For more information on The One Academy, visit www.toa.edu.my or call +603-5637 5510 or e-mail your enquiries to enquiry@toa.edu.my.

 

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Photo 01:  P’ng Yi Wei, Founder and Director of Kurechii, a Malaysian-based game studio established in 2009
Photo 02: P’ng explaining about Yogipoco Adventure - his class assignment that became his first published game.
Photo 03:  Having the right mindset is important when trying to achieve one’s goal, iterates P’ng.
Photo 04:  P’ng (front row, third from left) with the attendees of the fruitful and inspiring sharing.
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Breaking Through the Four Wall Barrier in Architecture

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In the latest installation of the Professional Insightful Sharing Session (P.I.S.S), The One Academy Interior Design Department has teamed up with Roberto Braglia, the Senior Lecturer and International Coordinator at the Portsmouth School of Architecture to bring yet another opportunity for students to learn and immerse themselves with industry experts.

Braglia coordinates the First Year Architecture at Portsmouth University and is leading a number of units and design studios for undergraduate and postgraduate students. He is a Building Engineer/Architect with professional experience in teaching and working in architectural practice in Europe.

Students experienced firsthand Braglia’s take on architecture and the art of building inhabitable spaces through a hands-on three hour workshop conducted at The One Academy. Braglia emphasizes that architecture in the present age revolves around dwelling and creating spaces designed for the future rather than the past. Through the ‘Inhabitable Tetris’ workshop, students became acquainted with conceptualizing and designing modern architecture within given parameters.

The session kicked off with Braglia giving a brief introduction on his career as well as the School of Architecture in Portsmouth University. Following that, the students were divided into pairs and briefed about the activity on hand.

Inhabitable Tetris, Braglia’s workshop, drew inspiration from the popular game created over 30 years ago but was presented with a modern twist. The idea behind the workshop was to provide students with blocks, similarly shaped to those of the Tetris game, and a list of clients with very specific needs. The interior design students were then tasked with designing a living space tailored for their client.

As simple as this task may sound, each pair of students were designated very different clients who range from different age groups, occupations, personality and lifestyle. The challenge then was for each pair to design the living space based on their block but also to ultimately work with the entire group to form a complete building, much akin to the game of Tetris, whilst also meeting necessary requirements of their clients.  

When asked about the motivation behind the workshop, Braglia explained that it helps to hone several very important skills in budding architecture and interior design students. Braglia said “It is not a project to define anything but rather a project to generate ideas”.

The workshop definitely proved to be a hit as the students found themselves learning how to engage complex clients, identifying design problems and brainstorming possible innovative solutions as well as explore modern design opportunities.

The session ended with the students presenting their ideas and designs to Braglia and providing reasoning behind their design choices. Braglia then provided expert advice and feedback on the students work. It was truly a golden opportunity for The One Academy Interior Design students to gain valuable insight into the professional industry and practice of architecture.

The One Academy is committed to providing the best art education programme and continues to nurture its students passionately through its ‘Masters Train Masters’ coaching philosophy, which has been practised for the past 28 years, by providing diploma and degree courses namely Advertising & Graphic Design, Digital Animation, Digital Media Design, Film Visual Effects, Interior Architecture & Design, Illustration, Fine Arts and ESMOD Fashion Design & Pattern Making. For more information on The One Academy, visit www.toa.edu.my or call +603-5637 5510 or e-mail your enquiries to enquiry@toa.edu.my.

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The One Academy of Communication Design was established in 1991 with the aim of promoting the region as the world’s center of creative reference. Strategically located in the thriving creative hub of Bandar Sunway, Selangor, with a branch in Georgetown, Penang, The One Academy is today a top-notch leading international institute in art, design and creative multimedia, renowned with graduates who steer successful careers in creative capitals worldwide. The courses offered are Multimedia Design with Digital Media & Interactive Design, Digital Animation with Game Development, Film Visual Effects, Illustration, Movie & Game Art, Advertising & Graphic Design, Interior Design, Paris Fashion Design & Pattern Making and Fine Arts. Interested youths can obtain more information about the courses by calling +603-5637 5510, faxing +603-5621 1716, e-mailing enquiry@toa.edu.my or by visiting www.toa.edu.my.

Photo captions

Photo 01: The One Academy Interior Design Students with Robert Braglia of Portsmouth University
Photo 02: Robert Braglia Evaluating Student’s Design on Inhabitable Tetris
Photo 03: Robert Braglia Conducting a Design Meeting Session with Students
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Understanding the Advertising Industry

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Ramesh Weston, an alumnus of The One Academy returned to share valuable insight on the advertising industry and to provide students information on how to gain leverage on the creative industry based on his personal experiences.  The session titled ‘From the Ground Up’ gave students a unique opportunity to understand firsthand about the creative industry, particularly the world of advertising, but also to see it through the eyes of a budding professional.

The session began with Weston giving a brief recount of his education and work experience thus far. Having graduated from The One Academy with a diploma in advertising and graphic design, he then continued with his degree in graphic design at the University of Hertfordshire and is currently working at Alpha 245, a boutique agency under the network of Leo Burnett. 

 “Freelance work is good to have, but do not stress if you don’t have anything they like” said Weston as he advised students to not worry if they do not land a job immediately after graduating but rather focus on freelancing as a way to beef up individual portfolios. He said that each advertising agency has its own culture and it is important for graduates to thoroughly research the agency that they want to work in to understand the environment there. Weston also advised students on how to handle demanding clients having gone through his fair share of them. “You need to ask, ask and ask, and understand their products or services equally as well as them”, he stated.

Another fact he shared on was the importance of not being a one-trick pony. In this day and age, it is important to have a few areas of expertise to leverage in the work-field. “Do not be a designer that just knows design. If you are a designer, then take up copywriting. If you can do copywriting and videography, that will be great. Be creative when it comes to trying to find a job” he stated. The creative industry is gaining popularity and it is good to have varying knowledge on all the facets of it.

An ardent fan of the late Yasmin Ahmad and her work, Weston emphasized on the significance of living life, gaining insight and then converting your story and experience to produce amazing work. “Advertising does not always have to sell products, some of the best ads sell emotions and that is really impactful,” said Weston in regards to Yasmin Ahmad’s style of work. He then urged the students to go out and truly live life in order to produce groundbreaking work as “the way you start writing isn’t by writing at all, it is by living.”

Keeping up with the demands of the advertising industry can sometimes be hard and one way to always bring your A-game is to always be on the lookout for new information. Weston motivated the students to step out of their comfort zones in regards to design. “Go beyond the usual Pinterest, go to typeface or layout books and use them to create your own designs” he challenged.

Weston then ended the session by asking the students to have passion projects on the side. “Strike a good balance between juggling work and play and always have a hobby or passion project as it helps to keep you grounded” noted Weston. He himself had recently collaborated with his friend and came up with a side project ‘Dua Radio’ which is still in the early stages. He notes that the creative industry can be very stressful at times and leisure pursuits help manage it.

The One Academy is committed to providing the best art education programmes and continues to nurture its students passionately through its ‘Masters Train Masters’ coaching philosophy, which has been practised for the past 28 years, by providing diploma and degree courses namely Advertising & Graphic Design, Digital Animation, Digital Media Design, Film Visual Effects, Interior Architecture & Design, Illustration, Fine Arts and ESMOD Fashion Design & Pattern Making. For more information on The One Academy, visit www.toa.edu.my or call +603-5637 5510 or e-mail your enquiries to enquiry@toa.edu.my.

 

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001: Ramesh Weston and the attendees of ‘From the Ground Up’ pose for a group shot marking the end of the session.

002: Ramesh Weston receiving a token of appreciation from The One Academy for his sharing.

003: Weston briefing the students with the trials and tribulations of the advertising industry.

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Enjoying the Flavors of Life through Art

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Attendees of the launch of Flavor posing with Chow Chin Chuan

One of the biggest dilemmas an artist faces has little to do with medium, subject matter or composition. It is not perspective or depth that keeps them up at night but rather a problem of a different sort altogether. Interpretation is often what most artists ponder on as one piece of art can come across diversely to five different people. For those who choose to paint the same subject matter, they run the risk of becoming too repetitive with little to no variation to offer for interpretation. However, this is not the case with Chow Chin Chuan, a renowned watercolourist who hails from Klang, Selangor. His interest in painting, particularly live drawing, began from an early age. “I remember when I was Form three, a senior of mine in Art Society inspired me to do live drawings. We would then cycle to the fields to draw the scenery”, reminisced Chuan.  

Upon graduation, many of his peers began looking for objects to make as their subject matter, their preferred option was to paint various scenery of the fields and fishing villages but he wanted to be different. His interest first started off as tricycles, after he was inspired by his then girlfriend and now wife’s tricycle in Penang. However, upon returning to Klang, he realized there were no tricycles in Klang. It was then that he chanced upon his father’s old bicycle, now broken. It brought back a multitude of memories as he remembered how his dad used the bicycle to bring stock to and fro their grocery store. Spurred on by these memories, he began painting the bicycle, now a trademark of his for more than 20 years.

Painting with watercolour is no easy feat as it is known to be an unpredictable and hard to control medium often resulting in blotchy messes if not careful. However, Chuan’s work is as impressive as it is immaculate as he uses texture, shadow and light to bring his art to life. His latest solo exhibition, Flavor, which took place at The One Academy Gallery from the 2nd July – 18th July 2018, inspired him to create pieces that have an array of flavors within them. Chuan says “In dishes there are many flavours, similar to our life. Some of us are going through bitter times, as you go through my artwork remember that once the bad times are overcome, you will enjoy the sweetness.” The event was also graced by talented watercolourists Jacky Chin and T’ang Mun Kian who did a live demo painting with Chow Chin Chuan at the launch of the Flavor exhibition. The students were given the unique opportunity to see a watercolour art piece being done from start to finish right in front of their very eyes.

Chuan’s observation of students is that most of them nowadays who take up art do not like to do live drawings. “They have to paint under the hot sun for long periods of time and they become all hot and sweaty”, he says. However, keep at it because it is through these that you can express life with various flavors for all to see.He then invited all the students to join him on his live drawing session every Sundays at selected locations. To date, his favourite painting locations is Pulau Ketam where he has made friends with all the locals due to his frequent visits there to paint. Chuan was recruited as a lecturer at The One Academy in 1991 but left in 1994, he then joined back in 2004 to continue helping students to learn the joys of painting and all that it brings. He believes that it does not matter if the subject you are painting is repetitive, what matters more is how much passion you put into creating works of art as that is what comes out and touches hearts everywhere.

The One Academy is committed to providing the best art education programmes and continues to nurture its students passionately through its ‘Masters Train Masters’ coaching philosophy, which has been practised for the past 28 years, by providing diploma and degree courses namely Advertising & Graphic Design, Digital Animation, Digital Media Design, Film Visual Effects, Interior Architecture & Design, Illustration, Fine Arts and ESMOD Fashion Design & Pattern Making. For more information on The One Academy, visit www.toa.edu.my or call +603-5637 5510 or e-mail your enquiries to enquiry@toa.edu.my.

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01: Attendees of the launch of Flavor posing with Chow Chin Chuan
02: Chow Chin Chuan conducting a live demo of watercolour painting
03: Jacky Chin, Chow Chin Chuan and T’ang Mung Kian posing with their completed artwork
04: A painting done by Chow Chin Chuan of a bicycle
05: A few pieces on Chow Chin Chuan’s favorite subject matter, the bicycle

 

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Chow Chin Chuan conducting a live demo of watercolour painting
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Jacky Chin, Chow Chin Chuan and T’ang Mung Kian posing with their completed artwork
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A painting done by Chow Chin Chuan of a bicycle
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A few pieces on Chow Chin Chuan’s favorite subject matter, the bicycle

Meet the Winners of Malaysia Top 10 Outstanding Young Artists Awards 2018!

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Contestants hard at work preparing their art pieces

The nationwide art competition organized by The One Academy that spanned over the past few months has come to a close on 21st July 2018 at the Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre (SPCC). The coveted Gold award and prize money of RM20,000 was won by Lee Ling Feng from Penang, the Silver award and RM1,000 was bagged by Johorian Yap Jia Le whereas the Bronze award and RM1,000 went to Ng Yan Lei from Kuala Lumpur. The top three winners walked away with a total of RM180,000 worth of scholarships from The One Academy along with the prize money. The seven other Young Artists Awards winners each received RM25,000 worth of scholarship, RM1,000 prize money and certificates of excellence.

The competition kicked off in May with thousands of hopeful young artists submitting their entries for the competition. Out of these, selected contestants were chosen to attend the On-The-Spot competitions held in Johor Bahru and Batu Pahat in Johor, Kota Bahru in Kelantan, Sibu, Kuching, Miri in Sarawak, Georgetown in Penang, Tawau and Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Ipoh in Perak and Bandar Sunway, Selangor.

Malaysia Top 10 Outstanding Young Artists Awards runs annually in collaboration with Pixar Animation Studios, in conjunction with its school holiday release, which for this year is ‘Incredibles 2’. This is in line with the theme of the competition for this year – ‘Save the World’.

The event was not all work as the family, friends and contestants who attended the ceremony got the opportunity to explore The One Academy’s Digital Art and Creative Design Expo, a public exhibit displaying a variety of impressive masterpieces from the diverse creative industry and works of graduates. The young students who participated were given a taste of the future as they were shown the multitude of career possibilities that the creative industry has to offer at the expo.

The guest of honour, Y.B. Puan Hannah Yeoh Tseow Suan, Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development officiated the awards ceremony and highlighted the importance of creative education in her speech. She said, “creative education plays an important part in ensuring an individual is developed wholesomely which is in line with the mission of the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development to integrate the perspectives of women and society into the mainstream of national development.”  She also emphasized that, “we are now in the era of creative economy which sees to various sectors such as interactive media, social media, computer & mobile games, 3D animation, film visual effects and more. It can be said that the creative industry has even transcended other giant industries. As such, there is now a need for creative educators to keep up and meet the demands of this fast-growing industry by producing talents.”

In an effort to recognize and appreciate the dedication and passion of art educators, the Distinguished Art Educator Awards was awarded to the teachers who helped nurture the Top 10 winners. The art teacher of the Gold winner, Ms. Cheng Yeow Chye was given RM1,000 as a token for her efforts. This year, the Art Educator Lifetime Achievement Award went to Mr. Koh Ping Yap from the Kluang Chong Hwa High School who has been teaching art for the past 29 years during which he received numerous accolades and awards for his achievements in the art industry. Mr. Leong Hoy Yoke, the Managing Director of The One Academy Penang was also conferred the award as a token of appreciation for his hard work and contribution to the art industry for the past 20 years.

The awards ceremony also celebrated 10 inspiring individuals who have taken the creative industry by storm since graduating from The One Academy. The Malaysia Top 10 Creative Youth Awards was awarded to Dayang Nur Afizah, the co-founder and designer of Machineast Pte. Ltd., Singapore; Lim Jun Yuen, CEO of Mossery in Kuala Lumpur; Khoo Boon Tiong, Art & Certificate Course Head at The One Academy, Selangor; Charles Loke Chee Kin, the founder and creative director at Mode Interior Style, Selangor; Steve Chong Tek Loong, Assistant 2D Supervisor at Tau Films, Selangor; Koh Cheng Kuan, Deputy Head of the Fine Arts Departments at The One Academy, Selangor; Theo Loi Fui Teng, Senior Designer at DS Space Design Studio, Shanghai; Ng Wei Ling, Chief Creative Officer at Blinkware Technology, Selangor; Kevin Lai Han Wen, Production Manager at Lemon Sky, Selangor and Phang Jin Jo, environmental technical director at MPC Films, Montreal.

To date, Malaysia Top 10 Outstanding Young Artists Awards has given out more than RM16.2 million worth of scholarships to deserving talented individuals all over Malaysia. Currently in its 21st year, this art competition brings out the best and most talented young artists and nurtures them to help lead them to success.

Malaysia Top 10 Outstanding Young Artists Awards will still hold steadfast to its mission to discover new young talents. Those who want to establish a career in the creative industry can pursue their studies at The One Academy, one of the leading creative institutions in the country, who continues to nurture its students passionately through its ‘Masters Train Masters’ coaching philosophy by providing diploma and degree courses namely Advertising & Graphic Design, Interior Architecture & Design, Digital Animation with Game Development, Digital Media Design, Illustration, Movie & Game Art, Film Visual Effects, Fine Arts and ESMOD Fashion Design & Pattern Making. For further enquiries, contact The One Academy at 03-5637 5510, email enquiry@toa.edu.my or visit www.toa.edu.my for more information.

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01: Contestants hard at work preparing their art pieces
02: Y.B. Puan Hannah Yeoh examining the work of students, looking on is Mr. Tatsun Hoi, Principal and Founder of The One Academy
03: The recipients of the the Malaysia Top 10 Creative Youth Awards taking a group photo with Y.B. Puan Hannah Yeoh and Mr. Tatsun Hoi
04: The winner of the Gold award Lee Ling Feng from Penang posing with Mr. Tatsun Hoi after receiving his award and prize
05: The Top 10 winners of the Malaysia Top 10 Outstanding Young Artists Awards posing with Y.B. Puan Hannah Yeoh and Mr. Tatsun Hoi for a group photo
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Bringing the Outside, In.

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The One Academy has recently launched its ID Week 2018 and to commemorate the special event which took place in Hall 4, TGV Cinema at Sunway Pyramid, two industry experts were invited to share on some of the themes and workings of the interior design industry. The guests were Desmond Ho of Terra Gardens and Pua Chin Eng from Landart Designs. Both these men have many years of experience in the field of interior design and landscape architecture.

The theme for ID Week this time was ID Inside Out and it focused on emphasising the relationship between interior design and landscape. Nowadays, more and more installations of greenery is seen indoors through vertical gardens, green roofs and more. Although still relatively new, these works of interior design is bringing us one step closer to bridging the gap between the outdoors and indoors.

Desmond Ho from Terra Garden is the creator of the famous Neo Nusantara, a Malaysian garden concept created with the addition of Malaysian culture in the design and motifs in the elements within it. Hailing from Malacca, he draws inspiration for his work from his childhood memories of growing up in the midst of nature and all its beauty.  He emphasizes the full use of nature and the five senses in both interior and landscape design. He states that “if you can stimulate the five senses at the same place and at the same time, that is guaranteed pleasure”. All of Desmond’s designs strive for this by incorporating components into his design that appeal to sound, sight, smell, touch and taste.

The Neo Nusantara concept is hugely popular across the nation and has even made various appearances overseas in Ireland, United Kingdom, Switzerland, France, Australia and New Zealand. In line with Desmond Ho’s vision to create an identity for Malaysian gardens that is as easily recognized as Japanese Zen gardens and Balinese gardens, the designs featured in Neo Nusantara includes lattice designed after kain pelikat, benches inspired by the pangkin and light features modelled after the jantung pisang. He aims to ‘bring indoor comfort right to the parameter of nature’s beauty’.

Pua Chin Eng is the managing director of Landart Design, an international award-winning landscape architecture firm based in Penang and Kuala Lumpur. His firm is well known for their immaculate use of space and also interior landscaping designs. They have worked with many clients from all over the world including Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and Abu Dhabi. Some of Landart Design’s local projects include Legenda@Southbay in Penang, Cybersouth Central Park in Sepang, Azelia Residence in Sri Damansara, the Gurney Roundabout in Penang and Sentral Green in Penang.

Eng spoke about the importance of borrowing the view of the landscape from outside of the building to complete the interior design. The example given was an infinity pool set at an elevated level which makes it seem as if it is extending beyond the building and into the forest line beyond it. When someone is relaxing by the pool, they are greeted with a magnificent view of the lush forest just beyond, they are experiencing the great outdoors whilst enjoying the comfort of indoors. He also stated about the importance of replenishing the greenery that was taken down during the building process. “Interior and landscape cannot be separated, it should be one entity”. He also mentioned that as a designer, it is important to extend the drawing line beyond the building. “When you draw your design outside your boundary, you will feel more free flow” he quipped.

Some advice the duo gave the students was to know your craft like the back of your hand. Caring and maintenance for plants, especially indoors, is not easy and this is what puts off most people from bringing greenery into their living spaces. However, “a good interior designer who has adequate knowledge will be able to shift the client’s negative paradigm to positive by highlighting the many benefits that come with it” said Desmond Ho. One is only able to convince others if they possess adequate knowledge on the subject.

“Consumers nowadays do not only want aesthetics, they also want to know the health benefits, the feng shui that come with it” said Eng when asked about meeting client’s needs. Both agreed that the world of interior design and landscape architecture is bright and in order to excel in it, the designers must adapt to the era that they live in. Dr. Eric Leong, the head of the Interior Architecture and Design School at The One Academy, also emphasised on the importance of having passion in your work as that is what leads to success. As times change, functionality and design changes, but regardless designers should be confident in what they do and work with passion, be it in interior, exterior or blurring the lines between both.  

Photo captions:-

01: Desmond Ho of Terra Gardens receiving a token of appreciation for his sharing
02: Pua Chin Eng of Landart Designs receiving a token of appreciation for his sharing
03: Pua Chin Eng, Desmond Ho and Dr. Eric Leong answering questions from students
04: The guests elaborating about the future of landscaping
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Reaching For the Rainbow through Graphic Design

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Hailing from Sabah, Dayang Nur Afizah started to display an interest in all things design from a very young age. She enrolled in a Diploma in Multimedia Design course at The One Academy, following which she furthered her studies to the University of Wanganui. Upon graduating, she worked with several well-known boutique design firms before branching out and starting her own design company. Machineast, a graphic design firm based in Singapore, which she co-founded with her partner and husband Rezaliando, has gained momentum over the years landing them the opportunity to work with several big clients such as Nike, Uniqlo, IBM, Ubisoft, ESPN, FOX Sports, HBO, BBC, Disney, and TIME magazine.

Recently, The One Academy presented ‘Fizah’ with an award to congratulate her on her success in the line of graphic design. The Malaysia Top 10 Creative Youth Award is a prestigious recognition for individuals who have attained outstanding achievements in the field of creativity. The recipients of this award consist of graduates and alumni of The One Academy who have flourished in the industry they have set foot into. To commemorate the award, Fizah was invited to the The One Academy to conduct a sharing session with the students here about her journey and milestones.

Her talk ‘Designing Happiness’ shed light on many topics such as her avid interest in design, what motivates her to perform her best, the challenges she faced on this journey and more. She also used this opportunity to advise the students on how to make the most out of their years and kick-start their careers. Fizah shared with the attendees about how the popular PC game ‘Catz 4’ inspired her to explore the world of design. She joked that “although I am an adult now, I still play that game every now and then.”

She addressed her fear of flying to the crowd and spoke about how for a long time it hindered her ability to travel. She revealed that although it is still something that she experiences, she deals with it through calligraphy and lettering. “I take out a piece of paper and pen and I start doodling. It helps me to relax and takes my mind off things”, she said. Her whimsical and creative lettering style was incorporated into her recent venture with Marina Bay Sands’ Christmas advert. She also noted that by doing this, she was able to get out of her comfort zone and bring her craft to other parts of the world. To date, she has conducted various talks, exhibitions and seminars in many international locations such as India, Manila and Spain.

Fizah emphasised on the importance of getting inspiration from anywhere and everywhere. She explained that she does not need to travel far for inspiration as it can be found in her own hometown. Inspired by the zinc roofing of the traditional homes in Malaysia, she created an iridescent themed design which emulated the roof but played with various colours, tones and shades. This design was soon picked up and licenced to IBM to be used in various collaterals. The iridescent design accentuated with rainbow hues is a personal favourite of Fizah as she exclaimed “I absolutely love all things rainbow!”

She concluded the event by giving some words of wisdom to the participants of the session. She stressed on the importance of having a minimum of three ideas when pitching designs to a client. “Your first design should be something fun and crazy whereas the second design is the one where you play it safe. The third one should be done exactly according to the client’s brief. When you are explaining each design, emphasis on what made you go with the one that inspires you even if it does not necessarily follow the brief. The client may be more satisfied with that”, she addressed. Whenever meeting the client, even if it is the first time, bring along a pen and paper to sketch for the on-the-spot. This would help them see the design that you are visualising in your mind.

The students who attended the sharing truly enjoyed every bit of it as the information they received was useful as much as it was entertaining. Fizah is an excellent example of what is possible when you choose to pursue a career you love with passion.

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Photo 01: Fizah’s iridescent artwork inspired by zinc roofs
Photo 02: Machineast’s work with Marina Bay Sands’ Christmas Advert
Photo 03: Dayang Nur Afizah receiving a token of appreciation for her sharing
Photo 04: The attendees of the session taking a group photo with Dayang Nur Afizah
Photo 05: Dayang Nur Afizah, the co-founder and designer of Machineast
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Never Too Late to Pursue the Dream

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The Interior Design students of The One Academy played audience to the Professional Insightful Sharing Session 2018 (P.I.S.S.), hosted by Dr. Eric Leong – Department Head of Interior Architecture & Design and featuring the invited speaker, Theo Loi Fui Teng – Senior Interior Designer at DS Design Studio in Shanghai. Theo, who is the academy’s Interior Architecture & Design graduate of 2014, shared his journey from studying to working and insight into the industry, as a senior and to impart inspiration to soon-to-graduate juniors.

The 28-year-old Theo made a trip back here from Shanghai as he has been nominated as a recipient of the Malaysia Top 10 Outstanding Creative Youth Awards 2018 in an award presentation ceremony that took place at Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre (SPCC). The award is a prestigious recognition of graduates who have attained outstanding achievements in the creative fields.

He had three years of Accountancy background before deciding that it wasn’t for him. He still liked the creative side and wanted to pursue design. Therefore, he enrolled at The One Academy and said that it was the best next three years of his life, making Dr. Eric and the teaching staff in the audience feel motivated and appreciated. He had no qualms about the time wasted in changing courses, saying that everyone has their own journey and story, and it is never too late to do something you want.

After graduating from The One Academy, he interned for a year at Inner View Pte Ltd in Singapore before furthering his degree studies at the University for the Creative Arts in Canterbury, UK. Since then, he has been working for almost two years at DS Design Studio in Shanghai, as a senior interior designer who leads a tight-knit team of 3D artists, drafter and pencil assistant.

Prior to working as a designer, he had already started branding himself early on, sharing that it is very important for every designer to brand and showcase themselves. Personal branding requires a good upkeep of appearance and attitude because it reflects on the designer and how they carry themselves.

“Excite the industry, inspire the next generation,” is the motto which he upholds till today, in his aim to always come up with something that excites the clients, consumers and stimulate the whole industry. To him, design is all about sharing his work, ideas and concepts, that leads to inspiring the next generation.

“The more you see, the more you know. Because knowledge is more than what you see in reference books and on the internet,” he said about his interest in travelling, but insisted that one does not necessarily need to travel far to get inspired. He suggested to take pictures of details that one might find interesting. He also loves sketching, and asserts that sketching is a raw form of expression that comes from the designer’s heart, mind and hand.

Primarily working on commercial designs in Shanghai, he expressed that he was initially shocked by the working culture there as compared to Malaysia. Time management and work ethics are crucial as the Chinese clients value time highly, and a person is judged by their punctuality. However, he maintains that it was a very good learning experience, because “you will only succeed when you work under pressure. Once you’ve adapted and overcome the challenges, nothing will stop you.”

As a designer, it is of utmost importance to make the visuals beautiful and come to life. To achieve that, one needs to have experience and a deep understanding of materials. He stressed on the significance of materials because regardless of how beautiful a design looks, the materials used will either make or break it. The best way to design a great space is to study the client’s product and work the environment to suit it, because a store’s design is as important as the products in it. His vision when it comes to design, is to revisit ideas and trends because design today sees more and more past trends revisiting – citing an example of Terrazo tiles.

He has worked on projects in various parts of China, namely Shanghai, Suzhou, Wuxi, Taixin, Shenzhen, Beijing, Chong Qing, Kunming, Chengdu, Xi’an, Jiu Quan and also in Melbourne. Some of these projects include developing the Suning Mall train station entrance, F&B interior design for the Instagram-worthy Grosfairy cupcake and popular Dong Lai Shun Hot Pot Restaurant, rebranding and bringing Australia’s popular smoothie and juice brand Feeling Fruity to Shanghai, and designing an entire store for ZOWOO - a wood workshop brand founded in Shanghai.

“Do more, do it better. Fail, fail better,” is another motto of his, explaining that the more one does, the better they get, and to keep trying until they find the way.

Photo captions:-

Photo 01: Theo Loi Fui Teng (right) with Dr. Eric Leong, The One Academy’s Head of Interior Architecture & Design Department.
Photo 02: Theo sharing his journey with the audience.
Photo 03: Theo is a recipient of the Malaysia Top 10 Outstanding Creative Youth Award of 2018.
Photo 04: Theo, Dr. Eric, teaching staff and the students take a group picture after the successful sharing.
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Right Solutions to the Right Problems

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The students of Multimedia Design with Digital Media & Interactive Design were recently engaged in an “Experience Design Workshop” by Alexander Cheah Hon Keong – Vice President & Experience Designer for Customer Experience at OCBC Bank with over 12 years of working experience in Malaysia and New Zealand. During his two-day workshop, Alex, who is an alumnus of The One Academy’s School of Multimedia Design, presented on the components of UI/UX and the importance of finding the right problems to solve.

Alex, who has UX design experience across different disciplines and has worked with many digital advertising agencies, consumer products and currently in banking, was able to share insights with students on designing products and services. He continued his studies in New Zealand, where Cheang Lin Yew – The One Academy’s Digital Media & Interactive Media Course Director was teaching in back then.

Coming back to home soil after working in New Zealand for 7 years, he noticed a lack of understanding for users and audience especially in advertising. Oftentimes, a work is created because it looks nice or cool. However, whether or not it caters to the needs of people is often overlooked because very little research was done. After all, all the products out there, especially telecommunications, offer the same things such as unlimited calls and data. But, the factors that make customers choose one over the other is the service that they provide and the experience that can be obtained from them.

He questioned the students on what is design, and what does it mean to them; plucking a quote from Steve Jobs, “Design is not just how it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works,” explaining that design is actually about communication and how to approach someone to solve their problems. The typical process that goes through a design starts with getting a brief – try to understand and hypothesise the problem. Then comes ideating, sketching and brainstorming for solutions. After that, create, build and launch it.

“A brilliant solution to the wrong problem can be worse than no solution at all: solve the correct problem,” he quotes Don Norman, author of the book ‘The Design of Everyday Things’.

Experience design is about adding value and solving the right problems by keeping the user in center of the design process. At the end of the day, fixing the right problems is actually far more important than just fixing it. Thus, user research is about finding the right problem to solve.

An example is the ‘slow elevator problem’, where the obvious solutions are to install a new lift, upgrade the motor or improve the algorithm. However, when probed deeper and asking the why’s, the problem stems from finding the wait annoying. Thus, other easier and more sustainable alternative solutions can be to put up mirrors, play music or install Wi-Fi to make the wait bearable.

He shares that many designers find user research intimidating because of the many processes involved. But it’s not that complicated and intimidating, because the task is to solve daily, routine things. UX Research is about being inquisitive, asking questions, and then following a systematic process to find answers. Instead of being a scientist, be a detective; by asking, testing and observing.

“You don’t just fix a problem; you must know what is the right problem to fix. Because there are tons of problems in this world to fix, but finding the right one is the trick,” he shares while adding that insight is important in finding the right problems to solve.

Students were divided into groups and tasked with proposing a customer interview framework to be presented on the second session of the workshop a week later. The interview framework consists of – identify, plan, set up, interview and debrief. By the end of the workshop, they learned not only how to design a good framework, but also honed their communication skills.

Photo captions:-

Photo 01: Alexander Cheah shares his experience in the “Experience Design Workshop”
Photo 02: Students having fun while planning their group project
Photo 03: Alex and the students take a group photo at the end of the fruitful workshop
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Hollywood Comic Artist David H. Ross Shares His Comic Journey

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Nowadays, we have throngs of fans who wait impatiently for the release of the next Marvel, DC or Star Wars movie. There are those who analyze trailers second by second, frame by frame in search of ‘Easter eggs’ and there are those who know the entire origin story of each character well enough to come up with mind-blowing fan theories. But before these movies are filmed, released and take over the box office, they all began from a comic.

Comics have been around for a long time and to this day are still bought and read by many. The methods of producing a comic has changed with the times and technology has eased the production process of it. However, the essence of freehand drawing and designing characters for comics is not lost and is considered an art form in itself. To commemorate the release of his book ‘Freehand Figure Drawing for Illustrators’, renowned Hollywood comic-artist David H. Ross was invited to The One Academy in Subang Jaya to share his inspiring journey as well as impart some knowledge about illustration to the students and lecturers here. He spent three days at The One Academy conducting a workshop for both lecturers and students and he concluded his visit with a three hour long sharing session. Besides his talent at drawing breathtaking comics, his passion for teaching and generosity in sharing his knowledge was very clearly seen through this event.

Ross has worked with has worked with Marvel Comics, DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics amongst other major North American comic book publishers. Besides that, he has also produced storyboards for feature films, prepared artwork and advised on special projects for TV. His sharing session, ‘My Comic Journey’ highlighted his road to becoming the artist he is today, the challenges he faced when starting out as well as key pointers on how to nail freehand figure drawing. Attendees were treated to a live demonstration by Ross as he elaborated on his technique and skills.

“One of the hardest things to do in drawing is to start with the head, it is hard to make it seamless with the shoulder area, most of the time it is required to go back and redraw and redraw the neck and the shoulder area”, said Ross as he advised students to start drawing the body of the figure to establish a natural flow and line to it before tackling the head and facial features the last. He also explained that it is important to incorporate actual parts of the human anatomy, like the deltoids, when drawing the first sketch as it will help “to lock down some of the natural landmarks of the body to understand the movement”.

When speaking about his role as a comic-artist or a penciler, he reminded the participants that in comic, you are given the task of manifesting 3D characters via a 2D medium. “We are all just illusionists, everything we do when doing our artwork is to create the illusion of 3D depth in a flat piece of paper. Shading, depth and cross-contouring helps to bring the illusion to reality”, said Ross He also stressed on the importance of knowing how to draw a multitude of subjects, as a comic-artists, one is expected to draw not only the characters but also the scenery, convincing city-scape, jungle scenes, fire, smoke, lightning, mist, and heavy rain. “You have to draw people with all of their dramatic over the top action, you have to be able to draw very quiet scenes and restaurants. It has all got to be convincing.”

His top advice to the students was to get their work shown to publishers, editors and anyone else who is big in the creative field. He highlighted the convenience that social media brings in terms of being able to put their work out there and also making the right connections, all of which were not so simple last time. “When you get a chance to see and meet people in the industry in all the different areas, pick their brains and don’t be shy. You will find that they are very friendly, very accessible and more than willing to share information with you. And if you can get them to look at your work and give you some useful tips, that’s great, that’s like gold. By all means, seek those people”, he concluded.

Although the digital era has simplified the means of creating and producing comics, it has also diminished the number of those who do it freehand. “Digital drawing is easier, but picking up the pencil and putting it to paper and creating something is beyond amazing, I want many people to know how that feels”, he said when asked about the aim of publishing his book. Ross’s book, which has been translated and sold in 3 different languages so far aims to educate the current generation and give them the opportunity to feel the same way. 

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Photo 01: David H. Ross receiving his token of appreciation
Photo 02: David H. Ross elaborating on some of his artwork in the comics he drew
Photo 03: Students getting their copy of “Freehand Figure Drawing for Illustrators” signed by David H. Ross
Photo 04: The attendees of the event posing for a group photo with David H. Ross
Photo 05: Ross explaining how to draw certain poses to a student
Photo 06: David H. Ross doing a step-by-step demo of comic illustration for the attendees
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An Eye ‘Fer’ Design

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A graduate of The One Academy’s School of Advertising & Graphic Design, Nadine Fer had recently paid a visit and gave a casual yet inspiring sharing session titled “Eyes to Advertise” to fellow advertising students. She had a chat about passion, strengths, and the working culture in Malaysia and overseas. Currently working as a graphic designer at adam&eveDDB in London, she also gave pointers on how to prepare for employment after graduating.

Nadine, who is of mixed parentage – a Swiss father and Malaysian mother, did her internship in Switzerland as a watch designer, translating designs from paper into the laser machine. She then returned to home soil and worked for one of the biggest ad agencies in Malaysia at that time. While working there, she had a clearer view of what she wanted to do.

She asked the students about their dreams and aspirations, the reason why they are pursuing advertising and whether they thought to work in advertising or graphic design. She reminisced that she was once lost and unsure like them too. Coming back from Switzerland after a job that she did not particularly enjoy, she took a year off to find her feet and did rock climbing often. She advises them to take their time to find their direction, and to take a break if needed.

She also encouraged the soon-to-graduate students and future job seekers to prepare their portfolios and make hardcopies of them to drop off at the reception of companies. Then, send a self-introduction email, saying that they have dropped a portfolio accompanied by the reason why they would like to work with the company. Also, do some research on the employer and interviewer to gauge what interests them and how to connect with them. She also tells students to always show perseverance while keeping a humble personality.

She recounted her experience of trying to get a job after graduating from university, saying it was really hard to get their attention on why they should hire her. At first, she prepared softcopies of her portfolios and sent it to recruiting agencies, but had a feeling that they were all going into the black hole because there were no responses. She thought of what to do next and carefully targeted the companies that she was interested in. She was struck with the idea of making an attention-grabbing video introducing herself with all her works. She then bought lots of donuts and designed her own donut packaging to be delivered to companies. She incorporated the box with her life principle in designing – ‘Go nuts, do nuts, with donuts’. That warranted her responses from a few companies, who praised her clever idea and called her in for interviews.

She related that working was tough at first. College experience was very different from the working world. When studying, students are asked to build one logo and then work and progress on that logo. Whereas in a company, designers are asked to churn and produce hundreds and thousands of logos, which is good because when working, they would want to progress to be a good designer, and all that practice will benefit them.

“Whenever a project comes your way, take it as an opportunity to flaunt your skills and show them how much you’re willing to work and be able to work with others as well. Because when you’re in the advertising industry, you’re not working by yourself or for yourself, but for your clients,” she urged.

She realised that with The One Academy’s specialisation, its students excel at being able to produce work in large amounts and with precision. All the training in portrait design and marker rendering is something that is not seen elsewhere. So, in a sense, The One Academy trains its students to be machines, which does great at preparing them for working in the industry.

She compiled a few projects to show the grand scheme of what happens during the production of a campaign, which includes Marmite – package redesign for an experiment with a gene research company to find out why some people love or hate it; Project 84: CALM – designing a typography logo for an awareness raising campaign on male suicide in the UK; and Great Western Railway (GWR) – a campaign on telling the story of an adventure with the railway company, in collaboration with the children’s book author Enid Blyton’s ‘The Famous Five’.

“What makes you stand out and able to climb the ladder, is that you take that extra effort into putting an extra amount of work,” she said, adding that perseverance is the key to getting to the destination.

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Photo 01: Nadine Fer is currently living and working in London, as a graphic designer for adam&eveDDB.
Photo 02: Nadine shared about perseverance and the right attitude to have when working.
Photo 03: Nadine received a token of appreciation from Debbie Chin, Deputy Head of Advertising & Graphic Design at The One Academy.
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Expressing Gratitude for a Lifetime of Service

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The One Academy had recently conferred the Malaysia Art Educator Lifetime Achievement Awards to two highly respected individuals who are dedicated and passionate about art education. The award is divided into two stages, namely secondary education and tertiary education. The recipients of the award were highly motivated individuals who go above and beyond their role as educators to bridge the gap between the younger generation and art. This award is conferred as a gesture of gratitude and appreciation of the tireless effort that the educators have put in to create artistic young minds time and time again.

In the secondary education category, the award was presented to Mr. Koh Ping Yap who is presently the Art Advisor at Kluang Chong Hwa High School. Having an extensive 29 years of teaching experience to date, he was the 6th graduate of the Kuala Lumpur College of Arts and obtained a Diploma in Arts and Design from there in the year 1975. Following that, he then continued pursuing his education and obtained a Degree in Fine Arts from the Inter American University in the United States. Having a solid education in the arts, he has went on to participate in numerous local and international art exhibitions. Some of which took place in countries such as Singapore, China, Taiwan, Korea, Canada, Thailand, United Kingdom and more.

His love for all things art had given him the opportunity to receive many awards and accolades for his achievements in the field. Among these is the Excellence Award in the 2nd Newcomer Chinese Ink Painting Award in 1982. In 1986, he was the recipient of the Johor Art Exhibition Chinese Ink Painting Merit Award.  A year later, in 1987, he received the Johor Watercolour Art Competition Merit Award. He also received an award in the National Calligraphy Competition in 2006. Mr. Koh Ping Yap is a true testament to the saying that education never ends. The One Academy presented him with the award as a token of appreciation for all his hard work and dedication throughout the years.

The tertiary category was awarded to Mr. Leong Hoy Yoke, the current Managing Director of The One Academy Penang. He graduated from The One Academy’s School of Illustration in 1995. Having a flair for art, he was invited to lecture at the academy soon after completing his studies, and his talent was soon discovered by Hong Kong’s master comic’s illustrator and publisher Ma Wing Shing of the Storm Riders comic’s fame. He was subsequently commissioned to paint many covers and posters for the world’s top-selling comic book – Storm Riders. He then went on to China in 2001 to take on the role of the Art Director of HySky Ltd. Today, The One Academy is proud to have him educating young minds at the Penang campus.

Both these amazing individual have shared their decades of experience, wisdom and knowledge to the young generation, directly contributing to the education field and creative industry by nurturing countless successful creative students. It is our hope that these awards will help inspire and spur on other art educators all over to continue doing what they do best and produce artistic talents that will go on to take the creative world by storm.

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Photo 01: Leong Hoy Yoke, recipient of the Art Educator Lifetime Achievement Award
Photo 02: Leong Hoy Yoke receiving his award and certificate from Principal Tatsun Hoi and YB Puan Hannah Yeoh
Photo 03: Koh Ping Yap posing with his fellow students
Photo 04: Koh Ping Yap and students take a picture next to their handiwork
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Stumbling into Copywriting; and Loving It

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The One Academy recently played host to a Master Forum by Hex Ng He Xiang – Creative Group Head at TBWA\Kuala Lumpur, titled ‘Stumbling onto Advertising: How Jobs Choose You’. Since graduating from The One Academy’s School of Advertising & Graphic Design in 2006, she has worked at Bates, Lowe, Leo Burnett, VLT, Grab and now at TBWA\. As a graphic designer turned copywriter, she has created effective work for brands such as Petronas, IKEA, Maxis, BMW, Astro, McDonald’s and Samsung. Her talk centered on her discovery of something she really loved, and how it developed from there.

For this talk that she was invited to give, she tried to remember what it was like to be the ones sitting in the audience, as a student she once was. She recalled that at one point, there was a sense of panic while figuring out what she wanted to do after finishing her studies. As she was studying, she discovered that she really liked copywriting. She also shared little stories about her adventure in advertising over the past 11 years.

She said that one can plan anything and everything that they want to do, as planning is important in order to progress somewhere. But at the same time, luck and timing also add to the equation. So, one just has to be open-minded about their destination in the future. Always plan with an open mind, because nothing is set in stone. Keeping an open mind lets you discover the many different areas that you could go into.

She had a plan that went the other way, but it was okay with her because it actually turned out great, and that led her to stumble into advertising. She had a specific plan to do packaging design, but soon discovered that there are multiple facets in advertising. That was when she met and fell in love with copywriting, which is writing in advertising. She then focused more on marketing and advertising-related classes instead of design which she realised was not her strength.

“But it doesn’t mean that all your other classes don’t matter. All classes matter, because every class will teach you something different that you will eventually need to use when you start working. You might not discover it now, but you will as you go along,” she added.

There were two very influential people in the industry whom Hex really wanted to learn from; they were Jeff Orr of TBWA\ and Yasmin Ahmad of Leo Burnett. As she was deciding on which job offer to take, the news of Yasmin Ahmad’s passing came. It should have been a clear choice to go to TBWA\, but up until today, she had no logical explanation as to why her gut told her to pick Leo Burnett. The company was a mess after the passing of their creative director, but that was when she saw many opportunities because someone had to pick up the mess.

“As a creative, your gut really plays a very big role. Without gut feelings, a lot of things could go wrong. You have to trust and train your gut feel,” shared Hex.

It was at Leo Burnett, under new executive creative director Eric Cruz, that she discovered her love for digital work. She liked the ability to mash tradition and culture with digital to make something new. Her big break came when her script was picked out of the many submissions for a Petronas festive ad. The idea that she came up with was about the resilience of Chinese people around the world. She wrote the script to include Belgium, London, India, China, Thailand and Malaysia, not actually knowing that it would be picked. Five days later, she was on a plane to shoot the film in aforementioned countries for 21 days.

“Mistakes are inevitable. It’s common to make mistakes, but make it fast and get out fast. Don’t linger, because it doesn’t benefit anybody,” she said of her brief experience at Grab, while it was a great place to work at, it did not fit what she wanted to do at that time.

That led her to join the agency where she is today, accompanied by a leadership role. She is now shouldering more responsibilities, working for TBWA\ and its collectives, Creative Juice\ and DAN (Digital Arts Network) simultaneously. While it is not easy, it is interesting at the same time. She learned how to plan her work effectively so that she has time to be creative. Her team now leads U Mobile and Nando’s – two of their biggest and most challenging clients.

She shared that one has to be flexible with their plans and surroundings. She assured them that their journey in the industry will definitely be interesting and challenging. Be kind and nice to everybody, because there is no such thing as working alone in this industry. All in all, Hex’s advices left the students with a clearer understanding of the advertising industry.

“If you go through a difficult phase, it’s not always the worst thing that could happen to you. It could be an opportunity. You just need to know how to turn it around,” Hex concluded.

Photo captions:-

Photo 01: Hex Ng, Creative Group Head at TBWA\, shares her career experience in the Master Forum.

Photo 02: Hex is presented with a token of appreciation by Mr. Chan Kon Loong, Deputy Course Director of Advertising & Graphic Design.

Photo 03: A group photo of Hex and the audience after the forum.

Photo 04: Students seeking Hex for advice at the end of the session.

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The One Academy X Sunway Mall SDG Public Exhibition

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The team behind the exhibition and the head of the Multimedia Design department, Cheang Lin Yew

Bringing to attention real world situations from poverty and energy saving to gender equality, Sunway Malls and The One Academy bring you experiences that have been taken for granted through four different interactive set ups. These interactions, Beyond the Garden Wall, Sexist Arm Wrestling, Mao and Lights Out were engineered and crafted by 18 students from The One Academy School of Multimedia Design as a showcase of Sunway Malls' commitment to the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals. 

Each interaction is an interpretation of these goals and a method of highlighting the need for the public to step-up and take action to ensure the goal is reached. The use of digital media to bring attention to these issues is because it is more effective and eye-catching compared to traditional methods such as posters. In addition, this project gave the students an amazing opportunity to showcase not only their creativity and skills but also their take on the issues on hand and how it can be fixed.

Beyond the Garden Wall, the brainchild of Carla Lorena Labunda, Felecia Sia Wooi Zee, Natalie Chan Wei Ann, and Tan Yong Jie, offers a glimpse into the lives of the impoverished through the personification of poverty’s cause and effects via physical items, to educate everyone about the different features of poverty in an approachable, memorable way. Attendees would be able to step into a make-shift room belonging to a victim of poverty and interact with miscellaneous items found around. Picking up an item would prompt a recording of the poverty-stricken family speaking and the attendee is momentarily transported into the scene itself. This installation aims to give the public a chance to feel what it is truly like to be living in poverty.

S.A.W aka (Sexist Arm Wrestling) is a game meant to raise awareness on gender inequality. The creators Howe Xin Yu, Ng Wen Jun, Chew Woan Shan, and Phon Wei Sing wanted to allow the public to experience a literal, exaggerated representation of the frustrating social discrimination experienced by women. The game requires two players, preferably each of the opposite sex, who control the two robotic figures in an arm-wrestling game. The players get to control their robots via buttons and controls. The game is pre-programmed to ensure the female robot wins the game each time, however the words “Male Wins” will be flashed on the screen above. This captures the daily frustrations that gender inequality brings.

Mao is an interactive flip book that tells a short story through animation and aspires to convey how minor changes to our daily lifestyle can impact the environment. This project, produced by Justin Lee Chin Yeow, Loh Weimen Rendy, Low Kok Wei, Ong Jue Heng, and Steffie Eddy, hopes to inspire the audience to take the first step to achieve overall sustainability. Attendees would be able to watch the short story and fully comprehend the effects our lifestyle has on the environment, and ultimately be motivated to adapt small changes to make a big difference.

Lights Out is an interactive installation crafted by Kraven Chew Li Shen, Meryl Lee Yen Yen, Ngoh Jin Heng, Yong Quan Yue, and Young Kai Qi and seeks to increase awareness about light pollution. It also encourages people to save energy through the simple act of switching off unused lights during night time, allowing them to appreciate the pure beauty of the starry sky. The attendees step into a dome and use the interactive buttons which progressively dim the lights until the dome is lit with beautiful stars emulating the night sky. It aims to convince the public to switch off unused lights at night, making way for the magnificent stars in the sky.

The head of the Multimedia Design Department of The One Academy, Cheang Lin Yew believes that “this project helped to create a unique user experience to the public via a cohesive integration of creativity, art, design and technology which is the core focus of the programme TOA is offering whilst also providing the students an opportunity to work on a live task and apply what they have learnt in a real project.”

Attendees were treated to a unique opportunity to not only view the exhibition, interact and understand the messages behind it but also meet the minds behind the creations as the students were present at the event. One of the attendees, Shiva, noted that “it is so great to see young minds taking an effort to address the issues of sustainability in such an interesting manner”. Many of those who visited the showcase left with more ideas on how to play their part in ensuring the world is a better place.