Roxanne Pang Qian Hui

Good design conveys your message effectively.
Discover SIM GE GOOD DESIGN is powerful; it can convey your message effectively and create the desired impact on the viewer. This is unlike art which is personal to the artist and does not necessarily have meaning or message, says Roxanne Pang Qian Hui (picture above), as she catches a breather from painting a wall outside the K-Box karaoke lounge at the SAFRA Toa Payoh club. The 21-year-old, spotting a stylish red hat and a flower-print sun dress, graduated recently with a Bachelor of Design (Communication Design) from SIM-RMIT University. Together with six other fellow Design graduates, they’re producing a wall mural at the karaoke lounge. “We’ve just completed another similar wall mural project at 18 Chefs restaurant in Nex shopping mall,” Roxanne says. The K-Box project is expected to take a month, from concept sketch to client’s approval and final paint work. Roxanne’s role is that of gatekeeper - to ensure that the concept developed by her team matched the need of the client. Roxanne herself has also completed several freelance design assignments - a milk packaging product for a China food manufacturer, a photo wall and stage backdrop for SingTel’s dinner & dance event, and an e-newsletter for a telecom networking firm. But can design work make for a sustainable career? “I’m not sure,” Roxanne admits. “I’m now doing it because I’m deeply interesting in design.” That explains why she took up the RMIT degree course. It wasn’t all classroom learning, she says. “We went to a primary school to teach art and craft to 10-year-old’s for a month. We showed the kids how to make toys from discarded paper, ice cream sticks and paper plates. “As part of the curriculum, we also spent two weeks in Melbourne with Australian students studying the same degree programme there. Just like us in Singapore, the students in Melbourne city also have a graduation exhibition and it took place when we were there. We got the opportunity to see their handiwork and I noticed that the exhibits were individual-centred, based on how the artist herself sees and feels, not what an outside client or corporation wants. This is different from Singapore students who are more rigid in their design, and more ‘corporate’ in concept.” In the Melbourne trip, the Singapore students visited arts events, explored recondite corners of the leisurely city, and felt the cultural pulse of the leisurely city. “We noticed, for instance, that Melbourne folks have a strong coffee culture. They know their coffee beans well and the kind of brew they are drinking, not just some homogenised latte from a machine,” Roxanne adds. Chinese proficiency The chirpy girl with ambition writ large on her expressive eyes, wants to be more than a designer. Before she enrolled in 2013 in the one-year design course at RMIT, she has already completed a three-year Diploma in Chinese Media and Communication programme at a local polytechnic adjacent to the SIM campus. She explains that the phrase, “Chinese Media” in the diploma name actually means the entire course was conducted mostly in Chinese. “We wrote press releases in Chinese, we helped produce movies in Chinese, and we listened to lectures in Chinese,” she adds. There are few media graduates in Singapore who have this training in Chinese media, hence her qualifications plus the fact that she herself communicates fluently in English gives her a double advantage in the media job market. But how did she acquire a working proficiency in Chinese to be able to qualify for the Chinese Media diploma course? “In Primary and Secondary school years, I wasn’t good in Chinese, having gotten at most a C6 grade. But during Secondary 3, I suddenly had the urge to excel in Chinese and I began to drill myself intensively in the language. As a result, I got an A1 in Mother Tongue in my ‘O’ level exams!” Similarly when she enrolled in the RMIT BA course, she knew very little about Design. Now she knows the subject well, including abstruse sub-topics such as Semiotics, the science of signs and symbols. Semiotics is a powerful tool to apply in conceptualising and designing advertising and other communication initiatives. Without Semiotics, the message becomes incoherent and irrelevant to the audience. The next phase in her career vision is to go into film-making. Roxanne hopes to attend the New York Film Academy, a film and acting school in the Big Apple itself. A grounding in media and design would definitely be valuable in films, she says. Roxanne and the other RMIT Design graduates racing against time to finish the wall mural before the karaoke lounge opens At the graduation exhibition in June 2014, Roxanne’s “Mail Me” handiwork intrigues visitors - Interviewed and posted online, 8 August 2014