Quentin, Design Director, Singapore
Hi Q, thanks for taking some time to share about yourself. Tell us how you got into design.
My father used to be a photojournalist; my summer breaks were often spent developing prints in the darkroom or assisting him on assignments, so it seemed a natural progression for me to follow in his footsteps. After studying photography at university, I became inspired by graphic designers of that time such as Neville Brody and David Carson which pulled me into the world of design.
My first design role was at The Royal Opera House in London where I developed print advertising for opera and ballet productions. It was such an amazing experience to be working alongside well-known photographers including Nick Knight and Patrick Lichfield. To see others enjoying the work throughout London, I began to realise how important design was to our everyday lives and how we, as designers, had the unenviable opportunity to touch lives in a meaningful way.
What brought you to FITCH Singapore?
Before I was at FITCH, I had set up my own agency. Solutions were our strength—culture was our manifesto. When I was ready for my next step, I saw similarities in FITCH. I love working for an agency where an idea can come from anyone within the team and where creativity leads growth.
What have been your favourite projects at FITCH?
It would be Microsoft’s APAC flagship office in Singapore and Khaadi’s retail experience in Pakistan.
Microsoft was a great opportunity to work closely with the client and our 3D team to develop an engaging experience that is immersive and brand-led, using rules of retail, to be a workplace flagship for the company.
Khaadi brand refresh and retail experience in Karachi was one of our first projects partnering with Landor. Our goal was to unleash the potential of the Khaadi brand and in doing so we successfully developed a new destination that brings its new proposition of self-expression to life.
Since working in Singapore for over 20 years, what aspects of the design industry in Singapore have you noticed changing?
When I arrived in the late 90s, Singapore was an emerging market for creativity with local agencies such as Batey Ads leading the charge in brand stewardship. 10 years on, there was an influx of foreign and local brand and design consultants within the industry including my own design consultancy, Qube. We blurred the lines between advertising and design with many advertising agencies beginning to develop brand solutions beyond campaigns, and vice versa. Spurred on by government support, smaller creative hot shops also began to rise, marking an era of change in Singapore creativity, with many appearing in D&AD on an annual basis. 2010 saw a turning point with key creative leaders from larger agencies breaking out on their own. Since then, the landscape has settled, with many of the earlier start-ups either selling off, merging, or more recently closing.
Clients continue to evolve their brands and are more attuned to the importance of their customer and the journeys beyond logo or pack. In the future, I can see Landor & FITCH delivering on their client needs for extraordinary work, a mighty powerhouse ready for the post Covid-19 era.
What are your other passions when you’re not designing?
I am an avid Formula 1 fan and have been part of the Singapore GP family for over 10 years. From mentoring and teaching new recruits, to galvanising teams of marshals during race week, it is something that I am very proud to be a part of as a volunteer and continue to get a buzz during the run up to race week.
Road cycling is also a big part of my life. Some would say I am mad getting up at 5:00am on the weekend and cycling 80-100km before breakfast, but there is something about racing towards the perfect sunrise that drives you out of bed.
What advice do you have for new talent wanting to work in the creative industry?
If I was asked this at the beginning of 2020 and then again now, the answers would have been vastly different. Graduating during these times are hugely challenging for students but also a unique opportunity to embrace the abnormality that we are all facing and turn them into opportunities to shine. Things have changed, are changing and will continue to be in a state of flux for a while. If new talent are going to break out from the sea of others, they need to be brave, find opportunities in these challenging days and turn them into positives. Embrace change, be relevant, show enthusiasm and take advantage of today’s situation in any way they can.