January, 2006

47 idn creative city

As urban life in an urban metropolis moves at an accelerated velocity, we tend to overlook little delights in life and matters concerning the soul. art4soul, a collective of designers, writers and other creative professionals, believes that the power bestowed upon anyone in this industry dealing with information production should be handled responsibly. Creatives should be conscious of the cultural consequences of all information they transmit; "They should also be socially responsible individuals." says Joseph Foo, one of the founders of this collective.

Sure, everyone needs to make a living, he admits, but he feels that the world of graphic design has reached a point where designers have "lost the plot" as well as their consciences, and that success is merely equated with material rewards and big bucks. "Humankind has always been intrigues by two concerns meld and intertwine, the result is often some of the most stunning images and creations in the history of art."

IdN: Do you think design can make the world a better place?

JF: Design is a powerful communication tool. If it’s used for a good purpose and if designers create with the best interests of their audience in mind, then yes, design can help make the world a better place. Designers could offer their talent for a charitable cause; that’s a direct contribution to society. Designing a clear and effective signage system in an airport would enable people to find their way easily so they do not get stressed out in a foreign land; that’s also a way designers can make the world a better place.

IdN: Can you give us an insight into art4soul's philosophy and working process?

JF: art4soul does not have a specific working process. We initiate projects and collaborate with friends from various creative backgrounds. Since our projects are mostly self-initiated, they present to the creatives involved a lot of freedom for self-expression on the specific topic addressed.

IdN: What are you working on right now?

JF: We have just completed the “April” project. We were one of 12 designers invited by Milkxhake of Hong Kong to design a visual diary for a project commissioned by Antalis. Being the fourth month of the year, we chose to address the issue of death because the word “four” in Chinese sounds like “death”. Our objective here is to encourage people to accept death as a natural part of life and not perceive it as a taboo; to be motivated by it to live life to the fullest. We are also preparing for the sequel to “Man + God”, art4soul’s first project.

IdN: What do you think is special about design in Malaysia?

JF: Most design work produced in Malaysia today, like everywhere else, has a “globalised” look. Nevertheless, the rich, colourful culture and heritage of our multi-racial society, though not evident in the styling and execution of our work, shape our character to be considerate and respectful communicators and are, indeed, a source of inspiration for ideas.

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