Risk-Taking Projects


In the May 2011 issue of HOW, Terry Lee Stone layed out a four-phase approach to winning clients over with innovative ideas tied to sound business strategies. Following are two case studies of projects that involved calculated risks and big payoffs.

Asylum Creative Pte Ltd.

Project: TripleOne Somerset Brochure


About Asylum

Asylum is a Singapore-based creative company engaged in a range of activities—a design studio, a retail store, a workshop and a record label. Since its inception in 1999, Asylum has worked on cross-disciplinary projects, including interactive design, product development, environment and interior design, packaging, apparel design, branding and graphic design. Creative director Chris Lee and his team have a taste for the experimental, whether it’s in their commercial work done for clients, or their own self-initiated projects. Asylum’s perspective is both local and global. “Singapore creativity is increasingly being sought after internationally, as our sensibility and design are highly exportable,” Lee explains. “Coming from a multicultural environment, our work touches upon certain basic human emotions that can communicate across cultures.”


About the Project

More than just a collection of exciting shops, TripleOne Somerset (Chinese: ??????? ) is a new destination dedicated to smart, worldly living. The high-rise commercial building and shopping mall complex is located on Somerset Road in Orchard, Singapore, the entertainment and retail hub of this Asian city/state. Emphasizing quality and design, its merchandise mix possesses a progressive international perspective. “Reflecting such diversity, we used a myriad of colors in our brochure design to capture the new shades of this retail experience,” Lee explains. “Accompanying the dynamism of the latter, we created a distinctive numeric logo using the address of the mall, discerning itself from others within the vicinity.”

 The idea of diversity is also exhibited in the risky typography used in the brochure. A variety of fonts, from square serifs to gracefully curving swashes, are used to compose headlines. Die cut letterforms reveal color fields on adjacent pages, while some of the headline typography is set extra boldly to bleed right off the edges of the page. All work together with black-and-white photographic imagery to create a vibrant, exciting tension that reflects both TripleOne Somerset’s architecture and retail experience.

“We draw our inspirations from fashion, design, architecture, culture, flower arrangement and Tai Chi [a martial arts technique].”

—Chris Lee, creative director, Asylum Creative Pte Ltd.




Project: Longview Vineyard: W. Wagtail Packaging


About Voice

Voice is an Australian multidisciplinary design consultancy established in 1999 and lead by co-directors Anthony De Leo and Scott Carslake. The firm is based in the South Australian city of Adelaide, and they deliver solutions in digital media, environmental, identity, packaging, promotional, publications and typeface design. At the heart of their practice is a love of developing new ways of communicating with alluring and engaging visuals. They’re also driven by a belief that the unspoken voice often resonates the loudest, which can have some intriguing manifestations in terms of design.


About the Project

Longview Vineyard’s new sparkling wine is named W. (as in Willie or Willy) Wagtail after a passerine bird native to Australia, where the winery is located. The bird’s name is derived from its habit of wagging its tail horizontally when foraging on the ground for insect prey. Voice has worked with Longview for several years, and was tapped to create a unique package design for the new sparkling product. “We created a wine label modeled on the styling of a bird watchers membership certificate from the 1940s,” explains Voice creative director Scott Carslake, “not only to feature the local birdlife, but also to feature the flora that exists around the vineyard. It become very personal; we created the fictitious ‘Longview Sparkling Wine Society’ and its list of patrons and committee members, which cryptically referred back to those involved with the production and crafting of the product.” Voice chose a highly refined and detailed botanical illustration style to convey this story.

One of the riskiest things about this design was the size of the label. “The width goes outside the guidelines supplied by the company who applies the labels to the bottles,” Carslake says. “Because the size exceeds their ‘safe’ zone, they would take no responsibility for any imperfections in the process of adhering the labels, and our client had to sign a document agreeing to this. However, on the end product, there were no imperfections.” Beyond the technical production issues, the label’s graphics are also unusual for the sparkling wine category. “It goes against sparkling wine label expectations. There are no gold and silver foils, script typography or fancy sparkling wine hoods,” Carslake continues. “Our design is pictorial, the type runs vertically and it’s printed on uncoated paper.” Simply elegant.

“Often, what clients see as risk, we see as competitive differentiation.”

—Scott Carslake, creative director, Voice




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