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What Do Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) Need to Enter The Creative Industry in Singapore?

Workshop by Kenji
Photo by Make The Change

Be it a flick of a pen tool or a right click on the camera, creatives carry immense potential to touch lives and reach hearts. It is an exciting space where design took on a whole new meaning for the undergraduates and graduates of Make The Change’s (MTC) Essential Communication Design course for persons with disabilities (PwDs). No worries, beginners are more than welcome.

Here, craft puts on an additional coat of purpose and weight as the students of this program pioneered a culture of resilience in persevering through tedious processes, practicing and starting designs from scratch. Seeing the ability in dis-ability, we believe that PwDs just need a better chisel to create equally amazing, if not greater, designs as fellow creatives.

Shared from MTC’s Industrial Orientation Programme (IOP), M.A.D School’s Academic Director Mr Kenji Choo touched on 3 things any budding creative would need to have before marching into the industry.

Portfolio Building

1. A Sturdy Portfolio

A detailed showcase of students’ artworks from M.A.D school was shown to pinpoint the importance of having a robust portfolio. Tapping across the creative spectrum, the showcased projects displayed numerous platforms such as animation and visual design. It encouraged and spurred the group to strive for higher achievements as the individually-based works were produced by other students.

By arming oneself with a thick portfolio of project and past endeavors, it reflects on the graduate’s versatility, style and approach to design. Needless to say, this makes it much easier for them to be differentiated and set apart.

Every creative should constantly keep a keen eye on every opportunity, big and small, to value-add to his/her portfolio. You will never know when a seemingly insignificant project is going to catch the eye of future clients in the marketplace.

Exploration and accepting different challenges would also help to foster confidence as well. It is best to be consistent and see small projects as little jigsaw pieces that would eventually lead up to the big picture.

For MTC programmes, students are given opportunities to explore and try out projects, internships and even job positions after graduating. Of course, assignments completed in class can be added into their portfolio as well.

Fluency in Visual Learning

2. Fluency in Visual Literacy

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Fluency in a language helps to bridge relations and facilitate communication between the expressor and the expressee. It reflects professionalism and to an arguable extent, the “upbringing” of a rookie creative. Having a strong foundation in visual literacy will enable the creative to understand the demands of clients, while being sensitive to ongoing trends and details at the same time. Overtime, this builds up repute- a quality that many, if not all, seek today.

More often than not, a great concept alone is not enough to produce a good piece of work. In order to craft out great designs, creatives must be adept in visual literacy to execute them to their full potential. For example, it would be optimal for the creative to be familiar and comfortable with the following design principles:

Contrast, Balance, White Space, Hierarchy, Scale/ Proportion, Alignment, Unity/ Harmony and Rhythm/ Movement.

Feet that Wears Many Shoes

3. Feet that Wears Many Shoes

Apart from speaking the same language, budding creatives should also put on a pair of tough combat boots to tread on waters and discover the uncharted regions of design and creation. Besides having the boldness to challenge existing parameters, creatives should also be willing to take off their own shoes and try on others.

Great designs often come with a great perspective. The ability to think and consider the clients’ stand is paramount for works that speak straight to them and their target audience.

Naturally, students from our creative programmes are able to join our creative team for a few in-house or external projects to try thinking strategically.

In summary, Mr Kenji brought up the analogy of baking a yummy cake – the baker often had to first decide on the mould to provide a structure for creation. Hence, design principles such as white space is paramount, for they help to frame up the composition of the creative work. How would you know if the mould is right and good to go? There is no other way to a solid, good foundation except for practice, practice and more practice.


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