Introducing RekaCipta: Malaysian Design Podcast by Nurul Rahman

The notion that Design plays a role in the Malaysian society to my opinion is fairly new. In fact, design so far is not considered as part of the high school curriculums. Design is seen as separated identity, here and there in different forms not as one. It is part of Engineering, part of Science, part of Arts (this is not there yet), part of Management, part of Communication and so it is always parts of here and there.

But I think Design should stand alone and it should be the mother of all rather than be part of all these areas of practice and studies. It is not anyone false, it is for my opinion is that each of us ( the design practitioner, educator, etc) did not take Design seriously and did not make much efforts to bring Design in higher respected level in Malaysia.

However, I do believe this phenomena will change and it is changing at the moment, as the world is changing and Design is becoming a stand alone identity. Not part of others.

Many schools (mainly private university’s in Malaysia) are now putting Design as the frontline and one of its own main subject. There are high numbers of design activities happening in the under Design. There are increasing numbers of Design associations established in recents years. People are taking about design practices, how to increase the power of design. More jobs are positions under the category of Design. More companies are looking for designers and creating the Designer’s position. This is all good, however.. like anything when it’s becoming a kind of a trend, not many really understand what Design means, its role, its position and many more.

Before the notion of Design starts to become anything, it is crucial to gathered all the experienced designers, design practitioners, design academics and people who are involved in many design practices in early days that understood the important roles that design can play to enhance the business, the people, the society and the country to come on board for a critical discussion about design.

There are lots of talks taken place in Malaysia for the past five years, where local and international designers come together and share their ideas. Well, mainly international speakers, as naturally in any society the outsiders seems to know more than the native as it perceived. I do believe that we have enough highly experienced and educated design practitioners that we can learned from in relation to the local experience. People like Dato Johan, Abdullah Arif, William Harald Wong, Kamil Yunus, Joseph Foo, Jimmy Choo, Hannan, Asri Ahmad, Prof. Dr. Ahmad Zainuddin, Melissa Wong, Zac Ong, Ezrena Marwan, and many more. And there are many local designers that have make their name overseas and no many local know about them, such as Din Amri, Dr. Joyce Yee, Dr. Christopher Kueh and many more. We need to have our own design idol that our new generation can look up to.

This is why I think its about time we should start our own design podcast. As multi-designer, a design practices since 1994, having completed higher education in Design (Masters and PhD), teaching design and performing in jazz concerts and gigs, part time broadcaster, it seems that all this experience is a great help for me to pull out this podcast together.

So this week I have launched (online) Malaysian own Design Podcast: RekaCipta. You can look up for RekaCipta in FB or listen to the podcast through soundcloud. The first podcast with Asri Ahmad will be uploaded this week.

Spam hacked my post.

Dear readers,
My apology for some inconvenience links in my post cause by the spam. They are now very becoming much smarter in putting spam in my blog, not only in the comments but in the post it self.
I am in the process of cleaning the post, so bare with me.
Thanks.
Nurul

Back after a year

I find it interesting to see the changes in many people like myself, becoming lazy to write in the blog but happily to update status in facebook and other social media. It is becoming a trend now to update in social media. What have we become? What kind of society that we are creating for the future.

I would like to discuss further about it. I wonder what makes me slow down or demotivated in writing my blog might be the response from the audience. Unlike other social media, blog stand independently. As in when you’re writing a blog, how do you know how many people actually visited your blog (unless you have the visitors page) or the add on plug in to count how many people have visited your site. It is like you are writing for yourself and sometimes it is not much fun, in comparison when you write and in a short time someone has commented on your thought.

It can be additive and dangerous. But may be because of those two words, many, including myself at one point in time, eager to contribute by updating our daily status. So I have decided that I will start to get back to my blog and discuss what ever idea or thought I have in mind here and not only just updating my status.

Typography lesson 1: How to adjust kerning manually using InDesign

It has been a while since I posted something in my blog. Long long while. The reason being is the workloads have taken most of my time. And I have to admit besides that I posted most of my ‘current status’ in a very brief way in the leading social media, the Face Book. Sad but true, this is what’s happening to most of us today. We don’t tend to write long sentences anymore instead we think of a way to post short and brief to express out ‘status’ of the day. Details seems to be forgotten especially if you are actively involved in Twitter. Anyway, I have decided to continue posting and writing in my blog from now on. This hopefully will aid my poor writing skills as I have not been writing as much as I should or to express my thoughts in details these days. I have been asked to conduct a basic InDesign class for fellow designers who have not been familiar working with InDesign, but still dealing with publications and printing (How is that possible?) The 1st one day workshop session start on the 18 October (which I focus more on the training of mind thinking rather than straight into the technical process using InDesign), and on the 2nd day workshop, they have to present their ‘homework’ that I asked them to work on in the 1st session.

So, today I have completed the 2 days sessions of the basic InDesign class teaching designers how to use InDesign for their design work. Yes, surprisingly not many designers now a days knows how to use InDesign software for their book or any publication design. The workshop started with a hands on concept sketching and taking the designers to a very basic understanding of the process of designing for publication, giving some important basic guideline of publication design that they need to know before they even start working with the InDesign softwares.

One of the most important one among other things is the manual part, on how to adjust some parts of the text manually. One of them is kerning. I thought it would be great to keep it in the record for my blog. Here is to show different type of kerning.

https://helpx.adobe.com/indesign/how-to/adjust-letter-spacing.html

To understand kerning here is a useful text that I have extracted from Ellen Lupton Thinking with Type page. You can read more in the page for details.

Kerning is an adjustment of the space between two letters. The characters of the Latin alphabet emerged over time; they were never designed with mechanical or automated spacing in mind. Thus some letter combinations look awkward without special spacing considerations. Gaps occur, for example, around letters whose forms angle outward or frame an open space (W, Y, V, T). In metal type, a kerned letter extends past the lead slug that supports it, allowing two letters to fit more closely together. In digital fonts, the space between letter pairs is controlled by a kerning table created by the type designer, which specifies spaces between problematic letter combinations. Working in a page layout program, a designer can choose to use metric kerning or optical kerning as well as adjusting the space between letters manually where desired. A well-designed typeface requires little or no additional kerning, especially at text sizes.

 

 

Metric kerning uses the kerning tables that are built into the typeface. When you select metric kerning in your page layout program, you are using the spacing that was intended by the type designer. Metric kerning usually looks good, especially at small sizes. Cheap novelty fonts often have little or no built-in kerning and will need to be optically kerned.
Optical kerning is executed automatically by the page layout program. Rather than using the pairs addressed in the font’s kerning table, optical kerning assesses the shapes of all characters and adjusts the spacing wherever needed. Some graphic designers apply optical kerning to headlines and metric kerning to text. You can make this process efficient and consistent by setting kerning as part of your character styles.

 

In InDesign software, there are ways to work manually, which many have not discovered or learned. So here I would like to share with you how to adjust your kerning manually.

How to do it?

Manually kern letter pairs

In display type or large headlines, some pairs of letters may need a little extra attention. To kern manually, place your cursor between two letters, and change the Kerning value in the Character panel.

Tip: To kern quickly and visually, place your cursor between any two letters; then press Option (Mac) or Alt (Win) and click the left or right arrow keys on the keyboard.

screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-1-46-36-am

Image taken from InDesign CC tutorial.

Visualising different relationship in life

World-renowned Australian artist Patricia Piccinini is famous for creating bizarre mutant creatures.

Posted by ABC ARTS on Thursday, 24 March 2016

https://www.facebook.com/ABCARTS/videos/10154607009704908/

 

Patricia Piccinini: A Dark Fairytale – previewWorld-renowned Australian artist Patricia Piccinini is famous for creating bizarre mutant creatures. Next Tuesday’s installment of ABC TV’s ‘Creatives’ examines her roots and influences, along with the profound impact the death of her mother had on her work.Patricia Piccinini: A Dark Fairytale | 10pm Tuesday March 29 on ABC TV and ABC iview.

Posted by ABC ARTS on Thursday, 24 March 2016

“If creativity survive the formal education, it’s a miracle.” Einstein

I think the title here says it all. It s a speech by Albert Einstein,’Speech on Education and Socialism”, in 1930, and yet we are still ‘there’. Here’s some reading wrote by Kate Strain discussion about it. Read here.

Someone I would love to meet in person, is a graphic design, Bruce Mau,. Here he talks about design and how it should be part of the ‘important’ list in our society. It is definitely,  a must listen and discuss among designers. I have been wondering about the same topic for years, and still I have not found any answers. If design is so important in our everyday life and everything we do, (and that is what I have been constantly telling my students) then why is it not part of our education syllabus, our practice, our community, our policies, our business oriented, our government and our thinking (even though we all talk about design thinking is important).

Design have the potential to make change.

Work on what you love Mau
Bruce Mau

Bruce Mau – Designing Thinking 

Roundtable Discussion 2012: The State of Design in Malaysia

The State of Design in Malaysia – A Roundtable discourse in IcoD Design Week in Sarawak.

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 3.04.06 PM

This is a dossier that was done through the discussion about design in Malaysia among local and international designers, what is ed educators and practitioners in the Sarawak Design week in 2012.

It was released rather late. I got to know about it in 2014. But at least its out. What’s more important is the content of the discussions. Its rate to have the design discourse in Malaysia documented as such. For that an applause should be given to the people who have put their efforts and hard work in making this happen.

I think we should have more design discourse (which is currently happening a lot in Malaysia) just that not many of the discourse can be accessed. This is because most of it focus on discussions but not on documentation. To get the voice out is to get the information spread out widely to every part of Malaysia (and the world if possible) to every designer (the first and foremost) and to others who is interested.

We should have a hub that provide all this archive beside that are fully funded and supported by the design industry and institutions such as MRM. Sadly it is more an efforts ( a very good effort) made by the Malaysian design archive to host it.

Its a valuable reference and it should be read by all so called designer and design academic in Malaysia. This is hope that the designers in Malaysia can have an idea about the state of design in Malaysia, or at least to have an overview of Malaysian design status. Furthermore to know the design community in Malaysia and who is Dato Johan Ariff.

You can read more about the Dossier The State of Design in Malaysia here.

Round Table Discussion 2012

Malaysian Design article is now published in The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Design

My short and brief but concise providing an overview of Malaysian Design History has finally been published by the Bloomsbury Publisher in London. My article is among hundreds of articles representing each country around the world in the set of 3 books entitled The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Design edited by Prof. Clive Edward from Loughborough University, UK.

The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Design edited by Prof. Clive Edwards (2016)

I hope that this article will provide an introduction of Malaysian Design History to the world. I was given a task to write 500 words a seriously concise overview about design history in Malaysia. There’s much happening in the design world in Malaysia but not much is documented and written. I hope that this will add something. In writing the design history of a country, one cannot go away from including the history of the country itself. Who said history is boring? So here are my version of Malaysian Design (history).

Read the article: Malaysian Design by ZainurulRahman2016