Roj Siam Ruay | The Cloud X Designer of the Year
“Which font are you currently designing?”
“How was Siam Life’s recent lecture?”
“How does Modern Thai design in graphic design looks like?”
are some questions in various contents we are preparing to ask Pairoj Teeraprapar or Roj-Siam Ruay, the designer who just won Designer of the Year Award 2017 from Silpakorn University and Honor Award in Graphic Design from Department of International Trade Promotion, Ministry of Commerce in. These rewards are to make sure all his hard works are seen as much as possible.
The reason to be interested in alphabet at the time that nobody else is; how much guts was needed to quit regular stable job in the time of people holding on to regular job with high payment and started self-employed business 10 years ago or the reason to become a designer who has placed the importance on Thai charm in both design work itself and the activities occurred nowadays.
Pairoj started working as graphic designer in the very first graphic studio in Thailand named “Sam Nou” before changing to another job to earn 15 years experiences as Art Director of commercial agency.
After that he turned himself to be a freelancer along with starting up a shop named “Siam Ruay” selling souvenirs and t-shirts. His love for letters were from there since before he started lettering for many films like Tears of the Black Tiger, Mekhong Full Moon Party, Citizen Dog or The Unseeable (Pen Choo Kab Pee). From the works of lettering many Thai films, his style of lettering was fully functioned as Fonts, for example, FahtalaiJone, Mahnakorn or Jone GlubJai.
At present, Pairoj has joined Thai trend movement using graphic design through lectures, Workshops and activities on behalf of “Siam Life” group and has worked as self-employed designer teaching the design of visual communication in modern Thai style in university level. He is the founder of Rangbundanthai group, the non-profit organization which has valued Thai wisdom, encourage Thai people to see value in themselves, present Thai charm and identity by the use of graphic design as the main knowledge. He is also the founder of “Siam Type Foundry” group, the type design office selling fonts at a cheap price to students and newly freelancers so, they can have chances to use legal fonts. Moreover, he was named a Silapathorn Artist in Graphic Design in 2015.
We need to learn, observe, and find strong and weak points in order to tell if it is what we really want
“We are like the others that we need to concentrate in school, need to learn more and need to enter industry set by society. Most people want to do the same; I don’t want to support any people to just quit the regular job and start self-employment. I want everybody to try working in the system first in order to understand the world, your own society. No matter what you do, you need to know people as there are different way to interact and you might never encounter this kind of interaction in school. Working in the real system is the real school you need to face as soon as possible in order to put yourself in effective learning according to the responsibility. It could be more tried than being responsible for just the context of the work because you have to manage sometime to learn about life, learn how to be human, learn bow to be a person in particular position and how to maintain that position. If you want to end up being a good creative, you need to sustain yourself in such qualification”.
You just need to jump into what people don’t want
Roj started to look for area to open the shop in Jatujak Weekend Market while still working for agency. It was to collect data on the possibility and use the knowledge in advertisement to make a survey on marketing. He found out that there were no t-shirts on sales with Thai letters printed on.
“I had to admit that English letters on t-shirt was beautiful and more suitable than Thai letters. Everybody was trying to solve this problem. It was one challenge to ask myself if I was still Thai designer. It was a chance and I already owned the shop. I tried to think of using Thai letters as main elements in all graphic works becuese well-arranged Thai letters on t-shirts could work as well. I needed to think and believe first. Once I fully believed, I could turn into the real action and kept going”, Roj told the story of the decision he made back then.
As a Thai designer
“Our country is filled of charm; no high-tech, no modernity but yet, beauty is all around. That was why my shop’s name is old-fashioned like Siam Ruay or Chonnabot”, Roj answered when we asked about his love in Thainess.
“Everything was from my fondness as everything I have done is turning to be serious. I am the kind of person that can see something out of temples, Thai art and Thai life style. It is good when we all can teach our children and become Thai designers. If we can learn what to do at this point, at least we can answer our foreign friends how Thai graphic is about”.
Lesson from freelance type designers
01 design work is not usually for oneself but, for the sake of others
“The design for others is to observe others; their characteristics, personalities, needs, status, feelings. If you want to design font with the feeling of Thainess; abstract ideas should to be considered first, for example, which Thainess, what to use with, ceremony? Which ceremony? Big ceremony?. Then, concrete ideas are built after with different reasons. The example is to be searched for if you run out of ideas in order to check where the work is with the clients”.
02 it is to build the comfortableness for the other side, then we will be comfortable ourselves
“Everything is about communication; no matter if there is the problem or not. Making an appointment and time management are important. Think easily, when the clients are waiting for our works, they would want to know the answer so if we take the job and run out of ideas, we need to let them know; more time or negotiation”.
03 if possible, you have to have choices for clients
“We need to pay attention to clients because we have to realize that they want to have choices to choose from. It might be a waste of time at first to do extra jobs for them but, it will save time when the second and third time comes. For example, the name of the film Pen Choo Kab Pee (The Unseeable) that I had designed loads of names for them to choose from or Maha’lai muang rae (The Tin Mine) that they only wanted the word, Maha’lai. I wrote lots of different version of such word”.
04 we should be able to give suggestions
“When we provide slients choices, we have to be able to make a choice on our own as well; we must be able to explain the products, not be unable to explain despite loads of choices”.
05 behave is good
“Sometimes clients choose their comfortableness. With the same quality, the clients will chose the less suborn one with higher price to pay. It is at their comfortableness. Therefore, discipline is important”.
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