ABOUT THE DESIGNER
If there is any lasting observation to be made about the Lim family, it is this: the family that designs together, stays together.
Pann Lim, his wife Claire, and their children Renn, 12, and Aira, 9, are the creative minds powering the family art collective, Holycrap – itself set up to share the family’s stories, document their explorations and experiences in a way that goes beyond the quotidian family scrap-book.
Holycrap’s headlining product, RUBBISH FAMzine, ticks all the boxes and more – a chaotic, lively, visually engaging bi-annual magazine filled with an equal mix of wit, nostalgia and high production values that has touched a chord with readers.
“We want the FAMzine to document and explore subjects, experiments, travels or other strange exploits that interest us as a family,” says Pann. “It should not come across as too contrived or clichéd.”
There is no danger of that happening. The creative values are too obvious. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the collective – a labour-intensive, family project run out of the Lims’ home – is led by Pann whose day job is creative director of Kinetic Singapore and who was also a laureate of the President’s Design Award 2013 for Designer of the Year.
What’s more, the family collective is exactly that. Everyone is involved. “Renn and Aira are full-time pupils,” says Claire, “so, the time schedule is always worked around their time-table. And Pann’s working hours are also very long, so we can only talk about our projects when we go out during the weekends, or when we are sending the kids to school. Even small pockets of free time in between our schedules are not left unused. We make use of any available time to make the project happen.”
“We are very fortunate that the four of us are in this together,” Pann adds. The whole family brainstorms, shares ideas and thoughts. Twice a year, our home becomes a factory line. It’s messy, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
There are also no grand overarching design philosophies, just what Pann calls “the simple truth of being honest to the idea, design, craft and story. That becomes our benchmark when looking at the hundreds of mock-ups we do for every issue”.
In some ways, this approach is homespun but it also perfectly embodies a group dynamic whose creativity is fresh and unfettered by pre-conceived dogma. “Every single day, we learn about design through conversations, books, movies, social media, friends, strangers,” says Claire. “But if there’s one thing we’ve learnt, it’s to always stay hungry to do good work, be positive. And always remember that love and family comes first.”
Advice to Emerging Designers:
“Technologies, trends and fads will come and go, but an idea or story that is fresh and heart-felt will be everlasting.”