Pann Lim

Creative Director
Kinetic Design and Advertising

Pann Lim is the creative director of Kinetic Design and Advertising. He graduated with a Diploma in Design and Advertising from Temasek Polytechnic in 1998, where he was inspired by mentors such as Lim Chong Jin, Hon, James Na and Iskandar Jalil. He started work at DDB Singapore and Batey Ads. In 2001, Pann was invited to start up a creative agency, Kinetic, with Carolyn Teo, Roy Poh, Adrian Tan, Sean Lam and Benjy Choo.

Pann’s portfolio of work is a hybrid of visual design, interactive design and advertising. He works on these disciplines independently. To him, there is no distinction between these disciplines, as they are all tools of communication.

He believes that design and advertising start with an idea. He has devoted his time to creating ideas that have won him over 300 industry awards including a D&AD Silver nomination and a Silver for Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in 2012. He was awarded Singapore’s Most Influential Creative Director by the Institute of Advertising Singapore in 2012. He is currently ranked tenth in Australasia by campaign Brief.

Pann is also involved in nurturing newcomers, as a way of fulfilling social responsibilities. He is a founding member of The Design Society, a Singapore- registered non-profit organisation, which aims to educate, proliferate and archive graphic design in Singapore. He has been actively involved in teaching and mentoring for prestigious awards such as Noise and Crowbar. He was chairman for the Crowbar Awards 2011 and head of Jury (activation) for Creative Circle Awards 2012.

In 2011, he started Holycrap.sg with his wife and two children, an art collective focusing on the arts. To date, they have had two successful exhibitions featuring the artworks of his children. Pann spends most weekends with them, working on projects, as well as exhibitions. He maintains that their works are not for sale, because he wants them to enjoy the process and not be caught up with the commercial benefits of the endeavour.

Pann handles projects by understanding the brief, ironing out the facts, needs, budgets, deadlines and objectives of the clients versus the needs and objectives of the agency. He works with like-minded partners, who believe that every project should serve the best interest of the client without compromising the creative integrity of the agency. For Pann, design is most meaningful when it makes sense and makes one happy. Every project is different, but needs to be based on the insights to the problems or situation. The agency operates like a family, with a strong culture of kinship. It is a healthy eco-system, where the best scheme is adopted via a voting system. This way, everyone who works hard gets a chance to be recognised and gets to do good work. To him, everyone needs to learn to deal with disappointments in life positively. His best life lesson is to constantly learn from others in order to accelerate one’s own learning. To him, learning is a life-long affair.

‘‘Do not work for money. Do not go for the job that is merely the highest paying, but go for the one that allows you to work on the best project. Good work will bring you more work and eventually the money.’’

Insights from the Recipient

What does it mean to practise as a designer in Singapore?

It really means a lot being a Singaporean. I don't think I did much when I was serving my National Service, so working on design in my way of serving my country.

How has Singapore's design industry evolved over the past decade or, indeed, since you started practising?

The process of working, the way projects are researched, the possibilities as a result of the internet boom in 2000, the arrival of social media that made communications 'transparent' and every portable device that now allows everyone to be connected online – all have made the world a fast-paced information-hungry society. The appreciation for design has improved greatly because everyone can easily research the world's best practices of design simply by Google-ing them. The flip side to this will be the difficulty of creating world-class original work.

As a designer, what will you never compromise on?

I will never compromise on being honest to the project. After honesty comes creativity. Creativity will include how fresh and original the idea is, the meticulous design craft, answering and fulfilling the client or design objectives. A project will never touch people if it is not designed with honesty in the first place; somehow, your audience will feel it.


‘‘Do not work for money. Do not go for the job that is merely the highest paying, but go for the one that allows you to work on the best project. Good work will bring you more work and eventually the money.’’

Jury Citation

Beyond being a professional, Pann Lim deeply cares about the people around him: the community, society, country as well as the next generation. The Jury believes that Pann has the exemplary qualities of a Designer of the Year. He is a motivation for the future generation.

His works are approachable. They connect on a human level. He is dedicated to his craft and has done outstanding work for both big and small clients. His projects are extremely well thought through and meaningful, without being contrived. The Jury is unanimous in selecting Pann for the award.

Pann’s contagious passion and dedication to his work flow over to the people who work with him. Not only does he influence those around him, he also extends himself to teaching, mentoring and grooming the next generation. Pann is exceptionally inspirational.


Nominator Citation


In the course of my study and internship, I have met many talented designers but none stood out as remarkably as Pann Lim. He is an all-rounder whose skill sets are wide ranging. He demonstrates great intrinsic ability in understanding the world of design and being spot-on to the demands of the industry. I have acquired from Pann extensive knowledge and wisdom when he tutored me in my Final Year Project, as adjunct lecturer in Temasek Design School, Visual Communications.

One of Pann’s most successful projects under Kinetic is Maki-San Project, which has won many awards such as the Singapore Creative Circle Awards. The branding of this customisable sushi store is deeply thought through and carefully designed at every stage of conceptualization – from the brand’s concept to the craft and even extending to operations and interior design. Every component of the branding concept is well executed. My favourite part of Maki- San is its psychedelic website filled with remarkable hand-drawn illustrations complemented with queer audio that makes the user experience a mind-blowing one.

The learning journey with Pann for my Final Year Project has been exciting and insightful from start to finish. His inputs were effective and even after the course of project was completed, Pann still humbly offered his help and guidance in other areas of his expertise. I learned the true meaning of passion when he shared his life experiences, journeying through the competitive path of the industry and how he had made it through the many gruelling challenges which any designer would encounter while climbing his way to the top. Pann is an inspiration to me and many others and I strongly feel that he has proven himself to be deserving of this prestigious award.


Hans Tan


Founder, Hans Tan Studio; and Assistant Professor, Division of Industrial Design,
National University of Singapore
Hans Tan Studio