The following blog post was written by Pat Chong, a staff from the Temasek Polytechnic School of Design. All photos were taken by the National Day Parade Executive Committee.
Fuelled by endless cups of kopi and long, soul-searching chats late into the night, buzzed by WhatsApp in all hours of the day, nine student designers from the Diplomas in Product & Industrial Design and Visual Communication worked together to create this year’s Fun Pack for the National Day Parade 2012.
Year upon year Singaporeans look forward in eager anticipation to the Fun Pack produced for the National Day parade. This goodie bag with a difference carries the clappers, lights, hats, drinks and all manner of celebratory items to help Singaporeans party at the parade.
This year, the challenge of designing the iconic Fun Pack fell to students in the School of Design. From November 2011, the group of classmates from the Product and Industrial Design (PID) course started their ideation process with research, surveys and initial conceptualization and sketches. While the initiative to design the bag was PID-led, the studio culture so predominant and encouraged in the School of Design meant that the students did not work alone. They realized graphic interpretation and execution was required and roped in their friends from the Visual Communication (VSC) course.
Over time, the group bonded as they searched to find meaning and relevance in the design of the bag and the typography used. They worked nights and weekends, in between project submissions under the supervision of PID lecturer Esther Tan. A veil of secrecy had to be shrouded over the project until the bag was unveiled by the National Day Parade committee in June. So from November to June, even in this age of Facebook and Twitter and despite the open studio workspace, the nine students kept it all under wraps.
Over several months, honed by the Crit process in school, the students stood before the NDP committee time and again to present their ideas. They had to take criticism and rejection in their stride and then return to the drawing board to present yet another variation. This is the real world design client relations that the school prepares all its students for and because of this, the students faced every external crit with confidence.
Part duffel bag, part sling back, part backpack, part ocean pack, the fun pack was designed to look sleek with multiple functions and multiple styles of usage. The bag was designed to take at least 6kg of weight and to be water resistant. The designers hoped that this bag would continue to be used by Singaporeans even beyond the National Day Parade. “You could use it as a gym bag, a pillow at sleepovers, bring it shopping or even to the beach. It is meant to be versatile in style and approach,” says Jarron Tham, third-year Product and Industrial Design student.
Four designs of the bag will be produced – each carrying a different message, each hoping to trigger reflection and talking points among Singaporeans. The graphic designs done by the Visual Communication students Ng Fong Yee and Lam Yik Chun were used in a series of colourful bandannas which were included as gifts in the Fun Pack. The icons of songbirds in cages, ice-cream cones, playground swing, kites and kopi cup are all fondly derived from the familiar visual landscapes of Singaporeans.
The bags and bandannas were unveiled to the media and the public on June 27 2012. The students are both thrilled and proud to have their designs come to life for a significant Singaporean event such as the National Day Parade. “It has been a great opportunity to have our designs used by Singaporeans. We hope everyone will like what we have designed!” says Lam Yik Chun, third-year Visual Communication student.