I caught up with him again recently, as he prepares to step into the working world, having just submitted the final project for his Graphic Media Design degree with the London College of Communication (LCC). His Graduation Degree Show, Power Off, starts at the end of this week.
You’re coming to the end of your time at university. What does the future hold?
I am trying to arrange and plan as many placements as I can, put together a good degree show and other exhibitions. Hopefully all my hard work will pay off and one thing will lead to another, a job in London.
I have also won a place in D&AD’s 2010 Student Awards Book for my response to their Disappearing Cities brief, so hopefully more opportunities will come from that.
A still from Yong Ping's Disappearing Cities film
Before coming to London you had already gained a diploma in Mass Communications from Singapore’s Ngee An college. Are there any striking differences between studying in the two cultures?
Although Singapore has a pretty diverse society, you get to meet a wider variety of people of different backgrounds, ethnicity and cultures in London. This makes the learning experience here more varied and interesting.
Compared to my counterparts in Singapore, I had more time on my hands in London. Though we have very busy periods here, everything is spread out comfortably and feels a little less stressful. This affords more creative experimentation, and allows for freelance jobs and work experience. And there is a far larger and more established creative community in London.
You attended Creative Review’s first Click conference in Singapore after your internship with us. Did you pick up any insights into the differences between working practices over there compared to in Britain?
I believe clients here are more daring, which allows the industry to produce more groundbreaking work. Singapore has a very good and internationally competent creative industry but it doesn’t have the recognition that the UK enjoys. Singapore is a small country compared to Britain. In London it feels like there is more room to grow, for both big and small fishes, with enough food to go round for everybody.
As someone who has benefited from the experience of work placements, how do you feel about the culture of unpaid internships within the design industry?
I believe there should be a minimum wage for internships within the design industry as some students may struggle to support themselves and their study. That being said, having done it myself, it is not impossible if you work hard and are sufficiently self motivated.
You’ve done a large amount of voluntary environmental work for organistions such as ECO Singapore and the British Council. How do you balance this moral standpoint with trying to develop a career in advertising, where a large proportion of the industry is there to persuade people to buy stuff they probably don’t need and that’ll just hang around for a few years before becoming landfill.
I am still trying to strike a balance, It has been pretty good being on LCC’s advertising pathway as we focus on environmental, political, social and cultural issues. And we tend to question the ethics and norms of advertising. However, still being relatively new to the industry, I am going to be open-minded in my approach as I have more to learn and be exposed to.
Identity work for the hmm/ahh exhibition
Say you’re working for an agency and are given a corporate client who’s been in the press for, thinking about recent events, neglecting environmental sanctions, and the client’s looking to green-wash its image. How do you get around that?
Trick question! Professionally, I would put my best into whatever account I get put on. With my background and knowledge, I might be able to come up with a win-win solution and not produce something irresponsibly green-washed. And might even convince the client to take more action to become green beyond the cosmetics.
Looking back over your degree, and the stuff you’ve picked up along the way, do you have any advice for anyone considering a similar path? Are there things you know now you wish you’d known before you started?
My advice is simple: work as hard as you can and be the best you can be. And I also refer to the late Paul Arden's quote very often: “It is not how good you are, it is how good you want to be.”
I believe I have done as much as I can during my studies, though I wish I had possessed more confidence in myself and my portfolio earlier on in my degree, as I would have applied for more internships.
Film of DIY fans left for the benefit of hot Tube passengers
To see more of Yong Ping's work visit iampingpong.com