Round Up: Creativity in Asia

Year-on-year, Asian advertising and design has seen increasing success at the D&AD Awards.

In the interviews below, top figures from China, Malaysia, India and Vietnam tell the story of creativity in their territories.

Y&R's Gigi Lee on Malaysian Advertising

Perhaps some of the best examples of Malaysian advertising came from the late Yasmin Ahmad. If you want a glimpse of Malaysian culture and what it means to be Malaysian, forget the tourism ads, here’s all you need to know:

Tan Hong Ming
We have a beautiful culture, a rich heritage, a goldmine of stories. Many talented creatives have left our shores, due to economic or career opportunities. Those that remain must define and re-define the idea of Malaysian advertising.

A lot of our work has already been awarded internationally. You’ll even find quite a few of them on this site. It’s anything but boring, timid and conservative. Malaysia Boleh! (Boleh = Can).

Rice Creative on Vietnam

Vietnam is discovering its modern identity. The perception of Vietnam is grim historically, and for designers this presents a dilemma: to resolve Vietnam’s history with its potential. A refreshing new current is running through Vietnam and design has a very strong role to play in communicating this around the globe.

We talk a lot about something we coined, ‘Neue Vietnam’. It describes a new energy, and its manifestation into wonderful projects and products that are gradually gaining the world’s attention. Perceptions are shifting. As designers here, we have the responsibility to show the world, simply and clearly, the incredible things Vietnam has to offer. Design will be key as a rebranding of the nation takes place.

Indian creativity by Codesign

It’s heartening to see work that is a true response to our environment. That, to us, is an authentic representation of the Indian identity. An identity that will continue to emerge, not as a set of guidelines, but through an increased sensitisation to the lives of end users – paving the way for design that complements the diversity and transformation of culture.

The present is an interesting time to be practicing in India. The awareness of what design can do is growing across all sectors – commercial, cultural, even political. It’s boosted by successful real life cases of better user engagement and experience through design. Design can successfully straddle both macro and micro levels of user experience, which makes it an especially powerful tool in a country like India, where reality is often fragmented between the old and new, big and small, local and global.

Opening a China office, by Studio Output’s Ian Hambleton

There's been numerous stories recently about brands in China realising they need to build loyalty and create stories and narratives. I can see branding projects becoming increasingly important as Chinese brands look to gain loyalty and fans in China, but also as they export more out to the rest of the world, there's a realisation that they have to start thinking like Western Brands.

There is overriding desire by companies both foreign and domestic to support their brands with content that’s “authentic” and “real.”

Cultural understanding is crucial. We're fortunate to have a management team in place who've been over there for some time and speak fluent Mandarin. We don't want to be perceived as the arrogant international agency that's just out here to make a quick buck and the way we conduct ourselves and our brand values (amazing work, anti ego, openness and fulfillment) have been really well received.