Design of the Year 2016
Bynd Artisan
Show info
Designer
&Larry Pte Ltd
Peh Chee Way Larry
Lee Weicong
Tan Meilin Adora
Yeo Ziqian Randy
Interior Designer
LAANK Pte Ltd
Cherin Tan
Photographer
Lavender Chang

“ … good design should

‘disappear’ and what

stands out is simply

the feeling of ‘the-wayit-

should-be-ness’.”

Bynd Artisan was established by a third-generation business owner of Singapore’s oldest bookbinder. Its brand identity, created by principal brand and design consultant &Larry, celebrates the work of Bynd Artisan’s home-grown master craftsmen, who are schooled in the traditional ways of book-binding and leather crafting. &Larry defined the business and design objectives, which included establishing a unique platform by building a meaningful narrative from Bynd Artisan’s rich history, and developing a visual language that reflects the brand’s heritage. In this way, it turned a spotlight on a well-loved homegrown brand and designed-in-Singapore products, creating an avenue for inspirational and collaborative processes between Bynd Artisan, its customers and collaborators. While it designs and produces practical everyday products, Bynd Artisan’s pieces are also desirable lifestyle goods. Once reserved for VIP customers, its bespoke services are now open to anyone who appreciates individualism. Together with Bynd Artisan, &Larry has re-engineered what is widely regarded as a sunset industry business into a viable operation, by redesigning the production process and retraining the company’s craftsmen to stand at the forefront of its services.

ABOUT THE DESIGNER

Peh Chee Way Larry, the founder of &Larry, began his design career at Men’s Folio, Singapore’s first men’s magazine. Over the years, his work has been internationally recognised with awards from the likes of D&AD (UK), One Show (New York), Tokyo Type Director’s Club, and Singapore Creative Circle Awards. He was voted by Perspective Global as one of the top 40 design talents under the age of 40 (2012) and was featured in +81 Japan as one of Asia’s next generation of creatives. In 2014, Larry was conferred the prestigious President’s Design Award Singapore for Designer of the Year.

JURY CITATION

This is an exemplary story of how design empowers a brand, and how it can take a business to new heights. Creative agency &Larry strategised the design blueprint for Bynd Artisan, which is inextricably tied to the lives of their master craftsmen and the legacy of the Goy Liang Book-Making Company founded in 1945. &Larry identified this at the outset, and put the artisans at the forefront of the brand story, presenting their craftsmanship to customers and the public. “Something’s Worth Sharing” became the guiding ethos for Bynd Artisan. &Larry’s design and branding cascaded from that ethos. It is expressed in the touch-points for marketing collaterals, packaging, retail store design, and product development. The new brand identity has given Bynd Artisan fresh energy and created opportunities for the company, greater than it had ever dared to imagine – specifically, the reskilling of elderly and loyal employees, enriched corporate social responsibility, and new business partnerships. &Larry’s innovative design strategy has enriched Bynd Artisan’s brand values, charted a clear direction for growth and development, and established a new vision for the company. A consummate collaboration between a talented Singaporean design agency and enlightened, fully committed business owners, this initiative demonstrates that design can empower a brand.

NOMINATOR CITATION

Winne Chan
CEO
Bynd Artisan Pte Ltd

I have been in the bookbinding and leather making industry for the past 21 years, and I have worked with many designers and visited many related international exhibitions. Bynd Artisan is a brand that is committed to tradition whilst finding relevance and acceptance in contemporary society. The retail ateliers are created to be experiential, so customers can touch and feel the products, work with experienced craftsmen to create bespoke items, or simply enjoy the space with a cup of coffee. The important message that the brand conveys is not just about selling products, but allowing the customer be part of the process – be it the making of notebooks, personalising a leather gift, or taking part in workshops. This strategy was dreamed up by creative agency &Larry, whose idea was to inject a freshness to the brand by rooting it in its artisanal traditions. The brand subtly references its 71 years of history in bookbinding and leather processing through various visual communications. The poster boy is a master craftsman who has been with the company for over 40 years. The tactile feel of its brochures lets the customer reconnect with the analogue world. The design of the ateliers, with part of each store’s original old masonry purposely left intact, gives the brand a unique but raw feel that is symbolic of its decades-old heritage whilst keeping an eye on the future. Bynd Artisan showcases designer capsule collections. It also collaborates with Singaporean artists and designers in various fields to reinvent the possibilities of leather and paper. This provides local artists with a platform to create something different by allowing them to turn their ideas into reality with the manufacturing expertise of the craftsmen. In today’s challenging retail environment, Bynd Artisan has enabled locally designed, home-grown goods and aesthetics to manifest themselves successfully. The President’s Design Award will bring the company one step closer to becoming an iconic Singapore brand.