Designing a better Brunei – Jordan Yau

From being a graduate in Advertising and Public Relations at Limkokwing University to a Creative Director at MadMilk Design and Services, Jordan Yau shares with FAIQ AIRUDIN his journey in advertising.

JORDAN Yau, 27, founder of MadMilk Design and Services, shares with The Brunei Times his journey into the creative industry and challenges he has faced from pitching ideas to clients to finding the right fits for his team. His interest in design stemmed from having peers who were creatively inclined. This interest soon grew beyond design after he be-gan his degree in Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Kuala Lumpur in 2005.

‘‘My interest evolved not just in design but in communications as well. These two things need to come together to make things work, to give them a purpose,’’ says Jordan. This sense of purpose comes through in his design work.

‘‘The whole point is to have advertising done right in Brunei. There are a couple of things out there that work. It’s exciting to know there are peers with the same aspirations, and it is more challenging that way.’’ Jordan has a vision of how advertising should be done.

‘Advertising requires thought behind a concept and strategies, and it is rarely about aesthetics. For most of our projects, aesthetics is the primary request. (Clients) come to us solely for design work, from logo proposals, to print ads and brochures.’’

For Jordan, however, most design work in the country, is short-term, ‘‘very ad hoc, touch and go kind of thing’’. This approach to design is frustrating, he notes. ‘‘The biggest challenge is constantly catering to speculative work requests –basically we pitch an idea –it’s not awarded to us but we are asked to draft, sometimes, numerous proposals based on them,’’ he explains. Keeping a small office is part of Jordan’s plan for the company.

‘‘My intention for MadMilk is for it to be a boutique agency, so even if we do grow, it’s not going to grow too big. There are only two of us right now, doing what we do best’’. The way they work with each other, is much like an ‘‘ecosystem’’, explains Jordan.

As the Creative Director, Jordan keeps the project to its objective and makes sure the message comes across in the final product. But he also emphasises that working on  a project is a team effort. There is still along way to go for Jordan. ‘‘We are not there yet, but we are close to what we have envisioned. I originally started MadMilk with the intention of it being an idea company, where we consult on ideas, come up with ideas with strategies and concepts. But we are working towards that.’’

Jordan is humble about running the company for three years, and modestly shares that surviving the three years is an accomplishment in itself. As a graduate of Advertising and Public Relations from Limkokwing University, the nearest thing he could find in Brunei in this area was graphic design since for him,‘‘it goes hand in hand’’. As part of his college programme, he did a one-month internship at Sunlight advertising, which he thinks is an important step. ‘‘It wasn’t what I expected but I learnt a lot. I learnt about buyer behavior and how to come up with strategies, and be exposed to graphic design.’’

After he graduated, he worked in a print company for a year and then spent two years at a design agency before deciding to start up a company of his own. ‘‘To he honest, I thought about it a lot. I figured that I am still young, so I just took the plunge.’’

He shares that creativity does not just come ‘‘with a snap of a finger’’, but actually from talking and listening to other people, and finding the right balance between work and play. He believes creativity and design in the country will only develop through idea sharing. ‘

‘The way I see it, it will definitely benefit everyone if we share ideas. That is what creativity is about; we don’t just sit in a room and come up with ideas, you have to talk, experiment, and discuss’’

[First published 9 June 2013]