Interview: Tan Howe Qin

Graphic designer Tan Howe Qin has definitely carved a niche for himself in the local design scene. His distinctive blend of traditional and modern icons is so unique that it caught the eye of Singapore’s Tiger Beer, who collaborated with the designer for their annual Tiger Beer Asian Music Festival. JUICE caught up with the designer to find out more about his inspirations as well as his recent collaboration with the world acclaimed beer brand.

Images Tan Howe Qin

How did you get into graphic designing? Has it always been a dream of yours?
Ever since I was a kid, I used to enjoy drawing and everything related to graphics. This is why I naturally chose to study at a Graphic Design College. Yes, I can say it has always been a dream of mine.

How would you describe your style of designing?
My style involves black, gray and white colours. I like to play with electronic elements and buttons, and apply them into the objects I design.

Your designs have a very Japanese-warrior feel to them. What is it about Japan that is so inspiring to you?
I feel that Japanese Warrior art is very unique. It inspires me to mix the ancient and modern elements together and come up with something new and interesting.

What is your most essential tool?
Adobe Illustrator.

You’ve recently collaborated with Tiger Beer for this year’s Tiger Beer Asian Music Festival. How did the creative process take place?
Malaysia is a multiracial nation with three main races consisting of the Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures. I created four pieces of artworks based on this concept, as well as the concept of the Tiger which represents the brand as well as an animal that is a symbol of Malaysia. Applying this concept with my style of mixing traditional with modern elements, I came up with the end result of four of them holding a guitar for the music festival. Let’s rock!

Which graphic designer do you look up to the most?
I look up to a lot of designers as every designer has their own unique style. I find out the elements that attract and inspire me most from their work; and I learn from it.

How long do you usually spend on a graphic design piece?
I can spend from a few hours to a month, depending on the type of piece I am working on.

How can fans get a hold of your designs?
You can visit www.room-99.blogspot.com to view my designs and drop me a message, or you can email me at howeqin@gmail.com.

What’s your advice for aspiring graphic designers who wish to make an impact in the local design scene?
Find out your own unique design style and keep on working and experimenting with it. Don’t give up!

Check out Tan Howe Qin’s roaring artworks at www.room-99.blogspot.com.