Producing Industry-Ready Designers-to-be

How Malaysian students learn and understand design from a multi-ethnic point of view.

The purpose of designing is to build a harmonious artistic socialist society based on humanism with innovation. This can be achieved by establishing collaboration and in exploring opportunities to develop and support art and design in the fields that will be beneficial to the nation.

Design is commercial and has specific guidelines to follow. Design is specific to an objective and delivers a consistent message that has to be understood. Like art, it has no barrier, it can be abstract and is free to express. This is subjected to how an onlooker interprets and stimulates different meanings to different individuals.

It is common that, for instance, a painting is priced after the artist has finished painting it while one would first need to negotiate the costs with a designer when engaging them to work on it.

Art is a talent, but Design needs education and one must be drilled to be a good designer. Guiding students to design and create is the tricky part of the process in design creation as well as how it is organized before being presented to the client.

As a design lecturer, Dr Perline Siek has worked on projects that fit the subject’s learning objectives. This was combined with teaching, research, and service obligations. Students are facilitated on how to tackle the problems and issues. Industry experts are also invited to share their expertise, patience, and active participation with students on projects.

The School of Arts encourages experiential learning and training to be skilful in various mediums including craftsmanship to express thoughts. Designers-to-be need to build their style, characteristics, value; combine reality and ideals through cross-field integration, to fully understand and execute the full process; and interact with industry. This will allow students to develop skills that are valued by employers.

So, when HANS* invited Dr Perline Siek to design a series of illustration books which was under a cross-culture promotion of the culture and design of Malaysia with Taiwan, in conjunction with the Director-General of UNESCO for the Kuala Lumpur World Book Capital 2020 (KLWBC), she extended the invitation to her students from her digital publishing class where they will have the opportunity to gain industry experience while learning about design, layout, and publication. The students will also be able to publish their names on the finished works. This series of books are expected to be launched in November 2021.

This initiative is supported by various Malaysian government agencies, such as Malaysia Language and Literature Board, National Department of Culture Arts (JKKN), National Library and Department of Indigenous Development (JAKOA). The set of books will be distributed to all the elementary and secondary school libraries of Malaysia, national and state libraries of Malaysia. It covers legends and stories of the Indigenous People of Malaysia and Taiwan and Malaysian Local Cultural Stories.

*Han provides training of Chinese Language to Malaysian government officers. It is the only organisation endorsed by the China government through the China Embassy in Malaysia to undertake this role. Han is also the only examination distributor from the Ministry of Education of China for Chinese language.


Dr Perline Siek Hwee Ling
School of Arts