150 pages of stories to tell,
36 pages of slaving,
This is the story of Hall Annual Magazine 09/10, at least from my point of view. I have been recruited into the HAM team last year to create a masterpiece together with a team of other equally talented individuals. The journey has been long and full of bumps here and there. Hardship doesn’t come in the form of scratches and wound, but in the form of flame in your neck, and constant hounding by the chief editor and the RF in charge.
Well I have a confession to make. To be honest, at the point of the interview, I asked for the photo editor job not knowing what the job scope was. I was desperate that much at that time, because my confidence was seriously dented. It was the second or third round of interview and so far all the other committees rejected me. I just wanted to get into a committee and find a niche that I belong to in the Kent Ridge Hall community. For this I need to thank Su Yuen for directing me to apply for the graphic designer position instead. Initially, I was hesitant. I know I can use Photoshop and had the necessary skills to do the graphics, but I have always had an issue with my own creativity. I took the position anyway. At that point of time, all I was thinking was to salvage whatever confidence that I still have, and took a leap into the unknown territory like a blind man.
The task for the interview was to make a farewell card to a friend. What I did was completely ripped TIME magazine off to create a fusion of farewell card with a magazine. I wasn’t proud of my plagiarising, but I was satisfied with the result (BTW thanks Jowell for his photos). My first real task was designing pages for “Dinner and Dance” and “Culture Night”. It took approximately 2 weeks to come up with a concept. I was glad that they liked my girl’s diary theme for “Culture Night”. From then on, I never look back. Page by page, I gained confidence in my designing skills. And the pages that I am most proud of is the last pages that I designed - the content pages. Hold on for few more weeks then you guys in KR might be able to see what I mean.
Well, the whole process was more nerve wrecking and brain devastating that I could admit. I’ve been through countless hours with a pencil and my faithful blank book of design and inspiration on my lap, scribbling out every ideas that I got, writing notes about inspiration and feels that Nash, my chief editor and I personally want to bring out through the pages. In the blank notebook, there are lots of sketching of possible layouts, of which only 20% of it actually made into the book itself. During the Hall Production period especially, I’ve gone through a period of dry spell, when ideas don’t come to me like it used to. I guess I was pretty stressed out during that time, having Hall Production rehearsals to attend, homework to cope with. Around that time, I was also being requested by Song Han to take up the RAG float designer’s position, all thanks to, ironically my chief editor’s recommendation. Well I couldn’t say no to Song Han after going through my first designer’s meeting, because it seems that it would be a rewarding experience to be a RAG designer. Okay, I lied. I took up the position because I was thrilled to know that my efforts in HAM actually gained me recognition from other people as well. Well, I’ll save the RAG story for another day. Anyway, back to the stressed period. I spent many sleepless night refining my ideas and magnifying the pages back and forth from 100% to 300%, just to make sure that every detail is done correctly. What I couldn’t give in the form of fresh creative ideas, I made up with time and effort to make it look visually pleasing, at least up to my standard.
On 12th April, I came back to hall after my lecture. Still with my backpack on, I went over to Nash’s room to chat with him. Today is the day when designs are submitted to the printer. I can finally breathe easy, knowing that whatever that I churned out during weekends and sleepless nights is going to be printed out in multiple copies for every residents to marvel. The revelation that my efforts will be the embodiment of the memories of the Kent Ridge Hall Residence of AY 09/10, is really exhilarating. I realised for the past 24 hours, I have been telling every one I see, that HAM designing is finally over and HAM0910 is going be a kickass hell of a magazine. I’m not showing off, but I'm just expressing my relieve and excitement for the journey and the product.
Anyway, I am happy that I survived that ordeal and through the ordeal convinced myself that I can design!