A spotlight on Büro UFHO with 8 questions and our favourite pieces.
BÜRO UFHO is a multi-disciplinary brand strategy and creative design consultancy based in Singapore, delivering beautifully crafted brand solutions for aspiring clients around the world. They help businesses create exceptional brand experiences through beautifully crafted brand identity, creative direction, graphic design, 3D and 2D visual and illustration.
UFHO is an acronym derived from Euphoria: A feeling or state of intense excitement and happiness. Their name is an extension of their design philosophy- create meaningful solutions for our clients that not only inform, but delight. By creating delightful works that keep their clients, their audience, and themselves happy, they shall be “The Happy Office” – BÜRO UFHO
Do you remember the moment you knew you wanted to become a designer?
Growing up I’ve mostly bought music albums based on their cover designs. Growing up in Asia, it didn’t click to me back then that it was a profession you could have because they were all overseas albums. The moment came when I started partying at a local dance club called Zouk, where I realized you could make a living creating some cool-looking printed cards that provide information on who’s coming to town to perform in the coming weeks.
Did you go to design school? Do you think it was necessary to get to where you are today?
Despite not having a design education, I pretty much got the next best thing. I graduated in Internet Computing, majoring in Multimedia. Much of it was learning about writing programs and coding websites, but I was able to have my own .com in 2002 showcasing the graphic works I did in my spare time. Having this online presence sort of forced me to add new stuff to it. Pretty soon I created a portfolio and used them to apply for my first job – designing for the Ministry of Sound club in Singapore. I believe having that interest/passion was more necessary than anything else.
Who is your favorite designer right now?
Milton Glaser’s approach and philosophies have always and continue to inspire and connect with me. When I started out and I consider him my secret design mentor and hero. Through his impactful visual output as well as his thoughtful reflections on the role of design, he has made a huge impact on my design journey. I wanted to be like him back then and I still want to be like him.
What is your method of getting out of a designers block?
We would relook at the brief and start questioning the assumptions we hold. Sometimes we hold certain assumptions about the project or approach, forming a bias, which results in a designer’s block. Fully understanding what we are trying to accomplish, and the parameters we need to work within, will often provide us clarity in the direction. And a cold shower helps too.
Can you describe your ideal working environment?
Although I often imagined the ideal working environment would be working on a laptop in an outdoor environment like a cafe or a resort or on a beach, I realized I just need a room with a workstation and some quiet time. Simple, boring, but it works for us.
Some of our Favorites
What advice would you have given yourself 3 years ago?
If in doubt, trust your instinct.
What is the greatest challenge you have faced in your career so far? How did you overcome it?
There is this one time where we screened a big potential client, made sure both parties were the right fit, had a great get-to-know meeting with them, kick-started the project and kept everyone on the looped about the creative decisions through emails every step of the way, kept track of the timeline, quickly delivered, and offered solutions each time the direction was changed, worked overnight to solve the issues and delivered the changes, and still nothing could prevent the project from going south, because we were just 50% of the equation. The client reduced our agreed fees after the project. We knew it was the only way we could move on from the project. It is truly one of the worst experiences we’ve ever had in 15 years. We’re just glad we kept it professional. Sometimes it happens, and I’d like to think that it happens to our design heroes too – even Pentagram has to deal with occasional bad clients. Thankfully it’s so rare, and you just have to get through it to tell the tale.