There are too many graphic designers out there, and not enough really good ones.

That’s why we are here.

When I mentioned “really good ones”, I don’t mean talented ones like Stefan Sagmeister (whom I’ve admired for at least a decade).

He is simply one of a kind.

So what makes a really good designer?

Here are some of the characteristics most of my clients prefer their designers to possess:

  1. Creative
  2. Helpful
  3. Reliable
  4. Intelligent
  5. Resourceful
  6. Good-listener
  7. Friendly

How and Why We Got Started?

It was 2005 when I realised the only thing that will get me going and doing very well is doing creative work, such as creating graphics to beautify a page, illustrations and just playing around with typography (fonts) and colours.

At that time, fresh out of university, I was broke inside and out, very green but determined to start my own business without knowing how.

I was a brash young gal, thinking I am born to take over the world.

In October 2005, I got my first freelance paycheck from Pearson Education Singapore and never looked back since.

It was also that time when my boyfriend (now husband) joined me on my venture.

Until 2013, the year when my first child was born (erm…only child as of now). It was not only a life changing experience in terms of lifestyle, it led me to a lot of self-discovery and mindset shifts of how I view what success should be.

Here’s our current humble office space. Specifically my cosy desk:

Graphic designers office space by Marilyn and Anders

So what has it got to do with graphic design?

Before my first kid, I never thought beyond design. My day-to-day tasks were only meant to bring in the income to fund my day-to-day activities that I love to do. I was living the YOLO (You Only Live Once) lifestyle.

I didn’t know what I was doing, didn’t know where I was going. I was merely doing design to make a living.

After the birth of my first child, the lifestyle change kept me literally sitting still for longer periods than before. I was forced to think more while I breastfeed, pat him to sleep and even while he slept, I couldn’t go anywhere.

I always led a very active lifestyle before that and I never had so much time to really sit down and look within myself to figure out what I truly wanted.

So thanks to my kid, I started looking for answers, which led me to start many mini businesses to figure a way out to act on those answers. Problem was I went on to start businesses that had nothing to do with design, businesses that I knew nothing about. If you want to know, they are things like interior design, advertising and even cooking.

I was on a search, taking for granted the many years of experience I’ve had in the field of graphic design.

I must say that my journey in graphic design was not a perfect one. I enjoy designing even till now, but my life was left unfulfilled and feeling unappreciated the whole time. Due to that, I wanted to move away from the graphic design business to figure other paths to survive.

Clients seldom showed me any form of appreciation. They needed their work done well and done right away. I’m not here to change that expectation. They pay us and we deliver, I totally understand that’s fair. However when I was younger, I was blinded by short-sightedness.

Having a scarcity mindset got me carried away to think that there’s no solution to getting a better experience. I chose to think that every client wants to suck us dry and do anything to make it worth every penny.

I’ve made tons of mistakes due to this mindset, and only with repetitive self-analysis and reflection that I realised the right actions I needed to take to live the life I want.

Before 2016, I read tons of books, took up courses and even started a podcast. Looking back, they are all worth it.

Hence it was only in March 2016, my husband and I decided to reinvent our graphic design business with a mission to build a world-class team of graphic designers that not only serve your needs but also inspire those who are in need as well. Follow us and you will get the first-hand scoop on how we do this.

From conversations with our existing clients, we realised their pain points when it comes to graphic design are:

  1. the designers cannot grasp the intended concept
  2. they aren’t willing to put themselves in the shoes of the client
  3. there’s too much back and forth communication, it’s tiring for the client
  4. lack of communication and lost in translation
  5. great designs come with a hefty price tag, urgent fees, and restricted changes

…and I’m sure there’s more.

Our goal is grand, which is to solve all that and go above and beyond graphic design.

Who Are We

My husband’s name is Anders, mine is Marilyn. We want to build a team that works with one heart and mind for our customers, hence, I chose not to fill my name in and go with “Anders” instead.

It’s simple, easy to remember and, it’s the name of one of our founders – perfect!

Anders Lau is our Chief Idea Officer. He has all the creativity and idea in the world and rarely executes them because he spends more time thinking up of newer ideas by the minute. Besides working on the designs, he’s also great with numbers, definitely more so than I am, so he deals with the finances of our family and business.

Marilyn Wo, that’s me. I love starting businesses and can’t wait to run one to serve the world’s community with my passion for design and teamwork.

Altogether, we are starting to hire lovely, friendly and helpful graphic designers to help support your marketing campaigns and build your brand.

We want to be the most reliable graphic design company in Singapore and ultimately the world.

Graphic designers gone on a diving trip in tioman

Our Values

As Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos and author of the book Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose said in an interview on what would he do if he were to start all over again, he said he would “put values in place on day 1”. That’s what we are doing with the following values to begin with:

  1. Get ego out of the way
  2. Keep finding ways to improve by asking the right questions
  3. Be appreciative and show gratitude
  4. Be mindful of saving other people’s face even if they are wrong
  5. Teach and share everything
  6. Never stop learning to grow
  7. Respond to criticisms positively
  8. Empathy comes first before being right
  9. Love what you do, do what you love
  10. Under-promise, over-deliver

We believe values don’t have to be cast in stone, we are open to evolving as we learn more about you and our customers, so that we can serve you better and you can grow faster too.

Conclusion

We’ll be using this blog to share every detail of our business, marketing, and creative processes. We are learning a lot and hope you are in it with us too.

We are working very hard exploring and experimenting ways to help you connect with your audience. Do look out for our useful information if you are interested in learning more.

That said, we are happy to build a community of happy marketers and designers all over the world into this little community of ours.

At this stage, we are committed to sending out an email newsletter a week to your inbox on what we’ve learned. You can join the list below to get our best ideas and results immediately.

We’ve also got an Instagram account and a Facebook page.

If you prefer plain simple email, say hi to me at marilyn@meetanders.com.