Design Sojourn's Brand New Beginning

Kohi Sunrise
Sorry for that cliffhanger of an ending in that last post where I announced that I would be leaving Philips Design at the end of September. I like to be a little dramatic at times and I thought it would be a nice lead in to the story I’m going to tell you today.
So what, you may ask, am I going to do next?
I have spent most of my life working for people, or more accurately, designing for other people and making said people rich! Well not really…but I did decide that it was a time to do something different. Central to this plan, as you probably guessed by now, is Design Sojourn.
If I do a little counting, my Design Sojourn blog has actually been in operation for almost 5 years now! Throughout the history of this website, I have shared my ideas and thoughts on design, bounced these ideas (and sparred) with designers from all over the world. I have even helped and mentored designers whenever I could. I hope such efforts have contributed to the international design industry as a whole and in return allowed me to build some credibility as thought leader in design.
So it is then logical to expand Design Sojourn into other areas beyond just blogging. I plan for Design Sojourn to evolve into a design consultancy and brand management company. Yup, I’m going to be an entrepreneur.
Here are a few more details:

Design Sojourn The Blog

First and foremost Design Sojourn the blog, will continue, but it’s going back to its roots. This blog cut its teeth by helping designers be the best they can be. Design Sojourn was and is all about “How to do good design, and make clever products”. I did, in recent years, evolved this blog into Strategic Design. However I realized that by helping designers become more strategic, it was really still in the same vein of helping designers be the best they can be. Being strategic is the name of the game in today’s design industry.
I have also taken a look at the state of my blog, and I have to say I’m not happy with it. In the recent years, my heavy workloads and family commitments have influenced a drop in the quality of my posts. I had discovered one day that the posts people came to Design Sojourn for were more than 2 years old. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not angry or anything, I have accepted that my priorities and attention were needed elsewhere. I will therefore plan to dedicate more time in writing useful and engaging posts that will make your visit to Design Sojourn worthwhile. Growing Design Sojourn is high on the priority list, with a target of doubling readership in the next six months.

I’m going edgy. Simple but edgy. Oh, and critical too, but constructive critical.less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

Finally, now that I am on my own, I will not be tied down nor associated with any brand. I’m now a Design Rōnin. A master-less designer roaming the world and kicking ass! Sorry, too many Akira Kurosawa movies.
Rest assured that I’m not about to take a “dump in my own backyard”, but do expect a more edgy tone, more rants, and of course, constructive criticism. Not being associated to any brand does provide the freedom to have an unbiased view.

Design Sojourn Consulting

After everything, the unfortunate hash realities of life still exist. We still need to eat and I have a mortgage to pay. This is where things here at Design Sojourn will start to be a little different.
Many companies setup a company then a blog to get them going. I’ve actually flipped this approach on its head by turning my blog into a company, Design Sojourn Pte Ltd. Here is what we do:

Design Sojourn is a multi-disciplinary strategic design consultancy.
We see ourselves as guides or translators for clients and partners in their journey in design that will go beyond products and into services, systems and processes. We are also teachers and students at heart, so we are passionate in building creative environments and improving the design industries through training and education.
Anchoring our creative process around the tenets of Joy with Functionality and Simple but Edgy, we offer full end-to-end design solutions that range from commercially savvy design languages that fulfill business needs; to manufacturing viable and resolved designs; to marketing, communications and new media solutions. However we are also nimble and flexible enough to take on that “quick kill” design problem.
No job too big or too small.

I can promise you that other than getting a “Hire me” banner up, and an update to my About page, I will not be constantly reminding you of my consulting services. However, in the coming weeks, I will share more about Design Sojourn Consulting and what it stands for. Especially its design process which, I think, you might be interested to see?
If you, or someone you know, need my services or want to collaborate with me, please do not hesitate to contact me at brian@designsojourn.com. I won’t bite, and if something does come out of this tie-up, I will be in your debt as this will allow me to continue to blog, not to mention pay my mortgage…

Design Sojourn Brand Management

The other thing that Design Sojourn Pte Ltd is going into is Design Entrepreneurship. As Design Producers, we design, develop, and produce products under our own brand or basket of brands. We also work closely with awesome designers to collaborate on products from design to market. When the time is right you will know who these awesome designers are.
I’m sure by now, you also know about our Spaces for Ideas brand? Well you will be pleased to know that we have spun the brand off Design Sojourn and given it its own dedicated site at www.spacesforideas.com. To celebrate the launch of the site this new start, we have reduced the price of the Expandable Sketchbook, so if you have not gotten your Sketchbook yet, do head on over and get one now!
Edit: Due to time commitments, I am unable to run two websites at the same time. Therefore I am re-integrating the Spaces for Ideas store back into Design Sojourn. This should also make it a smoother navigating experience for you as well. Spacesforideas.com will still exist and will be reborn when the time is right. If you can, do check out the Spaces for Ideas store? We will also be expanding the Spaces for Ideas product range to include more sketchbook solutions.
On a side note, SpacesforIdeas.com will focus more on sales transactions and product information. My sharing of development efforts, as well as the design activities will still be here on Design Sojourn. I’m guessing that you don’t want to be bothered with all this blogging noise when you make your purchases or vice versa?
On Design Sojourn, you can expect some announcements as well as the banners you see now. I’ve dumped the ugly Google ads, and will continue to streamline the site’s design so these ads do not overpower your reading experience. However, they will be a necessary evil, as Design Sojourn is the main marketing engine for my Spaces for Ideas products. Please do let me know, if you have any feedback on this matter?
There are a few other things in the works, but they are currently too premature to talk about it now. I’ll let you know as soon as they are ready to fly! All I can say is that they will be quite awesome.
What do you think? Am I out of my mind? Many of you have been part of my own design sojourn right from the start as friends and loyal supporters. It has been a great honor journeying with you and I do hope to get your continued support of this website and in all my future endeavors. Thank you.

  • Bernardus Romero

    March 8, 2011 at 11:54 pm Reply

    It’s so nice from you to share this. At least for people like me, who are close to graduate and about to stand in a similar place.
    BTW, do you accept interns?
    (Late but never out of place).

  • Francis

    October 20, 2010 at 5:24 am Reply

    Hi Brain, I wish you all the success and continue to inspire others along the way.

  • taiwoon

    October 16, 2010 at 9:35 am Reply

    Hi Brian,
    It is never easy to start anything, but now u made ur mind up, just do it! Don’t look back!
    As in every adventure, there will be people, lots of it that will say u are crazy and it is not possible.. Rome wasn’t built in a day, keep plugging away and I look forward to more cool articles and collabroations.
    best regards

  • Bill

    September 25, 2010 at 11:03 am Reply

    I heard Philips has been trimming their design team in Singapore…..So it’s either a good move or a good way of putting it. Regardless of which it is, hope the quote below can give you a boost.
    “Anybody who ever built an empire, or changed the world, sat where you are now. And it’s *because* they sat there that they were able to do it.” – Ryan Bingham.

  • Design Translator

    September 15, 2010 at 3:17 pm Reply

    Hi all,
    Sorry for the delay in my reply! Let me see if I can get to the comments.
    @Shang Lee, @Joshua, @Mac: Thank you very much for your kind support, I look forward to catching up with all of you more in the future.
    @Ken: Not to worry, I will continue with this blog as long as I can type! And I hope my sharing can help designers from all around the world. In that is satisfaction enough for me.
    @Parker: First off thank you very much for taking the time to stop by and share your super awesome feedback and words of encouragement. I really appreciate your support.
    You really hit my strategy right on the head! I applaud you for that, and it is also nice to hear it back from someone else, as a positive vote of confidence. I think small businesses can have an edge against the big boys and this strategy is part of me testing how to beat the system! I hope to continue to work on it and see how I go!
    Finally thanks for the link, and I hope you will continue to keep in touch, and share your insights, as I’m sure you have a lot of knowledge as well to contribute!

  • Parker Robinson

    September 5, 2010 at 1:37 am Reply

    Congratulations Brian … and best wishes on your venture … entrepreneurship is such an amazing experience. There is just something incredibly clarifying about entering the arena …
    I do believe that along with the inevitable valleys in any venture, you will be extremely successful and flourish – particularly as there is nothing between you now and your customers. By layering Design consultancy / Branding / Design Sojurn Weblog writing / and SpacesForIdeas You have defined a business model with direct service to people who share your passion (always a powerful idea … you can look within for products to stir the imagination of your market) and prospective clients who will know exactly who you are … I think it’s exciting … and your positive outlook will make this a great and involving story.
    I can’t offer much on the Design consultancy business development side … but I would encourage you to continue direct products as well. I really like the model of how you launched SpacesForIdeas … you opened with many sketches and photos of your thought process … and then you offered your customers the chance to buy… and participate in the story you crafted … the key to products is engagement.
    What I believe is that people have a hunger for active pursuits … beyond passive consumption … and SpacesForIdeas was launched by showing the excitement of design … from the physical considerations to the development of your logo … it is a very engaging story…
    This idea is everywhere ..
    Look at the use of live “pencil animation” and music in this video to communicate the excitement of design of a neat mechanical concept from iRobot.
    Google (iRobot soft morphing youtube) or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbqHERKdlK8
    People respond to ideas in motion … they instinctively want to participate …
    I bet your commentators could offer you many other suggestions …
    Finally, one last piece of encouragement… I have found your blog an incredibly positive experience… the magic of ink is that it weaves people together across time … the magic of the glowing pixels on the screen is that they bridge people across distance. That’s how I have found your weblog and most of your commentators …
    Design is such a positive creative process … beyond fashion … the practitioner seeks deep within to connect an idea to the way people live their lives … it just doesn’t get better than that; and you are very good at communicating your own passion for it…
    Best of luck Brian, and using my cultural referents, Godbless and Godspeed…

  • John

    September 4, 2010 at 10:22 am Reply

    Sorry, lets be honest here
    Design consultancy in Singapore?
    i think you should have stay put in Philips!
    most of your past experiences are based on management thus not designing but maybe on the marketing direction
    but wouldn’t consumer electronic company has its own marketing department?
    and your design capability, i wouldn’t say exceptional.
    sketchbook? oh come on…
    i believe theres a lot of obstacles ahead
    Good luck!

  • Mac Funamizu

    September 3, 2010 at 6:15 pm Reply

    Congratulations! Excited to see how things are going!

  • kens_thoughts

    September 3, 2010 at 11:42 am Reply

    Was reading through all the RSS feeds that I had subscribed and I saw this article of your in your new directions which you had set in your career.
    And when I saw these words from you
    “The Design Sojourn blog has actually been in operation for almost 5 years now! Throughout the history of this website, I have shared my ideas and thoughts on design, bounced these ideas (and sparred) with designers from all over the world. I even helped and mentored designers whenever I could. I hope such efforts have contributed to the international design industry as a whole and in return allowed me to build credibility as a designer.”
    I was pretty moved by it, as I had always had this negative impression that most successful designers aren’t really ready to share their knowledge to other’s who are struggling to learn.
    And with your new directions, other then wishing you all the best and success in all your decision ahead, I would also hope that the quoted as above shall always remain as one of the basis principles.

  • Joshua Gordon

    September 2, 2010 at 6:31 pm Reply

    Hi Brian,
    I’ve been following design sojourn for a while now… and I’m excited for the possibilities for you. I’m looking forward to seeing how things grow here. Heck, I’m looking forward to being a part of how things grow here.

  • Shang Lee

    September 2, 2010 at 10:24 am Reply

    Looking forward to more good stuff from you Brian! All the best!

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