Duration: Parable started in April 2016.
Education: Mark holds a masters of design in type and media. Ken studied filmmaking in Australia.
Career path: Mark always wanted to be a designer of some sort. In school, he really loved working with type, and this has stayed with him all the way to his first job, as a book designer. In 2012, after going through the condensed program at Type@Cooper, he spent a year working as brand designer in The Netherlands while finishing his masters in type and media. Since returning to Singapore, he has sought to weave typography into his work in a beautiful and functional way.
Ken has always tried his hand at art and storytelling. He grew up with parents who were well established in the fields of interior design and architecture. After studying film, he discovered that that many processes and mind-sets of bringing stories to life can be applied to interiors and architecture. This led him to weave design thinking and filmmaking with spatial experiences.
Cultural influences: Herb Lubalin is one of Mark’s design heroes, and fuelled his desire to develop display typefaces. Mark also finds illustrator William Addison Dwiggins and painter Fortunato Depero inspiring. In addition, he is a history geek and loves ephemera of all kinds, incorporating cultural details into his work. He nearly studied product design and interiors, so he sees strong correlations between the different disciplines. Also, Mark is always inspired by what Ken has up his sleeve.
Ken tries to emulate architect Alvar Aalto’s approach of blending art, economics and architecture. He also enjoys geeking out on subgenres and studies of human culture. Much of his thinking is derived from anthropology, psychology and spiritual beliefs. In addition, fashion, Southeast Asian ethnic history and street culture all fascinate Ken. He likes to dive headfirst into other people’s shoes to draw inspiration from them.
Favorite projects: Mark thinks that the studio pushed a lot of boundaries when working on the rebranding of the restaurant Plentyfull. Ken’s favorite project is the one that Parable created for internationally renowned singer JJ Lin. Parable co-created, redesigned and expanded Lin’s musical universe as touchpoints that Lin’s fans could interact with, engaging community.
Work environment: We try to make our work place feel like home, both in the way the space feels and the relationships we have with the other people who work there.
Approach: Our tools and processes are derived from an amalgamation of design thinking, fashion, filmmaking, interior design and typography. Our lives don’t revolve around design but around a belief that we’ve been gifted with our opportunities and talents in order to make life better for people.
Aspirations: In five to ten years, Mark would like to continue producing beautiful work that impacts people. He hopes that Parable’s own products will hit the consumer market and that the studio’s unique perspective on design will have an even greater impact on the world.
In five to ten years, Ken would like to be closer friends with all the people he is around now, and create even more time for his wife and two children. He finds so much satisfaction in looking around and seeing happy and healthy people.
Philosophy: Mark believes people should serve others. Build and beautify not only design experiences and products, but also people. Ken believes that the world needs to constantly be told a narrative of love, grace and hope. Design is the way that people experience stories.