Jane Chang is the Design Director of Big 3 Media - together with her team of designers, artists and animators, she works with the video team as well as on her own client projects. In this article, we find out first hand from her what it is like to be part of the leadership team in Big 3 Media.
Jon: Thanks for taking the time out to do this Jane, please tell us a little more about yourself.
Jane: I've been in Big 3 Media for about five years now, having started out as a graphic designer. Over time, I’ve progressed into a managerial role leading a team of about 15 across Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Our team focuses on Creative Media Solutions for our clients including graphic design work, animation, illustrations, branding and most recently, immersive media.
Jon: That’s awesome! In the time you’ve been here, what is one project that you are really proud of?
Jane: Working on Merli for Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has to be one of my biggest highlights while here. During a call for pitch by STB, we took the leap of faith by submitting a sketch by our Art Director, AK, and it is now a full-blown campaign.
Jon: What about Merli are you most proud of?
Jane: It was a huge honour to be a part of the team creating a new image for the Merlion - which is such an iconic asset to Singapore. It definitely wasn’t an easy task to reimagine and refresh a brand icon for our country. With AK helming the creative direction, I helped to coordinate the project and come up with the brand guidelines for Merli. We detailed how the assets should be used, even going as far as to create backstories for the characters as well as universe rules. Seeing Merli on social media content, chat stickers, appearing as a mascot during events, and even on kids’ fan art is definitely heartwarming that our work has made a difference.
Jon: It’s amazing that your work is leaving a lasting legacy in Singapore. If I were to flip the coin, could you share with us a time you felt challenged at work?
Jane: There were two main challenges I experienced. The first one came when I was just getting my own team. It was a process of getting to know people, their skills and eventually figuring out who was a good fit for the team. The second was to figure out how we could differentiate ourselves as a service. In some sense when the design team started, we were an anomaly in Big 3 which was primarily a video production house. So we had to figure out our own way of doing things and how to get our work out there; by developing our offering into something unique to us, we could get clients to trust us.
Jon: The design team is constantly growing in revenue and size, how does it feel leading a successful team in Big 3?
Jane: I can’t claim all the credit for it. I have a lot of support from other leaders within my team and management like Isaac and Willie (founders of Big 3 Media) to back me up. With their support, our client pool grew and from there, the team size growth was a natural progression. To illustrate, I recently realised that our team was doubling every year and it was a little bit scary for me - but I know that I am not in this alone. I really appreciate the entire team, no matter junior or senior, always striving for excellence and always seeking to do better.
Jon: Doubling every year in size is quite an achievement - where do you see yourself taking this team in the next couple of years?
Jane: I see us growing in size and abilities. The team is always looking to experiment with new tech and creative processes to improve what we can offer our clients. We’re also seeing growth in managing bigger campaigns - something that didn’t exist a year ago. I see myself learning to delegate more roles as we grow.
Jon: With all this success at work, do you see yourself as a career woman?
Jane: I would like to say so! I’ve always wanted to build a career path and not just stop at being a graphic designer. So a few years back I worked with Isaac and Willie to see how we could create opportunities for me to lead in projects and eventually a team. I’m glad things look quite promising now. Moving forward, I’m hoping to work on bigger projects and campaigns, with even more cross-disciplinary media forms.
Jon: Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
Jane: About a decade ago… I would have been in JC geeking out all over my textbooks. I was really unsure for a long time about what I wanted to do for a career. Looking back, I would have told myself to be more in tune with the real world, considering different potential job paths, or even to consider going to Polytechnic for a diploma. As a designer, it can be challenging in the earlier years as you have to pick up many new technical skills, and the self-improvement never stops. Whether or not I would choose to become a designer again, I would tell myself to have perseverance.
Jon: This leads in nicely to my final question - What would you tell other young ladies who are keen on following your path?
Jane: You’re in for a ride, haha. The journey is fulfilling and fun, but you need to keep improving and being hungry for more. There is a whole world of media forms that are built upon the core foundation of graphic design, so go forth and explore. With more technical knowledge and exposure, you will better be able to help your clients develop their briefs, scope the campaign, and bring their ideas to life.