Creative Lives — QM Tan on his role as a designer at Made Thought

Posted 10 April 2019 Written by Rebecca Irvin
Interview by Indi Davies

QM Tan’s favourite thing about working with London-based design company Made Thought is the studio’s emphasis on thinking and its strategy-led approach to design. Having contacted the studio in the summer of 2017 about work experience, he built up a strong working relationship with the team, and a few months later he joined Made Thought as a full-time designer. Here, he talks to us about the versatility of his role, how his studies have helped him in his professional life and his ongoing mission to get his poke bowl stamp reward...

QM Tan

Job title

Designer, Made Thought (2018–Present)

Previous employment

Intern, Winkreative (2016)
Intern, Made Thought (2017)
Freelancer, Systems Studio (2017–2018)

Place of Study

BA Graphic and Media Design, London College of Communication (2015–2018)

Social media

Inside the Made Thought studio

Day-to-day

How would you describe your role at Made Thought?
As a designer in the office, I take direction from the creative lead and support the team with ongoing projects. Sometimes I have to adapt to urgent requests that need immediate attention, this requires being flexible, and is a part of the job I really enjoy as it keeps my daily schedule interesting.

Made Thought's work for Hunter

Made Thought's work for Hunter

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How did you land your current job?
I have always been a huge fan of Made Thought’s work. Back when I was looking for job experience during my summer break, I sent a direct email to the studio. To my surprise, they replied and called me in for an interview. After a glorious summer [of work experience] here, we kept in contact and I started coming back to assist part-time from March. Thankfully, they offered me a job and I have been here since.

Do you run any self-initiated projects alongside your job?
I’m capitalising all my energy on getting my poke bowl stamps reward!

“When I was trying to get into the design industry, I quickly realised what the work really entails, and nothing prepares you for that.”

Made Thought's work for GF Smith

Made Thought's work for GF Smith

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What do you enjoy most about working at Made Thought?
The opportunity to work on a diverse clientele, crafting great work, and of course, the amazing people here. There’s an emphasis on thinking in the Made Thought studio – strategy-led design process helps to give structure to an otherwise organic design process.

What skills are essential to your role?
Thinking and making!

What tools do you use most for your work?
My trusty iMac, good earphones, Muji notebook, pen, the studio’s library, as well as the given – InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and Keynote.

QM Tan

How I Got Here

How did your studies help you get to where you are now?
I cannot disregard what I have learnt from my degree; it served as a good introduction to the world of design. But when I was trying to get into the design industry, I quickly realised what the work really entails, and nothing prepares you for that.

Some of the most useful classes I took were the contextual and theoretical lectures, where I learnt about visual and design culture. This knowledge has really helped inform my work with insight and analysis.

Made Thought's work for the Museum of Modern Art

Words of Wisdom

What advice would you give to an emerging creative wanting to do the same kind of work?
Work harder, make it better, learn to listen and have fun along the way. I am still trying to achieve these things today.


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This interview is part of a series of articles profiling design studio Made Thought. See the In the Studio With interview here.

Made Thought is a close collaborator of our brand partner G . F Smith, which has supported Lecture in Progress since the beginning. You can discover more at gfsmith.com.

Posted 10 April 2019 Written by Rebecca Irvin
Interview by Indi Davies
Collection: Creative Lives
Disciplines: Graphic Design, Design
Mentions: Made Thought

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