Design for Maruhan Bank and First Cambodia by Pol Chakrya (pictured lower right)
Have you ever been stuck looking at advertisements while you are reading through newspapers and magazines? If you are like Say Sovann Samphors, a third-year accounting student at VANDA institute, you can’t help but marvel at their design. “I wonder how the designer comes up with the idea. I can’t turn the page because I just stare at the graphic design.”
You only have to look around you to see that Cambodia has some great ideas in arts and design. With the age of electronic and information technology having arrived, graphic design is becoming more interesting to look at, and more attractive as a career.
Now a graphic designer in her 20s, Pol Chakrya has been exploring this career since 2004, when she trained at the Vocational Training Centre in Battambang after finishing high school. “I didn’t know what graphic design was about at that time, but I just knew that I love drawing and painting,” she said. Since the career requires her to sit in front of the computer for more than eight hours a day, she wears glasses to protect her eyes.
She said a career as a graphic designer requires having training, initiative and in-depth and concrete design concepts. You also need to do research and observe the work of others to help find inspiration. “By doing so, we can generate new ideas to add on to our work,” Pol Chakrya said. “But, we should make sure not to make it the same as the other,” she added. She also recommends having good concentration when working on design.
Christine Schmutzler, a master of fine arts graduate who works as a graphic design lecturer and an independent graphic designer, advised hopeful designers to be passionate, creative and flexible. “This is a profession which will never stop,” she said.
Schmutzler admitted that, because Cambodia is a developing country, there are not as many design jobs as in other countries, and the pay is not very high. But she said passionate designers do the work because they love it.
Pol Chakrya said that to be a graphic designer; she needs a lot of time to think about new ideas that will satisfy her clients. “I find it hard when the clients don’t understand the concept of design,” Pol Chakrya complained. She must now compete with more design firms than before, since advertising and graphic design is in increasing demand, but she still loves her job. “I can get a lot of appreciation from the people around me,” she explained. “I love this job because it doesn’t make me stressed out.”