After a Bachelor in Industrial Design and working a few years as a Creative Designer in Thailand, Ackapol Lamuang chose to reinforce his knowledge in advanced graphics & visual design with a focus in UX and UI design. He therefore joined L’École de design to follow the Information Design MDes program. Ackapol just graduated from the school and went back to Thailand to work at the Khon Kaen University. Portrait of a young international designer.
How did you come to study design?
When I was young, the only thing I knew was that I loved sketching and coloring. When I was in an artistic mood or that I imagined something, my fingers always wiggled in the air like a magical drawing. I realized that I liked art and creativity. Knowing that I was interested in this area and believing that I had the ability in it, I chose to study design.
How did you choose your bachelor studies?
When it comes to bachelor studies, it is not just about learning about what you like but you also have to think a lot about your future. At that time, I did not have much idea about my future career. I could not see myself being an engineer, a scientist or an artist. I only knew that I loved creativity and I did not want to leave unused the knowledge of science and mathematics that I studied in high school. So I took a middle road and found myself studying in Industrial Design.
This course taught me the basics of design during the 1st-year, including product design, interior design, fashion design, ceramic design, and graphic design. After that, I became keen on visual and graphic design. Moreover, it gave me an extra opportunity to sharpen my skills through a three-month workshop scholarship at the University of Newcastle in Australia under an exchange student program. I then returned to the final design project to develop an image, brand identity for promoting local events. I finished my degree with first class honors in Bachelor of Architecture (industrial design) within the Faculty of Architecture, Khon Kaen University, Thailand.
After your Bachelor in Architecture and Industrial design from Khon Kaen University in Thailand, you started working. What did you do and where?
I immediately got a job as a Creative Designer at Double A, a public company headquartered in Thailand, where I stayed for 4 years. I was in charge of brand identity creation and advertisement media design for subsidiary companies such as paper, industrial estate, power plant, and transportation business. I had to study various target groups in order to create numbers of satisfactory output on time. While accomplishing these tasks, I had a chance to work with competent people who greatly assisted me and helped me improve my analytical skills, work ethics, work amongst a team, listen to other’s point of view, cooperate to find the best solution in a tactful way. Besides this, I learned how to make the design work remarkable, valuable and communicated to targeted groups, to be up-to-date with the world trends and to apply technologies to my work for the highest benefits.
Why after 4 years, did you have the idea to pursue a master’s degree in design?
I was always asking myself what can I do to create works that stand out and that are useful to customers. Since communication through visual design always has been a challenge, observation and experimentation were vital to create fascinating works. Today, whereas digital marketing plays a significant role in communication and becomes a part of people life, a user-friendly interactive design becomes essential for digital communication. With the communication channels that let talk directly and selectively to customers, you get the ability to understand mind and sensation. As for the customers’ routine life, it is important to initiate design that effectively fulfills their requirements such as being user-friendly and convenient. For these reasons, I was looking for another opportunity to enhance myself in an advanced graphics & visual design course program together with human-centered design, user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design.
Why abroad? Why in France? and Why L’École de design?
There were numbers of master of design programs available in Thailand, but none of them supported me to simultaneously develop the field of visual communication in digital platforms: User Experience, User Interface, and Interaction Design altogether. Therefore, I looked at programs in France where the economy, education, fashion, and design are greatly developed. I was interested in the MDes Information Design program at L’École de design Nantes Atlantique which is one of the top ten leading European design schools well known for Visual Design (source: ZD blog). The goal of the program is to study graphic representations, data-journalism, and creation of innovative services.
What do you think of the course program you followed?
I discovered the Information Design program course details online, and I did not hesitate to apply for this program. They provide the tools of design methodologies, digital software, User Experience and User Interface. I enjoyed playing with graphic representations and interpretations of both semiotics and metaphors. In addition, the school provided a lot of workshops in service design, 3D immersive, lighting projection, data-visualization as Datalogy as well as working with local partners in various kind of projects. Throughout my time at the Digital Culture Design Lab, both friends and instructors were nice and kind. We had the same goals: develop professionalism and meet the market needs.
What did you learn during these 2 years abroad?
I learned a lot of things when studying in France; growing and evolving as a person, developing a new level of confidence, be more open-minded, and experience a feeling of freedom. One of the most amazing benefits was to meet lovely friends from all around the world who bring out the best. They helped me reminding who I am, even if I sometimes forgot it myself. In the meantime, I learned the use of various design methodologies. For my end of studies project, I developed a mobile application to help international students in France who have difficulties adapting to the French culture. I went to inquire various institutions and organizations in France for information, researched and interviewed users, created wireframe and prototypes, and tested usability. I got very positive feedbacks from users and partners. It was not easy to develop a network with the elementary proficiency I have in French. But I was helped by others at the Digital Culture Design Lab and the local partners as well. More surprisingly, when I went to say goodbye to my instructor on the last day in Nantes before coming back to Thailand, he told me: "You have been the best in Information Design this year". Indeed, I got the highest score in the field and finished school with high honors.
What would you say to international students wishing to study at L’École de design?
I would highly recommend studying here. Not only will you be able to fulfill your design skills in digital culture and technologies, but you will also learn about new cultures, make friends and discover the French way of life. The school offers French courses, a super nice buddy/mentor student who will take care of you, and provide international students activities.
You just graduated from L’École de design in Information Design. What are you doing at the moment? What do you imagine yourself doing in a 5 years time?
Today, I am a design lecturer at the Faculty of Architecture, Khon Kaen University in Thailand. It was my dream to extend my knowledge by passing it to the new generations, developing quality people skills and taking part of their design development skills. And as a French alumni under Franco-Thai scholarships or Campus France, I took the greatest opportunities to study in France. I would like to return it back by sharing worthy information and experience with other Thai students. In a five years time, I may be returning to France or somewhere in Europe for a Ph.D. program in order to challenge and develop myself. That’s all I’m thinking about 24/7.