How Ken Lam founded Yuan Design Studio and launched a Kickstarter campaign for the TP², an aluminum pencil/pen combo with a ruler.
Who are you and tell us about Yuan Design Studio.
Tell us about the process of creating TP².
What are your sources of inspiration for Yuan Design Studio?
Do you have any advice for other entrepreneurs about Kickstarter?
What apps and tools are most important to your business?
How are things today and what are your plans for the future of the TP²?
Where can we learn more about Yuan Design Studio and the TP²?
Hi, I’m Ken, a Hong Kong designer, established Yuan Design Studio in 2015. Prior starting my own brand, I was working as a designer in the interior design field for almost 5 years. In 2014, just like many youngsters, my friends and I opened a store in HK to sell and promote the HK designed products. During that time, I met so many talented designers and they shared their story of pursuing dream. Their passion inspired me to create my own brand, as I’m a person that always looking for unique, elegant and functional products.
As a designer, I notice that many tools we are using are not fit for what we need. That’s why I recreate the tools that a designer will frequently use, by adding my favorite design elements – Geometry and Simplicity. Tools are created by people and we can always reform them, giving them a new definition.
Apart from developing my stationery line, I also set up a studio in HK to let everyone to experience how to use concrete or other materials to make Yuan’s product by their own hand. This a great channel to communicate with users, what they think of my product. Sometimes, it helps to improve my existing design.
Hong Kong a place that famous for its small size and expensive rent, it is impossible to find a factory here. So I have to try it in China. Since there is culture difference between HK and China, the prototype process is always long and frustrating.
When you gave them all the specifications and they can still deliver you a complete different thing. When they finally gave me the prototype that I happy with, it can still go wrong when it go to mass production, the production process is just like a never-ending loop. The luckiest thing is a human will learn through process, my manufacturer started to understand my standard and knew what I’m upholding.
Although there was 1-2 months delay in my first Kickstarter project, it was still worth for the high standard of quality. It was blessed that most of the backers understood my persistence. Another benefit of long production time was I have built trust with my manufacturer. It did a lot of help to my second Kickstarter project which is more challenging in technical side.
For the package design, I realized that it is waste of material if we throw it right away after received the product. This time, I will give the package of my new product a second life. Few details are waiting to be confirmed and I will announce it in the coming update in Kickstarter. Stay tuned if you are interested.
The basic element of my design is geometry and you can find the most beautiful geometric shapes and patterns in the nature. I like to observe the natural pattern in our every life day, this is what inspire most. If you ask me who influenced me most, I must say Tadao Ando, the Japanese architect, designing complex spatial circulation while maintaining the appearance of simplicity is his architectural style. Also, the modern architect, designer and engineers like Konstantin Grcic, Thomas Heatherwick and Nikola Tesla, their aesthetic design always fascinated me.
I think I’m not in the position to give advice for other entrepreneurs. But I would like to tell others that life is short, we should do something that your future self would be proud of. Don’t let others tell you what you can’t do.
I would say email, Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp. I guess these are similar tools that everyone use nowadays.
For now, I’m still finalizing the packing design of my second Kickstarter project -TP², T stands for Triangle while P² means Pen and Pencil. TP² is an aluminium pen that is compatible with ballpoint refill and mechanical pencil. Writers can switch the writing instrument from pen to pencil within steps. The cap is designed for TP² to stand, hold pen in another way, measure and draw lines.
I believe the brand need times to build and earn reputation. I’m still developing my stationery line and hope you will see them all one day in your favorite stationery store.