Design Director, Idea Vault, 2008
Diploma in Product Design
Limkokwing University offers one of the widest choices of courses to major in. The open studio concept for industrial design generated a lot of participation and that made the difference.
29 September 2008
A Vault Full of Ideas
Written by Christine Chan
A graduate in Diploma in Industrial Design of Limkokwing University of Creative Technology – Jeffery Yap – is now Design Director of his very own company, Idea Vault. The man behind innovative solutions in protecting Macintosh Apple computer peripherals while making them look good speaks to Christine Chan and tells his story.
When Jeffery Yap and his team of three other fellow designers won 1st prize for the Yamaha Bike Design Project – a competition organized by the Hong Leong group of companies – after three months of comprehensive research, designing and testing, he joined Limkokwing University of Creative Technology’s illustrious list of high achievers. Enrolling for his Diploma in Industrial Design in 1999, back when the institution was still located at Jalan Tun Razak, his decision to study in Limkokwing University was the beginning of his story of success.
We chose to specialize primarily in Macs because Mac users are often designers, therefore they will be more appreciative of good design and packaging and are willing to pay the price necessary to get that good design
“Limkokwing University offers one of the widest choices of courses to major in and it so happened that I was interested in automobile design back then, hence Limkokwing University was my first choice right away.”
Jeffery believes that Limkokwing University integrates an approach that allows for a learning environment that is pro-active, pragmatic and inspires creativity.
“The open studio concept for industrial design generated a lot of participation and that made the difference,” he said. “Juniors and seniors were able to communicate with each other and see each others at work from time to time, promoting interaction.”
Fast forward to July 2006, when Jeffery Yap decided to take a major leap in his life by starting up his own business, Idea Vault. It name was chosen because it brought to mind a box full of ideas, ready to be picked.
The company is also known as Huzzk, which specializes in designing trendy protection covers for Macintosh Apple laptops and peripherals. Huzzk derives it name from a humble Malaysian icon: the coconut husk, a solid and sturdy object that serves as an acting shield. Products under Huzzk are designed and built on the principle that they ought to serve as ‘husks’ for laptops and computer peripherals by protecting them from shock due to falls or rough handling.
“We chose to specialize primarily in Macs because Mac users are often designers, therefore they will be more appreciative of good design and packaging and are willing to pay the price necessary to get that good design,” explained Jeffery.
When I’m dry out of ideas, I simply go to town to shop. It’s important for me to update myself with the latest trends and fashion
Huzzk has a wide range of product designs, and they come in catchy names such as the Sleevie, Slingie, Pockie, Hardie, and Xtra. On top of all these selections, the business is run online, making it easier for customers to browse and purchase at their own leisure and allows the company to tap a global marketplace. Huzzk has received orders from the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, and many other countries around the world.
When asked on how he derives inspiration to create his designs, Jeffery says that most of his ideas come naturally, but also adds, “When I’m dry out of ideas, I simply go to town to shop. It’s important for me to update myself with the latest trends and fashion.”
In the years between graduating and launching Idea Vault, Jeffery was building a solid foundation for himself in product design. Upon graduating, he joined the Kuala Lumpur Innovation Design Centre in Mines as a computer-aided industrial designer, where most of his talks involved operating 3D modeling and rendering telecommunications, automotive and household products. One of his major clients was TM Malaysia.
After a year and a half, Jeffery moved on to Sharp Malaysia as an industrial designer, where he broadened his knowledge and experience by designing household appliances such as televisions, refrigerators as well as point-of-purchase advertisements. He was offered a senior position in his first company, Kuala Lumpur Innovation Design Centre while working with Bee Bull Engineering where he specialized in designing water heaters. His final employer was Think Reka, where he was appointed as an industrial design consultant for clients such as Fuji Air, York and Pen Drive.
Be creative and dare to try new things, because to be a good industrial designer, you need to be very open-minded and think out of the box
“After a string of employers and numeral years in the industry, I found out that Malaysia is a tough market to be in for industrial design as expectations tend to be higher and the returns are lower. One good design takes about six to eight months to work on and it is difficult to survive with minimal returns,” he said.
That was when he decided to chart his own course and go off the beaten path by starting his own company, where he would be able to set his own rules and gain a marketplace of global reach.
Before ending the interview, Jeffery shared with us some advice to students who may be interested in industrial design. “Be creative and dare to try new things, because to be a good industrial designer, you need to be very open-minded and think out of the box,” he advised. “Do remember not to spoil the market too in terms of pricing.”