Thursday, April 30, 2009

Two Close!

We love puns.

Sorry to keep this really brief, but we’ve been up to our necks trying to close some rather big deals this week. If things go well, you’ll soon be seeing our cards popping up just about EVERYWHERE! More on that next week…

Anyways, a Foldees first today - Two contests closing on the same day! The first is, of course, the “Open For Suggestion” contest running to decide what our next contest will be. Do continue to speculate on who might win in our forums… there seems to be quite a bit of controversy going on there already…

The 2nd one is the close of our ratings period for “Where No Man Has Gone Before”.

Results for both these contests, as well as our new contest announcement will be on the 5th of May 2009 so stay tuned!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

We’re losing talent!

Two days ago, a friend sent me a link to, a site that basically covers talent around the Asian region. I immediately checked out the segment for Malaysian artists and at first, i was once again in awe of the amount of sheer talent available here in our country. Then after reading a while, I noticed a trend.

“…she was born and raised Malaysia and graduated at The One Academy. She currently works in Shanghai as an Interact…”

“…Han, is a Malaysian artist currently living in Singapore and working for Lucasfi…”

“..he is currently based in Singapore, working in Imaginary F…”

To be really blunt about it, Malaysia seems to be losing talent, and I’d betcha, it’s not just for graphic design either. For instance, many of our filmmakers need to make it overseas first before they even get a smidgen of respect here in Malaysia.

Back when I worked in a certain men’s magazine, I had the privilege of watching a movie called Ciplak, by a guy called Khai. It was about one guy’s quest to fund his way through film school by selling pirated DVDs from Malaysia in the UK.

The film, shot on a budget of RM10,000 (approximately US$3000) had bad sound, amateur actors, and overall atrocious production values.

It was, however, the best Malaysian movie i have seen. Well-cut, well-scripted, thought-provoking and funny as hell, Ciplak was a revelation for me. The best compliment i can pay to the movie is that after 15 minutes, you forget about the lousy sound, the lousy production values, and the fact that the lead actor is your friend.

It was released for about a week on GSC International Screens (how ironic!) and when I went to watch it again in the cinema (I’ve seen it 3 times now!), i dragged 5 unwilling friends with me. They all enjoyed it. However, there were only 5 other people behind us in the whole cinema, and eventually we found out that they belonged to the cast and crew, who had acted and worked for free on the movie.

Ciplak eventually didn’t get anywhere notable at all. A very sad state of affairs. His current film is called “London Calling”, which i can only assume is going to lead him out of the country just like everyone else.

What i find in this country is a lack of faith, almost to the point of insecurity about our own talents. We need other people to tell us they’re good before we believe them. This reflects across all industries, but perhaps none more so than design.

Another sucky thing about alot of Malaysian employers is this “If he’s passionate it means that he’s cheap!” mentality, thinking that pure passion will pay the bills. While designers will usually do the work here, sooner or later, they hear about the greener pastures over at our neighbours down South and next thing you know, our complaints of a dearth of talent become a self-fulfilling policy.

This is part of the reason why I came up with Foldees. We want to create an eco-system for you guys to thrive. We want to reward artists, not just with credibility, but cold hard cash.

This gives them the willingness, and resources to continue whatever they’re doing, where they’re doing it, in the way that makes them unique to who and where they are, and hopefully, the world can benefit from that :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The finalists for Foldees “Open To Suggestion” contest

Ladies and Gentlemammys... here are the finalists to the Foldees "Open To Suggestion" Contest! For those who don't know about it, this contest was conceived because we felt our own ideas for contests were getting stale, and we wanted to hear what you guys would like to do! We received a total of 63 entries for the contest, which we've narrowed down to the ten you see below.

Just for clarification, these ten entries are picked not only from ingenuity, but also commercial and creative viability. Some of the entries were truly brilliant, but perhaps a bit too niche for a small site like ours. For instance, cards with a very specific target in mind (e.g. working dads) might not sell as well as other ideas that formed a broader scope.

Also, for the ideas that were similar, we took the one that was posted first.
However, if you don't see your entry here, or even if you don't end up winning this contest, fret not! We will be picking up a few of your ideas for future contests for sure, and will be sure to drop a little something something to show our gratitude. In the meantime, here are the top ten entries, and why we picked them!

  • WE ARE FOODIES - If there are two things we love, it's food and people! This was a concept we ourselves were thinking of, and we figured could get really yummy and messy given the right ideas. If this is picked, all we're asking for is at least ONE card related to cannibals. Not too much to ask is it?
  • A LITTLE PICK-YOU-UP - Pick-up lines in cards!? That's so brilliant we don't even have to say anything on top of it. We can just imagine some of you guys buying 20 of these, bringing them into a club and presenting them on the spot. Our favourite pickup line is "You are the rose, I am the thorn. Without your bloom, my prick's forlorn". But uh... don't use that one, okay?
  • FAIRYTALE - Another idea we were thinking of. Shrek is one of our all-time favourite movies and goes to show that there's ALOT of potential for poking fun at old fairy tales.
  • EXCUSES, EXCUSES - This theme would be great for everyday use cards. Especially in Malaysia where "I was late because" cards would be all the rage. However, there's a danger alot of the cards would be too niche to be too commercial, so we would probably have to come up with a few pre-emptive categories such as "Sorry I didn't make it on time" or "Sorry I was in a bad mood".
  • STREET ARTS - Graffiti! This should lend us some street cred... no more cutesy cuddly aliens! Foldees will be all about keepin' it real... know what'm sayin?
  • THE WRONG WAY - This one will take some serious ingenuity from our designers. It's a great idea for a contest, but it will be difficult. Think before you vote!
  • FROM THE SCREEN - Well, this one was coming sooner or later, wasn't it? Three people suggested this, so we're just taking the first one. Goodbye cards featuring Arnie saying his immortal lines? No brainer.
  • LET THE CARDS SPEAK - This one is very very cool. Conveying a greeting without so many words gives alot of opprtunities. Anyone ever heard of Silent Disco here? Or how about a Charlie Chaplin card? Also, you wouldn't even need to worry about grammar!
  • MONOCHROME - As you guys already know very well by now, we love simplicity here at Foldees, and it doesn't get more simple than just one colour. We're just salivating at thinking about how incredibly striking this collection would look in a store.
  • FADS - Bell-Bottoms and Hula Hoops! We think nostalgia cards would be a totally awesome trip down memory lane (*pun*)! Of course, the designs would have to cater to that era, but there's a heckuva lot of potential here!
    Honourable mention goes to Milkberry, for her postcard suggestion. It's brilliant, but we just don't have the infrastructure to support it with our current engine.

Please cast your votes on our recently cleansed forum! As you might know by now, your login details (username and password) have already been transferred from our main site to the forum, so you don't need to register again. All you need to do is login with your current details. If you're having any problems with logging in to the forum, please email us at!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

29 countries. Wow.

In a random scanning of our database, we realised that we are now displaying designs from 29 different countries. Holy crud. That’s ALOT!

Here they are in no particular order from A-Z

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 2021  22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

Wow. This calls for a celebration. NAME ME FIVE COUNTRIES FROM THIS LIST in the comments of this post (that haven’t been mentioned yet) and I’ll give you a free FOLDEES coupon! If you’re naming the last 4, I’ll give you not only the card, but I’ll throw in something else special ;)

Hmm… still nothing from Kenya? C’mon guys… you’ve already taken my name. Give somethin back!

In other news, we’ve extended our little “Open To Suggestion” contest till this thursday. Check it out here!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

KL Design Week 2009

I didn’t even know CapSquare existed until last week. It’s blocked by uncool buildings all around, so it’s pretty freaky to see what I can only describe as a full design district in the middle of old (not rustic, just old) buildings.

Anyways, I’m glad someone posted something up about KL Design Week, so I eventually ended up taking a quiet stroll of the exhibitions there last Friday. Just to reaffirm Foldees’ beliefs – there is some serious talent here in Malaysia, just waiting to be discovered. While I did see ALOT of cool stuff there, I just really wanted to tell you guys about two booths that are doing really interesting things in the design space here in KL.

The first booth we visited was for a company called Genesis Culture. They are a T-shirt company that sells t-shirts made by designers. Sound familiar? Well, not quite. Genesis Culture defers from the other website that starts with a T, in that they approach specific designers, and ask them to do a limited edition run of exclusive designs for them, in exchange for a cut of the pie.

They were selling two series of designs that day – a Black&White abstract series from Dennis called Sin, and a totally cool series of Zombie T-shirts called The Dreamwalker from a guy called Daryl.

I really liked the zombie shirts. Like seriously. In fact, I bought two of em, each for a very reasonable RM50 (the equivalent of about US$15). They retail for about US$25 on the site. Each shirt features a large colour illustration of the zombie on the front, and a smaller, related illustration on the back. Here are some pictures I stole off the site cos my pictures sucked.

This first one’s called Food for Thought. On the cover, it shows a zombie eating someone’s brain and getting an idea in the form of a lightbulb. On the back, it shows the zombie eating the lightbulb.


This next one shows a normal human girl in the arms of a zombie, with the zombie thinking about love. On the back, the zombie is shown in the exact same position, but thinking instead about brains. Very aptly, it’s called Love Bites.


Just one floor upstairs, there was another really cool company called Wall Tailor. They do custom wall decals that are easily applicable and more importantly, do not leave stains when removed. Again, the concept is simple. In fact, you can already buy such wall decals from Ikea. However, much like everything else, implementation is everything, and these guys have some seriously cool designs on sale.

First off, their exhibit is already wicked, with their Laugh Wall.


Basically what they encourage people to do is to take either a letter H or A from a bowl, and stick it onto their wall. The overall effect is that not only does it make a seriously cool wall (Robin, please if you’re planning on throwing it away, please do so outside my office so we can collect it and use it for ourselves), but it also shows visitors to the booth how easy their decals are to apply. Yes, they are seriously easy to apply, and definitely stick way better than those Swedish budget ones. While their designers are currently internal (full-time staff), Robin the owner did mention that they actually wanted to run a contest during KL Design Week to source for designs, and says that he probably will in the very near future.


 Their designs, which are currently sourced internally, are very cutely displayed on these cardboard t-shirts, with prices ranging from RM30 upwards, depending on complexity and size.


Honestly, with these cool decals, who needs furniture?

There were so many other cool exhibits at CapSquare that we probably would run out of space talking about them. I chose these two because they show interesting business directions for design here in KL.

So it looks like Foldees is part of something bigger… a move to make design a bit more profitable to our extremely talented local designers, and thus create a sustainable environment in which they can thrive.

It will take time, blood sweat and tears, but we are already talking to these two kindred spirits to see if we can work together to provide an even better platform for local designers to share the stage with other designers from all over the world. Wall Tailor is already thinking of expanding to Australia, while Genetic Culture is already in talks with other t-shirt companies across borders to do designer exchange programs and other cross-marketing opportunities.

As for us? Well, we recently sent a card to Serbia & Montenegro :)

I’ve never even met anyone from that country before, so that’s kinda cool.