Special Interview from BOCO Design, Taiwan

Jay Lim was featured in an interview for Young Talents, BOCO Design, Taiwan.

Jay spoke about his journey of kick-starting Tsubaki Studio and the hardships that followed. He also shared his design philosophy with life mottos and three interesting facts.


Jay Lim 大膽作夢 踏實成就

“Your mind is your first enemy. If you can challenge yourself, you can challenge others.”—— Jay Lim,馬來西亞設計師/Cutout雜誌創辦人
“Your mind is your first enemy. If you can challenge yourself, you can challenge others. —— Jay Lim, graphic designer and founder of Cutout magazine from Malaysia


Cutout雜誌 Jay Lim

雖說「三十而立」,但設計師Jay早在25歲就開始為事業和夢想用力地鋪路:2008年設立工作室──Tsubaki Studio,與女友(現為妻子)Vivian從兩人團隊開始經營,2010年創辦馬來西亞第一本專門探究視覺設計的雜誌Cutout Magazine;2014年榮獲金點設計獎,並在2015年參加臺灣文博會,與國際文創新銳設計師相互交流。

Though people say, “A man should be independent at the age of thirty,” Jay started on his way to his dream and career, early at 25. He founded Tsubaki studio in 2007, with Vivian Toh (they got married later in 2012), and started as a 2-member team. In 2010, they co-founded “Cutout magazine”, the first Malaysia’s premier design magazine with a base of graphic design cases and issues, which awarded 2014 Golden Pin Design Award. Later in 2015 Jay became one of the exhibitors of Creative Expo Taiwan, invited as an international Young Talent.


Cutout雜誌 Jay Lim

大膽作夢 踏實成就
談到金點設計獎得獎作品「Cutout Magazine」的創始過程,那時的Jay和Vivian滿懷熱忱,一個設計,另一個擅於表達,歷經半年的市場研究後,決定做一本當時馬來西亞前所未有的設計雜誌,集結並探討當代設計師作品案例。Jay特別感念當年有岳父的鼓勵和爽快資助,讓第一期能在2010年問世。而當初會將雜誌取名為「Cutout」,主要有兩層涵義:一是取「剪報或摘集重要資訊」的意思;二是在英文中常用「cut out to (be)…」表示達成目標的決心和毅力。

Speaking of Cutout Magazine’s birth to the world, the winner of 2014 Golden Pin Design Award, Jay and Vivian were enthusiastic with their talents, design and communication, eager to publish Malaysia’s first design magazine after a 6-month survey of local market. Jay is grateful with his father-in-law’s support and encouragement that boosting the very first issue. To name the magazine, “Cutout” was chosen for its meanings of cutting out important pieces of informationand being determined to do/be something.


Cutout雜誌 Jay Lim


The first issue was published by 1000 books. To balance the budget and quality, Jay chose the French paper and saddle-stich binding. After publishing the magazines, he started to think of how to sell them out. He started with local convenience stores and small vendors, he also peddled at schools’ gates, but the sales volume was terrible. Friends felt sorry but offered no financial help, pointing out the first issue could also be the last issue.


However, a school lecture has brought the light to the darkness. The lecture offered a good opportunity for Jay and Vivian to communicate directly with Cutout’s target audience, students learning design and art, also spread out Cutout and its founders’ names. Only with 2 weeks, the sales had increased to 900 books. After 20 to 30 speeches at schools, Jay and Vivian became bald. And the income of the first issue turned out to be the budget for the second.


Cutout雜誌 Jay Lim

回頭來看他們創立的第一個事業體Tsubaki Studio,起初是接插圖、個人展覽和平面設計等案件,由於Jay和Vivian大膽嘗試實驗性的設計,後來才有機會轉型,目前提供設計服務、品牌定位及品牌策略等服務。談到工作室的命名,從小深受日本文化影響的Jay選擇用山茶花的日文「Tsubaki」為名。Tsubaki的花語是「幸運」,日本戰國時代的戰士會帶著供奉在神社的山茶花上戰場,Jay期許團隊為客戶帶來事業上的好運,成為客戶的最佳夥伴、顧問和幸運星。

Before Cutout Magazine, their first business unit Tsubaki Studio was established for design cases of illustration and printed design. Due to Jay and Vivian’s bald experimental design, later transformed Tsubaki Studio into a design agency, providing branding and strategy planning services. As for the name “Tsubaki”, Jay picked camellia in Japanese because of its beautiful pronunciation and its cultural history. Tsubaki represents lucky. In ancient Japan, the warriors would take the camellia enshrined in the temple to the war as a lucky charm. Jay hopes to bring the good luck to his clients and become their best partner and consultant.


Cutout雜誌 Jay Lim


Staff relationship is important to Jay and Vivian. Most of their staff used to be Jay’s students, so they have no gap work together. Jay emphasizes teamwork and motivates staff with his motto, “Work is play; Play is work.”


Cutout雜誌 Jay Lim


His business adventures started in 2008, until now it has been 7 good years for Jay to grow in terms of thinking, self-management and the design process. This year, Jay was invited by Creative Expo Taiwan, which provided him a stage to exchange perspectives with other Asian talents. Now he expects to cultivate in education and establish a communication school before his age of 50, in order to foster more talents in the field of communication and design. So far, Jay has not designed for any plots of his success, but taken steps firm and steady, and seized every chance toward more possibilities.


Cutout雜誌 Jay Lim

1. 其實我有很多很棒的靈感都是在洗澡或刷牙的時候冒出來的,當然食物和日常生活中大小事也是靈感來源之一。

I actually get some of the best inspirations from visiting the bathroom whether in a shower or brushing teeth. I can also get inspired from food and life.

2. 當我感到創意枯竭的時候,我就會小睡片刻,如果當下情況真的很困擾我,我會找我的朋友或家人傾訴。

When I have a creative block, I simply stop working and take a nap. If it really bothers me, then I’ll ask my friends or family for their advice.

3. 日本設計師原研哉是我最景仰的設計師。他的作品簡潔、直率卻富有哲理。他看起來就是一個腦中充滿許多想法的思想家。

Kenya Hara is the designer that I admire the most. His works are clean, simple, straightforward and philosophical. He is a thinker and he seems to think through a lot of things.

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圖片出處:Jay Lim、金家謙