EPISODE #11 || Pann Lim, Creative Director at Kinetic Singapore


Pann Lim is a giant name in the Singapore design/advertising world, though you'd never know it by talking to him. One of the most down-to-earth people I've ever met, his advice is both thoughtful and thought-provoking for students and future leaders. Hear how he defines success, how he differentiated his student portfolio, and his secret to finding the time to lead an agency and form an art collective with his family. You don't want to miss this one.

Heads up: Hey, NYC listeners—the We Are Next & Friends meet-up is happening Saturday, 10/14 in the afternoon. Follow We Are Next on your social channel of choice (Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn) for the official invite later this week. 

Topics Discussed

  • How Pann found design by accident.
  • Why success is not the awards you receive, but the relationships you build within the agency.
  • The unique creative process at Kinetic, which involves surrendering his CD position, and showing the team that their opinions and ideas matter. 
  • The way he differentiated his student portfolio by finding real client work.
  • What our access to creative work via the internet means for originality.
  • His secret to finding the time to lead an agency and form an art collective with his family (spoiler: there is no balance).
  • The value of getting your hands dirty, even as the boss. 

Mic Drops

“I think success is measured by when people you work with ask you out for lunch. That’s to me my kind of success. Because whenever you’re the boss or the so-called employer of the company, nobody wants to eat lunch with you. You probably go to lunch with the top senior management or something, but that to me is a failure. To me I have people from anywhere within the company, and we ask each other out for lunch. That is my definition of success.” 

“When I was a fresh grad, I’m sure our seniors said the same of us. ‘You see this new batch, they don’t sketch anymore, they start work right on the computer. Where is the visualization?’ Every generation has a way of working. Work with that. Don’t work against that, because you’re not going to win.” 

“I decide quite fast on what I want. I’ve met a lot of people and realized that a lot of people ding-dong on stuff. ‘I’m not sure, I’m not sure.’ For me, it’s back to the same thing—what’s the worst that can happen? If you decide fast with calculated outcomes, then just do it. I’ve never wasted more time just to decide whether to do it or not. And I believe that’s one of the reasons I manage to do more.”

Resources Mentioned

Keep in Touch

About Pann

Pann Lim is the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Kinetic Singapore, K+, Holycrap.sg and Rubbish Famzine. He is addicted to design, advertising and communications, and strongly believes that creating work without an idea is a sin.

This belief has earned him over 450 industry awards locally and abroad, including Singapore’s highest design accolade — the President’s Design Award in 2013 and 2015, Gold Pencils at the New York One Show, Cannes Lions and a Yellow Pencil at the 2016 D&AD. Through his career, Pann has been invited to judge at numerous award shows from the Singapore Creative Circle Awards (The Gong Show), the Effie Awards, Malaysia Kancil Awards, Miami Clio Awards, Webby Awards and British D&AD Awards. In 2016, Pann had the honour of chairing The Gong Show.

Pann strongly believes in nurturing fledglings and sharing his passion for creativity. He is a founding member of The Design Society and a frequent guest at Singapore’s design schools. Pann was also an adjunct lecturer at Temasek Polytechnic from 2012 to 2013.