Interview With

Fizah Rahim

Hi Fizah and welcome to TWTP. I would like to thank you for doing this interview, let’s start by telling us a little about your background and how you got started in the industry?

Hi TWTP! Thank you for having us. I'm Fizah Rahim, and I was born in a small town in Sandakan, Sabah. My hometown's location is on the Borneo island of Malaysia, near Indonesia and Brunei. Growing up I move a lot, and I do still travel a fair bit each year.

I met Ando back in 2001 where we studied Multimedia Design at a design college in Selangor Malaysia. After getting my Bachelor's Degree from Wanganui School of Design in New Zealand, I went back to Selangor and worked in a boutique motion graphic studio as a motion/web designer. It was hard to juggle two roles as they are very different concerning workflow. So after four years I decided to become a full-time motion graphic designer and moved to Singapore in 2010. Many studios and agency after, we decided to join forces and start Machineast to focus on 3D visualisation.

What would you say are the most important lessons you’ve learned that made you a better graphic designer?

I believe that it is important as a designer to problem-solve for clients. So when I have a commercial project, I would try our best to listen and offer the solution that is best suited for the project.

When I am doing digital art projects, I will approach it with another hat. Art to us is more self-indulgent and conceptual. Usually without a client so this is where we have time to experiment and play with technicalities.

Once I understood this two different ways of thinking, it is easy to compartmentalise and then proceed with a particular workflow for each method. However, we were lucky enough to be approached by clients who believed in us and wanted us to make things that are more artistic than a commercial project for their brands. So that's pure joy!

Can you walk us through the Darth Vader (Join the Dark Side) project, what was the objective of the project and how did you come to the final result?

Darth Vader came to us asking if we could help him design a poster to find new recruits for Death Star. So we had to say yes knowing that he is such an important client!

Well jokes aside, we are both fans of sci-fi movies and of course Star Wars. One day we were talking to each other and were wondering what if Darth Vader asked graphic designers to design posters for his job recruitments. We thought it was a funny idea so we started thinking about how the poster would look and what would it say. There was no specific objective of the project. It was one way for us to have fun with graphic design and to get out of the commercial comfort.

Can you share some places you look for inspiration?

I get my inspiration from everywhere. One of the best ways to get inspired is perhaps to travel. When you are away from home, you will look at things in a fresh perspective. Learning a new culture, the people and the food are a very exciting aspect to me. It transports me to a child-like state where you are curious about everything!

How do you typically overcome design blocks?

Get out of the office! Haha! Best ideas come from anywhere but the office! Sure you can do your research online when you're at your desk, but usually, the 'Eureka' moment always come when you are out and about or just relaxing at home.

Since you manage your own studio, how do you manage your time from design and project management?

We try to maintain a certain discipline not only when working on a project but also regarding lifestyle. We are early risers, and I am a morning person. My brain shuts down at night. Knowing that there is only so little time in a day, we try our best not to waste it on social media to be more productive during working hours.

My day would start with replying client emails in the morning and reading a bit of news. Cut off time for emails at 11 am to start working on design tasks which last until 6 pm and then head home. Occasionally we would stay late depending on the project deadline. This method becomes second nature to us now after doing this for many years.

Thanks for joining us, any final words for our readers?

Once again thank you for having me for this interview. I would like to leave with a quote by Issey Miyake that resonates with me in my daily practice.

"Design is not for philosophy it's for life."

To check out more of Fizah's work head over to her website at