Creative Mind with Heart

Melisa Wong

Octagon Creative Founder & Managing Director

“As a student, I found that the way of the heart mattered; one follows the heart when taking decisions and action.”

BORN BOOMER

Perhaps, it was a wildly vivid imagination which dared her to dream or an insatiable artistic streak bubbling on the inside that challenged her to innovate, but in having kept an unwavering eye on the prize, the notable entrepreneur lives to tell her tale, now that the fat lady has sung. That which countless others would have dubbed a wearisome plot, she has braved and overcome with absolute poise.

Raising a self-made business from the ground up, conceptualising cutting-edge client solutions, and leading the charge on ingenuity combined, is no walk in the park. Nonetheless, at her hands, these milestones speak to a celestial path upon which work has often felt like play. A design virtuoso with a remarkable background in advertising, the former Ogilvy & Mather (O&M) apprentice has been a loyal visitor of creativity’s lair.

MASTER PAINTER

Retracing her steps up the corporate ladder, Wong’s recollections instantly return to the start of the trail. “In the 80s, upon graduating from art school in the UK, I completed a one-and-a-half-year spell in the US whereupon I worked first at a summer camp teaching art and photography in Maine (North America), and later moved on to a ceramics and design company in San Francisco,” she shares with Essenze.

The aforementioned professional engagements were followed up with a five-year stint at Johan Advertising (1983) and subsequently two years at international creative house, O&M (1988). Finally in 1990, in rising as the captain of her own ship, she unveiled a promising start-up which the industry recognises to this day as Octagon Creative Group. Since its launch into the open waters, the brand has steered Wong across the seven seas and back.

DREAM BUILDER

Speaking of going the distance, her journey has taken the award-winning team to multiple international exhibitions, key locations among them, Korea and Paris, with prominent works displayed at several major expos such as the Malaysia Pavilion and Venice Biennale both in 2012 and 2014. Essentially, Octagon’s success is rooted in a philosophy which insists that design be used as a vehicle to preserve heritage and build a healthy creative economy.

The past Graphic Design Association Malaysia president further elucidates: “As a student, I found that the way of the heart mattered; one follows the heart when taking decisions and action. After some experience has been gained, the head takes over, allowing one to visualise things and put matters into context. It is a time when one begins to understand that form follows function; the functional aspect is when forming client solutions becomes essential.”

“After some experience has been gained, the head takes over, allowing one to visualise things and put matters into context. It is a time when one begins to understand that form follows function; the functional aspect is when forming client solutions becomes essential.”

INSPIRED TROTTER

A subscriber of unity, love, and divinity, the mother of three, with the ultimate companion and business partner for a husband as well as truly nurturing parents for support, attributes a key portion of her personal and professional conquests to her loved ones. “When my children were growing up, my parents were instrumental in their progress and provided each with a healthy, happy environment.”

Leisure-wise, Wong finds solace in the embrace of photography, reading, writing, drawing, and even a bit of cooking. But her obsession with adventure doesn’t end there; she also enjoys architectural trips with the family. “For the next five years, I see myself at the forefront of graphic design, producing corporate branding, publication, visiting interesting installations, and moving into more digital and interactive media,” Wong enlightens.

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