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In Profile: Song Kee Hong

Good product design alone is not enough for commercial success says the design director of Singapore’s DesignExchange.

In Profile: Song Kee Hong


September 1st, 2011

Factors such as “good marketing, branding, engineering and cost effective manufacturing” are all needed, explains Song Kee Hong.

“A product is only as good as its weakest link.”

Song, along with a group of partners, established DesignExchange in 1994; all had prior experience producing award-winning work at international design consultancies. “We thought that it would be a great idea to provide good design at fees that were more accessible for smaller companies,” says Song.


Today, the company works with multiple clients across industries, from start-ups to MNCs like HP and Motorola. Along the way, it has bagged some 20 awards, such as the red dot design award, the iF design award, and the G-Mark Good Design Award.


DesignExchange’s core strengths, says Song, is its “ability to handle technically challenging projects in terms of complexity, usability, endurance and compactness” among other things.


“The Sirius Breast Cancer Scanner is the obvious example; simplifying complexity to improve usability,” says Song.


In 2009, Sirius was awarded not just the “best of the best” prize at the red dot award: design concept – the product also took home the red dot: luminary, the ultimate accolade given out to the year’s most outstanding design concept submission.

“It’s a complex project and may potentially be a game-changer for breast cancer screening,” says Song.

“From ethnography to understanding latent user needs up to design and delivering a functional prototype may sound typical, but the sheer flood of information, issues and constraints that have been successfully tackled and integrated into a coherent and user-friendly device made all the difference to the jury and we felt the same way too.”


This year, Song returned to the red dot platform as part of an international jury for the red dot award: design concept, which held their final judging session last month.

“It’s a fact that most design concepts will not reach the market, or are highly diluted from their original form or intent by the time they do. This award is unique in providing a global platform for showcasing concepts.”



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