Voices of Nium with Aloysius Tan, Design Manager, Global Brand Experience at Nium
Aloysius Tan, Design Manager, Global Brand Experience at Nium, hopped aboard the Nium train in Singapore almost 5 years ago. Since then, as the brand itself has evolved, so has Aloysius’ career - from User Interface Designer to Design Manager.
Aloysius’ Myers Briggs’ indicator reveals that he is a Commander (ENTJ). By definition, these team members “are natural leaders, and often take charge no matter where they are. They typically have a clear vision for the future, and intuitively understand how to move people and processes towards that goal.”
In this ‘Voices of Nium’ feature, we find out why this description is, by all accounts, an accurate way to describe Aloysius’ approach to work. Why else would he be wielding a giant silver spoon? He’s here to ensure we constantly mix it up in the world of fintech!
The question on everyone’s lips when they meet a designer. Where do you find your inspiration?
I believe we often romanticize the idea that inspiration derives from grand sources such as travel, reading quotes, and witnessing breathtaking sunrises. While these experiences can be uplifting and motivating, the reality often differs.
In my case, a significant portion of my inspiration stems from past experiences. When I engage in creative exploration, I develop a repository of "recipes." Whenever I encounter a new creative challenge, I revisit these previous solutions to determine if any of them, which may not have worked before, could be adapted to address the new challenge effectively. In essence, inspiration equates to experience combined with a fresh perspective. It's important to note that experiences need not be solely first-hand. At times, I find inspiration in the creative work of others and adapt and modify their solutions to suit my needs.
We heard a rumour that designers are the best team players! How do you collaborate cross-functionally, with other teams, to bring Nium’s “insides” to life externally?
That's true! I attribute this dynamic nature of my role to being a designer at Nium. In my role, I can collaborate with various teams, including Product, Human Resources, Marketing and Communications, Legal, Compliance, and Sales.
This involvement allows me to create impactful designs for both our internal and external stakeholders. I firmly believe that actively participating in and, at times, contributing to the work of other teams enables me to share my design expertise and insights with colleagues who may not have a strong design background to support their projects. At Nium, we all have unique roles, and each one is equally significant. Embracing each other's ideas and opinions helps us build stronger working relationships and continually refine our skills through collaboration.
Being a designer also requires a great deal of patience and dedication to getting it “right.” How do you juggle feedback/opinions when it comes to design and brand?
Remaining humble and consistently reminding myself that my design decisions are not necessarily "wrong" but might simply be a matter of finding the right time has been a valuable mindset for me. Achieving the "right" solution often involves gathering feedback and insights from my teammates and colleagues, especially those with a deeper understanding of the subject matter. A classic example of this is the ongoing debate between "form over function" and "function over form."
Frequently, when collaborating with marketers and other team members, there is a request to include a substantial amount of content, body copy, imagery, and more within a design. Their objective is to provide comprehensive information, while I aim to maintain a design-centric focus. Through feedback, open communication, collaboration, and a willingness to compromise, the result typically strikes a harmonious balance between both function and form.
In your opinion, what makes the Nium brand unique?
Nium's uniqueness in its brand design is evident in several key elements that distinguish us from competitors:
Visual Identity: Our brand boasts distinctive color gradients, a clean yet bold typography style, and a striking "N" logo that is both visually appealing and highly memorable. These elements make our brand easily recognizable and set us apart in the market.
Brand Story: Nium's brand narrative is compelling and unique, delving into our origins, mission, and the specific problems we are dedicated to solving. This narrative forms a deep and meaningful connection with our customers and business partners, fostering trust and loyalty.
Customer-Centric Design: At Nium, we prioritize the needs and preferences of our customers, tailoring our design to deliver a memorable and positive user experience. This customer-centric approach not only differentiates our brand but also enhances satisfaction and engagement.
Cultural Relevance: With a global presence and colleagues from diverse backgrounds, we have the unique ability to align our brand and designs with cultural trends and values of the time. This allows us to stay current and resonate with a broad audience, reinforcing our brand's relevance and uniqueness.
In summary, I think Nium's brand stands out through a combination of distinctive visual elements, a compelling brand story, a customer-centric approach, and cultural relevance, all of which collectively contribute to our unique identity in the marketplace.
Can you tell me about a Nium project you’ve worked on that you’re most proud of? What was your role? What did you love about it?
My most recent major project involved playing a role in our 2023 rebranding initiative. I was responsible for creating the prototype, product wireframes, and illustrations that were subsequently incorporated into our updated website and brand materials.
Despite the demanding nature of the rebranding process, which operated under tight deadlines, the outcomes were highly gratifying. I am particularly pleased with how we managed to elevate our brand to a level that resonates with both businesses and consumers, marking a significant achievement in our efforts.
Which tools/software do we use at Nium to enable you to do your best work? How does that benchmark against previous employers?
The Microsoft suite, undoubtedly. While it may seem like a modest expectation, transitioning from smaller creative agencies, and obtaining software licenses can often be quite challenging. As a creative professional, effective management of my artwork files and ensuring their accessibility to my colleagues, especially when I'm out of the office, is of paramount importance. In my previous job, we used physical hard drives to transfer both final and work-in-progress artwork files. However, at Nium, I've established a system on OneDrive, allowing me to work directly from it. This not only makes my artwork files easily accessible to my team but also ensures I can work from virtually anywhere, as long as I have internet access and my login credentials. Feel free to reach out to me if you need help setting yours up!
Ok. So, you can’t say Nium, and you can’t give another fintech/payment brand. Which brand look and feel (retailer, food, sports, etc) is your all-time favourite and why?
I have a soft spot for the branding of the skincare brand "Glow Recipe." The predominant color palette, featuring various shades of pink and neutral tones, is remarkably soothing and brings me a sense of delight. The brand's mission and messaging revolve around inclusivity and promoting realistic skin expectations, which I find particularly appealing. Moreover, their fruit-inspired product packaging is visually appetizing. It's worth noting that this is an opinion and not professional advice, but I've also had positive experiences with their skincare products!
If you weren’t a designer, what would be your dream job?
I would have loved to be a plastic surgeon or a dermatologist! Well – it’s still aesthetics-related, kind of.
If you could give a piece of advice to a new Nium’er joining the Global Brand Team (or broader Marketing Team), what would you say?
Have faith in the process. Frequently, we find ourselves amidst chaos, racing against deadlines, managing internal and external expectations, and dealing with various constraints. However, by placing trust in the process, we consistently emerge successfully and achieve the desired results we aim for!
Call out a colleague. Who are you showing Nium cheer to and why?
During my four-plus years at Nium, I've had the privilege of working with numerous colleagues who have played pivotal roles in my professional growth and personal development. It's genuinely difficult to single out just one colleague, but here are a few individuals who stand out:
Gitesh Athavale, VP – Head of Sales (APAC): Gitesh was not only the person who hired me but also my first manager at Nium. He has consistently been a strong supporter of my creative work and has encouraged me to think outside the box.
Wendy Loh, Senior Manager – Card Operations: Wendy joined the company around the same time I did in 2019, and she's been like an older sister to me. She provided caring support, especially during the work-from-home pandemic period, ensuring I ate my meals, and even arranging food deliveries when needed.
Ezza Benjie, Director – Card Operations: As the sole member of the Marketing team in Singapore, collaborating with my team outside of regular office hours can be challenging. Benjie recognized this and consistently included me in his team's activities, making me feel at home. Not to mention, I've received red packets from him every year since 2020, a wonderful Lunar New Year tradition. Kudos to the entire Card Operations team for making me feel like part of the family.
Jeremiah Glodoveza, SVP – Marketing: I've had the pleasure of working with exceptional managers at Nium, and Jeremiah is undoubtedly one of them. He provides clear and effective guidance to the team, which has played a crucial role in achieving our goals. His strong communication skills foster open and transparent dialogue, contributing significantly to a positive work atmosphere and team cohesion.
Ayesha Mathews-Wadhwa, Senior Director – Marketing: Despite the relatively short time I've worked with Ayesha, I can't overlook her impactful influence. Ayesha has been an excellent teacher, imparting valuable insights into design and the importance of measuring the impact of my work. She is consistently supportive and encourages me to unlock the full potential of my creative endeavors.
I must also express my deep appreciation for my colleagues and teammates in the Marketing and Communications team, as they have been an absolute delight to collaborate with.
These colleagues have each made an indelible mark on my journey at Nium, and I am truly grateful for their support and mentorship.