Profile: Sarah and Schooling

Published on 7 July 2015

What Kindle? Graphic designers Sarah and Schooling won’t stop designing books.

BY pamela ho

“People tell us print is going to die, everyone is reading from Kindle, and we should focus on designing websites. But we like books — cannot, ah? We want to design books forever,” exclaims Sarah Tang (above, right), creative director of Sarah and Schooling, a graphic design firm she founded with fellow creative director, Alison Schooling (left), in May 2013.

If you’ve ever picked up a Singapore book published by Math Paper Press, the publishing arm of indie bookstore, BooksActually, chances are you’ve held one of their works in your hands. From cover to layout, fonts to type of paper used, the girls are responsible for it all.

“Math Paper Press was a big stepping stone for us, but few people know we’ve also designed books for Marshall Cavendish, Epigram Books, NUS Press and Monsoon Books,” laments Schooling. Among their other clients: Fengsan Community Club (for their SG50 book) and LASALLE College of the Arts.

Beyond books, the duo has also designed name cards for Singaporean poet Alvin Pang, writer Christine Chia, and Andy Ang from Chinese collective, TrendLit. Under their belt too, the official website for award-winning Malaysian author, Tash Aw. “We help writers build a personal branding — something they often don’t think about,” says Schooling.

“When we started out, we asked ourselves what makes us different from other design firms in Singapore? We needed a unique selling point, and we came to the conclusion that books would be it,” discloses Tang. “It’s not that we don’t do other things, we just love books!”

The best friends, who met in 2006 while studying at LASALLE College of the Arts, always make it a point to meet with authors and get to know them before embarking on a project. “We also read the whole manuscript to dig out details for the cover design because the cover can’t give away the story. We’re readers, so we understand that,” says Schooling.

“In the past two years, we’ve learnt a lot together. We look back and wonder how the hell did we even get here?” chuckles Tang, who has had to draw on her experience in the Food & Beverage industry to cope with running a business. “But as best friends, we communicate about everything. If we’re upset, we won’t hide it — it’s a good partnership!”

As designers, the girls have no qualms about giving writers a helping hand. “We always believe that if the industry grows, eventually, it will benefit us too,” reasons Tang. “You can’t be too calculative. You have to look at the bigger picture.”

To find out more about Sarah and Schooling’s works, visit www.sarahandschooling.com.

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