As the regional creative consultant at Nestlé, Mei Y Lee is a busy woman. She produces, oversees and leads content focused on recruitment marketing for a whopping 80 countries worldwide — but that hasn't stopped her from looking into the nooks and crannies of her own home country to discover hidden gems, often in plain sight. Ever the flâneur, she documents her findings on her Instagram account, Font Apa Tu, to celebrate all things typography and font.
What prompted you to start Font Apa Tu?
I never really aimed to achieve anything with Font Apa Tu, it’s nice to know there are people who are into signage as much as I am! I mainly started it because I couldn’t find a design resource or reference bank solely for typography in Malaysia which was frustrating when I was a student. So I thought, if I cannot find it, I shall make it. I am a firm believer that having a reference point of what’s been made and knowing how you can add to that stream of work rather than just replicating it.
What is it about typography that intrigues you?
My father used to work at a letterpress, so I think that’s where it all started. Type / font is in and of itself a design form. The one advice I got was that if you knew how to typeset, you can make a common font almost unrecognizable. It’s the satisfaction of using type as visual rather than it being just a description that makes me so dedicated to typography.
How would you describe the design culture in Malaysia?
Long way to go. That’s all I’ll say without stirring the pot too much ;)
What was the most fascinating design that you came across?
It’s the satisfaction of using type as visual rather than it being just a description that makes me so dedicated to typography.
How has being the regional digital creative lead in Nestlé help in perceiving the world around you?
It’s definitely made me even more introspective in my practice. I oversee content to go out across 3 continents and it’s definitely made me think about how the design is being perceived by an audience who’s culture is completely opposite to mine.
Lastly, please share with us 3 of your favourite local creatives and their IG handles for us to shoutout!
@tragikomedi @ranerrim @syukrishairi