Founder at OKOK Services


FarisKassim (Founder at OKOK Services)

Singaporean visual artist & creative coder currently based in Seoul. South Korea. Co-founder of independent creative studio – OKOK Services

Seoul, South Korea • April 24, 2024

What led you into design?

Growing up in the early 90s, ever since I was old enough to remember, I played a lot of SEGA Genesis / Megadrive video games and I was always fascinated by the intro titles, the pause menus, sprite animations etc. I remember then that I was already very intrigued – that what I thought to be ‘flat’ graphics – could move, have depth and perspective and be interacted with.

A few years later when I was around 12 or 13, I stumbled upon Photoshop 7.0 on my family’s desktop computer, which was only installed as one of my older siblings had to use it for a school project. I played around with it for hours on end and particularly remembering having a lot of fun with the clone stamp tool and brushpacks that I downloaded from DeviantArt.

Adobe Photoshop 7.0

Around the same time, kids in school around my age all had their own blogs on Blogspot / Blogger. Everyone wanted to have a unique design or ‘skins’ as we used to call it. My introduction into coding was modifying pre-made skins found online by changing lines of CSS code and swapping image assets in the HTML. I got pretty good at it the kids in school were paying me a dollar for a custom skin.

I’d like to that this was the precursor and the start of how I seriously considered design / coding to be something i wanted to pursue as a career later on.

What does a typical day look like?

Although I am based in Seoul, South Korea, I try to have my working hours more aligned with Central European Time as my studio partner My Kim and most of our clients at the moment are based in Europe. So naturally, I tend start and end my days abit later. On days where I have meetings or calls with Seoul-based clients / collaborators, then I’ll be up slightly earlier. But it's all quite flexible.

Our studio, OKOK Services, operates in a relay work-style. Meaning that with most of the work that we do, be it designing or coding, we usually take turns to iterate and continue each other’s work day to day. In parts of the day where our hours overlap, that's when we usually have calls to have discussions.

I sleep quite late and luckily so do most of my friends, so on some days, we’ll have a nice dinner together or just hang out at our homes or studios if our schedules align.

What's your workstation setup?

I mostly work from home or from a couple of work-friendly cafes that i frequent. But it's a pretty no-frills, modest set-up.

Where do you go to get inspired?

Day to day, between My Kim and me, we’re constantly shooting to each other ideas, interesting compositions that we come across on the streets, and cool works by other creatives.

Particularly for some of the commissioned art installations or net-art that I do, I have found quite a bit of inspiration from reading topic-specific essays and also interviews with creatives and artists sharing their reasonings and thought processes.

What product have you recently seen that made you think this is great design?

This could be slightly controversial to certain factions, but I think the Android operating systems – which at its core, is open source – has facilitated the production of a lot of really great mobile devices in the past few years.

Granted it doesn’t have the greatest standing when it comes to being cool product you can own but in terms of functionality, there’s been numerous of innovation and early adaptation of features in these Android devices. For example, split-screen / multi window capabilities and swipe typing. Also remember when for the longest time, iOS didn't have file management capabilities?

What pieces of work are you most proud of?

I particularly enjoyed working on ARE YOU OKOK, a personal self-explorative project that we initiated as a studio in the summer of 2021. We roped in our fellow creative friends from various fields like branding, creative writing, 3D and sound design to interpret what ‘OKOK’ could actually mean.

Eventually together with our friends at MPTY, we conceptualized the ‘OKOK Meters’, which are virtual measuring instruments that playfully dispenses reading slips based on particular user behavioral patterns. And seeing thereafter how people shared their experiences of interacting with the devices over DMs, Instagram stories and Twitter felt very personal and endearing.

It was also an interesting one as we had the opportunity to be a ‘client’ to some extent and approach projects from the opposite perspective.

What design challenges do you face at your company?

Our studio is relatively young so we’re still trying to figure out some aspects of running the business such as pricing and rates. It’s quite hard to find the right answer especially in this fast-evolving hyper-inflated world as in my opinion, it’s still something not openly discussed. In the initial couple of years, we were picking things up along the way and learning through trial and error. But fortunately these days, we have a tight circle of collaborators that we work with consistently, and usually openly discuss our rates amongst ourselves.

What music do you listen to while designing?

Any advice for ambitious designers?

Talking friends and fellow creatives who were thinking of starting their own practice, there have been instances when they've mentioned about finding the right moment to do it. But personally I think there isn't really a ‘perfect’ time do it. From my experience, a lot of what you’ll eventually pick up about running an independent setup would actually come from actually doing it.

I also think that if you are already have a day-job working for another studio or agency, at the same time you can already start your own practice ‘small’, and build up a small clientele of your own works instead of trying to do it from a completely clean slate after quiting your day-job. I think this would help to make the transition more smooth as you get to figure things out a bit earlier.

Anything you want to promote or plug?

Check out our works on our site, give us a follow on Instagram 🙂