Where The Brand Begins

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I talked with Handoko Hendroyono last week on the anticipated book of his: “Brand Gardener”  – ready to hit book stores this month. The alumnus of the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Indonesia was an enthusiast in creative story telling an avid advertising activist, a path leading him to continue a career as a designer and photographer for SWA Magazine.

The book was first triggered with his concerns on the development of advertising industry in Indonesia. The Indonesians were considered late in an industry that grew so fast. So, he decided to observe customers as well as the industry’s behavior and start sharing his findings to every people with interest to the industry. He said, “There’re so many conflict of interests in the advertising industry in Indonesia. We need to change, but the consequences of those changes would force us to adapt and struggle even more since there’ll be some alterations on the function. But we are not ready to change.”

He chose the people, including Melissa Sunjaya of Tulisan, to be featured in the books because he wanted them to be heard and motivate those who are looking for answers on brand related issues. Thus is why he wanted to create a video documentation, called Brand Gardener TV, to feature his speakers. Handoko wanted to make Brand Gardener not merely a book, but a movement of people who care with Indonesian’s brand. Youths are his ultimate audience, added with  a spark of motivations, he said, these generation could build their confidence and create a strong Indonesian brand.  “It’s a book about the standard of creating a brand, whoever attempts to make one should never be a follower. They need to tell stories and have a strong concept,” he remarked. – Della Nathalia.

Handoko and his team are preparing the launch of Brand Gardener, this Thursday, March 29th 2012. 

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Mama Knows Best

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Rainy season is upon us.  A mid-morning downpour, soaks the city in oversized raindrops that bend giant leaves and further indulge traffic’s unhurried pace.  Deep puddles form on jagged sidewalks making crossing the street an unwelcome adventure.  A steamy heat sets in, and provides one last reason why staying inside is, for now, the best choice.

Looking out the window, watching my  garden get a bath, I make a pitcher of a refreshing drink my wise little Mama always reccommends.  Procured from a diet she tried once upon a time, then reinterpreted to suit her taste, she now always has this brew on her hand.  It’s oddly soothing, due as much to her tinkering with the formula, as to me associating it with her and the intrinsic comfort her presence provides.

Read more for the Recipe. Enjoy and feel free to modify it to suit your own taste and mood. – Melany Z

In one large pitcher (approx. 8 cups) toss in all of these ingredients and let sit overnight:

1 Sliced Cucumber

1 Thinly sliced lemon

1 tablespoon of grated ginger (less if you don’t love ginger)

Two handfulls of fresh Mint leaves (or more, if you love mint)

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Liberica: A Liberation for Good Coffee

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“Behind every successful woman, is a substantial amount of coffee” – Stephanie Piro

Piro said it well and Liberica definitely understands it well. The quote was written on a black painted wall of Liberica, a new coffee shop located in Pacific Place Mall, Jakarta.  Deriving its name from an original coffee found in Liberia, West Africa, Liberica is our new favorite coffee shop. For us, the name also represents the liberation that coffee provides as you struggle to stay focus and productive after long hours of  staying focus and productive.

Long before they opened, Liberica’s propaganda-like posters had filled walls, concrete poles, of Jakarta and made thousands of us wonder what it was all about. The campaign raised curiosity, but in the end it was the coffee that matters. And they proved not to fail us. Their freshly brewed coffee beans put together the best cappuccino in town. The foam lasted and remained delish even after half way through your cup. Their Ice Fudge Mocha is also a treat, serving the perfect sweet and bitter that would not leave your stomach feeling over the top.

A good coffee shop is like a good moleskin to sketch. In Liberica, with a smell of fresh coffee coming from the doorless shop and the warehouse-like interior that welcomes, they seal the deal. The coffee-related quotes on the wall speak the truth and concludes one thing for me: that revolution starts as a state of mind, but a little help from a glass of coffee would keep you sane – continuously. – Rassi Narika

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Captivating Batik

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It was a placid Sunday afternoon at Kuningan City where we strived with canthing, malam, and a piece of fabric in our hands. On an event held by Tik Shirt Design and Kuningan City that day, we learnt how to make batik, a cloth that traditionally uses a manual wax-resist dyeing technique. It is one of Indonesia’s famous heritage among hundreds of other treasures.

The event was opened for public so we did not want to lose a chance to learn making those sophisticated patterns. The traditional technique requires us diligence and patience. It took us 2,5 hours to finish a rectangular 30 cm square fabric. Then we still have to wax it for a cracking effect, fix its color, boil it, and wash several times before drying it to get the final result.

As one of Indonesia’s historical treasure, batik  had became a national cloth. It has always been a flattering feeling to wear batik in special occasions. Its writting-on-fabric technique has been an inspiration for fabric illustration development, including the silkscreen method that Tulisan uses. This captivating culture is an endless source of inspiration that should be forever kept and feel proud of. – Della Nathalia

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Keep Gill Sans and Carry On

If you ever visit Singapore and look for something to do other than shopping at Orchard Road, I highly recommend going to Dempsey Hill. There are several quaint restaurants and one of my favorite spot is Jones, a specialized grocery shop with a cafe in the middle.

My very first attraction to this place was their use of Gill Sans typeface for their whole branding. It is so simple and straightforward that it almost clears my mind to focus on their story: quality food.

Gill Sans reminded me of London, their underground, their war propaganda, their Penguin Classic Collections and my first boss – Clive Piercy. Clive is a genius English designer in Los Angeles who at the start of my typography journey would only allow me to work with a few sets of typefaces: Gill Sans, Interstate, and Mrs. Eaves. His only instruction was, “Make the types simple, and make them sing! Forget about doing your calligraphy.” Until this day, I remain to be his loyal fan.

If you have a moment to spare, please check out this short film describing the history of “Keep Calm and Carry On”.


The English are bloody good in creating a timeless message.

Kisses, Melissa Sunjaya


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Wondering about Wandering

Sometimes when your heart is broken, your emotions frayed, or when circumstance requires a fresh perspective, taking a little trip is a remedy the soul appreciates.

Stale city air is no match for the fresh variety found just beyond the concrete margins. Sunshine on warm skin induces a tender, peaceful feeling when experienced in new surroundings. With everyday obstacles and implications removed, we become free to imagine that anything is possible. Creative energy seeps in and we can move with confidence in new directions.

French artist Yves Klein made a wonderful photomontage documenting his own, Leap into the Void. This 1960 work articulated the courage we must indulge to do crazy things. When we engage and fulfill our wild and passionate inclinations, our spirit is refreshed and our character strengthened.

Perhaps it’s a good time for you to pack a Runaway Bag and take an impromptu road trip. Fill it up with books you’ve been meaning to read, that dress you haven’t yet worn, a sketchbook to capture your thoughts, and a camera to record the ensuing good times. Often with a change of scenery we change our outlook too. – Melany Z.

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Closest Companion

Any plan to fly on this Mischievous March? Maybe we could give a little help for your preparation with our passport cover which comes with new design. We’re ready to accompany you with Les Papilons de Victor’s Passport Envelope. Available at IDR. 65,000. – Dell

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Toddling Totes

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Long gone are the days when diaper bags were merely utilitarian accessories exclusively dedicated  to toting around baby’s essentials.  The notion of a diaper bag being something you can use long after bottles, pacifiers, and well, diapers have left the scene has (thankfully) taken off.

Take for instance our Club & Librarian Totes.  We’ve heard from several hip and stylish Moms, that these serve as great diaper bags.  Their whimsical prints match Mama’s stylish sensibilities rather than the nursery décor.

You can pack everything you and baby need for your daily adventures.  It all stays neatly accessible in these stylish totes.

You can even stash a Vanity Bag inside your Tote to keep diaper and/or feeding supplies separate and supremely easy to get to quickly.  Our Vanity Bags help further organize your baby’s essentials, and allow you to easily transfer crucial items from one bag to another without ever leaving something important behind.

Our Club Tote is a great option for Moms who appreciate the added benefit that external pockets afford.  Each side of this tote has an open pocket that is perfect for storing pacifiers, wipes, or other small necessities. Inside you’ll find, additional pockets, an attached keyring,  and a large zippered pouch, making it easy to keep your cell phone, wallet, and keys neatly accounted for.  A top zipper further ensures that everything remains chicly in place

The Librarian Tote is ideal for stylish Moms on the go.  The open top makes accessing baby’s belongings effortless.  Inside the tote features 4 large pockets, an additional zippered pouch, and a connected keyring to keep your essentials secure.  The Librarian Tote is roomy yet comfortable to carry.  It’s a fashion accessory that you can look forward to using for many years to come. – Melany Z

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KDM’s 40 Years Journey

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Last February, KDM opened their campus for more than 500 people whose life crossed path and touched by KDM. It’s their 40th anniversary, so they have all the reasons to throw a big celebration for the achievement. Yet, the celebration remained modest and personal despite the large number of guests coming. A warm smile or hugs splurged from the children, staff, and fellow volunteers. Pak Benny, KDM Director, seemed to be the busiest man of the day. Every one wanted to congratulate him for the milestone and he enjoyed meeting one person at a time, letting them know how KDM thanked them for being there and taking part in the 40 years of journey.

The day was filled with volunteers reunion, performances from the children, and art auction of the children’s handcraft. Jenny, one of our Pepe Doll maker created a collage made out of paper quilt. The bid went to 6 digits and the money from the bidder went straight to the children’s saving account. The committee also prepared a book compiling KDM’s journey and stories from its birth to where they stand right now. They gave the book for free to the guests that day. In addition, KDM gave Certificates of Appreciations to parties who had affected the existence of KDM. Tulisan team was also honored to be mention in their list of appreciations for the Pepe Doll Project we had been doing together.

Towards the end of my day, a familiar warm feeling filled me.  A story of a KDM alumni who now had become a Commando of Navy in Sumatra, a choir of children wearing ulos singing to the late Pak Lumy’s favorite song, and waiting for my plate of Spaghetti Bolognese made by Slamet. He spent the whole morning preparing pans of spaghetti that tasted so good, it was out in 10 minutes. Seeing the Pepe Apron we gave was tied around his waist, was my highest moment of the day. Happy birthday KDM and many greatness to come! xRs.

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Movies with A Twist of Cruz

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J’adore Penelope Cruz! Not only because she is that beautiful, but I literally spent yesterday watching two of her movies and found it highly productive to find muse. Both movies were recommended by Melissa. The first was ‘A Matador’s Mistress‘ starring Adrian Brody and Penelope Cruz in a 1940’s Spain setting. It  was a story of the life of Manuel Laureano Rodríguez Sánchez, also known as Manolette,  the best matador ever known to date. The movie depicted his short life and the love that led him to his death. He was madly in love with Lupe, acted out by Penelope Cruz. And the movie plotted the morning when he was about to meet his last bull fight, time took him to go back to what matters most in his life: Lupe. It was a passionate and intense movie of loving and never giving a chance to let the one you love leave your thoughts. The time traveling plot carried us around to Cordoba, Madrid, Linares, and Mexico with the classic Mediteranian breeze that seemed to come out of the screen.

I adore the movie and the detailed pattern it built, literally and figuratively. The vintage fabrics and dresses the ladies wore, the beads that went to the matador’s outfit, the fenced terrace where Lupe dried her linens, the little boys with dirt covering their clothes and faces, or even the arrogance of a bullfighter in his court.

Now, I am making a list of movies that I’d propose to Melissa for our next productively inspired movie session. xRs.


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Composing The Story of Admiral Kasarung

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When Melissa first shared me her idea of incorporating Indonesian folk tales on Tulisan’s 2012 edition series, I wondered if I could still explore these stories as much as I could do on an original story. The Secret Garden of Admiral Kasarung was my first attempt. The story of Admiral Kasarung was derived from a West Java folklore, “Lutung Kasarung”. Melissa had a very vivid idea of how she wanted the illustration to be elegant and exquisite with a monarchial touch. Her brief gave me a platform to work on the original story and it conceived a concept of how to twist the story. I was in the middle of reading  Siddhartha  by Herman Hesse when I started writing Kasarung. Siddhartha’s devotion to Kamala, the beautiful courtesan in the book, reflected how I imagine Kasarung and Purbasari exchanged their feelings toward each other.

Melissa and Melany Zwartjes helped edited and enriched the story with their eloquent words and ecstatic insights. I still get the shivers whenever reading the final story. Here’s a full version of the story. xRs.


In a time long ago, there lived deep in the forest of Java an enchanted admiral by the name of Kasarung. Kasarung was half man, half ape but he was no beast. His goddess mother had cast a spell on him which made him lose his handsome features. It was an act they had agreed upon such that Kasarung could find a lasting and true love. Having embraced a facade that would deter disingenuous suitors he then fled from heaven and built himself a sanctuary in the jungle to set about finding a soulmate.

Kasarung quickly came to know the forest by heart. Apes were not a common sight in the dense forest, but Kasarung’s wisdom and sophisticated style had earned him the friendship and respect of many of the forest’s animal residents. Moreover, the forest was mysterious place. The trees whispered enchanting tales of mystical events. The river, carrying the roar of the sea, spoke of times when magic unfolded on its misty banks. Everyone seemed to agree that this curious being was destined to set in motion yet another numinous happening.

“The Admiral is here!” the little boars cheered whenever Kasarung passed by. In his uniform and with a cigar in his hand, he would cross the river to chat with the crocodiles. “The weather has been rather humid lately,” he would say with debonair charm. Sometimes, when relaxing atop the forest canopy, he would whistle to the birds and applaud them for their orchestrated tweets. Though he loved to frolic and socialize with his woodland friends, he always remained mindful of his real purpose for residing in the forest: to discover and experience true love. He recited poems to the lovebirds seeking insight on the matter. He wandered the rose garden and admired the exquisite flowers but still somehow the pleasure of beholding their beauty felt shallow. By night, he indulged in chemical experiments and botanical research. His goal was to create a secret garden, overflowing with enormous flowers and eccentric vines, to share with the woman in his life.

One afternoon during a mountain stroll to a nearby lake, he spotted a cottage hidden within a pool of lotuses. As he walked along the water’s edge something caught his eye. There, in the milieu of pink flowers, was a majestic beauty that he could not resist. As his eyes focused he was instantly love-struck by a young lady with long black silky hair and dark skin. Thrilled by his discovery, but unsure of how to proceed, Kasarung returned home to seek out the advice of his friends. 

“Her name is Purbasari,” revealed the geese when the dashing admiral told them of his encounter. “She feeds us crumbs of bread, but always is innately shy toward strangers.” With the help of his docile comrades, the Admiral devised a plan to meet the lady and win her heart. 

That next morning, Kasarung jumped in the lake and pretended to drown as he approached Lady Purbasari’s cottage. As she pulled him out of the water, he was profoundly taken aback by her tender kindness.  Her skin was coarse but a seductive grace filled her presence. As she comforted her rescued prince, Purbasari realized that she shared with Kasarung the unyielding wish to spend a lifetime with someone unconcerned with facades.

That happy introduction was followed by countless hours of conversation and an invitation from Kasarung to explore the forest. A thrilling idea indeed! For years, Purbasari had wanted to explore the jungle but her shyness had kept her from venturing too far from her beloved home. From then on, Admiral Kasarung and Lady Purbasari were inseparable. He introduced her to the creatures of the forest and she taught him the Latin name of each plant they encountered. She was fascinated with the way he collected specimens of the Celosia cristata and Amanita muscaria in the woods. “Why are you so concerned with meticulously gathering those plants?” Purbasari would often ask. Kasarung simply smiled and kissed his Lady’s hand. Purbasari did not mind his vague response for she had once heard that the best companion accepted that some things are best left to the imagination. 

Two years after their first encounter, and on the second day of the second month of that year, Admiral Kasarung threw an intimate rendezvous. Purbasari arrived elegantly dressed with her dark hair flowing to her waist was.  Kasarung’s heart was pounding, as he led Purbasari to the secret garden he had carefully nurtured. There she saw the giant Celosia cristata with its colors so beautiful it brightened the night.  Placed beside the stunning flower was a potted bush that had been painstakingly cultivated to form the number “2”. It was a night like no other. The Admiral simply whispered “All of these wild beauties that are mine now belong to you my lady, for you have given me peace in knowing that you exist in my world…”

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Happy belated Valentine’s Day! What a fun day it was for us. Melissa was invited to do a live shooting for TV One’s Coffee Break program with Irwanardi and Nira Stania. She talked about everything! From the story of how Tulisan started and worked as a channel to capture emotions, our latest edition, and even the technicalities of choosing color ways.

When we got back to the office, we found this lovely cake from Sarah waiting on our table. Thank you, Sarah! xRs.

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Thinking Outside of The ToyBox

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By now many of our New Year’s Resolutions have been cast aside or mentally filed away under “naively ambitious projects.” At Tulisan, we may not be able to make a treadmill pleasurable, or dieting a treat, but we can help make getting organized a beautiful task.

Our Toybox is a great way to sort, store, & keep your things nice and tidy. Of course it’s perfect for keeping toys out-of-the-way, but it’s also an excellent tool for keeping your groceries, reusable market bags, and/or essential car supplies conveniently accounted for in your trunk.

The Tulisan Toybox can also keep your pet’s belongings stylishly hidden in plain sight. When headed to the beach, your towels, sunblock, and toys can all be carried with ease while your keys remain securely clipped to the attached carabiner.

The Toybox is a great size for using as a hamper. Since they are completely collapsible you can even stash one in your suitcase to use for laundry storage, or as a general means to elegantly unpack when staying with friends/family.

Overall we think the Toybox is terrific for more than just child’s play. Drop us an email and fill us in how you use yours.

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Newly Minted Ideas

On a recent trip to the Mint Museum of Toys in Singapore I was so enchanted by the bright colors and fonts seen on the packages of the delighful vintage toys, that when I returned to Jakarta I immediately went to work on creating items that conveyed the same of cheerful  and flamboyant qualities.

Tulisan’s Pepe Doll project was actually inspired by treasures housed in the Mint Museum.

 These rich colors and eye-catching fonts convey a kind of idealism & nostalgia that I wanted to further explore.

I love to delve into the past to seek out inspiration.  Often I find it when I look at vintage batiks or iconic graphics, but on that day it was found in the childhood playthings from decades past. Triple kisses, Melissa Sunjaya

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Daisy Loop

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Last week my mom, Didi, gathered different scraps of our printed canvas and turned it into daisy-shaped ornament loops. It can be used to personalize your hand bags, color code your luggages or decorate your room. These hand made daisy loops are produced in a limited amount and are now available in our store at Darmawangsa Square. Thanks for this brilliant idea, mom! Hope you enjoy these daisy loops.  Triple kisses, Melissa Sunjaya.

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