Cato Design Cato Design

Cato Design

A leading foreign design firm in the 1980s and 1990s

The Australian design company founded by Ken Cato set up an office in Singapore in 1984. It was the company's first overseas office, although it had worked on design projects in many countries.

Cato set up an office in the city-state because it was "an ideal location" and he found Singaporeans to be very "design-conscious" and looking to expand internationally. Moreover, there was "very little competition" here. He was apparently choosing between Singapore and Hong Kong but was worried about the latter's future after it was handed back to China in 1997.

Even before the Singapore office was set up, Cato already had clients here, including Robin Shipyard and the developers of Marina Square. Their work here soon grew to include packaging design for food manufacturers such as Fraser & Neave(s) as well as corporate identities for tourist attractions such as Jurong Bird Park and government organisations.

The Singapore office here was managed by designer Patrick Cheah while the bulk of the design work was done in its Melbourne office.