Growing Up: A Retrospective On Earlier Versions Of Challenge

The third version of Challenge saw it expanding vertically in size, as well as going online.
The third version of Challenge saw it expanding vertically in size, as well as going online.

Mirroring its aim to promote change, Challenge’s form morphed again. From February 2002 to July 2006, the once-square print copies took on another unusual shape – slightly longer than an A4 piece of paper, but much narrower.

Special editions that marked important events, such as the 10th anniversary of PS21, or highlighted PS21 Star Service Award winners, stood out. These issues not only had thicker paper for the cover and more pages, but were a tad larger in dimensions too.

Visually, concepts were straightforward. A 2002 cover story, The Public Service is aBuzzz with the Entrepreneurial Spirit, was matched with a picture of a fuzzy bee. Another story, on the 2002 PS21 ExCEL Convention, paired the headline For ExCEL, let ideas take shape with photos of star-shaped cookies.

From 2003, the cover design was tweaked to feature the Challenge website URL more prominently, beneath the masthead. On the inside, Challenge playfully hawked its online presence with a banner image of the magazine on a (clothes) line. Besides reproducing content from print issues, the website featured Flash-based games for officers to play.

Design aside, its content continued to inform and inspire public officers. Other than news from across the Service, there were stories on service excellence lessons from the private sector, including Raffles Hotel, The Ritz-Carlton and Singapore Airlines.

Good ideas to improve the Public Service, in ways big and small, remained celebrated. An early childhood educator, for instance, had the idea to teach her students numbers with her used parking coupons. She was featured in a column titled “Now Why Didn’t I Think Of That?”


The Challenge July/August 2015 issue will look at the fourth version of the magazine. 

    May 1, 2015
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