As many of you might know already, the xoxoFei journey would not have begun without the brilliant minds of my two dearest friends Antonia Li (Director of Business Development) and Ruth Chao (Creative Director), the co-founders of their full-service creative agency – INDICUBE. A year and a half ago, I began brewing the possibility of starting a lifestyle website revolving around my love for travel, cooking and fashion escapades. I had a million ideas in my head about the content, but had no idea how to translate them into a cohesive digital identity and a website that would be beautiful and functional at the same time. And as fate would have it, Antonia and Ruth also just started INDICUBE right around this time, and thus I had the privilege of being their very first client.
If you’re reading this, I’m sure you can attest to this website’s aesthetics and flow, and how it reflects my voice and vision completely. The beautiful xoxoFei logo INDICUBE designed has become an essential part of my identity and I can’t imagine it any other way. As the Creative Director, Ruth understood immediately the “feel” I was going for, even with my very vague and whimsical attempts at describing what I wanted, and translated my thoughts perfectly in her designs. To me, this is the most important quality when choosing a creative agency to work with. Afterall, in this day and age, our digital personas is just as important as the physical clothing we wear, and finding someone with the right style that fits you is key.
Now, fast forward a year and a half later, we just toasted to INDICUBE’s success at the 2015 Ambassadors’ Ball, with both Antonia and Ruth on the committee of this meaningful event benefiting the Hong Kong Ambassadors of Design and Design Trust, and Ruth also serving as the Art Director of Graphics. The ball invitation and auction book designs were stunning to say the least and a true design highlight to the whole ball. With the ball last night and their achievements in the past year and a half, I thought this would be the perfect time to interview them and shed more light on how far they’ve come and how proud I am of my friends to have created this remarkable, dynamic and flourishing company!
F: Tell us more about the Ambassadors’ Ball this year!
R: The theme of this year’s ball is Tales from the Fragrant Harbour. Selecting the four lost arts of Hong Kong, such as neon lights and basket weavers, the creative director of the ball, Adrian Wong, collaborated with the craftsman to create the venue decorations and performances for the special occasion.
I first met with Adrian to understand the theme for the ball and being in charge of the graphic designs, I wanted to reflect Adrian’s maximalist approach to its best. It was a wonderful time working with him as he gave me full creative freedom to develop the graphics from backdrops to invitation, auction book, signages, and it is always the best feeling to see it come to life on the night.
F: What made you want to support the Hong Kong Ambassadors’ of Design and Design Trust?
A: In running a creative business, Ruth and I both strongly believe in supporting creative initiatives in Hong Kong. When I was studying the course management of creative industries during my MBA, it struck me how little support the creative industries received compared to other industries here. From running a creative business, we both want to make a difference and do the best we can.
The Design Trust is launched by the Ambassador’s ball of design and has been created as a grant-making entity funding Fellowship Grants and Cultural Grants. The fellowship grants allow individuals to develop their emerging careers, build in-depth research, acquire and create innovative work or increase their skills within their related discipline. The Cultural Grants seed grants to individual designers, collectives and non-profit organisations for projects and activities that are relevant to design the built environment and cultural projects.
F: Ruth, I know you have an incredible background in the design world, tell us more about it
R: Years ago, after my degree in Psychology, I was accepted to Parsons for Graphic Design. My dad, being a traditional Chinese parent, wanted me to follow the more respectable paths in his view, like medicine, law, finance.. so at the time I was weighing between student loans or gaining experience through work and self-learning. At the time, I didn’t know which way was the best or ‘right’ way, but I thought if I ever were to take a risk in life, it makes perfect sense to do it for a lifelong dream and passion, a path in design. Until today, this is the best decision I’ve ever made.
Through British Vogue, Lane Crawford and I.T Apparels, I learnt the aesthetics of lifestyle and luxury, and in designing graphics for multiple brands and institutions, such as Maison Martin Margiela, Isabel Marant, ACNE, Victoria Beckham, The Met Gala, Stella McCartney, the experiences allowed me to shape content and identities according to the brand at hand. My most memorable experience was when I had the opportunity to learn from the best of the best — an art director I admired most since I was young, William Chang Suk Ping, in Beijing on a film set. He is still an inspiration to me today. With so many awards under his belt, he still works 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is that marathon-like stamina and respect for a self-imposed high standard that I admire the most. This is still what I ask of myself every time, in every project, for every client.
F: Antonia, tell us what inspired you to start Indicube with Ruth?
A: Coming from a background of Social Sciences and Law, you study about society, people and their patterns. It gave me an innate perception of the different types and stages of communication, what translates to marketing and how this all ties in with a good design. When I was working at Group Corporate Affairs in Hutchison Affairs and in AS Watson in Marketing, I was constantly dealing with agencies, and though being the client at that time, I’ve always found the agency side more intriguing. It has allowed me to understand the client perspective and it helped facilitate a powerful communication channel with Ruth to deliver to and beyond our client expectations. With her background in psychology and consumer psychology, Ruth is the perfect Creative Director because she immediately understands what the clients want and what attracts their target audience. Her background in different areas of creativity gives her a 360 approach to design, so no matter what the client needs, she has the all-rounded ability to deliver. She inspires me on a daily basis as I see how she transforms concepts into reality. Together we work really well together as a team and help each other excel.
F: What are some of the highlights that you’ve worked on in your amazing portfolio so far?
A: Each client and project is unique and special to us, but some of the milestones include Estee Lauder, Mr Porter, New World Development, Hong Kong Jockey Club, and Hypebeast.
R: Yes, in the past year and a half, we’ve had the joy in working with so many interesting clients from all walks of life and industries. The freedom and trust that they’ve given us to explore and build together is absolutely paramount. The highlight to us is how happy they are when they see the designs – that is always the most rewarding part.
F: You’ve achieved so much in such a short amount of time, where do you see the company going in the next few years?
R: Within graphic design, we hope to continue to build our portfolio with interesting brands. Growing beyond graphics, we are looking forward to collaborating with leading architects, interior designers, digital experts, photographers and creatives all around the world to shape the best brands together for our clients. It is truly an exciting time.
For more information on Indicube, visit their website at http://www.indicube.com