TICK.DESIGN—Building a unique design

04 2018 | Issue 26

Text/Sunny Lam

Local design brand TICK.DESIGN was founded in November 2015 by two Macao sisters of post-90s, Katy Lui and Tramy Lui. And it’s now a popular design company in the local market with high-profile clients such as Louis Vuitton and McDonald’s. So what exactly is the secret of their success? This issue of brand story is going to tell you the answer. 

Sticking to personalised original design

The design firm’s two directors, Katy, a marketing graduate, and Tramy, an advertising and graphic design graduate, found that there were a large number of design talents and projects in Macao and that the local cultural and creative industry was gradually growing and gaining momentum after they graduated. With the passion of making a difference in Macao, they decided to team up and kickstart TICK.DESIGN. Their vision is to provide their clients with the right choices and reinvent the brand images of local enterprises in Macao with innovative design. 

To actualise their vision, TICK.DESIGN focuses on original and unique customised design service besides refining the design details to better serve its clients. The company has garnered many top clients with their designs in two short years after its launch. 

Building up reputation and appealing to potential clients

It’s no easy task to start a business from scratch and it was quite difficult for the two founders to find clients. Initially, their friends and connections from school who believed in their design capability would recommend clients to them. Apart from that, Katy’s previous experience in marketing and PR, as well as Tramy’s experience in design and coloured drawing enable them to understand and satisfy their clients’ demand and manage their design projects better, which has been essential to the development of the company. After finishing a certain amount of design projects, they would spend a lot of time concluding and reviewing on their past projects. They would also post some of their designs on their website, Instagram, and Facebook to share their design concepts and features. 

In 2017, TICK.DESIGN attended the Macao International Trade and Investment Fair (MIF) for the very first time and got in touch with major companies in the market, gaining exposure through exhibiting their original design and building a long-term relationship with their clients. According to Katy and Tramy, working to keep their old clients is easier than finding new potential clients. Therefore, they emphasise on building up reputation in order to appeal to more people. 

Where do they get their design inspiration?

Design is essentially about creativity. From Katy’s perspective, design business doesn’t require a high initial capital to take off compared with other forms of business and it relies on a flow of design projects to maintain the business balance. In other words, designers’ creativity is the most important asset for a design company. So where do they get their inspiration? Katy and Tramy would regularly visit art and design exhibitions and read relevant books, learning from overseas exemplars. Besides, they keep up their passion for what they are doing and would grow while facing different demands from their clients and constant challenges. The more problems they solve, the better they can be. 

Besides, Katy believes that it’s important to communicate with the clients well on their preferences and demands before engaging into the design process. After that, the company would communicate with the clients on the possible design concepts. But their work doesn’t stop there. Whether the final product is a brochure, package, or venue design, the company would carefully choose their printing or stage construction service suppliers in accordance with the suppliers’ strengths. TICK.DESIGN’s portfolio includes Entwine Jewellery and Campufix, etc. 

Systematic project and operation management matters

Of course, it takes more than the creativity of the designers to complete design projects. It should be noted that project and operation management is also of great importance. From the perspective of modern business operation, the brand operation is a key part of business operation. A brand should set up a standard format to present their past works and leave a good impression on their clients. Whether it’s the logo designs or the accessories, they are all part of a brand and should be sorted into a standardised and systematic manner. 

The startup scene in Macao has been thriving in recent years. To provide support for young people with entrepreneurial dreams, the Macao government has set up incubation centres to provide incubation service and startup support. “Kickstarting your own business is different from working for a company. You need to invest a lot of your time and energy in it. You need to be prepared for that,” Katy said, giving her own take on starting a business. “The industry will grow as more people start to enter it.” Katy is delighted to see that the young generation nowadays is very eager to learn and advised young designers to build up their design capacity through working hard. “Instead of fearing for the future of the design industry, it’s wiser to stick to your work and work your own way out,” Katy said.