|Growing up in Hong Kong, Sandy Choi had no idea he was going
to lead one of the country’s premier graphic design
consultancies, boasting high profile clientele such as HSBC and
Marriott International. In fact, he didn’t even know he had
a talent for art. “Boarding school in the UK changed my life,”
he admits. “In Hong Kong, I didn’t attend art classes, and
I didn’t even try drawing until my “A”-Level.”
It was at Rishworth School in Halifax that “a nice lady teacher”
There followed a one-year foundation of art courses, and then
While never wavering in his goal of making commercial art, Sandy
While at Central Saint Martins, Sandy also mixed with the
A difficult and penniless stint as a freelancer was followed
In 1996, he spent a year in Shanghai working for JWT, one of the
Unlucky as it seemed, Choi came through with a hard-learnt lesson –
Yet, Sandy is unwilling to advocate graphic design as a bright
Sandy’s own future will probably see him attend to a few long-cherished
|Why did you choose graphic design as your profession?
Because I am passionate about graphic design and love doing it.
How is graphic design present in your life?
Where does your design inspiration come from?
Last but not least, wit and humour… it’s very important.
How many years of graphic training have you received?
Does your own cultural background account for
In addition, I feel the chaos and confusion of the physical environment
Does literature, theatre, music or any other subject
Among the three, music is essential and has always been a part of my life.
In literature, the books I read are mainly non-fiction – from historical,
To be honest, I haven’t really analysed this aspect in my work.
Who would you name as the greatest master of graphic design?
Besides design, what other hobbies do you have?
How does a low profile designer like yourself feel about
What do you look for when hiring young designers?
OK. Lets start afresh.
What is the ‘right attitude’ to learn design?
What is the best and the worst conditions
There are plenty of bad conditions, for example, our society
How did you enter London Central Saint Martins?
But to me, the culture of graphic design in England at that time
Henry Steiner when he once mentioned your name spoke very
I am very happy although I believe there might be others who would
I still remember being overjoyed for a whole week when I first read
Could you tell us some unforgettable phases during your
In my days of working at advertising agencies, I came to
Any favourite local designer(s)?
I also have a great respect for all enthusiastic designers,
I appreciate the young generation as well like Hung Lam, Milkxhake
What is your favourite Hong Kong culture? What is your
I dislike its ‘culture of buttering up’, dislike the tastelessness
What advice can you offer to design school graduates?
What would you like to say to Hong Kong?
Describe a typical day for you.
What do you usually do when you fail to come up with
What kind of plans do you have in the future?
What kind of a child were you back in the old days?
Where is your favourite place in Hong Kong?
For someone who once didn’t know what “graphic design”
He was in a Yorkshire school where he’d been sent to study
This story reminds me of Pierre Mendell describing his
Later Alan Fletcher, my classmate at Yale and Sandy’s
What did he learn from me? Not much, he says, and I was not
Sandy’s office is in basic white, one wall covered by
He quotes by heart a passage where Paul Rand recommends
His speakers are playing Kind of Blue by his favourite
Sandy remembers when he worked on ﬁnished mechanicals for
This wonderful, fast, obedient machine can be the designer’s
The simple minded Confucianism and lowballing style of our
When well into his nineties, the American comedian
I ask him if he feels alone. The question puzzles him, “Why?”
Yet the mystery of how Sandy developed his deliberate way of
Would Sandy consider working somewhere else, even though he
I hope he doesn’t go. He is living example of what design
It was a day in October, 1989 and I had gone down to the
A year into his job, I asked Sandy if he was interested to be
My loss of a capable producer is Sandy’s gain. Angela is now a
Working with Sandy is always enjoyable because we share many
Some years ago, when Sandy asked me what my views were if he
Perhaps the greatest challenge Sandy faced at the time was the need
The minimalist Japanese architect, Tadao Ando once remarked