Breathing New Vibes into Hong Kong Design
LOLOSOSO, designed by Mak Kai-hang
Many designers, regardless of discipline, dream of having their own labels or studios for the autonomy of realising their design visions. Hong Kong Design Centre’s Design Incubation Programme (DIP), fully funded by the government, has been here to give designpreneur newbies a strong hand. The 2-year programme provides almost everything they may need, such as office space, funding, business know-how and outreach opportunities. Let’s meet 2 incubatees who have recently joined the club — graphic designer Mak Kai-hang and design startup Blow Creation.
Mak Kai-hang: forging graphic design classics
Specialised in book design and typography, Mak Kai-hang founded his studio in 2018 and has already won a number of international awards. Recalling what led him into design, he thought back to his film class when he was studying in an art high school, “I learnt so much about art from the cinematic world, I once thought I would become a director.” But a DVD cover he was asked to design for the film class altered his track. “My design received great feedback and other design jobs followed. I would say this cover design opened a door for me.”
Mak draws his inspirations from other art forms — music, film, literature, architecture, etc. In one of the books he designed, LOLOSOSO, the front and back covers and all sides are strewn with texts, making it difficult to tell where to start. “It doesn’t have a single way of reading. Readers have to find their own ways into the book – just like most buildings have multiple entrances.” Mak hopes to keep creating works that can make an impact and even address social issues. He was most inspired by a quote from Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto. “He once said, ‘The music people will still love a century later is the music I want to make.’ The works that people will still appreciate a century later is also what I want to create. I am still exploring how to achieve that.”
"The works that people will still appreciate a century later is also what I want to create. I am still exploring how to achieve that."
Blow Creation: striding towards an animation dream
Blow Creation, which specialises in intellectual property creation and brand licensing, is the brainchild of 3 kidults, Tsang Man-Tsun, Patrick Chow and Robert Hsu. They developed an imagination that has been hatched for more than a decade into a fascinating fictional world with larger-than-life characters — 10K and the Kriminal World ('10K' in short) — and a unique business model. On one hand, they create original comics content revolving around 9 enhanced humans and 8 crime families set in the ’40s and ’50s US. On the other, they collaborate with different brands to cook up marketing campaigns for products related to the 10K story using their characters, such as teaming up with a local craft beer brand to launch a crossover beer featuring “Sammy Flamingo” who runs an underworld alcohol business in 10K.
10K and the Kriminal World, designed by Blow Creation
Blow Creation’s edge is to inject captivating stories into products, while enabling their fictional characters to walk into the real world through real-life products. 10K first met the local audience – and the DIP team – at the Hong Kong International Licensing Show 2019. “DIP gave us the confidence to aim for something big. We hope that one day, we can pitch animation companies and get their investment to turn 10K into an animation series,” said Tsang Man-Tsun. In the short run, they plan to bring 10K to the global audience through joining international expos and create a pitch bible which will help them present their animation idea.
"DIP gave us the confidence to aim for something big. We hope that one day, we can pitch animation companies and get their investment to turn 10K into an animation series."
Both Mak Kai-hang and Blow Creation have moved into the office space at CITA Kowloon Bay Training Centre provided by DIP. The well-equipped co-working space offers a cosy environment and a network of like-minded design practitioners. “In a high-rent city, it’s good to have our own studio space so we can work creatively,” said Mak. Tsang Man-Tsun also found it beneficial to work alongside other designpreneurs who are undergoing a similar career stage. “A lot of ideas and opportunities can be generated among us. We are now jamming a crossover idea with another DIP incubatee who designs board games.”
Giving our warmest welcome to Mak and Blow Creation, we can’t wait to see them stretch their wings. Are you, or do you know someone who is an ambitious designer like them who could use a boost in their startup business? DIP is now open for applications. Get your business plan ready and apply now!
Want to learn more about the journeys of our talented incubatees? Kennis Chan, Director of our Fashion and Design Incubation Programmes is co-hosting the “Good Life Good Design” （生活就是設計） programme series on Metro Radio every two weeks. It features incubatees of our DIP and Fashion Incubation Programme (FIP) who share their design visions and thrilling experiences. Follow HKDC on Facebook to tune in to the show!