Keith Tam
School of Design · Hong Kong Polytechnic University
The visual language of Hong Kong’s neon signs
Fremont Street, Las Vegas c1952
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Big sign, little building vs building as sign
Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour (1972) Learning from L...
Relationship between space, scale, speed and symbol
Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour (1972) Learning ...
Fremont Street, Las Vegas c1952
Source: Wikimedia Commons
antispatial
Fremont Street, Las Vegas c1952
Source: Wikimedia Commons
form in space
Fremont Street, Las Vegas c1952
Source: Wikimedia Commons
form in space
symbols
messages
Jordan Road, Kowloon
Jordan Road, Kowloon
antispatial
Jordan Road, Kowloon
form in space
Jordan Road, Kowloon
form in space
symbols
messages
Sung Wong Toi inscription, Kowloon City
Sacred Hill, Kowloon City c1920
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Tung Wah Museum, built in 1910
Tung Wah Museum, built in 1910
Tung Wah Museum, built in 1910
Queen’s Road, late 19th century
Source: Images through time: photos of Hong Kong exhibition catalogue, Leisure & Cultural ...
Jordan Road, Kowloon
Sunbeam Theatre, North Point
Shun Hing Restaurant, Sham Shui Po
Projecting and shopfront signs, Jordan
Hong Kong signscape typology: corner building
Façade coverage
Projecting columnar
Projecting irregular
Projecting banner B...
Hong Kong signscape typology: side elevation
Projecting banner
Projecting columnar
roadpavementbuilding
Shopfront projecti...
Hong Kong signscape typology: front elevation
Shopfront projectingPlaque inside shop
Shop window
Building fascia Shopfront...
Hong Kong signscape typology
Keith Tam 2014
Shopfront
S1 Shopfront fascia
S2 Shopfront projecting
S3 Shopfront columnar
S4...
On Hong Ning Drug Company, Yau Ma Tei
Tai Ping Koon Restaurant, Yau Ma Tei
Projecting columnar sign
A selection of projecting columnar signs
Projecting columnar sign
Projecting horizontal sign: Yuet Heung Restaurant,Wanchai
Projecting irregular signs: a selection of pawn shop signs
Tak Sang Pawn Shop, Yau Ma Tei
Projecting irregular signs: Tai Ping Koon, Causeway Bay; King’s Sauna, North Point
Building fascia: Sunny Paradise Sauna,Wanchai
Corner fascia: Tak Hing Dried Seafood, Yau Ma Tei
Corner fascia: Swan Lake Sauna, Sham Shui Po
Façade coverage: Tai Lin Radio, Yau Ma Tei
Façade coverage: Shing Lei Mahjong Parlour, Yau Ma Tei
Shopfront columnar: electronic store on Nathan Road
Yen Zhen-qing (Tang) Zhao Zi-qian (Qing)
A specimen of Au Kin Kung’s calligraphic scripts
A specimen of Au Kin Kung’s calligraphic scripts
Shui Hing Mahjong Parlour in Yau Ma Tei, calligraphy (possibly) by Au Kin Kung
Wing Hing Pharmacy, Yau Ma Tei Wing Lung Bank, Quarry Bay
Shun Hing Restaurant, Sham Shui Po
Chinese lettering styles: Kaishu, Beiwei Kaishu, Lishu, Songti
English (Latin) lettering styles: Grotesque capitals, cursive script, seriffed capitals
American Restaurant,Wanchai
Goldfinch Restaurant, Causeway Bay
Different styles of character rendering in neon tubes
Nam Wah Neon Company
Colour rendering painted with gouache in a reduced scale
Nam Wah Neon Co.
Nam Wah Neon Co.
Rough sketch on a colour rendering
Nam Wah Neon Co.
Gouache rendering with client’s approval signature
Nam Wah Neon Co.
Gouache rendering with grid used for enlargement
Nam Wah Neon Co.
Streetside signwriters in Hong Kong in the last century
Tse Tak Lung (1993) The bridge between design and printing
Outline drawing on craft paper in actual scale
Nam Wah Neon Co.
Mr Lau Wan at Nam Wah Neon Company
Mr Lau Wan at Nam Wah Neon Company
Mr Lau Wan at Nam Wah Neon Company
Nam Wah Neon Co.
Causeway Bay Plaza Phase 2, Causeway Bay
Wah Hong Restaurant,Wanchai
Federal Palace Restaurant, Yau Ma Tei
Sands Sauna, Jordan
Flood-lit billboards in Mong Kok
Thank you! @keithchtam
invisibledesigns.org
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The visual language of Hong Kong’s neon signs

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A study of the visual language of Hong Kong’s neon signs and its connections to architecture, typography and the context of Hong Kong’s urban environments. Keynote presentation at the Hong Kong Arts Centre on 28 May 2014, organised by M+, Hong Kong’s museum of visual culture.

Full article of the study:
(English) http://goo.gl/vHfYIO
(Traditional Chinese) http://goo.gl/iW4cEf

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The visual language of Hong Kong’s neon signs

  1. 1. Keith Tam School of Design · Hong Kong Polytechnic University The visual language of Hong Kong’s neon signs
  2. 2. Fremont Street, Las Vegas c1952 Source: Wikimedia Commons
  3. 3. Big sign, little building vs building as sign Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour (1972) Learning from Las Vegas
  4. 4. Relationship between space, scale, speed and symbol Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour (1972) Learning from Las Vegas
  5. 5. Fremont Street, Las Vegas c1952 Source: Wikimedia Commons antispatial
  6. 6. Fremont Street, Las Vegas c1952 Source: Wikimedia Commons form in space
  7. 7. Fremont Street, Las Vegas c1952 Source: Wikimedia Commons form in space symbols messages
  8. 8. Jordan Road, Kowloon
  9. 9. Jordan Road, Kowloon antispatial
  10. 10. Jordan Road, Kowloon form in space
  11. 11. Jordan Road, Kowloon form in space symbols messages
  12. 12. Sung Wong Toi inscription, Kowloon City
  13. 13. Sacred Hill, Kowloon City c1920 Source: Wikimedia Commons
  14. 14. Tung Wah Museum, built in 1910
  15. 15. Tung Wah Museum, built in 1910
  16. 16. Tung Wah Museum, built in 1910
  17. 17. Queen’s Road, late 19th century Source: Images through time: photos of Hong Kong exhibition catalogue, Leisure & Cultural Services Dept (2013)
  18. 18. Jordan Road, Kowloon
  19. 19. Sunbeam Theatre, North Point
  20. 20. Shun Hing Restaurant, Sham Shui Po
  21. 21. Projecting and shopfront signs, Jordan
  22. 22. Hong Kong signscape typology: corner building Façade coverage Projecting columnar Projecting irregular Projecting banner Building fascia Building columnar Building corner fascia
  23. 23. Hong Kong signscape typology: side elevation Projecting banner Projecting columnar roadpavementbuilding Shopfront projecting
  24. 24. Hong Kong signscape typology: front elevation Shopfront projectingPlaque inside shop Shop window Building fascia Shopfront fascia Building columnar Shopfront columnar
  25. 25. Hong Kong signscape typology Keith Tam 2014 Shopfront S1 Shopfront fascia S2 Shopfront projecting S3 Shopfront columnar S4 Shop window S5 Plaque inside shop Building B1 Building columnar B2 Building fascia B3 Building corner fascia B4 Façade coverage Extension E1 Projecting columnar E2 Projecting banner E3 Projecting irregular
  26. 26. On Hong Ning Drug Company, Yau Ma Tei
  27. 27. Tai Ping Koon Restaurant, Yau Ma Tei
  28. 28. Projecting columnar sign
  29. 29. A selection of projecting columnar signs
  30. 30. Projecting columnar sign
  31. 31. Projecting horizontal sign: Yuet Heung Restaurant,Wanchai
  32. 32. Projecting irregular signs: a selection of pawn shop signs
  33. 33. Tak Sang Pawn Shop, Yau Ma Tei
  34. 34. Projecting irregular signs: Tai Ping Koon, Causeway Bay; King’s Sauna, North Point
  35. 35. Building fascia: Sunny Paradise Sauna,Wanchai
  36. 36. Corner fascia: Tak Hing Dried Seafood, Yau Ma Tei
  37. 37. Corner fascia: Swan Lake Sauna, Sham Shui Po
  38. 38. Façade coverage: Tai Lin Radio, Yau Ma Tei
  39. 39. Façade coverage: Shing Lei Mahjong Parlour, Yau Ma Tei
  40. 40. Shopfront columnar: electronic store on Nathan Road
  41. 41. Yen Zhen-qing (Tang) Zhao Zi-qian (Qing)
  42. 42. A specimen of Au Kin Kung’s calligraphic scripts
  43. 43. A specimen of Au Kin Kung’s calligraphic scripts
  44. 44. Shui Hing Mahjong Parlour in Yau Ma Tei, calligraphy (possibly) by Au Kin Kung
  45. 45. Wing Hing Pharmacy, Yau Ma Tei Wing Lung Bank, Quarry Bay
  46. 46. Shun Hing Restaurant, Sham Shui Po
  47. 47. Chinese lettering styles: Kaishu, Beiwei Kaishu, Lishu, Songti
  48. 48. English (Latin) lettering styles: Grotesque capitals, cursive script, seriffed capitals
  49. 49. American Restaurant,Wanchai
  50. 50. Goldfinch Restaurant, Causeway Bay
  51. 51. Different styles of character rendering in neon tubes
  52. 52. Nam Wah Neon Company
  53. 53. Colour rendering painted with gouache in a reduced scale Nam Wah Neon Co.
  54. 54. Nam Wah Neon Co.
  55. 55. Rough sketch on a colour rendering Nam Wah Neon Co.
  56. 56. Gouache rendering with client’s approval signature Nam Wah Neon Co.
  57. 57. Gouache rendering with grid used for enlargement Nam Wah Neon Co.
  58. 58. Streetside signwriters in Hong Kong in the last century Tse Tak Lung (1993) The bridge between design and printing
  59. 59. Outline drawing on craft paper in actual scale Nam Wah Neon Co.
  60. 60. Mr Lau Wan at Nam Wah Neon Company
  61. 61. Mr Lau Wan at Nam Wah Neon Company
  62. 62. Mr Lau Wan at Nam Wah Neon Company
  63. 63. Nam Wah Neon Co.
  64. 64. Causeway Bay Plaza Phase 2, Causeway Bay
  65. 65. Wah Hong Restaurant,Wanchai
  66. 66. Federal Palace Restaurant, Yau Ma Tei
  67. 67. Sands Sauna, Jordan
  68. 68. Flood-lit billboards in Mong Kok
  69. 69. Thank you! @keithchtam invisibledesigns.org

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