Alan Chan

Article Bio Works Merits Projects
modernity, tradition
Design and Crafts (graphic design)
Visual Arts (installation art)
Asia, Eastern
China, Hong Kong (China)
Hong Kong
created on:
August 24, 2003
last changed on:
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The Nostalgic and the Contemporary

Alan Chan is an internationally renowned graphic designer. He works in corporate and brand identity design, packaging, product and interior design. He reinterprets eastern and western cultures in a unique style that juxtaposes nostalgia with the contemporary. He has recently ventured into the arena of fine arts.
Although Alan Chan only ever received ten–month’s training in graphic design in 1970, he has since become is one of the few Hong Kong-educated graphic designers to achieve international recognition. His contribution to the design industry has been so significant that in 2002, he was awarded a Medal of Honour by the Government of the Hong Kong SAR.

In 1980, Alan Chan and his wife Sandra Chan set up the company Dimensions Advertising and built up a portfolio of a wide variety of work, ranging from corporate and brand identity design to packaging, product and interior design. In his designs, Chan reinterprets the spirit of eastern and western cultures in a unique style that juxtaposes nostalgia with the contemporary in order to represent traditional Chinese art and culture from a different perspective.

Chan´s creative talents have been welcomed enthusiastically in Japan. In 1991, he became the first Hong Kong designer to be invited to hold a solo exhibition in Tokyo. Over ten years later and Chan is still receiving invitations to hold solo shows of his work and in 2002, he accepted a show at the renowned Ginza Graphic Gallery. Chan has also appeared on TV programmes, given lectures and written articles on cultural identity in graphic design and has acted as a judge for international design competitions such as the International Ceramics Competition in Mino in 1998 and 2002 and the Morisawa Typeface Design Award in 1996, 1999 and 2002.

Since 2002, Chan has ventured into the arena of fine arts. Three of his works were exhibited at Art Chicago 2002 upon the invitation of Art Beatus gallery in Hong Kong. The same year, he also exhibited at Art Basel in Switzerland and at Dream 02 in London, for which he showcased his installation, ‘A Bowl of Rice Feeds People of All Kinds’ (2001). The work featured two huge cross-sections of a rice bowl in wood finished with white lacquer. The two-dimensional cut-outs were placed at right angles to each other to form an axis which would fit in a bowl and then propped upon a layer of scattered red chopsticks.

Another work is ‘Kyoto My Love’ (2002), an installation using photo collage on aluminium rods. The work grew from a panoramic snapshot of a bamboo forest in Kyoto. Inspired by the striking image, Chan covered three sides of twenty or so rods with repeated sections of the forest. Placed horizontally, the photograph of the bamboo forest became bands on new bamboo rods. The remaining sides in stainless steel created a reflective environment.


Alan Chan was born in Hong Kong in 1950. He trained in science at the Buddhist Wong Fung Ling College in Hong Kong before taking up graphic design in 1970. In 1980 he established Dimensions Advertising Company and six years later he set up Alan Chan Design Company.



Exhibition / Installation,
2003 ‘ARCO 2003: International Contemporary Art’, Madrid, Spain 2002 ‘Dream 02’, The Red Mansion Foundation, and the Bargehouse, London 2002 ‘Melbourne Art Fair’, Australia 2002 ‘Art 33’, Basel, Switzerland 2002 ‘Art Chicago 2002’, Navy Pier, USA 2001 ’01 Graphic Design Union Campaign’, Beijing 89–98 Graphic Design Association, Beijing, China 2000 ‘Contemporary Hong Kong Art: In Search of Identity’, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong 2000 ‘International Poster Exhibition in Hana Haru Festa 2000’, Musashino Art University Poster Gallery Committee, Tokushima, Japan 2000 ‘Festival of Vision: Hong Kong in Berlin – Cities Discoveries’, Hong Kong Institute of Contemporary Culture, House of World Cultures, Berlin, Germany 1999 ‘Shanghai International Poster Invitational Exhibition’, Shanghai Graphic Designers Association, Shanghai, China 1999 ’99 China International Art and Design Expo’, Shanghai International Exhibition Cooperation, Shanghai, China


Exhibition / Installation,
2002 Ginza Graphic Gallery, Tokyo, Japan 1993 ‘Oriental Passion Western Harmony’, Bangkok, Thailand 1991 ‘East meets West’, Tokyo, Japan


Alan Chan and his companies have won more than 500 local and international awards, including prizes from the Communication and the New York Art Directors Club in the US, D & AD in the UK, the Tokyo Typedirectors Club, Japan Typography Association, the Hong Kong Designers Association, the HK4A´s and many others. In 1989, Chan was named ‘Designer of the Year’ by the Hong Kong Artist Guild. In 1996, his company was selected by the Graphis Press in New York as one of the Graphis Ten Best design firms in the world.


This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the partner institutions.

Festival of Vision: Hongkong – Berlin

(27 July 00 - 10 September 00)