Henry Steiner – Father of Hong Kong Design

You might wonder: how did someone born in Vienna and raised in New York get to Hong Kong in 1961, to become the father of Hong Kong design? If, as a foreigner, you remain here for over four decades, it is either because you have no choice, or you must love it too much to leave.

Henry Steiner, Excellent Graphic Designer

Henry Steiner Hong KongFor Steiner, whose reputation was established throughout the Asia Pacific by the 1980s, it was no doubt the latter. The enthusiasm he portrays when he talks about Hong Kong is telling. He knows it better than many Hong Kongers, and probably loves it more.

Henry Steiner’s experience and reputation are international. Born in Vienna and raised in New York, he was educated at Hunter College. Later in New York, at Yale University (where he studied under Paul Rand) he graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. The following year, he received the Fulbright Fellowship at the Sorbonne University in Paris.

In 1960, when the ‘Asia’ magazine began publishing in Hong Kong, it brought Henry Steiner to Hong Kong as the magazine’s Design Director. In the early 1960’s there were not many professional designers around in Hong Kong so he took advantage of the wide open market and established his own design firm Graphic Communication Ltd in 1961. His work was so outstanding and he was so sought after he became a brand and he changed the name of his company to Steiner and Co in 1964.

A distinguished body of work has led to professional recognition as president of Alliance Graphique Internationale; fellow of the Chartered Society of Designers and Hong Kong Designers Association honorary member of Design Austria; Fellow of the American Institute of Graphic Arts and member of the New York Art Directors Club.

Henry Steiner Honors and Awards

He was awarded an honorary Doctorate by Hong Kong Baptist University and its honorary professor at the University of Hong Kong’s School of Architecture and at Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s School of Design.

Steiner has been named Hong Kong Designer of the Year, a World Master by Japan’s ‘Idea’ magazine, and was included in Icograda’s ‘Masters of the 20th Century’ in 2002. Recently, he received the Hong Kong Print Outstanding Achievement Award and the Asia-Europe Foundation Logo Award. In 2006 he was awarded the Golden Decoration of Honour of the Republic of Austria for design achievement and service to the Austrian community in Hong Kong.

He is co-author of ‘Cross-Cultural Design; Communicating in the Global Marketplace’ (Thames and Hudson 1995). A monograph on his work, Henry Steiner: Designer’s Life in Chinese, was published in 1999.

He has created designs for some of the most identifiable brands, such as IBM, Hyatt Regency, Hilton Hotels, Dow Jones, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Unilever, and was given the honour of designing the citys’ bank notes by the Hong Kong government.

Henry Steiner pioneered the expression of identity through branding, particularly in Asia where his skill for incorporating Eastern cultural symbols into Western design has garnered international acclaim.

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