Opening of HKDI Centre for Communication Design

Feature Story

Centre for Communication Design (the Centre), as an applied research and consultancy hub, bridges theory with real world practice by tightly integrating practice, research, teaching and outreach activities. It also brings new knowledge and industrial input into Communication Design curricula. 

The Centre also features Hong Kong Graphic Archive, a physical and digital archive that houses an eventual collection of around 30,000 historically significant graphic design artefacts. The archive is also integrated into curricular teaching. This great resource was made possible by the generous contributions from graphic designer and collector Mr John Wu. Mr Wu and the archive share the same objective to nurture future generations of designers by providing them with access to iconic and historically significant artefacts. 

The archive includes an extensive collection of graphic design artefacts from the 1940s to the 1990s including advertising, packaging, brand identity, typography, information design, corporate communications and stationery from various industries. It also features valuable historical collections of artefacts from established brands such as HSBC, MTR, Shaw Brothers and Louie Ming Cheun medicine, amongst others.

An online database of the archive is also available at, which will aid in the promotion of visual heritage of Hong Kong. Visitors can also expect regular public exhibitions, talks and workshops on themes relating to visual culture. 

On the occasion of the opening of the Hong Kong Graphic Archive, it showcases an exhibition of 100 artefacts to illustrate the breadth of the graphic scene in Hong Kong in the past several decades. Visitors get a chance to behold matchboxes from restaurants, bars and clubs; artwork and prints of advertisements and packaging from Louie Ming Chun medicine; working drawings of set designs from Shaw Brothers (Hong Kong) Limited's period films; menus and various print collaterals from the Tak Yu Restaurant; a selection of Cantopop cassette tapes from the 1980s and 90s; and a working demonstration of 'Double Pigeon' Chinese typewriter.

The Centre conducts applied research and consultancy projects on how people interact with graphic communications. 

In the past, the Centre has collaborated with organisations such as HSBC and Founder Type in Beijing on applied research and consultancy projects. The Centre uses the Tobii eye-tracking system to understand how people visually engage with print communications, screen-based documents, videos and interfaces as well as physical environments.

Another special feature of the Centre is Rennie's Mill Press. It is a print culture and publishing workshop that authors, edits, designs and produces publications on various topics, in particular titles related to visual culture. It is equipped with letterpress, Risograph and screen printing facilities for students to experiment with different printing processes and their applications in graphic communication.