Capturing the iconic

Capturing the iconic

Hongkong Post immortalises six streets in stamps, and one designer hit the pavement to get the right feel

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Designer Gideon Lai shows off his designs for Hongkong Post's series of stamps on the city's most iconic streets. Lai got the feel of the streets by exploring them himself.
Designer Gideon Lai shows off his designs for Hongkong Post's series of stamps on the city's most iconic streets. Lai got the feel of the streets by exploring them himself.
Photo: Jonathan Wong
In a move to immortalise some of the city's most iconic streets, Hongkong Post has launched a set of new stamps entitled 'Characteristic Streets in Hong Kong'.

The six streets - Pottinger Street, Nathan Road, Hollywood Road, Temple Street, Des Voeux Road West and Stanley Market - appear on stamps which will be available over the next three months.

'The streets display Eastern and Western culture, and elements of new and old, which is a special characteristic of Hong Kong,' Aubrey Au Wai-ping, senior manager of stamp design and procurement at the Hongkong Post, said.

The theme was decided on by the Stamp Advisory Committee, made up of staff, stamp collectors and professionals, Au said. The six streets were recommended by the Tourism Board.

To make sure the final products captured the true feel of the streets, Hongkong Post invited proposals from well-known designers.

In the end, Gideon Lai Wai-kwan fitted the bill. 'His design gave a nostalgic feel which shows the character of the streets,' Au says.

Lai, a creative director at a graphic design company who has worked in the design field for more than 20 years, says he was thrilled to be chosen.

'Stamps have a special place in history,' he said. 'These stamps represent Hong Kong and will be kept by people for a long time. They are permanent.'

To be able to depict each street's uniqueness in his design, Lai spent days walking them. 'I needed to feel the atmosphere of the streets, to enjoy them,' he says.

He went to Nathan Road to look at the neon signs and feel the hustle and bustle of the traffic. He looked for treasures among the antique shops of Hollywood Road, and he strolled along Des Voeux Road West to watch the hawkers doing their daily chores and smell the salty fish.

One common feature in his designs was the presence of people. 'Without people, there is no history. What we do and wear in a particular time and space is part of the history,' the designer says.

The whole process, from the discussion and the first draft to several revisions and the end product, has taken about a year. It was longer than other projects Lai has worked on, but he says it was all worth it.

'It was a smooth process and I'm happy with how they turned out in the end,' he says. 'Patience is very important for artists. We need to try different ways to produce the effects we want. We also need to consider the people viewing the design, and try to balance the artistic and commercial elements.

'The most important thing, though, is to experience and feel what's around you. Especially young people - they should learn to feel and be honest about their feelings.'

To see the new stamps and find out about buying them, go to www.hongkongpoststamps.com

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