Hong Kong Neon Sign Artworks — Vol. 1 Restaurant
Hong Kong Neon Sign Artworks — Vol. 1 Restaurant is Brian Kwok’s second publication on Hong Kong neon signs. We hoped to create a refreshing book design centring on the neon sign visual experience, consistent across the choices of colour, binding, material and printing techniques. This book consists of two booklets, the first one made up of three chapters on the histories of neon sign and dining in Hong Kong, and the second containing a fourth chapter documenting 218 neon sign sketches of the restaurant industry.
The inspiration of the book design came from document folders commonly seen in archives. To match the theme of the publication, embossed texts express the materiality of neon signs on the front cover, whereas the hot stamping effect on the back cover refers to the pencil sketches by neon sign makers. As for the binding, a clear acrylic tube mimicking a fluorescent tube is fastened by rubber bands, holding together the entire publication. The two booklets can be disassembled and read side by side.
The two booklets were printed on coated and uncoated papers respectively to distinguish them with contrasting tactilities. Some of the neon sign sketches went through eight-colour process printing — including neon pink, green, yellow and orange — to fully present the visual effects of the originals. With the addition of neon inks, any inaccuracy in the ink mix would have resulted in a mismatch with the original materials’ colour tones. Hence, we went through rounds of testing to ensure the ink mixture proportions and printing effects of each line in every sketch were correct.
The publication comes with a small ultraviolet torch. When readers use it to cast light on sketches printed with neon ink in a dark environment, there will be a luminescent effect akin to fluorescent tubes emitting light at night. All these efforts placed in the printing process aim to provide different ways of appreciating these 1950s–1970s sketches, which have preserved fond memories of Hong Kong neon signs.
Client: Information Design Lab, School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Author: Brian Kwok Sze Hang
Book Design: Nous
Illustration: Carol Ng
Project Coordinator: Kiki Yau
Printing Production: Suncolor Printing