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There is no fixed formula for success but there are traces of failure.

Tommy Li Wing-chuen

Design graduate

Creative Director, Tommy Li Design Workshop

“There is no fixed formula for success but there are traces of failure.” 

Everybody talks about the importance of branding in today’s world. Though his name may not be known to many, Tommy Li, a graphic design graduate of the former Hong Kong Polytechnic, is acclaimed for revitalising a string of old brands, including Honeymoon Dessert, Shanghai Watch, Chow Sang Sang Jewellery, Ying Kee Tea House. For his outstanding work, he is nicknamed Dr Brand within his field. 

Tommy understands well PolyU’s commitment to meeting social needs. As a designer, he thinks that one must understand market needs and have broad, forward-looking vision, in helping brands create social impact. He says, “Some people may think that design is just about aesthetics. In fact, serious designers should know about history, have their finger on the pulse of the times besides having sharp commercial sense.” With this believe, Tommy was successful in helping a restaurant grow its business from HK$10 million to HK$400 million a year after a rebranding exercise. 

When studying design at the Polytechnic, Tommy also learned about drawing and filming, while being the President of Student Union. His diverse experiences helped nurture his wide-ranging interests and creativity. After graduation, he joined the graphic design sector and won numerous awards. Later he switched to working with brands, out of a desire for better creativity and to serve the society. He is saddened by the fact that only five traditional Chinese brands out of the long Chinese history have survived over the last 200 years, hence he decided to “take up the responsibility of protecting existing brands through design.”

A recipient of the World Outstanding Chinese Award, Tommy is well-read and harbours broad knowledge, which helps him devise useful brand solution that meets the needs of the times.

To nurture future talents, Tommy has been offering internship opportunities to PolyU students, he says, “The design and creative industries constantly need new blood. We have to pass on our technology and knowledge and let the young newcomers inherit the work of the previous generations.” 


The above is an English translation of a story abridged from the Chinese book “Heartening Stories” published by PolyU in 2017.


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