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Henry Steiner:
The Art of Graphic Communication

Henry Steiner:
The Art of Graphic Communication

Presented as part of a new series of focused monographic exhibitions on historically important figures and moments, Henry Steiner: The Art of Graphic Communication features the work of the father of graphic design in Hong Kong. The exhibition celebrates Henry Steiner's (b. 1934) influential graphic language with a selection of some of his most iconic projects tracing the city’s development from the 1960s onwards.

Born in Austria in 1934, Henry Steiner immigrated to the United States where he trained at Yale University under the renowned American graphic designer Paul Rand, learning the art of storytelling through images. After moving to Hong Kong in 1961, he found the city vibrant with a complex culture, a place on the cusp of transformation into an international centre for manufacturing, trade, finance, leisure, and tourism. As he applied his training in the principles of concept and contrast, Steiner pioneered a new form of graphic communication that gives equal weight to juxtaposing multiple cultural elements. Often playful, unexpected, and intriguing, Steiner’s methodology enables his designs to reach broad and diverse audiences.

Organised into two sections, this exhibition will first trace Steiner’s early years and influences that underpin his distinctive style. It will then take visitors through Steiner’s definitive designs, from large infrastructural and industry projects that marked the development of the city to those reflecting Hong Kong’s growth as a destination for travel and leisure. By showing Steiner’s practice through Hong Kong’s flourishing decades, the exhibition elaborates the significance of graphic design in Hong Kong’s distinctive visual culture.

Henry Steiner. Logo mock-up, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, ca. 1984. Enamel paint and metal. M+, Hong Kong. Courtesy of HSBC

Henry Steiner. Poster, ‘十・Y・P・三’, Morisawa Inc., 1991. Offset lithograph. M+, Hong Kong. Courtesy of Morisawa Inc.

Image at top: Portrait of Henry Steiner. Photo by Paul Yeung / South China Morning Post via Getty Images