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Hotel industry provides room for creativity

Advertising firms are not the only places for graphic designers to showcase their talent. They are also in demand at hotels that want to create attractive decorations, menus, name cards and many other items.

Henry Wong Cheuk-fai, art director at Langham Place Hotel, Mongkok, is a graphic designer who used to work in advertising.

“At first, I was not exactly fascinated by the idea of working in a hotel because I thought I would not be able to express my creativity. I only took the job because the working hours were stable and I could spend more time with my family. But working at Langham Place has made me see things differently. I have been given the opportunity to design many different things. The design portfolio I have built up here is equivalent to that of a graphic designer working in an advertising firm,” he says.

Wong designs staff name cards, visitor comment cards and decorations for both the hotel and its restaurants.

“Besides festive decorations for Christmas and Chinese New Year, I also help with decorations for the restaurants. For example, if the hotel is promoting Vietnamese food for the month ahead, I have to decorate the restaurants according to this theme,” he says.

From design to installation, he has to keep a keen eye on everything. He collaborates extensively with outsourced production companies. “Sometimes I travel to the mainland to monitor the production of decorations that I have designed. I also have to co-ordinate with the hotel’s engineering department to ensure safe installation,” he says.

Wong’s latest challenge is to design uniforms for waiting staff at the hotel’s Chinese restaurant. “I am thankful to the hotel for letting me try so many things and for being so open-minded about my designs,” he says.

Unlike in the advertising industry, where working hours are extremely long and irregular, Wong enjoys a five-day work week. But overtime is common, especially when meeting deadlines for design projects, he says.