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Benson Pun Sin Cheung

Benson Cheung was born in Hong Kong and educated in UK. He is a tri-role professional: graphic design consultant, advertising firm owner, lecturer / education advisor. He holds a Master degree with distinction in design education from the Middlesex University, U.K., and a BA (Hons) degree in the Bristol Polytechnic, U.K. He started his career in 1988 in a 4As advertising agency in HK, and later established his own advertising and design company named the Twins Advertising Co. in 1993. His major clients included global brands and market leaders such as Nissin, Calbee, General Mills and Lego. Since 2003, he became a part-time lecturer of the HKU Space and Middlesex University (Hong Kong Centre). He is an ex-Deputy Chairman of the Chartered Society of Designers (HK), and has previously served as an External Examiner at IVE for Higher Diploma Course of Visual Communication and a director of the Hong Kong Design Centre. Benson joined the School of Design in 2009 as a PhD student to investigate the discrepancies of cross-cultural graphic design practice in Hong Kong with a goal to enhance the overall professional design education in a cross-cultural environment.

Research Title
The Making of Competent Graphic Designers in Hong Kong: The Transitional Period from Academia to Professional Practice

Supervisors
Prof. Tim Jachna (Chief Supervisor)
Prof. Lorraine Justice (External Co-supervisor)
Dr. Lam Yan Yan (External Co-supervisor)

About the Research
Hong Kong, in recent years, has become a knowledge-based economy having undergone the transition from OEM, OBM or OSM to servicing oriented. Creating user values is considered one of the key issues of a servicing economy in many western and Asian countries. A government design education report in HK named "The Task Force" (2003) stated that "design management" is the major weakness of Hong Kong professional designer. My MA research findings also identified that famous "role-model" graphic designers who projected a mixed image of "fine artist" and "professional designer" has caused ambiguity to this generation in comprehending today’s user-value focused design practice. Such concept could be originated from the hidden cross-cultural social factors in the Chinese historical and cultural doctrines different from that of the western thinking and practices. For the benefit of today’s fast-growing servicing economy, there is an urgent need for Hong Kong’s tertiary design educational institutions to consider the following questions:

  • Are the cross-cultural design education and professional industry supporting the development of the servicing economy of Hong Kong?
  • Can the user-values defined under a western model based graphic design approach adapt easily by the cross-cultural education and society?

My research findings for answering these questions would set out the strategies and recommendations for the future design education curriculum that should gear towards bridging the cultural discrepancies and upgrading the standard of professional design education and graphic design practice in Hong Kong.

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