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Kelvin Tam

Kelvin Tam was born in Hong Kong and educated in the fields of science, arts, design, cultural study and management. He holds a Master degree with distinction in design: management and culture in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. After his graduation with commendation in the first degree in Industrial Design, he worked in the Citizen Watch Company for 5 years, where he contributed to the development of the European, North American and South East Asia markets. Turning to the field of education in 1995, he developed his career in teaching and administration of the Higher Diploma courses of the Hong Kong Design Institute of the Vocational Training Council. He is now the Deputy Head of the Department of Design Foundation Studies. He gave lecture in the Loughborough University in the area of Chinese culture and designs, which was well received with positive feedback. Similar topic was presented in the Design EdAsia in the Businees of Design Week in 2008, and he went on to be the moderator in the same event in 2010. Recently he has collaborated with Prof. Ron Kemnitzer, the chair professor of Virginia Tech, in an applied research project in Total Human Factors, where cross cultural, physical and psychological factors have been studied and analysed. Kelvin started his PhD research in Swire School of Design in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University with Chair Prof. John Heskett in the area of branding and design, and his present Chief Supervisor is Chair Professor Lorraine JUSTICE.

Research Title
Brand Sustainability and Social Innovation in Hong Kong

Prof. Ming Xi Tang (Chief Supervisor)
Prof. Kin Wai Michael Siu (Co-supervisor)

About the Research
Products today have relatively short life cycles. While technologies and markets are changing rapidly, good brands are sustainable and are relatively stable in the mind of customers. Nowadays, both local and global companies are becoming more focused on the development of brands and their effect on their products for sustainable growth of the business. Brand study in Hong Kong can be traced back at least two decades ago to a 1991 review undertaken by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. Some of the strong brands in the case studies have decreased in market competitiveness today, because of changing technologies and life styles as well as the emerging of new competitive factors – explosion of the internet and e-commerce, globalisation of markets etc. Small companies have merged, and only substantial enterprises prevail with brands evolving to represent them. No matter global or local, brand research has been dominated by marketing concepts - brand strategy, brand positioning, brand concept, brand communication, brand design, brand identity etc. However, a visual analysis on branding and design for the Hong Kong industry is not found by far in the market.

Hence, the objectives of this project are:

  • To examine how designs are transformed from implicit process to explicit and organised design systems in the evolution from OEM to ODM to OBM to OSM type of production and management in the Hong Kong electronic and electrical industry.
  • To study how rational and emotional factors in design systems affect the development of brands in Hong Kong manufacturing industry: The expectations, the processes, successes and failures.

My research findings for answering these questions would figure out the patterns of the Visual Brand Language (VBL) systems in the development of branded products. Besides, strategies and recommendations could be set out based on different user groups and product ranges for the future development of brands and the related Visual Brand Language systems.