William Harald-Wong is an urban identity designer, working at the intersection of brand, culture, city and community. He collaborates widely with architects and consultants on cultural research, wayfinding, signage, environmental graphics and place-making; infusing a distinctive Asian/Southeast Asian aesthetic to the projects where relevant, and enhancing the human and cultural experience of a place.
He is the Co-Founder and Chairman of The Design Alliance Asia, a collaborative network of prominent designers across 13 countries/regions.
Awards & Recognition
The Design for Asia Awards 2015 was the first design competition our company has entered since the mid-80s.
The Design for Asia Awards 2014 was the first and only submission to a competition to date by The Design Alliance Asia.
Gold award & Grand Award Finalist
Design for Asia Awards, HONG KONG
- Awarded for the studio's work for Muzium Sultan Abu Bakar, Pekan, Malaysia.
- Malaysia’s first Gold and Grand Award Finalist in the prestigious competition’s 12-year history.
- The museum scored with an identity that imparts a strong sense of place and purpose, local history and community values.
Link / Muzium Sultan Abu Bakar
Special Award for Culture
Design for Asia Awards, HONG KONG
- Awarded for Colours of Asia, a research project covering 13 Asian regions, which culminated in an exhibition, forum, seminar, publication, and several student workshops. It also yielded a 650-page research paper.
- A project by The Design Alliance Asia, curated by Prof Ahn Sang-soo and William Harald-Wong.
Link / Colours of Asia
Distinguished Chinese Award
Chinese Who’s Who Society, CHINA & HONG KONG
- Award presented at Putrajaya, the administrative centre of the Malaysian Government, in recognition of William's contribution to the creative communities of China and Hong Kong.
Designomics Leadership Award
World Brand Congress, INDIA
- Awarded in recognition of William’s contribution to the creative and business communities in Asia as Founder and Chairman of The Design Alliance Asia, and as the former Vice-President of Icograda (the International Council of Graphic Design Associations, now known as ico-D).
Lifetime Achievement Award
Design Development Centre, MALAYSIA
- The award by DDEC (Design Development Centre, Kuala Lumpur) recognises outstanding creative talent across all disciplines as they put Malaysia on the world’s creative map.
- To date (2018), only two Lifetime Achievement Awards have been given out—the first to Dato’ Johan Ariff, a pioneer designer for corporate Malaysia in the 70s and 80s.
International Design Achievement Award
- An interior / architecture award, William was selected in recognition of his contribution to the creative industry of Mainland China.
- Awarded by the Construction Industry Sub-Council of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade and Qinghua University Fine Arts College, which is supported by China Building Decoration Association and Architectural Society of China.
The Design Alliance Asia, Founder and Chairman
Design for Asia Awards, Hong Kong Design Centre, on Regional Expert Panel
World Brand Congress (India), Global Advisory Board Member
Indigo (International Indigenous Design Network), Ambassador
wREGA (Graphic Design Association of Malaysia), Co-Founder & Advisor
Global Pioneer Design Association (China), Vice Chairman
icograda (International Council for Communication Design), Vice President, 2001–2003
Professional member of the Society of Experiential Graphic Design (SEGD), USA
Member of Hong Kong–Malaysia Business Association (HKMBA)
Design Engagement–Mainland China
- William served as Vice-President of icograda (International Council of Graphic Design Associations) from 2001 to 2003. Founded in London in 1963, icograda is the professional world body for visual communication.
- This was a very exciting time for the previously Eurocentric association. William worked with fellow Board members to seed the formation of new professional associations in China, India and Southeast Asia.
- Photo / Design on the move—at Beijing airport with icograda President Robert Peters (far right), David Grossman (right) and Thierry who runs the Secretariat.
- icograda was one of the first international design organisations in China, bringing together various Chinese design stakeholders for the first ever dialogue between them.
- William gave lectures in Beijing and Shanghai and visited Tsinghua University and Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA).
- Photo / Olympic sculpture at Tsinghua and poster for icograda Design Perspectives seminar in Beijing.
- William’s poster for the Beijing Olympics 2008 was auctioned in Shanghai to raise funds for the local design association.
- The poster was commissioned by Package & Design magazine in 2001, a week after Beijing won the bid to host the Games. 60 artist-designers (10 from outside China) were invited to design the first set of posters for a travelling exhibition to inform Chinese citizens about the Olympics win and its significance to the development of the country.
- Among various speaking engagements in Mainland China, William was also invited to design a poster, Better Home City, Better Life, the theme of the 2010 Shanghai Expo. This was one of the last events related to the Expo, and the design was translated into commemorative mugs for the occasion.
- William’s studio has welcomed many visiting designers from around the world. In 2017, 24 creatives from Mainland China gathered in our studio, led by Mr Huang Li
- From 2003, William devoted more of his time to design activities in Hong Kong. He also focused on expanding an organisation he co-founded, The Design Alliance Asia.
- William finally returned to Mainland China in 2017 when he was invited to witness the Opening Ceremony of Tianjin’s Asia Design Centre, as well as serve on the panel of judges for the 2017 TEDA Cup International Youth Design Competition.
Design Engagement–Hong Kong
2001 & 2006
- William’s first trip to Hong Kong as a speaker was for the Hong Kong International Poster Triennial 2001 Symposium held at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. His posters, which were exhibited at the Symposium, were added to the Permanent Collection of the Museum.
- In 2006 he was invited to be a judge for the Design for Asia Awards and thus began a long working relationship with the Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC).
- William served on the panel of judges for the Design for Asia Awards in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.
- In 2011, William became a member of the Design for Asia Awards Regional Expert Panel to help HKDC identify local talents and nominate entries.
- William was a speaker at the Business of Design Week in 2004 (Title: The Disciplined Congee), 2012 (Packaging for the Malay-Muslim Market in Malaysia) and 2015 (Muzium Sultan Abu Bakar, Gold Award Winner).
- The Global Design Network (GDN) is an annual symposium to promote the advancement of the design industry on an international level and to encourage multi-disciplinary cooperation between the design and business sectors across nations.
- tDA Asia is a member of GDN and is represented by William or his associates at the annual symposium.
- 6 Asian Designers, Exhibition and Forum, DDD Gallery, Osaka, Japan.
- This was William’s first exhibition overseas, thanks to Freeman Lau who was helping the Japanese curator look for a graphic designer from Southeast Asia.
- This turned out to be a landmark gathering as it connected William to prominent designers from North Asia. Five years later, Prof. Dr. Kan Tai-keung, Freeman Lau (and later) Prof. Ahn Sang-soo became Founding Associates of the Design Alliance Asia.
- Global Exhibition: Duo Posters by 33 Designers from around the World, Exhibition, GGG Gallery, Tokyo and DDD Gallery, Osaka.
- 33 leading designers were invited from Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, England, Finland, France, Germany, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan and USA to create original works to commemorate DNP Duo Dojima (DDD) Gallery’s 6th Anniversary.
- William was the sole representative from Southeast Asia.
- AsiaBeat: A Clash of Signs and Symbols, Visualogue, icograda International Design Congress, Osaka.
- William, with tDA Asia associates from nine countries presented a visual feast of Asia’s design culture in a three and half hour presentation at the Congress.
- William declines re-election as Board Member of icograda at the General Assembly in Nagoya to focus his attention on his organisation, the Design Alliance Asia.
- Photo / Sayonara... Delegates of icograda member associations from around the world at the General Assembly.
- William’s first visit to Taiwan was as Vice-President of icograda, engaging with its very active design community and presiding over the first icograda Asian Regional Meeting in Taipei in 2002.
- This developed into a long professional relationship with Taiwan’s design associations and educational institutions.
- Photo / Exhibition of William’s posters at Taiwan University of Fine Arts, 2006
Link / Posters
- William returned to Taiwan with associates of The Design Alliance Asia, participating in student workshops, lectures and jury duty in Kaohsiung (2003), Taichung (2015), Tainan (2016) and Taipei (2017).
- Photo / tDA Asia associates in front of the Kaohsiung Museum of Shadow Puppet, 2003.
- William created an image of Chinese and Malay shadow puppets exchanging gifts for the public park at the Kaohsiung Cultural Centre. Shadow puppets is a shared tradition between the two countries. It is believed Kaohsiung was the birthplace of shadow puppet in Taiwan.
- Photo / Images were contributed by tDA Asia associates and the late Japanese design master, Shigeo Fukuda. The images were illuminated at night and glowed like lanterns along the main road.
- In 2016 Taiwan initiated design activities with the broader design fraternities in Malaysia, principally promoting their design awards, the Taiwan International Student Design Competition and Golden Pin Design Award.
- William, industrial designer Rock Wang and architect Kristof Crolla were the speakers at the first Design Perspectives x Golden Pin Salon 2017 in Kuala Lumpur.
- Photo / Attempting to explain the history of China in three minutes :-)
- William presented The Design Alliance Asia Prize to the winner from Taiwan. The Prize is part of the Taiwan International Student Design Competition awards which had a total prize money of US$160,000.00.
- William represented tDA Asia at the Global Talent Design Workshop, Design Leadership Forum and Global Design Summit with participating design associations from around the world.
- Photo / The winning animation ‘Fundamental’ from Taiwan (bottom)
Other Design Engagement (Selected)
mid-90s >> The Netherlands
- The creative work of Studio Dumbar and friendship with its founder, Gert Dumbar (thanks to Ming Tung), has been a major influence in my work although my aesthetics differed considerably, coming from the beautiful chaos of Southeast Asia.
- As a reciprocal gesture, William has invited Gert Dumbar as Chief Judge for the Horseman Awards (organised by Shriro Papar / Arjo Wiggins) in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.
- Michel de Boer, former Creative Director (and later part-owner of Studio Dumbar) is our associate.
- Photo (by Lex van Pieterson) / New identity for the Dutch Police, 1993.
2001 >> SOUTH AFRICA
- William gave the keynote address, Design in Multicultural Societies at the DEFSA International Design Education Conference held at the Museum Africa in Johannesburg.
- William attended the Sappi Continental Shift International Design Congress in Sandton City as an icograda Board Member but at the eleventh hour had to replace an absent speaker. (Story here)
- Photo / Flickr Creative Commons, Martijn Munneke / Patterns from Congress Guide Book.
1999—2010 >> AU & NZ
- William’s first presentation in Australia, titled Graphic Design at the Cultural Crossroads of Southeast Asia, was at the Sydney Design 99 International Design Congress, followed by a talk at Gallery 4A, both in Sydney (1999).
- This was followed by talks in Perth (2000), Melbourne (2001), Wanganui, New Zealand (2001) and Brisbane (2010).
1996+2016 >> EUROPE
- William’s first lecture in Europe was at Einhoven, Netherlands (1996), followed by Paris (1996).
- Except for an icograda Board Meeting and Student Workshop in Brno, Czech Republic (2002), he turned his attention to Asia and did not return to Europe for design activities until 20 years later when he was invited to UK as a juror for the D&AD Awards.
- Photo / Student workshop in Brno
90s—2016 >> UK
- William have had a long association with Britain; for work (client: Dept of Trade & Industry UK), conferences (ATypl at Reading University, etc), research (museums), books (in the 90s, some of the best books in English on Asian culture was available in London) and a place to experience innovative design.
- In 2016 he returned to London as a juror for Design Crafts, D&AD Awards.
1995—2016 >> SINGAPORE
- William was paired with design guru Henry Steiner (Hong Kong) for a workshop organised by The Asia Business Forum in 1995. Henry slept through his talk but nonetheless William was much inspired by his book Cross Culture Design.
- William’s talks in Singapore include Temasek Design School (1999), International Design Forum (2000), World Islamic Economic Forum (2011) and NTU (2012). His other engagements in Singapore were with tDA Asia.
- Photo / With students of Temasek Design School
To be continued... William’s engagements with India, Middle East and Southeast Asia
Lectures & Workshops (local & international)
Nov 2017 TAIWAN Workshop: Global Talent Design, Taiwan International Student Design Competition (TISDC), Taipei
Jul 2017 MALAYSIA Design Thinking, Doing, Dreaming, Cursing…, Keynote Speaker, Malaysian Designscape, UCSI University, Kuala Lumpur
Jun 2017 MALAYSIA Leveraging our Multicultural Advantage, Reka Negaraku, National Visual Arts Gallery, Kuala Lumpur
May 2017 MALAYSIA Under the Skin: Cultural Encounters & Exchange, Design Perspectives x Golden Pin Salon (organised by Taiwan Design Centre), PAM Centre, Kuala Lumpur
Apr 2017 MALAYSIA Design Integration as a Means to Design Change, REKA Sessions, Malaysian Institute of Interior Designers (MIID), Royal Selangor Visitor Centre, Selangor
Mar 2017 MALAYSIA Communicating the Value of Design, wREGA AGM, First City University College, Selangor
Nov 2016 INDONESIA Culture, Nature and Designing for Change, 3rd International Conference of Bandung Creative Movement, School of Creative Industries, Telkom University, Bandung
Nov 2016 MALAYSIA Colours of Asia, School of Applied Creative Arts and Design, Han Chiang College, Penang
Oct 2016 TAIWAN Asian Voice, Asian Value, Kun San University, Tainan
Oct 2016 TAIWAN WHW Recent Projects, tDA AsiaMeets (open sharing session), National Cheng Kung University, Tainan
Mar 2016 MALAYSIA Meet Mr Font, the neglected and abused child with a lot of stories to tell, A Case for Type Design Conference, First City University College, Selangor
Dec 2015 TAIWAN Muzium Sultan Abu Bakar—Gold Award, The Power of Asian Design, Asia University, Taichung City
Dec 2015 HONG KONG Muzium Sultan Abu Bakar—Gold Award, DFA: Design for Asia, Business of Design Week, Hong Kong
Oct 2015 BANGKOK WHW Recent Projects, tDA AsiaMeets, Bangkok
Sep 2015 TAIWAN Colours of Asia, TISDC Design School Ranking Preparatory Conference, Asia University, Taichung City
Aug 2015 MALAYSIA Colour & Symbolism in Packaging for Muslim Market, Key Speaker, Forum of Asia Pacific Graphic Arts, Kuala Lumpur
Jan 2015 MALAYSIA WHW Design, Jack-in-the-Box, wREGA, Kuala Lumpur
Oct 2014 MALAYSIA WHW Design, Raffles Design Institute, Kuala Lumpur
Sep 2014 MALAYSIA An Insight to Design, Keynote Speaker, MADE Design Festival, wREGA (Graphic Design Association of Malaysia) and MRM (Design Council of Malaysia), KL Library, Kuala Lumpur
Apr 2014 MALAYSIA Research and Design for Cultural Projects, Malaysian Institute of Art, Kuala Lumpur
Oct 2013 MALAYSIA Space +Brand +Research +Stories +Culture +Placemaking, Design Diversity REKA Conference, Malaysian Institute of Interior Designers (MIID), Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre
Jun 2013 MALAYSIA WHW Recent Projects x3, MEX—Magazine Exhibition & Forum, Green Room, Penang Arts Festival
Jan 2013 MALAYSIA Workshop: Rebranding the Museum, for staff of Muzium Sultan Abu Bakar, Pahang
Dec 2012 MALAYSIA Boost Profits with Good Design (title given by organiser), 5th MAKMAL Series, Publika, Kuala Lumpur
Dec 2012 HONG KONG Asian Design & Culture, Business of Design Week (BoDW), HKCEC
Nov 2012 INDIA Looking for Asia, Designomics Conclave, World Brand Congress, Mumbai
Mar 2012 SINGAPORE A Sense of Being, Nanyang Technological University
Dec 2011 LAOS The Design Alliance Asia, Made in Laos Forum, Lao National Chamber of Commerce (LNCCI), Lao ITECC, Vientiane
Feb 2011 SINGAPORE The Design Alliance & Indigo—Collaborative Networks, Bridging Communities Through Arts Forum, Marketplace for the Creative Arts (World Islamic Economic Forum), Asian Civilisation Museum
Oct 2010 AUSTRALIA The Spirit and a Sense of Being, Optimism International Conference, Icograda Design Week, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
Aug 2010 MALAYSIA WHW Design, Taylor’s University College, Selangor
May 2010 MALAYSIA WHW Design—Design & Philosophy, Malaysian Masters Forum, Kuala Lumpur Design Week 2010
Apr 2010 MALAYSIA WHW Design, World Graphics Day: The Value of Design, KBU International College, Selangor
Aug 2009 MALAYSIA WHW Recent Projects, tDA AsiaMeets, Royal Selangor Visitor Centre, Selangor
Jun 2009 MALAYSIA Being Local, The Local Design Culture, Thinklab, National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur
May 2009 MALAYSIA WHW Recent Projects, Interiors Malaysia 2009, Business of Interiors International Conference, Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur
Nov 2008 MALAYSIA ...mythology+identity+shamanism+technology+nature+ritual+architecture+..., Kyoorius Designyatra International Design Conference in conjunction with 30th Anniversary of 4As (Association of Accredited Advertising Agents) Malaysia Kancil Awards Festival, Kuala Lumpur
Jun 2007 MALAYSIA The Transformative Power of Visual Strategy, Launch of I Love Penang Brand, Georgetown, Penang
Dec 2006 TAIWAN Naga–The Serpent Symbol of Southeast Asia, International Conference on Visual Design, Taiwan University of Fine Arts, Taipei
Nov 2006 MALAYSIA The Transformative Power of Visual Strategy, Retail Revolution Asia Congress, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre
Sep 2006 SAUDI ARABIA Naga–Mythical Design Symbol of Southeast Asia, UrbanPhenomena Visualogue, Jeddah
Sep 2006 VIETNAM Brand Identity for Banking—Case-studies from Malaysia and China (a joint presentation with Freeman Lau, Hong Kong), APEC Design+Strategy International Conference, an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) event endorsed by the Vietnamese Government, Ho Chi Minh City
Jul 2006 INDONESIA A Brand has to feel like a Friend, Indonesia Design Power, Launch of Road Map to Enhance the Added-Value of Export Products through Design 2006–2010 by Ministry of Trade, Jakarta
Nov 2004 HONG KONG The Disciplined Congee, Lifestyle Asia, Business of Design Week (BoDW), HKCEC
Nov 2004 SOUTH KOREA Naga—Serpent Spirit of Southeast Asia, Samwon Gallery, Seoul;
Nov 2004 SOUTH KOREA Imagining the Invisible, Hong-ik University, Seoul
May 2004 VIETNAM Building Brands for a Nation, Branding Across Asia presented by The Design Alliance, Nikko Hotel, Hanoi
Nov 2003 INDIA Through the Looking Glass (and what the interior architects and graphic designers saw...), DesignSutra, IFI International Design Congress, Mumbai
Nov 2003 TAIWAN Malaysia—Crossroads of Culture and Design, Lectures and workshops by The Design Alliance, International Chinese Design Education Seminar, Kaohsiung
Oct 2003 JAPAN AsiaBeat—A Clash of Signs and Symbols, a 3 1/2 hour presentation by The Design Alliance, Visualogue, icograda International Design Congress, Nagoya
Oct 2003 THAILAND Using the Internet to Manage Brands Across Regions, New Challenges for Identity by the Design Alliance, Bangkok
Mar 2003 INDIA Using the Internet to Manage Brands Across Regions, B.I.G. (Brands.Identities.Graphics), icograda–NID Design Perspectives Seminar, National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad
Jan 2003 MALAYSIA Managing Brands, Designer’s Saturday #2, Asia Design Forum, Teknion, Selangor
Oct 2002 TAIWAN Brands and Cross-cultural Communications, Innovalue & Brand Design Conference, icograda Design Week, Taipei International Convention Center
Sep 2002 TAIWAN Design in Southeast Asia, icograda Design Education Symposium, Tung Fang Institute of Technology, Kaohsiung
Sep 2002 CHINA Design for Cultural Institutions, Design Perspectives Seminar, Beijing Art and Design College
Sep 2002 CHINA Brand and Corporate Identity Design in Malaysia, Identity & Communication Conference Asia, JinMao Tower, Shanghai
Mar 2002 CANADA Design at the Cultural Crossroads of Southeast Asia, gdc Environs ’002: Design Without Borders, Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design, Vancouver
Jan 2002 MALAYSIA Graphic Design over the Next 5 Years, Galeri Petronas, KLCC, Kuala Lumpur
Mar 2001 AUSTRALIA Design at the Cultural Crossroads of Southeast Asia, Over the Fence Seminar, RMIT University, Melbourne
Oct 2001 HONG KONG The Great Divide, International Poster Symposium, Hong Kong Heritage Museum
Sep 2001 SOUTH AFRICA Design at the Cultural Crossroads of Southeast Asia, Continental Shift, Icograda-IFI International Design Congress, Sandton City, Johannesburg
Sep 2001 SOUTH AFRICA Design in Multicultural Societies, Keynote Address, DEFSA International Design Education Conference, Museum Africa, Johannesburg
Jun 2001 MALAYSIA Malaysia at the Centre of Southeast Asian Design, wREGA, Ming Court Vista Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
May 2001 NEW ZEALAND Unleaded, Design Survival Camp 5, Wanganui Polytechnic, Royal Wanganui Opera House, Wanganui
Oct 2000 SINGAPORE Design in Southeast Asia, International Design Forum 2000, Suntec City
Oct 2000 SOUTH KOREA We are the Nagas, Not Dragons, Oullim, icograda Millennium Intl. Design Congress, Seoul
Sep 2000 AUSTRALIA Graphic Design at the Cultural Crossroads of Southeast Asia, Australian Graphic Designers Association, Perth
Nov 1999 LAOS Our Approach to Corporate Identity, Ecole des Beaux Arts, Vientiane
Sept 1999 AUSTRALIA Graphic Design at the Cultural Crossroads of Southeast Asia, Sydney99 International Design Congress
Sept 1999 AUSTRALIA Graphic Design at the Cultural Crossroads of Southeast Asia, Gallery 4A, Sydney
July 1999 MALAYSIA Workshop: The British Council’s New Corporate Identity, for the staff of the British Council, Kuala Lumpur
Jul 1999 INDIA Design TALKS, A lecture tour covering Bangalore, Mumbai (2 lectures) and New Delhi
Jul 1999 SINGAPORE Graphic Design at the Cultural Crossroads of Southeast Asia, Temasek Design School
Mar 1997 VIETNAM Shaping the New Face of Vietnam, Fine Art University, Ho Chi Minh City
Nov 1996 FRANCE Cross-cultural Design—the Malaysian Experience, Parsons School of Design, Paris
Nov 1996 NETHERLANDS Cross-cultural Design—the Malaysian Experience, Akademie Industriele Vormgeving Einhoven (now known as The Design Academy), Einhoven
Sep 1996 MALAYSIA A Sense of Self—Corporate Identity in Malaysia and Graphic Design, Cultural Identity & Pineapples, Penang
Nov 1995 JAPAN The Present & Future State of Asian Design, 6 Asian Designers, DDD Gallery in Osaka
Oct 1995 MALAYSIA Workshop: An Overview of Corporate Identity and Colours in Identity Systems, for Renong Berhad and its subsidiary companies
Jun 1995 SINGAPORE & MALAYSIA Workshop: Cross-Cultural Design and Corporate Identity, with Mr Henry Steiner of Hong Kong, The Asia Business Forum
Apr 1995 MALAYSIA The Design-culture of Bali and its Relevance to Malaysian Designers, Petronas Gallery in conjunction with a photographic exhibition, Tokoh-tokoh Seniman Werdha
Aug 1994 MALAYSIA Ingredients of an Award-winning Annual Report—Information-rich Graphics. Launch of NACRA 1994 (National Annual Corporate Report Awards), Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange
plus earlier lectures from 1992