Joe Wong Man Hon: Papercraft Artist? Product Designer!

Art and Design share the same principle
Joe Wong, the papercraft artist,has become a household name that his product designer image may be blurry. Joe graduated from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Product Analysis and Design that gave him solid knowledge in product design. He had strong interest in arts and culture since childhood, with particular liking for papercraft and chinese calligraphy. Joe has always appreciated the local cultural elements of gigantic flower plaque, Cheung Chau Bun Festival, door god and Bird Garden that he put them into his papercraft work.

Joe is happy to be able to help protecting the cultural heritage, whether in a way of artistic self-expression or in his capacity as product designer.
Insatiable curiosity
Joe was born inquisitive, which he finds a common trait of a creative mind. True creativity requires being both traditional and iconoclastic, that is being able to appreciate and embrace the past as a source of knowledge, as well as create new solutions. Joe was aware of his strength in creativity that he started pursuing design at an early age. He made pocket money from graphic design freelance jobs at high school, furthered his studies in product design at university, but took up an interior design job after graduation in the hope of having a broader platform for his creativity. After a few years in the interior design field, Joe came to realise that he had always set his heart on product design. He then gave up his interior design job to switch track to product design with his exquisite craftsmanship in 2011.
To make a living
Wise sage said, “the arts are not a way to make a living”. Joe promotes local cultural expression through his paperart, which is a niche in the market that does not sound very promising. Joe admitted that those products made with Hong Kong cultural elements did not do very well in the European markets though buyers at trade shows might like them very much personally. Joe took another path to showcase his art and design work in the past ten years by collaborating with over a hundred renowned brands. This is an attempt to integrate arts and culture into design and branding.

Arts has not only let Joe and his teammates to bring home the bacon, but also benefited those working in the sheltered workshop. Joe’s team has been commissioning sheltered workshop to assemble most of its papercraft products since 2011, by finessing the assembling process at the design stage, making it safe and manageable for the sheltered workers. They provided the workers with onsite training and simple tools to mitigate the difficulty in the process.
Hong Kong • Hong Kong
Joe considers the fusion of East and West an advantage of Hong Kong that becoming a designer in this city was like a duck to water for him. He finds this multi-cultural society with various religions and languages an ideal place for inspiration, where breakthroughs originate.

Hong Kong is known for its fast pace lifestyle which is considered by Joe as the prime culprit killing creativity. All creative activities including art, culture and design, take time to develop and build but in Hong Kong, everyone is busy in their lives chasing money, power and success that leaving them no time to focus on their craft. Craftsmanship requires dedication for a long period of time. It takes Japanese master craftsmen years of dedication and drive to excel and make their name.

Joe admired the playfulness in the spun chair of Thomas Heatherwick, which made it instantly recognisable. Joe has devoted his time to papercraft even in times of difficulty. He expects his devotion to papercraft to take him to the next level where his crafts are immediately recognizable.

Joe Wong Man Hon
Artist, Paper Art Designer
As a paper artist and a designer, Joe Wong is well-known for his "One Paper, One World" design aesthetics. In 2011, Joe developed the own brand POSTalk, ALLinFLAT and FingerART, with a mission to develop innovative products that integrate arts and culture into design.


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