HK and Wales dragon logos share fishy likeness

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 April, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 April, 2010, 12:00am

A suspected cousin of Hong Kong's soaring dragon logo has lived a less high-flying existence in Wales for the last few years before being quietly retired this month.

Sport Wales, a unit of the Welsh Assembly Government, used a dragon logo until April 1 which closely resembles the icon for promoting Hong Kong.

Designer Eric Cheung Kai-wa, who led the team that created the original flying dragon logo for Hong Kong in 2001, said the Welsh logo and his design looked remarkably similar.

'Their overall graphical execution is much the same and the two logos are 80 per cent similar in structure,' Cheung said.

'The dragon heads are 90 per cent similar except for the Welsh version's greater emphasis on the tongue.'

European dragons appear to have longer tongues than Chinese dragons in many illustrations.

Sport Wales, formerly known as Sports Council for Wales, declined to say when and how its dragon logo was created.

Spokeswoman Jane Williams said they 'no longer have that information' when asked who the designer was.

She said Sport Wales launched a new logo on April 1, when the name 'Sports Council for Wales' was phased out.

The new logo is a typographical design consisting of the words 'Sport Wales' in English and in Welsh.

Cheung said the Welsh dragon logo may have been inspired by his design. He said the Welsh logo looked like a Chinese dragon except for a long tongue.

The dragon is regarded as a Welsh symbol. The flag of Wales features a red dragon facing left with a long arrow tongue.

Brand Hong Kong was launched in 2001 to promote the place as 'Asia's world city' after the East Asian financial crisis.

The design of the flying dragon logo took 11 months and cost HK$9 million, including research expenses.

Three ribbons were added to the flying dragon in a HK$1.4 million redesign - part of a review of Brand Hong Kong that was completed last month.

Designer Alan Chan Yau-kin was responsible for the redesign.

Cheung said Hong Kong should ask Wales for a clarification about the similarity of the two logos.

'No small amount of money was spent on the logo. We don't want people to confuse it with logos elsewhere,' he said.

A Hong Kong government spokeswoman said the Welsh logo did not look like the Hong Kong logo.

She said the two dragons face different directions, have different colours and are different in shape.

But the spokeswoman said the Hong Kong government held the copyright of its own dragon logo.

'If someone wants to use it, they need to apply to Brand Hong Kong,' she said. 'We reserve the right to take action against any unauthorised use.'

Cheung said the 'East meets West' element was embodied in his design since parts of the dragon formed the Chinese character for Hong and the English initials for Hong Kong.

The wavy graphic symbolised Hong Kong being surrounded by water, he said.

Hong Kong's revised dragon logo featuring ribbons was launched on March 27. Chan the designer said the blue and green ribbons symbolise blue sky and a sustainable environment, while Lion Rock, which represents the 'can-do' spirit of Hongkongers, is silhouetted by the red ribbon.

Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah, who helped unveil the revised logo, said the new and old Hong Kong dragons would co-exist for a time until the old one was phased out.

The revision of the dragon logo was criticised by leading designers who said its rushed and closed nature shut out the public and designers young and veteran.

Top designers Kan Tai-keung and Freeman Lau Siu-hong complained about the closed process used in selecting a designer, saying it killed off Hong Kong's reputation as a design hub.

In response to criticism, the government said the selection process was fair and the revision involved extensive opinion research covering a wide spectrum of the community.