After Jobs tribute, HK designer wows Coke

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 April, 2012, 12:00am


The Hong Kong teenager who struck virtual gold overnight with his visual tribute to Apple founder Steve Jobs last year has done it again - this time being tapped by another iconic brand.

Since 20-year-old Jonathan Mak Long (pictured) became an internet sensation in October for his twist on the Apple logo, international marketing companies have beaten a path to his door.

And in February, the second-year Polytechnic University design student received a request most designers could only dream of: design a Coca-Cola ad with the simple theme of 'sharing a Coke'.

The offer came after he was approached by Graham Fink, chief creative officer at ad firm Ogilvy & Mather China. 'I was already quite excited when the chief met me, but I didn't imagine the first job would be Coke,' Mak said.

The result is a design that merges the iconic ribbon feature of the Coca-Cola logo with a pair of arms exchanging a bottle.

'I like the viewer to have this 'aha!' moment, where it's fun and a puzzle to figure out,' Mak said. 'In general, when I do logo design, which combines imagery, I tend to sketch a lot. But for both Apple and Coke, there was a very clear idea in my head, so the execution was quick.'

The design is similar to Mak's tribute to Jobs - a black-and-white artwork placing Jobs' silhouette as the 'bite' in the Apple logo - made shortly after the IT firm founder died of pancreatic cancer at age 56. But Mak said he did not want to be pigeon-holed into a particular style.

'It does seem like I'm continuing this trend of two puns of an iconic brand, but I don't want to be limited by that,' he said. 'I don't want to be a victim of my own success. I like minimalism and simplicity, but I want to expand my repertoire.'

Mak's Coke design debuted on posters at several bus stops in Shanghai this month.

'There is the possibility that the poster might be introduced [to] Hong Kong,' Mak said, adding this would delight his parents.Mak said he felt a lot of pressure to deliver something as arresting as his Apple logo, though he was not directly employed by Coca-Cola. He could not disclose the amount he was paid for the design.

Last month, Mak began a six-month exchange programme at the Kolne International School of Design in Cologne, Germany. Marking his second time in Europe, Mak said he enjoyed learning a new language and meeting the local design community.