William Lee Siew Choon (李秀镌) William Lee Siew Choon (李秀镌)

William Lee Siew Choon (李秀镌)

The father of modernist logos in Singapore

Prior to setting up Central Design in 1969, Lee spent over a decade studying and working in Australia, Holland and the United Kingdom.

The grandson of a millionaire banker, Lee Wee Nam, he left Singapore in 1959 to Golden Institute of Technology in Geelong to study architecture. He later switched to graphic design and obtained a Certificate of Art instead. Lee then headed to Amsterdam where he completed a Diploma of Advertising and Typographical Design. He next left for London to study in St Martin’s College of Art where he received a National Diploma in Design. After working for several years as an art director in London advertising agency Pritchard Wood and Associates, Lee returned to Singapore to set up his own advertising and design house.

One of his first assignments was to design commemorative postage stamps in 1970. “Shipping Development” was the first, and Lee soon established himself as one of Singapore's most prolific stamp designer by winning a string of commissions. He also developed the corporate identity programme for the newly setup national carrier Singapore Airlines, expanding upon American consultant Walter Landor Associate’s logo. Subsequently, his firm was appointed to handle the advertising accounts for several major clients. They included Singapore's first modern shopping centre, People’s Park Complex, as well as multinational Japanese consumer electronic brand Akai and the Swiss watch brand Longines.

In 1975, Lee was awarded the Public Service Star by the Singapore government for his services towards creating a more integrated society. He also received a "Friend of Labour" medal in 1982 from the National Trades Union Congress for his contributions to its transportation arm.