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.
- "Banker's grandson off to Australia." The Straits Times, 18 February 1959, 9.
- Chan, Kin Sang. "A Good Design Is One That’s 'Simple, Striking'”, The Straits Times, 29 January 1987.
- Ngoo, Irene. "All eyes on 77 as they receive National Day honours." The Straits Times, 16 January 1976, 6.
- "May Day honours for 11." The Straits Times, 2 May 1982, 9.
- Tan, Abby. "A jumbo of a job for SIA artist." New Nation, 25 August 1972, 7.
- Tien, Albert. ‘Profile of a Dynamic Designer’, n.d.
- ‘中央設計私人有限公司李秀鐫将往倫敦考察最新廣告术 (Central Design’s Lee Siew Choon Heads to London to Study the Latest Advertising Techniques)’, 星洲日報 (Sin Chew Jit Poh), 1 April 1970
- ‘廣吿及商業設計專才李秀鐫近創立中央設計公司’, 星洲日報 (Sin Chew Jit Poh), 6 October 1969
- ‘李秀鐫創設設計公司 (Lee Siew Choon Sets up Design Company’, 南洋商报 (Nanyang Siang Pau), 6 October 1969.