Colors become characters: the cuddly creatures

The visual identity of M+, the museum for visual culture in Hong Kong, centers around a unique color system. It starts with a mid-tone grey, to match the subtlety of the concrete of the building. In small steps this grey color transforms in light browns, mustard, a greyish rosé. The color range ends in vibrant orange, cyan blue, pink, lilac and green. The brighter colors reflect the neon commercial communication that typifies Hong Kong’s energetic street life.

For the M+ Kid’s Shop these brightest colors come alive in 5 cuddly creatures. They have Cantonese sounding names: Lannie (Blue 藍), Charny (Orange 橙), Zoey (Lilac 紫), Louis (Green 綠), Pheoby (Pink 粉).


Their form is inspired by the work of a group of artists living in Paris in the 1950’s. After the second World War, the artists found inspiration in the drawings of young children. They were searching for a new visual language and found that in a raw, naive, childlike style. Blots of color, stemming from a gesture of the painter’s hand, were patterned across the canvas.

In art history this style is called ‘tachism’, ‘tache’ is French for blot. An important representative of this style is Zao-Wou-Ki, born in China, who lived in Paris at the time. His work is part of the permanent collection of M+. Dutch poet and painter Lucebert made his own variation on tachism by adding eyes to the blots, giving them a personality.

Frame 793
Zao Wou-Ki, Untitled, 1960. M+, Hong Kong
Frame 794
Lucebert, Drawing No. 2A, 1960

The M+ Kids Shop cuddly creatures are computer generated. They form and transform endlessly in a virtual space. The color blots of their bodies have everchanging eyes and antennas.

The characters were created by Thonik, who designed the Visual Identity of M+. Lavinia Meijer, world famous harpist, based in Amsterdam, has composed their musical habitat.