Kit Man: Creating an exclusive set of characters for Hongkongers

Kit Man, Creator of Kickass Type
Kit Man, Designer of the “Kickass Type”

“Hong Kong people should do it. How can I stay away from this?”

Portraying the kickass spirit of Hong Kong people

How hard is it to create a brand new typeface?

Words represent the culture of different places; every stroke depicts the changes over eras. There are over 6,000 common Chinese words, while amid them the strokes of traditional characters are the most sophisticated. In the course of interpreting the context and construction of each word, creators infuse their spirit into the typeface. The effort in creating a new typeface is just like creating a piece of architecture.

The Kickass Type is a unique, free-style hand-written calligraphy transformed by Kit Man into a computer font accessible by all people. The efforts and money contributed are immeasurable.

Why did Kit Man decide to do such a thing?

Can you turn your interest into money?

“To me, career lies mostly on interests.” Kit Man is a typical pursuer of dreams. Previously he worked for an advertising agency in the interactive design department, where most of his job was approving colleagues’ works. Doubling up with the high salary it was assuredly a lucrative career. However, Kit Man was not satisfied even though it was a desirable job to other people.

“When I worked in the advertising agency, all I did was giving commands and directions, whereas the design work was carried out by frontline colleagues. Sometimes I thought I was worthless as I only did talking… In fact, I wanted to create something by myself, something that truly belongs to me.” Such thought motivated him to quit his job, which appeared to be a “dream job” to other people.

As a “dream pursuer” who did not want to be “worthless” though, he was not blessed in reality.

From game software development, design, to running business, he attempted almost everything he was interested in; however, the result was far from satisfactory.

“I had a deadly hard time when my bank savings was even less than $100, namely the minimum withdrawal amount. Could you imagine an adult can’t even afford a rice dish in tea houses? I never thought that I would become so miserable.”

Kit Man talked about his past as if it was a joke.

As an overseas graduate equipped with professional knowledge and know-how, he had taken the “crooked path” as perceived by many people. When even the basic needs could not be fulfilled, how could he pursue his dream? Did he simply get himself in a dead-end situation?

While seeking answers, Kit Man was asked to resume his advertising position by his ex-colleagues, but he refused it assertively.

“I already am in the midway of this, how could I bother to go back?” Kit Man is so headstrong that he was not willing to compromise with reality.

My job motivation – creating an exclusive set of characters for Hongkongers.
Kit Man: My job motivation – creating an exclusive set of characters for Hongkongers

Tenacious strokes

It was not until 2014 that Kit Man, who was devoted to safeguard the local culture, created the Kickass Type and rose to fame suddenly. In just one night, various social media platforms were swamped with plentiful news about Kickass Type, followed by a number of collaboration invitations. Kit Man finally made himself known.

In May 2016, Kit Man launched the online campaign of the Kickass Type Creation Kickstarter Project. In an attempt to preserve the culture of traditional Chinese characters and Cantonese, he was determined to transform this set of free-style hand-written calligraphy into computer font.

“Hong Kong people are worth owning an exclusive set of characters. I wish I can contribute wholeheartedly to interpreting Cantonese and traditional characters.”

It is going to take Kit Man two years to get the newly created typeface computerised. Without knowing its real use and the actual market value, does he ever worry about the failure of this project, wasting the huge invested amount of time and money?

“The Kickass Type is a kind of calligraphic character, which makes use of different brush strokes to express the emotion of the creator. It is the core creative component of Kickass Type.”

“That’s why the Kickass Type is in fact infused with a unique blend of tenacity and persistence… Since this typeface is characterised by this particular feature, as its creator, I must be pigheaded enough to complete this project.”

The unique responsibility of Hong Kong people

“Those people out there have contributed their hard-earned money to support my creation – as long as I bear in mind this fact, I must keep going.” Kit Man successfully raised a huge sum of funds in two months to kick start the ‘Kickass Type’ project. It also symbolised the hope of a group of Hong Kong people, who aspire to possess an exclusive set of Hong Kong characters. Kit Man shoulders the responsibility of realising the dream of his dear fellows, never thought of giving up.

What keeps motivating Kit Man to create unique characters and bear the responsibility of Hongkongers is his never-give-up attitude, which also typifies Hong Kong people in general.