Ban Ban Kia: Penang Shop Signs Workshops

George Town Festival


Time3:00PM, 4:00PM






Duration: 120 minutes without intermission

As you drive past Penang’s old shops, do you pay attention to their signages?

Ban Ban Kia: Penang Shop Signs beckons you to slow down and pay attention to Penang’s old shop signs before it is too late.


This show is available for purchase on an external platform.

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As you drive past Penang’s old shops, do you pay attention to their signages?

Penang has a rich heritage of shop signs, rooted in its history as a hub of commerce, cultures and creative production. Designed to be both functional and eye-catching, each sign is a work of art painstakingly created by a skilled craftsman. Despite their intricate beauty, they are now ignored and underappreciated, disappearing with each passing day.

Ban Ban Kia: Penang Shop Signs beckons you to slow down and pay attention to Penang’s old shop signs before it is too late. Penang is an open-air art gallery of old signs, and through an exhibition, walking tours, talks and workshops, the treasures and stories behind these typographical reminders of the past will be revealed.


Penang Typecooker Workshop 檳城字體工作坊

This lettering workshop is inspired by unusual letterforms found in Penang’s typography streetscape, such as shopfront signages and vernacular typography. Participants will explore how to capture and translate typographic expressions from the streets to paper using Romanised and Chinese Hokkien lettering, to express personal sentiments about Penang.

Analog Motion Type Workshop: Traditional to Contemporary 字体动态设计工作坊:传统元素的现代转译

How does typography express a design piece’s meaning, tone and mood in the digital era? In this workshop, you will learn analog motion techniques and how to create your own animated artwork inspired by Penang's typography. Using shopfront signages as references, participants will create frames on paper and transform them into captivating GIF or MP4 formats. Take home a digital file showcasing your unique creation.

Chop-chop Lettering Playground 盖章乐 造字工作坊

Create lettering using the stamp-printing method. Learn to compose the form and structure of the lettering with basic geometric shapes such as squares, rectangles, circles, and triangles.

POPA OPEN SHOP: A Penang Shopfront Pop-Up Card Workshop 槟城店面立体纸卡手作工作坊

Create a 3D pop-up card of a charming Penang shopfront! Be inspired with a short presentation of shop signages in Penang and learn to design and create your very own fictional shopfront and signages. The workshop will guide you step-by-step through the pop-up card making process of designing, cutting, and assembling — everything you need to open up your very own pop-up shop. Join us for a fun crafty session of typography, pop-ups, and shop signs! 

Artist Bio

Joel Lim Du Bois, Seh-seh Penang

Half-Malaysian and half-Belgian, Joel is a brand and design consultant focusing on visual communication and cultural histories across Southeast Asia and the globe. Raised in the United Kingdom, he returned to his mother’s hometown of Penang with new eyes after living in countries around the world. Through @sehsehpenang, he documents and celebrates Penang’s shop signs and design heritage.

Tan Sueh Li, huruf

Sueh Li is a graphic designer from Penang. With an interest in searching for Malaysia’s unique identity in type and typography, in 2017 she founded, a type and design collective working at the intersection of design and pedagogy. She also runs @hrftype, a type design studio that specialises in multi-script typography and font development.

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