William Lee: The Father of Singapore Logos

william leeA 1971 photo of Mr William Lee at his River Valley flat-cum-studio

“A logo has to be international. It has to be understood in one look,” said graphic designer Mr William Lee in 1987 when asked what made up a good logo. By then the 45-year-old had already a portfolio full of logos, many that still remain in use today. Some of the logos he designed include that of the Post Office Savings Bank (1972),  the Singapore Bus Service (1978) logo, and the Citizen Consultative Committee (1986).


The graphic designer set up his own design house, Central Design, in the 1970s, and it was a firm synonymous with logo design in Singapore. Besides these three logos, Mr Lee is also said to have designed those of the Shangri-La Hotel, the Singapore Cultural Foundation, the Singapore Armed Forces Reservist Association (SAFRA), the Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research, and Overseas Union Bank, amongst others.

For his contributions, Mr Lee was awarded the Public Service Star in 1975.

If Mr Lee is alive today, he would be almost 70-years-old. Does anyone have any news about him? I would love to track him down for an interview.


  1. Sarawut says:

    William Lee was also well known for designing and upgrading the standard of Singapore Postage Stamps. He had designed more than 2o sets of Singapore postage stamps. The best known set perhaps was the Commonwealth Set with the flags of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 1971 forming the circular shape. Please refer to Stanley Gibbons Publiction (March 1971) (William Lee of Singapore)William Lee was also well known for his Packaging Designs too.
    Should you be intereste please refer to The Straits Times there were many write up about him
    His Famous Logos include Shangri-La Hotel,United Overseas Land, Tanjong Pargar CC and many more.
    William also designed many sets of Singapore Coins some of them bearing hiw name as WL on the coins in honour of his contributions of his designs.
    He had also designed the winning Floats Design for NTUC.

  2. Michael Gold says:

    My parents befriended William Lee whilst he was a student at Swinburne Institute of Technology in Melbourne during the 1960s. My family visited Singapore in December 1971 and William was a wonderful host for the three days we were there.

  3. Thomas says:

    To Micheal Gold,

    I would love to learn more about Mr William Lee. He was like a father to me. He took a very good care of me since I was young.

    ‘I am alone but I am never lonely” -William Lee

    Please contact me at surrealestee@gmail.com

    I will really appreciate it.


    PS anyone who has information about him, please contact me.

  4. Theresa Ng says:

    Hi, it’s so nice to read about the history of my ex-boss, Mr William Lee.
    An absolutely talented and kind gentleman whose logos I greatly admired.

    I worked as his personal assistant when I came back from London in the mid-seventies.
    A wonderful boss who’s always patient with me.
    Despite his stern demeanour, he was well-respected by his employees.

    I remembered him always being so kind towards the less fortunate & offering assistance to those in need.

    Thanks for the profile write-up.

    Best regards to him always,
    Theresa Ng

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