2014: a closer look at the angbaos I got

Alright. Ever since I dabbled in graphic design, looking at stuff has never been the same again. (Really. You notice the kerning on things, if letters are too close together or too far apart  you cringe. You also start wondering if people bother using grids. And sometimes you’ll be disappointed to know that they don’t.)

This CNY, I scrutinized angbaos. Here are some that caught my eye:

UOB’s angpows went down a different route – no horses or flowers taking centre stage here, instead we have cute looking sparrows; however not deviating from the traditional; it still looks like a chinese ink painting.

Normal banking gets a lightweight paper in faded red, commercial banking in a deep red with some very nice embossing finishes (didn’t manage to get it on camera but the details are in the wings). Both have gold hot stamp finishes to the mandarin characters and details in the wings. Private banking angbaos are in a very nice matte gold thick stock. All of them have ornamental prints on the inside. Very nice attention to detail. Verruh nice. Well done, UOB.

These I think are UOB’s designs from last year. The pink one is the commercial banking angbao and the red one is the… normal banking one (I don’t know what they call normal banking so I will just call it normal banking). Traditional in the choice of featuring peonies, but both angbaos have very nice textures, debossing on the top flap with a die cut that shows the chinese words below. Chinese character is embossed. Flip it over and you’ll see a repetition of the floral print in front, done in a simple band with gold hot stamped borders. UOB logo is debossed. Nice and classic design, no wonder we’re seeing it again this year.

Okay OCBC, while the bright pink and orange design really caught my eye and I appreciated the unconventional use of colour, I don’t think it translated well on the red … red packet. Though fluoro orange and the gold hot stamping does stand out on the deep red, I’m not so sure it’s done in a good way. Meh on this.

Standard Chartered used pandas!!! I’m I think they’re alluding to kaikai and jia jia. This is actually last year’s issue, but this really helps them stand out from the hordes of horses we are getting. Plus we seldom see a bold black and white used on a red packet. + Gold hot stamping details. Not bad, not bad.

Thought this was a very effective hongbao design for a church. In its simplicity, “ai” (love) takes front and center here, communicating their main message – which is “God is Love” (printed on the back) succinctly. (The heart motif in the middle of ai, nice touch also). It doesn’t go overboard with the ornamental designs, and sticks to the traditional colours of red and gold.

This one, not too sure what to think about it. Bold, bold colours, as you can see. Don’t quite know if I’m digging the cloud patterns, I think it’s kind of clashing with the horse in front. This one is for arrowiggins / antalis by tsubaki studio.

This one by RBS made me think, how much money did they spend on angbaos! It comes in two pieces, both are beautifully textured. The outer piece was die cut to reveal the chinese character, flowers and butterflies hotstamped on the inner piece.

This one from Barclays is my favourite! The design is simple, yet very aesthetically pleasing and classy. The peony embossing is repeated on both designs, and both use a very thick metallic stock.

This one, I struggled to put in. If I’m not wrong, every year DBS produces two designs for each “set” – a boy and a girl. I’d initially thought, why the boy bigger than the girl this year? But I think it’s because one is a “normal banking” design and the other is a private banking design. (Pte banking uses a metallic paper). I kind of prefer last year’s design – it seems they failed to reinvent this year.

Did anyone receive any super nice angbaos this year?



  1. i like the one mama phua gave! its like fabric de wor

  2. dtinthehouse says:

    I received angbaos from JCB, very nice too! Do you want an image of them?

  3. Hello,

    Saw your blog on the red packet.are you also red packet collector.I have been collecting for 20years.I love the red packet that you posted in your blog.Are you interested to exchange with me.contact my email if you are interested.


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