Born in 1942 in Pangyu, Guangzhou, Kan has resided in Hong Kong since 1957 . Starting from his childhood, he has had a passion for painting under the influence of his grandfather, Yao Sheng. Kan first studied art and design in 1964. In 1967, Kan took up design studies in graphic design and started working as a designer. He also starts painting with ink in 1969. Since early 70s, Kan took an active role in art and design education. He influences a lot of young graphic designers.
Kan’s works have earned him numerous awards. . In 1979, Kan was the first designer elected as one of the "Hong Kong Ten Outstanding Young Persons". Other important awards including: Award of Urban Council Fine Art (1981), Gold Awards, International Art Competition, Los Angeles (1984)，The 2nd Hsing Shih Biennial Award (1987), the Year Award (1991), 1st Prize in the 1st International Computer Art Biennale in Rzeszów (1995), Best Work Prize for the Applied Typography 6, Japan Typography Association (1996), Gold Award in Mercury Award, New York and Outstanding Achievements Award (1998). He was conferred the Honour of Bronze Bauhinia Star (1999) and later the Honor of Silver Bauhinia Star (2010). In 2005，Kan was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Design in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
Kan held a number of solo exhibitions in U.K., U. S. A., Germany, Finland, Australia, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Mainland China, Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong, etc., His works are widely collected by museums and private collectors alike including The Hong Kong Museum of Art; Hong Kong Heritage Museum; University Museum and Art Gallery, The University of Hong Kong; National Art Museum of China, Guangdong Art Museum, Taiwan Provincial Art Museum; Leal Senado de Macau, Museu Luis de Camoes;; Guan Shan Yue Art Museum in Shenzhen; Victoria & Albert Museum British; Danish Poster Museum; The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford; Museum fur Kunst' und Gewerbe, Hamburg; Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.
Kan’s eminent design works have been featured in remarkable publications such as IDEA, Creation magazine, Ryuko Tsushin magazine, Morisawa Quarterly (Japan), Graphis (Switzerland), NOVUM (Germany) and Communication Arts (U.S.A). In 1993 he was selected by IDEA as one of the 100 World's Graphic Designers. In 2005 he was the first Asian to be listed in Who's Who in Graphic Design of Switzerland.
Kan also actively involves in education to promote art and design profession. He is now the Fellow Member of Alliance Graphique Internationale; the Foundation and Honorary Dean of the Cheung Kong School of Art and Design, Shantou University, Guest Professor of Central Institute of Fine Arts in Beijing and Guest Professor of Tsing Hua University of Fine Arts in Beijing and Guest Professor, Honorary Professor and Chief Professor of Universities and institutes.