China communication agency

How to design your brand for China

You've finally decided to sell your product on the Chinese market.

Why not? After all, China has 1 billion consumers, a booming economy and an increasingly sophisticated market. Enough to thrill anyone with an entrepreneurial streak. But you know very well that this diversification remains risky. For a number of reasons, including design of your brand.

So how do you adapt to the Chinese market?

  • Make sure you hire a professional to translate your brand name effectively into Chinese, taking into account its phonetic implications and literary meaning. A simple literal translation can have catastrophic results.
  • Unlike the West, the Chinese process information differently. They process general information first and then analyse the details.
  • As you can imagine, colour and symbolism differ in meaning from the West. For example, the colour red is considered lucky in Chinese culture and the apple is a symbol of peace. Research the colours and symbols of your brand. This may lead you to make changes to your design but also to identify communication opportunities.
  • Thoroughly research what your brand means to the Western market and transpose it to the Chinese market to see what is likely to be misunderstood. Bear in mind that you may need to ask an expert for help.

When you think of design, you don't necessarily think of China as one of its main markets. contributors history, and it's wrong. It was in China that printing and paper were invented. This led to China having its own aesthetic, its own calligraphy and its own interpretation of visual content.

The reason why China is not associated with graphic design and art is due to the Cultural Revolution. During this time, any visual medium that did not come from the State was prohibited. But times have changed, and the China has opened up to the free market. For Chinese companies, this has meant problems to overcome. For example, adapting the design to their needs. cultural heritage while being modern, a balance that is not always easy to strike. Today, Chinese companies are fond young talent contemporary who can effectively communicate their company's values.


Why is typography so important in China?

For brands in China, typography and naming are an essential part of the design for the simple reason that thevisual appearance the brand name and the meaning are completely inseparable. If the Chinese brand name is not studied, the repercussions can be quite serious. serious and often fails to penetrate the market.

Typographic 'failures

Upon entering the Chinese market, Coca Cola defined its Chinese name as 啃 蜡 (Kēdǒu kěn là) which is phonetically correct but translates to "biting a wax tadpole. They later changed their brand name to 可口可乐 (Kěkǒukělè), which means. "tasty happiness which is much better suited to Coca-Cola's marketing.

Mercedes Benz is another example. The "Mercedes" part of the brand is difficult to pronounce in Chinese and has no meaning. For this reason, the carmaker decided to adopt the Chinese name of 奔驰 (Bēnchí) , which means "Mercedes".top speed". A memorable, beautiful and meaningful brand name.

Successful typography

Once the name has been defined, the visual identity of the brand and its meaning will be merged. This can easily be detrimental to your brand if poorly executed. However, if it is done well, the opportunity to convey the meaning and values of your brand is increased. exceptional.


Symbols from China

Through the prism of different cultures, symbols and their meanings can vary considerably.

Green is associated with positivity in Western culture and red with negativity, whereas in China.., is the contrary. Red is associated with luck and good fortune, and green with exorcism and infidelity. In China round shapes are generally associated with reunion, harmony and unity because they are more organic, whereas the geometric shapes with sharp angles are negatively associated and considered unsightly. And these are just some of the more obvious interpretations.

China is a country extremely rich in culture and in historyIt is for this reason that we recommend an in-depth study of the interpretation of certain symbolisms that could affect your brand.


From the largest to the smallest

The Chinese tend to think in the most general at more detailed, whereas Westerners tend to do the opposite. For example, you can see this in the way the Chinese write their name (surname then first name), but also in the way they present the date (year then month). This sequencing can be translated into your brand's visual identity to better adapt to your Chinese customers and maintain clear communication.

Information consumption

In the West, visual information is conveyed in a lighter, more streamlined way, with the emphasis on the main aspect of the message. Whereas in China (and Asia in general), the media are much more focused. more busy in information. There are several reasons for this:

  • Firstly, Chinese characters take up less space than Latin characters and all Chinese characters have a square shape, regardless of their complexity,
  • Secondly, because information is consumed differently, the Chinese tend to browse and consume much heavier content on a single page with smaller images. In other words, when designing your interface, don't hesitate to use lots of elements.

The design principles apply

All this may seem complicated, but there's good news. Even if they are interpreted in different ways or with different emphasis, the principles of design still apply and can even be totally transposed from one hearing to the next.

Do you need help to tackle the Chinese market? The answer is... probably. If it's essential for your brand to be easily identifiable or if you're in a competitive segment, particularly with Chinese brands, there will be subtleties to take into account to create effective branding in this market. It is therefore risky to try and do everything in-house without any knowledge of these concepts.

If you're setting up your own brand, don't forget that certain Western elements will also be a factor in your success. asset. Indeed, a "European" touch is a guarantee of quality in the perception of Chinese customers. So adapt your brand enough so that your values and your message is optimized to your audience, but not to the point where brand identity is completely erased.

Do you think your future Chinese customers will appreciate your touch? exoticism?

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