A tale of three cities

By Chin Yee Lam 林振翼 and Nathan Nee倪海郡 China is as large and diverse as Europe, so it’s not surprising that creative and cultural differences abound. In this article we explore how the marketing and communications from three of the biggest regions – Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzen – differ, and what this means for western brands seeking to enter those markets. china-map Culture and consumer habits As the nation’s political centre, Beijing has some of the richest cultural heritage and most developed media industries. Consumers here tend to prefer Chinese brands or companies that reflect their nationalist principles. They pay a lot of attention to the semiotics and perception of branding and packaging. article-images_beijing Shanghai is an immigrant city that’s developed into a vast global metropolis in the past 100 years. As a result, its culture has a more practical, international feel. Consumers tend to prefer rational consumption. They’re more brand savvy and attach more importance to living a stylish lifestyle. They prefer simple packaging and oppose extravagance and waste. article-images_shanghai Shenzhen, the first special economic zone of new China, is widely seen as the city of design and an area that embraces reform and ‘opening-up’ policies. Innovation tends to thrive here and talent is highly mobile thanks to its diverse immigrant population. The population is markedly skewed to young consumers, who value individuality and are willing to try new things. article-images_shenzhen Regional differences in design Because government has encouraged the formation of new industries in this economic zone, Shenzhen has many excellent, innovative and entrepreneurial graphic designers. They will often embrace more contemporary design techniques that favour good customer experiences. Brands, products and experiences born in Shenzhen tend to be more considerate of their audience, rather being product-driven or ideological. As it is the home of many of China’s largest multinational corporations, the visual style of Shanghai is less individualistic and reflects more international influences. In Shanghai design it’s sometimes hard to tell whether the work is designed by local or overseas designers. Beijing design on the other hand is larger in concept and scale. Art and music, including rock, are often showcased. At the same time, traditional Beijing design is also evident, displaying many of the characteristics of ‘old Beijing’ – such as Hutong culture which is seen in popular movies like Mr Six. The design of these red gift envelopes show the cultural influences in these three regions. Luhua Peanut Oil Luhua Peanut Oil is a flagship product of the Shandong Luhua Group, and is one of the most famous national brands in China. Promotional efforts for Luhua Peanut Oil in Shenzen stress the product’s great taste, because many consumers in this area pay attention to delicious food. Conversely in order to win the trust of consumers in the Shanghai market, it was positioned as a healthy product that can combat obesity. china-map_oil Conclusion Like the 28 countries in the European Union or the fifty states of the USA, China has a rich cultural history and diversity. While internationalisation is much in evidence throughout the country, specific local interests, behaviours and language can – and are – employed to great effect in marketing and communications work. And while all western brands are encouraged to maintain their authenticity and provenance, overseas companies entering the market may benefit from choosing to launch or base their business in a region that matches their industry, target audience or brand values.
Notes on the authors Chin Yee Lam is a Design Director at Sydney creative agency BWD and heads its cross-cultural design division. Nathan Nee runs the independent design agency, Pi, in Shanghai. In 2017, BWD and Pi formed a strategic alliance to deliver cross-cultural campaigns for Chinese and Australian brands.  

The campaign that rocked China

By Melody Li
A 12-minute-long video for US sneaker company New Balance’s 110 birthday became one of the most influential viral campaigns in China in 2016. What does this campaign tell us about how to communicate to a Chinese audience? And how can such a lengthy video succeed in such a time poor era? A commercial that looks nothing like a commercial The documentary style campaign features Chinese music “Godfather” Jonathan Lee and explores his attitude to his life and music. At age 58, he looks back at his life journey and shares insightful stories behind his famous songs. Each story unfolds through his journey in a city: Tokyo, Vancouver, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Taipei. With each step in these places symbolising each step in life, the video ends with the slogan “Every Step Counts”. In contrast to the West’s hero’s journey storytelling structure, this campaign applies a classic Chinese storytelling structure that we could describe as a looped story chain. It starts from the present with a question, goes back in time to find the answer in the development of the story then returns to the present at the end of the piece. Cultural Strategies Understanding local target audiences New Balance’s target audience in China is young consumers. They are highly digitally connected and spend a large amount of time on Chinese social media platforms such as WeChat and Tencent, as opposed to watching TV. They like trendy things and western brands. On a cultural scale, they would sit between traditional Chinese and contemporary Western. On the negative side, they can favour chasing a trend based on a product’s look of a product instead of examining its underlying true value. Taking a culturally different approach to storytelling  Having Jonathan recast his fame to tell the story of an ordinary person gives the video an unexpected beginning. It sets the film’s tone and immediately raises questions in the audience’s mind. The middle section focuses on past times and places, but is cut with visuals of Jonathan as he is today. For example, we see him sitting on the other side of an empty desk, the very desk where the first interview of his career began. From a storytelling perspective, it leaves an emotional gap between what the audience sees and what the story tells, leaving it up to the audience’s imagination to fill the gap. The video’s emotional high point is when Jonathan takes the decision to walk away from his success. The intense pace that leads to this decision acts as a contrast to the peaceful final scenes, which lead the audience back to present. The penultimate screen displays the words: Every step counts, a slogan which is given a deeper resonance with Jonathan standing on top of the mountain. The video ends with the New Balance logo on a page of Jonathan’s hand writing in his studio. Tapping into Chinese philosophy and aesthetic This short film has a strong sense of Chinese philosophy and aesthetic. Landscapes are a classic way of expressing a person’s spirit. They often have double meanings. For example the footage of trees, which looks very much like Chinese calligraphy painting, is a visual metaphor for Jonathan’s state of mind. The contrast of Taipei’s noisy market and Vancouver’s still lake and mountains illustrate Jonathan’s thoughts after his escape. And while it’s a story of Jonathan Lee, he doesn’t appear very often. Instead we see the world as he sees it. Linking Jonathan Lee with the brand Jonathan is not a superficial megastar. His fame is rooted in his life philosophy. His personality is a blend of the traditional and the contemporary. What he values in life is not fame, status and money, but rather the art and meaning of life. During its production, someone asked Jonathan what he would like to achieve with this short film. He said: ”Nothing. Just tell a good story.” Jonathan Lee’s experience and modest character is a perfect role model for younger audiences. So the entire video talks about Jonathan Lee’s spirit; his honesty about being ordinary, despite his huge success. With China being such a success-driven country, it shifts the audience’s idea of success, namely what you achieve is less important than the journey itself. As a brand campaign, if Jonathan’s values and spirit reach and touch the audience, then by extension, the brand encompasses these as well. A China –not an Asian – story The inspirational and emotional short film through which New Balance has chosen to speak to its young Chinese audience contrasts sharply with the highly technological campaign launched in Japan. And it obviously touched a chord. Within five days of its release, the campaign had over 5,000,000 on Tencent and Youku channels and was nominated one of the top five campaigns to rock China in 2016.
This video was produced by advertising agency W. Director Chou Ko-Tai and creative director Li Sanshui.

The Great Wall trailers

by Gethin Fisher and Melody Li This February sees the global release* of a cultural and economic phenomenon that could reshape our media landscape for many years to come. The Great Wall is a blockbuster movie that was funded, directed and shot in China but features the world’s most bankable Hollywood star in the hope of reaching a truly global audience. And with the number of foreign films granted release in China still restricted to approximately 34 a year, this movie could be the start of a new formula that we should all get used to. So what can marketers learn from the trailers that have preceded the release? What do they tell us about cross-cultural storytelling? And how might we apply these lessons to tailor our global content for local audiences? The first ninety-second, English language trailer follows the conventions of a fantasy war movie, akin to The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It features Matt Damon heavily, I counted eleven times, going into battle with some Chinese comrades against what appears to be an army of dragons.
The Chinese cut features many of the same set pieces, but has a markedly different tone and reading. For example, the Chinese trailer takes longer to build up suspense, as the menacing strings brood around an epic landscape. Damon, while still prominent, is now part of a gang of heroes, all A-list Chinese stars in their own right, as we see more of what appear to be five armies that have gathered together to fight the dragon threat.
These editorial decisions reflect some cultural differences in storytelling. Our Western brains are programmed from early childhood to recognise the hero’s journey, as our brave protagonist is convinced to set off on a noble quest. In traditional Chinese stories, more time is given to context and duty, as we consider the events that shaped the man: how did he reach this point? How was he affected or antagonised? And what should be our collective response? This leads to a different narrative, where the focus is not singular and linear, but collective and contextual, an idea that is also reflected in the promotional posters. the-great-wall-movie-posters But crucially, an overt ideological point is made in a quote that is notable and consistent across both trailers. As Matt Damon’s character tells us, “I was born into battle. I fought for greed, and Gods. This is the first war I’ve seen worth fighting for.” Many fictional superheroes have similar creeds but in this context, where an American hero is defending The Great Wall of China, this message signals a broader requirement: that to succeed creatively in China, you must first recognise and respect their cultural sensitivities. *The Great Wall was released in China and other Asian markets in December and comes out on February 16 in Australia.  

Enter the daigou

You hear so many BIG NUMBERS about China that it can get a bit tedious: the endless stats about growth and prosperity, the fawning speeches on the Great Opportunity, and the squillion dollar rhetoric around the benefits of CHAFTA, can leave you feeling sleepy and suspicious. But once in a while a story breaks of a local business done good and you have to stop and think: how did they do that? What’s their secret? It seems almost too good to be true. The latest face-slapper of a stat came from Bellamy’s Australia, who have doubled their revenue and tripled their earnings in the last financial year. What makes these numbers interesting is that while a quarter of their turnover, an impressive $62 million, came directly from China, it was the growth of their Australian business that really stuck out: a whopping $120 million in increased sales in the last financial year. (Say that again?) I said $120 million in additional Australian sales of baby formula in the last financial year. That’s 67% year-on-year growth in a country where births are declining and breastfeeding is increasing. So what’s the magic formula? Bellamy’s cite a number of strategic decisions they’ve made to increase their supply and distribution but, according to their full year results presentation, one significant success factor is the rise of the daigou.   AAEAAQAAAAAAAAgfAAAAJDA4ZGVhN2YyLWMyNDMtNGExNi04OGZkLTlhYTliYThmMTgwMg   Alibaba estimates there are 150,000 daigou shopping in Australia today. Their mission? To buy local produce and to ship it back to China. Their method? WeChat, Taobao or another sophisticated social channel that enables payments and performance reviews in the same way that Uber has democratised travel. Through our work in bilingual design, I’ve met a few daigou and without fail they’ve been nice young people who spend too much time on their smartphones. They’re not the threatening leeches on the Australian economy some would depict, but friendly entrepreneurs working hard to keep their customers happy and paying fair price and taxes for local product. I’m sure there are less scrupulous operations in action, just as I’m sure Bellamy’s have made countless other good decisions to triple their business. But for now I say 祝 贺  (congratulations) to Bellamy’s, 谢谢 (thank you) to the daigou, and I encourage other Aussie companies to embrace this dynamic new sales channel.   For further reading on this topic check out the Wonkblog at The Washington Post, ‘This is what happens to half of Australia’s baby formula

Talking business, the Chinese way

By William Wei Yue*

The common understanding of translation is that it’s a linguistic process, a language “flipping-over”. China is a “vertically” organised society when compared with the more “flat” Australian way of doing things. The implication is that the ranking order in the business world is carefully maintained, if not always displayed.   Do: Stay formal. Address their chief with his/her title. If you’re not sure, keep using “Mr” or “Ms”. Focus on the chief, in particular in the presence of his or her team. Make sure you understand the relative seniority of your counterparts. And allow time – your negotiation counterpart may need it to follow their reporting procedure. Don’t: Offer jokes and off-the-cuff humour too soon, even with a good translator. Confront your counterparts outright. (Rather voice your disagreement their way by offering something like “we will discuss this later…”). Press for answers; your counterpart may be a delegate and the answer may simply not be available. (Instead, you may ask for a time frame in which you might expect the answer.) China is a “relationship-oriented” society. In other words “business” is often entwined with “guanxi” (networks). In this context the concept of “face” is important. The following may help you connect with your business counterparts more smoothly:   Do: Praise your host and return their hospitality. Don’t: Initiate controversial chat topics before your host does. When China’s political and social issues are being discussed, tread carefully until you understand their views.   Do: Impress your host with a thoughtful Australian-made gift. Thoughtfulness is more important than the price tag. Don’t: Exhibit excessive pride in our way of democracy.   Do: Prepare some questions about Chinese “culture”. Listen to their opinions. Like all of us, Chinese are proud of their culture, history and national identity. It pays to show some genuine interest. Don’t: Compare Western and Chinese traditions and norms, or volunteer opinions about Chinese institutions and establishments. Finally, I strongly recommend that you bring your own translator to meetings if this is feasible. Although all translators are supposed to be impartial, it’s still useful to see evidential proof of that. You need someone well-versed in commercial norms and practices who is willing to actively guard your interests and alert you about potential pitfalls. If you need a referral, please talk to BWD and we may be able to help. If you have to rely on the other party’s translator, be alert to occasions when he or she hesitates and is evidently trying to “choose” words, and seek clarification whenever needed. *William Wei Yue is BWD’s translator, and accredited by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters.

同澳洲人做生意

都说咱们中国人是天生的生意人,这或许没错。 但中澳之间,不仅有语言、表述习惯上的不同,更多的还有文化习俗上的差异。在和澳方人员业务洽谈中, 适当的入乡随俗,就能较快的拉近双方距离。下面就是几个主要差别:

1.  澳洲是个平面化的社会。反映在经商环境上,就是充分授权,我的地盘我作主;在人际相处层面上,避免个人突出。同澳洲人谈生意时要记住这一点,并且:

– 对方指派专业部门和我们的业务主管对谈,并非有意怠慢,而是职责划分使然;同时,平等对待对方团队的所有人,不要眼中只有他们主管; – 他们在职权范围内习惯直来直去,对我们也会有这样的期待,因此,有时会显得很;不过同样的,在对方职权范围内的事,我们可以要求明确答案; – 表达观点具体明确,不行就直说;只有在确实需要内部商量时,才说让我们商量商量 – 放下谈判架子,对方提议双方用简式称呼时,就说:叫我老张,小李好了”(我们的习惯),并用对方的名字不带姓称呼(他们的习惯);气氛适当,我们也可主动提议; – 商业谈判当然要锱铢必较,但切忌心中无数,见生杀半,失去信任,才是商谈大忌; – 问清楚和谁联络并记下电话,有变动先联系,不要事后道歉(比如遇上堵车); – 着装得体大方,避免过分炫耀;

2.  “” “分开。在澳洲, 私人空间与生意或工作是基本分开的。除了关键客户或有些招待外,初次会谈,很少会考虑请客。但东风西渐,他们也注意到了我们的习俗:

– 谈判对象不一定会主动请我们,这并非不热情或不重视,而是把私人时间留给我们; – 闲谈时再熟也不要问得太深入,比如某人的房子值多少钱; – 尽量不要就私人事务请托对方; – 请客送礼不要太铺张。不然他们回请预算不够,令人难堪; – 私人家庭环境中作客,记得带随手礼(无论公事场合是否有送纪念品,那不是一码事);

3. 澳洲社会也有自己的痛点痒点,比如,与原居民的纠葛仍未彻底解决;澳洲人引以为傲的多党分级政府体制,我们或有不同观点;对近年来中国资本和移民的涌入,社会或有顾虑;与宗主国英国的微妙关系,民众或有不同主张;作为访客,这类话题,除非已经非常熟络或他们主动提及,不宜深入讨论。当然,询问事实,不在此限。 澳洲的物产科技,自然人文,为澳洲人民津津乐道,上网查查,闲谈起来自然拉近距离。

4. 自己带翻译。虽然对方大概也会有翻译,据说澳洲翻译职业守则中还有中立持正的要求,但我们要的不是一台翻译器,而是一个懂商谈规则、能主动维护我们利益、提醒我们习俗差异的中介人。 同时,要认识到翻译是个会犯错误的普通人,因此,数据图表等就要坚持自己比对(这与语言无关); 有疑问,当面要求确认。老话怎么说来着?尽信书不如无书尽信翻译…”

Untangling Chinese translation

By William Wei Yue*
The common understanding of translation is that it’s a linguistic process, a language “flipping-over”

“Just accurately translate what’s written,” you demand. Well, if we’re emphasising accuracy, let’s consider this sentence: “Being a teacher is being present at the creation, when the clay begins to breathe”. If this was literally and “accurately” translated into Chinese, the embedded strong religious meaning could be lost. Besides, the translated Chinese version will be read by a Chinese audience, who most likely have grown up in a Buddhist milieu with limited, if any, exposure to Christianity, whose concepts are referred to in the sentence above. This demonstrates that a translator must be well-grounded in the culture of both the author and target readership. (Religion is an integral part of our cultural inheritance.) Consider translating this: “You’re a lucky dog”. In English, the saying will be well accepted and the reader may even detect the imbued light-hearted tone. But you have to be truly courageous to equate Chinese readers to a dog, as the comparison is culturally derogative.

Differences in logic

Then there are differences in reasoning and the way the different cultures process logic. A sentence like “the leather box is five times smaller than the wooden one” is well understood in English. For a Chinese mind, though, an object that is “half times smaller” will be half the size. If it’s “one times smaller” it’s reduced to nothing, and “five times smaller” is just magic. I believe we live in an era of specialisation. All of us – with few exceptions – acknowledge quietly that we understand less than we openly admit. However, when a foreign language is involved, many of us presume the translator is a person of words who is accomplished in all fields of knowledge. Try this: “Lamivudine diphosphate is the predominant anabolite and as such is assumed to be the rate-limiting step in phosphorylation to the active lamivudine triphosphate.” Let’s confess we do not really understand the meaning here, even if we have the help of a dictionary. If we don’t understand, it’s fair to say that the translator probably doesn’t either, unless his specialisation happens to be medicine. So when you’re reassured by someone that he accepts all types of translation assignments, be wary. In this regard, agencies do not provide much of a guarantee either. Smaller agencies may not have sufficient resources to do a good job while their larger counterparts may tick all the “specialisation” boxes in the register form, but may represent many, many individuals, each of whom is a mere serial number in a huge listing of translators. In this case personal interactions are anything but feasible. In short, if you engage a translator, you should be certain about their specialisation. Better still, you need to know that they have been keeping abreast of the concerned body of knowledge.

Understanding China’s law

This is an important and, unfortunately, often overlooked issue. Many business documents are promotional in nature. Clients typically have products or services in which they have much at stake; they are eager to impart their enthusiasm to their potential clients, so they boast about them, even though they believe they’re being modest. Here are the latest amendments to China’s advertising law (Chapter 3, “Contents of Advertisements,” Advertisements Law of the People’s Republic of China), which stipulate that advertisements may not contain such words as “state-level,” the “highest-level” or “best”. When communicating to clients in China, legal nuisances are the last thing you need. The take-home message here is simple. The language conversion component of translating, ironically, is only a small part of the translation process. It takes more than being bilingual. Specialised industry knowledge and life experience in both cultures are more important than linguistic training. So the next time you have a project to be completed in Chinese, say for example you want to have your prospectus translated into that language, seek suppliers who can demonstrate this capability. It’s your best bet. *William Wei Yue is BWD’s translator, and accredited by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters.

英文翻译的几个要求

岳 韦

  “物竞天择,适者生存”这样的经典译法,是我们后代译者追比前贤的标杆。 我们从中也悟出了道理,英文笔译,就是用中文来理解内容、用地道的英文书面语来复述内容的过程。但在实际工作中,我们常常会忽视翻译的一些基本要求。“怎么写你就怎么翻”!是这样吗? 笔译,考的是驾驭书面文字的功力。 以例说明:短语“a fair and well-shaped warrior”,用词平直,不难翻。 现在做个小测验,保留“a fair and well-shaped”,把 “warrior”改成“lady”、改成“dog”,也就是说,要用同样的“a fair and well-shaped”来描述三个不同的对象,而中文翻译既要各自贴切又要相互类似。 不容易吧? 难在哪里?难在中文书面语的掌握运用。 逆向思考一下就能明白,要把英文翻译做到准确、达意、地道,还是要找长期从事相关工作的人士来处理。 语言承载文化,文化浸润语言。 “道可道,非常道”和“道不同,不相为谋”, 意思我们能体会,但试着来解释一下如何?其实这牵涉到儒释道三家对“道”的不同释意和运用。 除非对中国文化有一定造诣,理解解释都难,遑论翻译复述! 同理,除非熟知基督教的创世典故,那么大概也不会用到when the clay begins to breathe这类有着宗教意涵的笔法。简言之,在掌握地道英文之外,对该国的文化渊源也要有相当的了解。 专业化是优质翻译的另一个前提。 隔行如隔山的道理大家都明白,只是一遇到翻译,就忘了知识是分门别类的这个基本事实,翻译,突然都成了“通事”,这实在是误事之源。 台湾《民法》第一百七十二条,“未受委任,並無义务,而為他人管理事务者,其管理应依本人明示或可得推知之意思,以有利於本人之方法为之。”除了那些“一把键盘,席卷各行”的“翻译专家”,自律的译者,在没经过法律知识训练之前,是不会牟然接单翻译的。

其实,对行业法规和相关法律的了解,也是优质翻译的一个重要、但又经常受到忽视的要求。 比如,我们有时也经手些带有广告性质的项目。《中华人民共和国广告法》第九条,广告不得有使用国家级最高级最佳等用语的规定,对此我们都有所了解;同理,从事这类英文项目,熟知相关国家的法律环境和规定,才能避免不必要的困扰。

本文要传达的意思十分明确。在英文翻译过程中,熟练运用书面英文只是条件之一;生活经历、文化融通、行业知识,也是必不可少的。下一次,如果有什么项目要用英文来实施,那就应该找一家从事该行业、内部又有翻译能力的单位来执行,这才是最可靠的选择。

为中国客户设计

BWD公司高级设计师林振翼(Lam Chin Yee)撰文指出,现在我们正在进入一个各种文化相互交融的全球化世界,他人的传统、他人的观念正在越来越受到广泛的关注和认可,这给那些为华人客户和观众服务的专业设计人士带来了一定的影响。这些人士应考虑下列建议: 要创造出真正吸引取悦观众的跨文化的平面设计,了解他们的历史以及中西文化的差异十分必要。 中国设计在不同的历史时期都有相应的发展,而目前的平面设计则是从1979年经济开放后,逐渐发展而来的。这也就是为什么在谈到设计时,要考虑当地的日常生活、传统、经济发展阶段以及艺术本身的演变,是十分有益的。 在中国传统的水墨画(主要是山水画)中,描绘自然景观的主要目的不仅在于反映自然的实际外观,也要表现画家本人对景观的感受和情绪,以至他的人生哲学。(中国一个重要的哲学派别强调天人统一。) 中国艺术家一直在探索拓展各类毛笔的丰富表现能力,其结果就是,他们在绘画时运用笔墨技巧,落笔有神,来传递他们的心情,感受乃至情绪。 [work_slider slider_slug=”design4china”] 西方绘画的起源可以追溯到古希腊和罗马时代,并与音乐舞蹈和雕塑等其他艺术形式协同发展。绘画的内容与人们日常生活关系密切,注重题材的写实性和美学意义。西方画家不但注重明暗、透视、结构和色度的比例协调,也强调独创性和个性表现。 西方人会讨论森林中的某一头麋鹿;而对中国人来说,森林里会有很多东西,麋鹿不过是其中之一。换一种说法就是:中国人由整体而细节,西方人从微观到宏观。 诸如此类的例子还有很多,比如说中国人写地址的时候按省、市、区、街道和门牌号的顺序来写,而西方人正相反;中国人把姓氏放在前面;写日期时把年排在月日之前。 创作产品 东方人有着循规蹈矩的悠久传统,而西方设计师往往想让自己的产品更独特,更具个性化和原创性,以期引起关注。在东方,客户常常会问设计师“有人做过吗?”,并且想要知道一种设计产品是否好卖,他们经常想的是如何模仿在市场上已获成功的产品。 汉字 与西方不同,中国设计师在字体上有着变化无穷的选择,这也必然影响着他们对自己作品的看法。中文里有超过五万个汉字,一个受过教育的中国人大约会掌握8000个,不过按最基本的要求,一个人也需要认识2000到3000个字才可以读书看报。 理解文化符号 在中国文化里,颜色常常被用来塑造和反映一个人的生活,习性,价值观和感情,它还是一种与宗教,政治和社会影响力相关联的重要交流手段。 例如红色就象征着好运和欢乐,而明黄色则是中国皇家专用色彩,体现着高贵、吉祥和诚信。 同样,一如下图所示,某些数字也具有特定的内涵和意义: 2417 FC_AR13-14 Presentation_Final7 “风水”是中国一种传统的协调人与周围环境关系的概念,在设计中,尤其是在与建筑有关的设计中,具有特殊的含义。 物体要联系当地的水体和地貌特征朝着“吉祥”的方向摆放,来平衡自然世界日夜寒暑等相互对立的“阴阳”因素。 例如,对高坐在龙椅上的皇帝来说,椅座的护屏峨然身后,这才是“首善之位”。同样的原则也适用于建筑设计,它们一般应该面水背山。 下图中的两幢香港的大楼就体现了这一点: 2417-FC_AR13-14-Presentation_Final8 利用汉字为跨文化观众设计 与此类似,我们也可以利用汉字(象形文字)来为跨文化观众创作出意涵丰富并具震撼力的设计。下面的汉字就以极具想象力的方式描述了树木森林: Cross Cultural Design2_Bright Food Presentation_pg127 Cross Cultural Design2_Bright Food Presentation_pg128 每个专业设计人员一定要领会汉字比西方语言的词占用更少的空间。 与西方语言的词不同,所有的汉字不管字体结构多么复杂,都是方形的,这一特点设计师也必须考虑。 Cross Cultural Design2_Bright Food Presentation_pg1210   Cross Cultural Design2_Bright Food Presentation_pg1213 Cross Cultural Design2_Bright Food Presentation_pg1212   开创性的机遇 如何在实践中应用这些理念呢?下面就是我们为客户PayPal利用汉字“中国”“中央”演绎而来的设计图案: 以下是我们使用象形文字将文字和物体融为一体的设计: 2417-FC_AR13-14-Presentation_Final11 再举一些例子来说明如何将这些理念结合到既符合潮流又引人注目的设计中:   可口可乐的中文翻译特别有意思。 商标中的中文读起来是这样的:KeKou KeLe,中文的原意是指“美味怡神”。 商机 总之,好的设计师会为有趣而别致的概念寻求新的机遇,尤其是在这个日渐全球化的世界里为跨国组织从事设计时,融合文化的图像,字体和理念,正是这种概念用之不竭的源泉。

Designing for China

Cross-cultural pollination in a globalised world is ushering in an era in which, increasingly, the traditions and ideas of others are becoming universally accepted, writes BWD Senior Designer Lam Chin Yee. This has ramifications for professionals who are designing for Chinese clients and audiences, he says. They should heed this advice: To create cross-cultural graphic design that genuinely delights and engages audiences, it’s important to understand the history of and differentiation between Western and Chinese culture. Chinese design has developed in tandem with distinct periods in history, with graphic design beginning to evolve in its current form in China in 1979 with the opening of the country’s economy. That’s why, when thinking about design, it’s helpful to look at daily life, traditions and stages of economic development – and how art itself has evolved. In traditional Chinese brush painting, “Shan Shui,” the main purpose of drawing landscapes is not just to represent the exact appearance of nature, but to reflect the painter’s feelings and emotions in relation to the landscape, and his or her life philosophy. (An essential Chinese philosophy is the unity of heaven, earth and human beings.) Chinese artists have long exploited the richness of ink brushes in a variety of styles. As a result, the techniques of using brush and ink to produce expressive brush strokes conveying mood, feeling and emotions have become core themes in their painting. [content_slider slider_slug=”design4china”] Western painting can trace its origins to ancient Greece and Rome, and its development was contemporaneous with other art forms such as music, dance and sculpture. The contents of paintings were associated with people’s daily lives, focusing on the authenticity and aesthetics of the subject matter. Western painters pay much attention to proportions of light and shade, perspective, anatomy and chroma, as well as originality and individuality A Westerner will talk about a deer in the forest, whereas a Chinese person might talk about a forest that has many things, one of which is a deer. Another way of putting it is that Chinese people think from macro to micro, whereas Western people think from micro to macro. When writing an address, the Chinese write, in sequence, the province, city, district, block and gate number. Westerners do the opposite. Chinese put surnames first, and the year before the month and date. Creating products While the East has a long tradition of working within boundaries and guidelines, the Western designer has traditionally tended to be more interested in making things unique, individualistic and original, and getting attention. As Chinese companies begin to design and produce products for their home market and abroad, some clients in the East have therefore been more likely to ask a designer “Has this been done before?” wanting to know if a product sold well, and often seeking copies of items that have been successful in the past instead of those that have just hit the market. But things are changing quickly. Massive cultural and economic shifts have been transforming Chinese design from imitation to innovation. More and more companies are moving from “Made in China” to “Designed in China”. Chinese characters Unlike their Western counterparts, Chinese designers have staggering choice in typefaces, which inevitably must affect the way they think about their work. There are over Chinese 50,000 characters. An educated Chinese person knows about 8,000, and at a basic level you will need to know about 2,000 to 3,000 to be able to read a newspaper. Understanding cultural symbols In Chinese culture, colour is often used to shape and define lives, habits, values and feelings, and it can be an important communication tool tied to religious, political, and social influences. Red symbolises good fortune and joy, for example, while yellow, the colour of imperial China, symbolises royalty, happiness and good faith. Likewise, certain numbers have specific emphasis and meaning, as the image below shows: 2417 FC_AR13-14 Presentation_Final7 Globalisation means more and more young people are being exposed to the ideas and cultures of others, while technology is making access to information easier than ever. Increasingly, traditions and ideas are becoming universal. Feng shui, a traditional Chinese system for haRmonising people with their environment, has special meaning in design, especially in relation to buildings. These should be oriented in an “auspicious” manner with reference to local features like bodies of water or land forms, balancing opposing forces in nature – the yin and the yang – such as night and day and hot and cold. A king, for example, would be expected to sit on a throne with the bulk of the throne behind him, to give him a “proper” orientation. It’s the same with buildings. They should generally be constructed, for instance, with the rear facing a mountain and the front facing water. Two buildings in Hong Kong in the image below exemplify this: 2417-FC_AR13-14-Presentation_Final8 Using characters for cross-cultural audiences In a similar way, Chinese characters (pictograms) can help create fascinating and meaningful designs for cross-cultural audiences. Here’s how you could depict a forest in an imaginative way: Cross Cultural Design2_Bright Food Presentation_pg127 Cross Cultural Design2_Bright Food Presentation_pg128 Chinese characters differ in height and width from Western ones and generally take up less space. There are also sharp contrasts in character weight and density, which any design professional must appreciate. And unlike Westerm characters, all Chinese characters are square, no matter how complex. This, too, must be factored in by a designer. Cross Cultural Design2_Bright Food Presentation_pg1210   Cross Cultural Design2_Bright Food Presentation_pg1213 Cross Cultural Design2_Bright Food Presentation_pg1212   Creative opportunities How else can these ideas be used in practice? Here’s how we extrapolated the Chinese word for “China” and “Central” into a design for client PayPal: And here’s how we used pictograms to combine objects and words: 2417-FC_AR13-14-Presentation_Final11 And while on the subject of aligning these ideas with contemporary, compelling designs. . .   The Chinese Coca-Cola logo is especially interesting. The way you pronounce the Chinese words that appear in the logo is “Kekou Kele”, which means “Delicious, refreshing, and joy” in Chinese. Business opportunities In conclusion, good designers continually seek new opportunities for great and interesting concepts. Fusing cultural images, typography and ideas can provide a brilliant source for such ideas – especially when designing for multinational organisations in an increasingly globalised world.