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Julie Tai Suhner

Master's in Graphic Design
IDI Featured: Social Awareness

How does graphic communication on a branding point of view differ from a location to others, based on language, cultural and historical considerations?

My work is a visual study on famous Western brands that have been transliterated to Chinese over the years. Brands do indeed have a purpose: to be recognised and valuated by their target customers. In some foreign markets, as the Chinese one, the alphabetic system cannot fulfil that purpose, emotionally speaking, therefore brands sometimes have to be transliterated to ensure better identification by the local customers.

In imagining how they would look like in a reverse-transliteration process, back to their original language system (i.e. English), I would like to highlight the importance of semiotics in branding when new foreign markets are targeted. In some languages with different writing systems such as Chinese with ideograms, the meaning of a brand carries a meaning that necessarily has an influence on its appearance, too.

My work will be presented in various real-life situations and printed on a card game. This will show how proper or improper transliteration processes could actually unveil a humorous or absurd aspect, and how much influence it has on the perception of the public.

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