The influence of design: A focus on Asian founder-led brands

When consumers think of design, it’s likely they’ll intuitively veer towards designer brands, extraordinary architecture, or art. Rarely do they see a connection with the functional and mundane, like a pencil. To develop a product or service can take months of researching, strategizing, brainstorming, prototyping, and testing until it’s ready to roll out en masse - this is designing.

Author

Sarah Chen Lin

Publish

May 7, 2022

Read Time

5 mins

Client

We believe there are 3 key ingredients to a successful design:

• It needs to address a need or solve a problem.
• It needs to be aesthetically pleasing and straightforward.
• It needs to be customer-centric.

In short, design isn’t up to standard unless it is both beautiful and practical. Let’s look at some interesting examples.

1. Product Design

In the context of branding and B2C/DTC businesses, product design has 3 key goals: 1) to capture attention in a saturated space, 2) ensure the brand stays top-of-mind, and sometimes 3) revolutionize user experience or consumption patterns. The IOPE Air Cushion sunblock, released by Korean cosmetics brand AmorePacific in 2008, is arguably the product that kickstarted the cushion compact trend worldwide. It has since been emulated by almost all cosmetics companies and changed the way consumers apply foundation today.

See Images: IOPE Air Cushion components (Source: Jiyoun Kim Studio)


2. Algorithm Design

Launched by Chinese company ByteDance, Douyin and Tik Tok have taken the world by storm since 2016, reaching more than 1.5 billion active users this year (2021). The apps are responsible for skyrocketing brands and products into fame, such as CeraVe in 2020 and the Instant FIRMx Eye Temporary Eye Tightener recently when these products were sold out everywhere in the USA. It all comes down to the algorithm design and how the user interface and experience (UIUX) are designed to feed the algorithm with a constant stream of user data. Virality is not affected by the size of one’s followership or the success of past content, which makes the platform efficient at connecting users with their niche communities. We won’t drill into the nitty gritty but if you’re interested, this article is brilliant at dissecting TikTok’s design strategy:

click here

From a branding perspective, this can act as a double-edged sword. The platform is essentially an amplifier. On the upside, it can be effective for brand awareness that can translate into positive bottom lines. However, note maintaining momentum is expensive compared to other platforms. On the downside, it can spread misinformation or fuel negative PR.


3. Event Branding

Seeing as most global events are still held digitally, online event branding for companies is more important than ever. Whether you’re the host, a sponsor, or a partner brand, these events pave the way for: 1) co-branding opportunities, 2) growing leads, and 3) enhancing the brand universe. It falls on design to ensure every touchpoint and every minute detail is on-brand. #RazerCon2021 was an immaculate example this year with 1.5 million viewers tuning in from around the world (us included) and achieving 250 million impressions across its social media channels.

In case you’re new to this industry, Razer is a renowned gaming brand co-founded by Singaporean ex-lawyer Min-Liang Tan and American serial entrepreneur Robert Krakoff. Every year they release some of the most coveted gaming equipment for hardcore gamers.

*See Images: RazerCon2021 Press (Source: Razer Inc.)


4. Wayfinding Design

Wayfinding is a less-talked-about form of design, no less important. How else would we know where the exits or the washrooms are? What makes good wayfinding comes down to two things - inclusivity and safety. Much like UIUX design, the purpose is to provide a frictionless journey for any user from point A to B. From a branding perspective, we also consider: 

• The consistent use of colors, fonts, numbering and/or letter coding

• Recognizable iconography

• Languages (signages should be bilingual at minimum)

• Placement of signages

The Tokyo subway system in Japan is one of our favorite examples of wayfinding design. It is easily one of the most complex in the world with 1060 exits in total (yes, we really counted), with Kasumigaseki station having the most exits (49). Out of all the times we’ve visited Tokyo and despite not speaking an ounce of Japanese, we’ve never been lost because the wayfinding ticks all the boxes to a successful design in our humble opinion! This blog brilliantly illustrates our argument: click here

5. Circular Design

To not integrate circularity in product or service design today is a recipe for business disaster long-term. Pertinent to Asia, a study done by McKinsey in 2020 showed that the region had the fastest growth rate in terms of sustainable packaging developments and consumer adoption spearheaded (surprisingly) by Gen X! 

One of our favorite examples is O’right, a Taiwan-based hair care company. Their biodegradable bottles bloom into coffee plants or acacia trees when buried in soil under the right conditions. The company has yet to release numbers to prove consumers are changing their behavior on this front. However, the products are thoughtfully designed to encourage change and ~3 million bottles have been sold as of 2018, a significant start towards sustainable consumption. Read more: click here.


The Influence of Design 

To say design is important is an understatement. It is massively important as it influences every aspect of our lives now and in the future. Behind good design are heavy investments, research, strategy, empathy, and dare we say, sometimes a touch of madness. Good design takes time. Just look at the modern pencil. It took over 100 years of design iterations until it was standardized and mass produced in Germany in the 17th century. What are some of your favorite designs?

The influence of design: A focus on Asian founder-led brands

When consumers think of design, it’s likely they’ll intuitively veer towards designer brands, extraordinary architecture, or art. Rarely do they see a connection with the functional and mundane, like a pencil. To develop a product or service can take months of researching, strategizing, brainstorming, prototyping, and testing until it’s ready to roll out en masse - this is designing.

Author

Sarah Chen Lin

Publish

May 7, 2022

Read Time

5 mins

Client

We believe there are 3 key ingredients to a successful design:

• It needs to address a need or solve a problem.
• It needs to be aesthetically pleasing and straightforward.
• It needs to be customer-centric.

In short, design isn’t up to standard unless it is both beautiful and practical. Let’s look at some interesting examples.

1. Product Design

In the context of branding and B2C/DTC businesses, product design has 3 key goals: 1) to capture attention in a saturated space, 2) ensure the brand stays top-of-mind, and sometimes 3) revolutionize user experience or consumption patterns. The IOPE Air Cushion sunblock, released by Korean cosmetics brand AmorePacific in 2008, is arguably the product that kickstarted the cushion compact trend worldwide. It has since been emulated by almost all cosmetics companies and changed the way consumers apply foundation today.

See Images: IOPE Air Cushion components (Source: Jiyoun Kim Studio)


2. Algorithm Design

Launched by Chinese company ByteDance, Douyin and Tik Tok have taken the world by storm since 2016, reaching more than 1.5 billion active users this year (2021). The apps are responsible for skyrocketing brands and products into fame, such as CeraVe in 2020 and the Instant FIRMx Eye Temporary Eye Tightener recently when these products were sold out everywhere in the USA. It all comes down to the algorithm design and how the user interface and experience (UIUX) are designed to feed the algorithm with a constant stream of user data. Virality is not affected by the size of one’s followership or the success of past content, which makes the platform efficient at connecting users with their niche communities. We won’t drill into the nitty gritty but if you’re interested, this article is brilliant at dissecting TikTok’s design strategy:

click here

From a branding perspective, this can act as a double-edged sword. The platform is essentially an amplifier. On the upside, it can be effective for brand awareness that can translate into positive bottom lines. However, note maintaining momentum is expensive compared to other platforms. On the downside, it can spread misinformation or fuel negative PR.


3. Event Branding

Seeing as most global events are still held digitally, online event branding for companies is more important than ever. Whether you’re the host, a sponsor, or a partner brand, these events pave the way for: 1) co-branding opportunities, 2) growing leads, and 3) enhancing the brand universe. It falls on design to ensure every touchpoint and every minute detail is on-brand. #RazerCon2021 was an immaculate example this year with 1.5 million viewers tuning in from around the world (us included) and achieving 250 million impressions across its social media channels.

In case you’re new to this industry, Razer is a renowned gaming brand co-founded by Singaporean ex-lawyer Min-Liang Tan and American serial entrepreneur Robert Krakoff. Every year they release some of the most coveted gaming equipment for hardcore gamers.

*See Images: RazerCon2021 Press (Source: Razer Inc.)


4. Wayfinding Design

Wayfinding is a less-talked-about form of design, no less important. How else would we know where the exits or the washrooms are? What makes good wayfinding comes down to two things - inclusivity and safety. Much like UIUX design, the purpose is to provide a frictionless journey for any user from point A to B. From a branding perspective, we also consider: 

• The consistent use of colors, fonts, numbering and/or letter coding

• Recognizable iconography

• Languages (signages should be bilingual at minimum)

• Placement of signages

The Tokyo subway system in Japan is one of our favorite examples of wayfinding design. It is easily one of the most complex in the world with 1060 exits in total (yes, we really counted), with Kasumigaseki station having the most exits (49). Out of all the times we’ve visited Tokyo and despite not speaking an ounce of Japanese, we’ve never been lost because the wayfinding ticks all the boxes to a successful design in our humble opinion! This blog brilliantly illustrates our argument: click here

5. Circular Design

To not integrate circularity in product or service design today is a recipe for business disaster long-term. Pertinent to Asia, a study done by McKinsey in 2020 showed that the region had the fastest growth rate in terms of sustainable packaging developments and consumer adoption spearheaded (surprisingly) by Gen X! 

One of our favorite examples is O’right, a Taiwan-based hair care company. Their biodegradable bottles bloom into coffee plants or acacia trees when buried in soil under the right conditions. The company has yet to release numbers to prove consumers are changing their behavior on this front. However, the products are thoughtfully designed to encourage change and ~3 million bottles have been sold as of 2018, a significant start towards sustainable consumption. Read more: click here.


The Influence of Design 

To say design is important is an understatement. It is massively important as it influences every aspect of our lives now and in the future. Behind good design are heavy investments, research, strategy, empathy, and dare we say, sometimes a touch of madness. Good design takes time. Just look at the modern pencil. It took over 100 years of design iterations until it was standardized and mass produced in Germany in the 17th century. What are some of your favorite designs?