How Graphic Design Differs Around the World 

How Graphic Design Differs Around the World 
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Why would you need a multilingual design studio, anyway? As long as the words on your documents are translated correctly, shouldn’t that be good enough?

Well, no. Not always, especially for ads, marketing materials, and other visually intensive content. Earlier this week, we looked at some reasons why multilingual typesetting is harder than it seems. But getting the words to look right on the page is only part of the puzzle. You might think that good design is universal, but what makes a “good” graphic design in the UK won’t necessarily resonate with your audience in Japan.

With that in mind, let’s a took at some of the ways graphic design differs around the world:

Graphic Design in Japan and Asia

In the West, we tend to think of the Japanese as the original minimalists. However, graphic design in modern-day Japan is often anything but minimalist. Japanese consumers tend to favor designs with bright colors and bold brushstrokes.  Circles and flowers are common motifs, and cute mascots are a common way for businesses to make themselves more relatable to their customers.

Japanese design is also frequently “information dense.” This tendency is especially notable when it comes to websites. Japanese websites often seem cluttered and “dated” to Western eyes, but as Rich Mirocco explains on the Canva Design school blog,

“(In Japan), details are a welcome aspect of communication and therefore web design too, as a website conveys information and sells the company and its products in place of a live salesperson.”

Many of these traits are also considered desirable in China and South Korea. In China,  Website Magazine  notes that

Chinese sites tend to be divided into many independent spaces, while on western style sites the layout is arranged around a focal point on a page. This is dictated by cultural norms around displaying and consuming information, with China more used to browsing rather than focusing.

Graphic Design in Europe

Europe contains 50 sovereign states, 225 languages and a diverse array of cultures within its borders. As GoDaddy’s Justin Tsai notes in Website Magazine,

One common mistake is to group design for Europe into a single bucket and, out of convenience, treat it in the same bucket as the United States. In reality, each country is quite different.

As you might expect, different countries and regions have different design preferences.

For example, the Swiss are known for clean, simple and minimalist designs.  Minimalism rules in Scandinavia, too, with an additional focus on natural materials and textures.

Meanwhile, Spanish designers (and consumers) favor eye-catching typography, textures, bright colors (especially red) and interesting patterns. French design often relies heavily on images and artistic typography.  Also, according to Canva’s Design School blog:

France has a great canon of artistic work, so it makes sense for designers to draw inspiration from famous artists, great masterpieces, and standout artistic styles. This undoubtedly adds cultural capital to a work, aligning the graphic design piece with a legacy of French art as well as encouraging viewers to situate the work within a broader framework of artistry.

Graphic Design in India

What about India? While Western websites tend to focus more on individualism, according to

[W]eb design in India is more focused on collectivism. This includes images of groups, formal speech, mission statements and opinions on group behavior. . .  Indian websites also tend to be more washed out, have duotone effects, and tend to have lower color saturation.

Indian websites also tend to be more ornamental than Western sites, often making use of the color gold. And not just on websites – Gold is a common color in Indian print ads, too.

Graphic Design in Latin America

Latin American design favors bold colors, hand-drawn or stenciled typography and motifs drawn from local cultural traditions and folklore.

Energetic and playful, Latin American design often resembles street art or folk art. Depending on where you are, there is also influence from both the United States and Europe, according to design researcher Soren Peterson:

The northern part of the hemisphere is strongly influenced by North American design while European design still mostly influences the southern part.

A Multilingual Design Studio Gives Your Message Wings

Whether you’re translating a website, a flyer, an advertisement or any other content with a visual component, it’s important to make sure that your design will resonate with audiences in all of your target languages. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a document that’s visually targeted to an English audience but written in another language. When it comes to communicating your message, you want your design to work with you, not against you!

At K International, we can help retarget your documents so that they connect with your intended audiences. Whether it needs a different color palette, more appropriate imagery or a different set of visual cues altogether, our designers can adapt your document to communicate your message as effectively as possible.

Check out our multilingual design studio for your multilingual typesetting and transcreation needs!

Photo credit: Attribution Some rights reserved by ark