Does Design Need To Be Localized For Different Markets?

3 min read December 15, 2020

We often make decisions based on what attracts us, good design attracts us and affects how we make purchasing decisions. Designs used in marketing need to be not only “good-looking”, but also “practical”.

When facing consumers from different countries and regions, experienced designers will also take into account the preferences of the local people and promote visual communication and consumer decision-making through design. Appropriately localized designs can lure new consumers to follow your brand and purchase your products.


Romain is a French designer who has worked in China for many years. He believes “the same color can have completely different meanings in different countries and regions. Designers need to carefully consider the cultural characteristics and behavioral preferences of the audience while being creative with color matching”.

Joker is a Chinese designer who is good at creating personalized user experience in his designs. Among his Chinese clients, technology companies prefer blues to represent technology, e-commerce platforms like to use simple reds and oranges to stimulate users’ desire to buy, and fashion brands tend to use low saturated, single color designs. His western customers conversely often like to use bolder and richer colors with higher saturations.

6 Colors, Different Perspectives







Flow’s Chinese design cases

Flow’s English design cases


“Western typography isn’t always equipped with the appropriate language to describe the Chinese writing system. Chinese typography works with different concepts and terminology. Due to globalization and the increasing demand for multilingual typography, designers need to have a more comprehensive understanding of fonts in different languages.”


“As Chinese fonts are square in nature, much of the spacing and kerning is less than English letters and more uniform. Chinese websites mostly use sans-serif or non-cursive fonts for body text at 14 or 16 point font size. They are easier to read and fit more with modern design.”


Flow’s Chinese design cases

Flow’s English design cases

White Space

White space is commonly used in design to make the whole work feel more harmonious. Intentionally leaving blank spaces can create room for imagination. In printing and website design, white space can be presented by margins, gutters the space between columns, spaces between lines of text, graphics, drawings or objects.

“Western and Chinese designs have different perceptions of white space. White space is highly emphasized in Western designs, while Chinese designs are relatively conservative in white space.”


“For e-commerce, the function of the design sometimes outways the need for artful “white space”. Many ecommerce websites have detailed descriptions and will not shy away from displaying large sections of text if it gives customers the valuable information needed to make a purchase.”


2 E-Commerce Websites, 2 Different Approaches to White Space



Cultural Sensitivity

Designs that do not consider cultural sensitivity can lead to failed promotions and irreparable damage to your brand image.

“Differences between Western and Chinese art and design are directly attributable to differences in cultural backgrounds. Understanding culture is imperative and a prerequisite for effective communication. China has a vast cultural heritage from which its graphic designers can draw inspiration.”


“It is very important to listen to your customers’ feedback and understand related industry’s unique characteristics. Every client has their own unique design challenges. With creativity, awareness and strong design principles, you can design a solution that will fit their needs.”


Design Success VS Failure in Marketing Campaigns

Burberry’s artful interpretation of a Chinese family at a New Year caused outrage as the family appeared cold and unhappy. It was contrary to the lively and joyous feelings usually associated with Chinese New Year in Chinese culture.

BBC’s “Doctor Who” campaign was much better received as it combined the iconic time travelling phone booth with iconic images of China. The colors and art style also invoked feelings of classical Chinese paintings.

Design Localization Is Inevitable For Different Markets! Satisfying customers from different industries and cultural backgrounds requires experience!

Our experienced cross-cultural design team has helped many domestic and foreign clients to achieve marketing success

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