One of the most challenging aspects of brand design is ensuring that the implied message is correctly perceived across different cultures.

We are all aware that clients who export, or work on the international stage, require their brands to work across non European cultures. Living in Australia we tend to design in a westernised style influenced by European and North American trends and meanings. This is fine for most clients we work with but what we tend to forget is that Australia is a multi cultural nation with an indigenous population.

Growing up and working in New Zealand where the Maori culture is respected and a large part of every day life and then working in Europe, you quickly learn the importance of meanings in designs that have to work on more than a singular English meaning. The key to achieving a successful design be it Chinese or Spanish is still the same as always – research and more research. You need to speak with the people who know the cultures you are dealing with and be guided by them. We at Jack in the box firmly value and utilise this.

You may be aware that Jack in the box is currently in the process of re-branding the Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley (Scott’s blog 19 10 09), and before a single pen was put to paper in the creative room we flew up to Kununurra for a series of community consultations. Only then did we begin to understand the requirements strategically and creatively.

The challenge of this re-brand is that we need to represent the shire on a multitude of levels from a commercial aspect through to a multi cultural community with a large indigenous population.

It is through our community consultation we discovered a wealth of feelings; history; future outlooks; likes and dislikes. One perception that came across is that the current brand is too traditional in a European style. Now that doesn’t mean the answer is to create a pseudo indigenous logo made up of dots. If research is the biggest key to success then the biggest key to failure when designing for various cultures is tokenism.

What research did show is that if we were to create an ‘indigenous’ brand it would fail because there are not many symbols that have the same meaning universally across the indigenous groups, let alone the fact we wouldn’t be representing any of the other communities or requirements of the new brand.

Of course we expect there to be opinions and some people won’t like it because some people just don’t like change, but we are creating the new brand based on what the community has said. Is it a challenge? It sure is, one we relish and once we have cracked it we will upload it to our website for you to have a look.