Brandmaker Profile features the people and their work on both the creative and the business side of branding in Asia.
Name: Tu Min-Shiang
Title: Design Director/Founder, Tu Design Office
Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan
Current location: Taipei
School: National Yunlin University of Science and Technology
First job out of school? Graphic Designer
Current employer: Tu Design Office
First project in your field: Concert poster design
Most recent project: Visual identity for Taiwan Quality Food Association (TQF)
Awards and accolades: IF Design Award 2014, Good Design Award 2012
Website you visit most: www.kashiwasato.com
Book everyone must read: Steve Jobs – A Biography
Founder and design director at Tu Design Office in Taipei, Taiwan, Tu Min-Shiang graduated from National Yunlin University of Science and Technology with a master’s degree in visual communication design.
Forgive the segue, but the thing I first noticed when looking at his work is how smoothly it communicates visually.
His selection of shapes, lines and colors, the fluidity of their arrangement, and the interplay between graphics and typeface, are both striking and fun to simply stare at for awhile.
Working in Taiwan’s fast-paced design industry requires a skillset beyond creativity says Min-Shiang –a designer must also possess the ability to execute on their creative instincts in rapid fashion.
“Taiwan is a country with a speedy and efficient working pace,” Tu once told IbN Magazine. “And for a time-consuming industry such as design, it is a great challenge for designers to come up with good ideas in a limited amount of time, to say nothing of innovation.”
Along with running his firm, Min-Shiang also lectures ambitious designers at the Department of Industrial and Communication Design at National Taiwan University of Science and Technology.
His work with young designers extends beyond the classroom. He also generously lends his time to major design events such as the Young Designers’ Exhibition and Taiwan Design EXPO.
Branding in Asia recently spoke with Tu Min-Shiang at his office in Taipei.
What kind of brief do you enjoy working on most?
Brand design is my passion even though, sometimes, it is challenging. Whenever I am involved in brand design, I can gain experience and insight into different industries. The fields that I have designed for are various, including cafés, Japanese restaurants, cosmetics and furniture. In my experience, sometimes my clients have a divergence of opinion about brand design, I still manage to communicate with them to reach a consensus and perfect my work.
Are there any new styles or brand design trends in Taiwan that you’re excited about?
Taiwan is famous for its use of traditional Chinese. Recently, the typography of traditional Chinese has become diverse and aesthetic and more designers have started to apply this trait to brand design.
For example, the key visual of the 26th Golden Melody Awards, which is the most well-known music awards event in Taiwan, is characterized for its 3D traditional Chinese. I believe that new typographies of traditional Chinese have become a hit over the last few years.
“MY DREAM CLIENTS ARE THE ONES WHO TRUST MY OPINIONS AND RESPECT MY WORK. ALSO, THOSE THAT CAN SUGGEST IDEAS AND CONTINUOUSLY COMMUNICATE UNTIL REACHING A CONSENSUS, WHICH IS THE IDEAL INTERACTION BETWEEN CLIENTS AND DESIGNERS.”
Are there any styles that you are getting tired of?
The architecture in Taiwan is dull and lacks novelty, lately. Most condominiums and apartments are basically in the same style, and as well as the same construction materials. I really hope that the architecture in Taiwan can make a progression someday.
What is your ‘dream client’ and your ‘nightmare client?’
My dream clients are the ones who trust my opinions and respect my work. Also, those that can suggest ideas and continuously communicate until reaching a consensus, which is the ideal interaction between clients and designers.
On the opposite side, my nightmare clients are the ones who don’t express their ideas and don’t trust my profession. Sometimes they are reluctant to call for my advice or they ask me to redesign work without respect. I think this is not a pleasant relationship between clients and designers.
What is a productivity tool you simply can’t live without?
A pen and a piece of paper. These tools are indispensable because they enable me to visualize my ideas and quickly and freely finish design work. They also allow me to draw a simple but vivid sketch at any time.
If you could spend a day with anyone in your field who would it be and what woud you do?
My favorite designer is Kashiwa Sato, a famous Japanese designer. If I spent a day with him, I would participated in his activities, such as his speeches or exhibitions. He is admirable because his aesthetic product design tends to boost sales, which is an exceptional achievement in the field of design.
Client: SecretHaus (2014)
Project Type: Branding
Concept: “SecretHaus is a new mask brand in Taiwan which was established by Haus International Co., Ltd.. We sketched many S-shape graphics which are similar to the initial word of the brand in a repetitive order in the packaging layout. The matching of the brilliant layered colors and the translucent bright material represent shiny, beautiful skin.”
Client: Tu Design Office (2015)
Name: 2015 Tu Design Business Card
Project Type: Graphic Design
Client: Taiwan Quality Food Association (2015)
Name: TQF Corporation Identity Design
Project type: Identity
Concept: “The Taiwan Food GMP Development Association was officially renamed the Taiwan Quality Food (TQF) in 2015, which also brought about the updating of the corporate identity design.
TQF is in charge of the inspection and accreditation of businesses in the food industry so as to improve food safety and health for the public. Over the past two decades since its establishment, it provides significant support and assistance to the food industry.
We hoped to create a feeling of assurance and trust in TQF by the public through its updated image. Thus, the theme of the logo design focuses on support and assistance. It is depicted using the shape of people, wherein the person on the left represents the food industry, while the person on the right represents TQF. The TQF symbol on the right provides support and assistance to its counterpart on the left.
Such action also creates the form of a smile. It indicates that through the cooperation of both parties, the mass public can be made to smile with assurance and satisfaction, which creates a good food environment for the society. Moreover, the circle shape represents the high-quality and perfect accreditation symbol. After a business receives accreditation from TQF, everyone can feel more assured with the food industry.”
Client: Sky Lens Cinema (2015)
Project type: Branding
Client: Design Pin (2015)
Name: Design Pin
Concept: “Design Pin is a shop located in Songshan Cultural and Creative Park in Taipei that sells quality design works that have won awards at home and abroad. The design of the shop logo takes the simple PIN shape as the element, which represents a remark.
Regarding the extension design application, we started to make some changes on the PIN element, such as rotating, fading, and lining in different sizes. Even the logo is integrated in the illustration in the poster design. The logo can be taken as a table or dialog balloon, so as to create the image that the brand contains rich originalities, changes and vitalities, as well as the brand spirit of the shop ‘More Design, Better Life'”.
Images courtesy of Tu Design Office