TONG Digital are a London-based digital agency who produce effective and sustainable ways of getting a company’s offering in front of China’s new generation of tech savvy consumers. TONG help foreign brands implement winning entry strategies into this vast market by monitoring social trends in Chinese society and combining their market insights with the latest technologies.
Adam Knight and James Campbell co-founded TONG in 2014 having met at the University of Oxford while studying Chinese. They’ve lived and worked in China and are invited regularly to speak about their insights into the market at industry events around the world. They manage a team of native Chinese speakers from their headquarters in London.
TONG needed a new brand which better reflected, and celebrated, the cross-cultural nature of the company. TONG also needed a sub-brand for its new SaaS product, WeCommerce.
The TONG Digital Moodboard we created as part of their brand development process. We were inspired by mid-century Swiss design; Chinese typography; editorial layout grids and the movement of text from left to right - and top to bottom - on a page.
Through customer research, we found the personal expertise of the co-founders was a key USP and profoundly impacted a client's belief in the brand. Trust in Adam and James - and their ability to deliver success in an uncertain and often unintelligible market - was paramount.
Working closely with TONG, we developed a brand strategy and designed a brand identity and website that communicates the solidity of the company's offering. The brand was broken down into a journey from West to East, and from left to right. The space in between these two points is the path TONG guide their customers along: the path to greater success in China.
We created a Logo which speaks from these two positions. It represents the blend of cultures that TONG embodies, but also a journey between two continents. On the left, the Logo is comprised of a Latin-based mark with an added Chinese flourish. On the right, the Logo is the Chinese character for TONG, carefully redrawn with delicate Western serifs. Unifying these two marks is the common T with superimposed Guide Lines which are the primary signifiers of the TONG brand.
The Guide Lines are two parallel lines present in both Eastern and Western parts of the Logo. They are a path; a bridge; and Adam and James. We wove the Guide Lines into the WeCommerce sub-brand. Here they are also used to reflect the commercial positioning of the SaaS product - mimicking the double strikethrough in the symbol of the Yuan (the Chinese currency).
We used the Guide Lines to create a brand pattern which grew in complexity on the journey from West to East. For WeCommerce, the Guide Lines were closed into a Guide Box, which reflected the commodified nature of their tech 'product'.
The brand system combines Grifo - a bold serif typeface designed by Portuguese type designer Rui Abreu - with LangQian, a sculpted Chinese typeface with angular terminals. The sharp, triangular serifs of the Grifo design were an ideal match for LangQian.
We also designed and developed TONG's website - implementing the brand strategy, system and identity to create a platform that conveys TONG's knowledge and expertise to potential clients around the world.