22 October 2018
The font used in Tencent’s logo has changed recently. Designed by Hong Kong's Julius Hui (inset), the logo now looks more elegant and sharp. Photo: HKEJ
The font used in Tencent’s logo has changed recently. Designed by Hong Kong's Julius Hui (inset), the logo now looks more elegant and sharp. Photo: HKEJ

How Tencent made its logo stand out with a new font

Tencent Holdings (00700.HK), the Chinese internet giant, released on Wednesday its financial results for the third quarter, with both the revenue and net profit topping market expectations.

I’m not going to delve into the details of the quarterly performance here, but instead want to focus on another bit of news that crossed my mind in relation to the company. 

Have you noticed that the font used in Tencent’s Chinese logo has changed, and that the logo that now looks better?

The new font is the result of the efforts of Hong Kong designer Julius Hui, who has made the logo look both elegant and chic.

Now, why did Tencent decide to go in for a new design? 

Well, the fact is that logo design can play a big role in today’s world.

Brad Parscale, Trump campaign’s digital director, for instance, has said that his team spent most of its digital advertising budget on Facebook, testing more than 50,000 ad variations each day in an attempt to micro-target voters.

The Facebook ads only cost as low as 10 cents for each click, and each ad could reach a few hundred people. And the team would constantly test minute variations in the design, color, background and phrasing of Facebook ads in order to maximize the impact.

The User Interface Experience (UIX) is essential for the final outcome. UIX is one of the areas that global internet firms are focusing on. Many apps have a similar function, and the user experience in the interface is critical.

Apple’s founder Steve Jobs knew this so well. Jobs never missed his calligraphy classes when he attended the Reed College. That experience was largely responsible for the seismic shift in computing typeface that the Mac has been responsible for.

Jobs designed Serif and San Serif fonts in Mac system, which led to many art designers making a switch to Mac. The designers had been fed up with Times New Roman in an ordinary computer.

Returning to our discussion on Tencent, it’s said that the company had hired designers to create not only Chinese fonts, but also fonts for Japanese and Latin.

The project is led by Enya Chan, general manager in its user research and experience design department. Chan joined Tencent in 2003, and she was the first UIX designer of Tencent.

Julius Hui of the Hong Kong-based design firm Monotype Studio is responsible for the new Chinese font.

Tencent’s Chinese logo tilts slightly this time, which has highlighted the chic vibe of the internet giant. Hui has managed to combine the aesthetic feature of the Chinese characters while making them look refreshing and sharp.

Art design looks like a good career in the internet era, apart from programming. But artists have to have both gift and luck in order to succeed. 

Tencent has used the new font for the logo at its headquarters in Shenzhen. The design will now also be put in use on its WeChat, QQ and other software.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Nov 16

Translation by Julie Zhu with additional reporting 

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal columnist

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