Oct 11, 2021

Embracing the 'playful absurdities' of Hong Kong life

Design Bridge Singapore creates hyper-local craft beer brand for the Hong Kong market.
Elisabeth Skoda

The Design Bridge Singapore Studio has shared details of the team’s transformation of the craft beer brand YAU from Hong Kong, which it says has ignited new appeal in the competitive craft beer market. The vibrant new branding draws on witty Hong Kong colloquialisms, and a collaboration with local illustrators Brainrental, rooting the brand firmly within local culture, imbuing it with fresh relevance for both Hong Kong residents and people visiting the city.

Tim Siro, Executive Creative Director at Design Bridge Singapore commented, "YAU was originally launched in 2017. To go with a new format launch in 2019, the brand was looking forward to creating a stronger connection and genuinely resonate with consumers in Hong Kong. We’ve done that by using playful twists on the local Cantonese dialect, and introducing a bold new visual language that firmly situates YAU in Hong Kong. The result is a brand that excites locals while appealing to both local Hongkongers, as well as curious expats and tourists eager to explore the local beer culture in the bars of Mongkok, the laneways of Lan Kwai Fong and beyond."

‘Yau' translates as ‘friendship’ in Cantonese and is often embellished in the local Hong Kong vernacular to create new phrases that playfully describe the character traits of our friends of all characters. Inspired by this, Design Bridge selected three of the most distinctive ‘YAU-isms’ to name the three current YAU brews after:

- Bor-Yau: the kind of friend you watch football with, then might just end up in bed with after!

- Fat-Siu-Yau: that intensely obsessive friend who is constantly working themselves up into a fever.

- Chu-Pang-Gau-Yau: your gluttonous friend who takes eating and drinking to a whole new level!

These have been brought to life in a collaboration with local illustration trio Brainrental, renowned for their tongue-in-cheek depictions of modern metropolitan life in Hong Kong, adding another layer of local relevance to the designs.

Tim Siro, Executive Creative Director at Design Bridge Singapore continued, “It really is the idea of using ‘Yau-isms’ that is at the heart of the brand. Making these uniquely colloquial terms the focal point of the designs allows us to express the brand in a hyper-local way - something that was missing in the previous branding. Each of the three variants is a 'friend', a different Yauism to explore, and this narrative is continued in the new brand mark where the Cantonese symbol for ‘YAU’ has been crafted to depict a friendly smile. This is set against a new colour palette of piercing magenta, ultra marine and cerulean blue to further re-energise the brand and ensure it really pings at shelf and on the bar.”

The bold new brand world Design Bridge have created for YAU has also been extended off-pack to include glassware, posters, signages, flight trays and pop-ups.  

Alice Fong, Brand Manager from YAU commented, “Design Bridge have done an incredible job of using local market knowledge to revitalise the YAU brand, transforming it into something that feels truly unique and special for beer-lovers in Hong Kong. We can’t wait to introduce people to the wonderful new world of YAU."

Elisabeth Skoda

Editor of Touchpoints magazine, writer for Packaging Europe magazine and design enthusiast!
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