It is always easier to spot the differences between the city you live in and experience daily versus another city you only visit once in awhile. Hsuan, one of 300FeetOut’s designers, spent some time observing the progression of creative industry in Taiwan during her 2014 New Year homecoming trip.
In recent years, the government in Taiwan has worked to emphasize the creative industries. For those of you unfamiliar with what “creative industries” encompasses, Wikipedia says, “The creative industries refers to a range of economic activities which are concerned with the generation or exploitation of knowledge and information.” This includes basically anything involving the creative process, meaning everything from art, fashion, film, architecture, performing arts, and design to advertising, publishing, software development, toys & games, TV, radio, and video games development.
One of Hsuan’s favorite spots from her trip to Taiwan was Eslite Spectrum Songyan Store. Eslite first started as bookstore chain. As time went on, they began to integrate four elements — culture, art, creativity and life — into their brand. Eventually these four elements became their core and they successfully transformed their brand into a lifestyle. Visitors will also find performance halls, a movie theater, a bookstore, workshops and a concept store called Living Project in this “creative factory.” In 2013, they pushed their brand a (huge) step further by providing a stage that showcases brands and products created by local makers.
The space, which featured local brands, maker products, and workshops, is called “EXPO: elite x platform original.” It is similar to Renegade Craft Fair or SF Bazaar that we have here in San Francisco but Elite EXPO runs all year long. They are also focusing on featuring brands/companies that use local ingredients and sources for their products, from tea, coffee, and local specialty food to handcrafted products. Hsuan was amazed by how the creative industries in Taiwan have progressed over the last five years while she has been focusing on absorbing everything art & design related in the U.S.
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Tea, coffee, and rice are three things Hsuan loves no matter where she goes. She especially likes products that are locally-grown with meaningful stories, strong branding, and beautiful design. The following are brands with good design that attracted Hsuan’s attention during her observation process:
JingShengYu Taiwanese Tea House – Besides selling high-quality Taiwanese tea, JingShegYu also uses their tea-making expertise to provide unique experiences filled with enthusiasm & passion for Taiwanese tea.
Green in Hand – This company turns one of the most ordinary products/objects, rice, into something special by embracing the Taiwanese traditions of treasuring and connecting with the land through agriculture. They encourage the practice of being thankful for this beautiful, ordinary product that we get from the land. Green in Hand did an amazing job of promoting agriculture in Taiwan with quality agricultural products.
Alisan Coffee – This brand was founded by a coffee enthusiast who was originally from Japan and worked as a barista. With the limited production due to weather, geographical environments, and the handpicking process of Alisan coffee, he incurred many difficulties, but finally got the chance to introduce this amazing coffee to the world.
From the above three examples, Hsuan learned that a successful brand is complimented by three essential things: a meaningful story, a quality product, and useful designs. Quality plays such an important role these days because people are much more aware of what they are eating now.
There are so many excellent products out there. Many of them just need some help from the creative industry to build bridges connecting customers with brands through design, whether it’s a new logo, branding, packaging, print & digital ads, or websites.