Designing for Chinese Audiences

Jul 11, 2023

When localizing an existing website for China, or creating an entirely new one, here are the key points that Western marketers should consider.

Design for the China Environment

China residents are accustomed to vibrant and bustling environments filled with visual elements. Chinese brands need to stand out amidst this lively backdrop.

Western designs may appear dull in comparison, so emphasizing key visuals, graphics, and animations can captivate users and leave a positive impression.

Lighten the Tone

Chinese design and culture generally favor softer and less confrontational aesthetics. Heavy, dark, or edgy designs might convey an uncomfortable impression.

While exceptions exist, it's a good general guideline to follow, particularly for mainstream brands.

Avoid culturally insensitive issues

Understanding cultural sensitivities is crucial. Legal repercussions can arise from misrepresenting names or using non-compliant maps.

Additionally, awareness of color symbolism, numerology, dates, and superstitions is essential. Involving native Chinese team members can help navigate common pitfalls.

Include China-based Photography

Including imagery of Chinese people in familiar environments can resonate well with Chinese customers.

At the same time, for Western brands in China, including Western imagery may be relevant and even prestigious, for example in the case of an imported luxury product.

Working with Chinese Typography

Chinese web fonts have technical limitations, restricting the diversity of font styles available for headlines and body text.

On the other hand, custom Chinese characters at large sizes, converted to image format, can make a striking visual element.

Chinese text typically takes up 60% of similar Western text, making lines and pages shorter. Text of similar font size will appear relatively larger and blockier due to the size of Chinese characters.


  • Be aware that Chinese consumers are accustomed to more visually engaging designs.
  • For mainstream brands, consider lightening the tone.
  • Cultural sensitivities and trends in China should be taken into account.
  • Use localized images and provide native translations.