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Whether you speak the language or not, thanks to their logos and packaging, when you see a familiar product like Mars or Coca Cola in a foreign country, you recognise it immediately. Multinational companies pay vast sums of money to reinvent their logos for use abroad, taking great pains to ensure that while the characters may change, the brand, style and message remain the same.

Along with fellow creative Stephen Wright, Shanghai-based freelance designer and illustrator Niek van Wingerden is currently making waves over on creative portfolio site Behance where he is displaying a collection of six world-famous logos, re-imagined in Chinese.

Even if you don’t speak the lingo, we know you’ll recognise these logos!

Just like how in Japan most foreign brands are written in or accompanied by katakana script that mimics the original’s pronunciation (thus Microsoft becomes Maikurosofuto, and this writer ends up being called Firu rather than Phil by his Japanese friends and family), in China foreign names are often matched to Chinese characters with similar sounds and, wherever possible, have positive or appropriate meanings. Below, for example, we see signs from two branches of McDonald’s, the first in Japan, the second in China:

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 4.10.14 PMPhoto: Infinitelegroom

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 4.05.35 PMPhoto: The world of Chinese 

What’s important, though, is that whatever the language, there are enough similarities between the localised version of a logo and the original to convey a sense of uniformity and familiarity, and that’s precisely what Niek and Stephen have done here.

Let’s see if you can guess which well-known brands these represent!

1.

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2.

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3.

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4.

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5.

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6.

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The first logo took me a little longer than the others, and number six is perhaps a little tricky, especially for those of us who aren’t from the US, but I’m pretty sure you got the rest right. (Just in case, here are the answers: 1. Walt Disney 2. Intel 3. Mars 4. Sega 5. Kit Kat 6. The New York Times)

Pretty cool, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Visit Neik van Wingerden and Stephen Wright‘s online portfolios for more.

Source: Behance