Fifteen acclaimed illustrators show why a one-size-fits-all global approach won't work
If brands are to enjoy global creative success it's imperative they invest in appealing to the cultural nuances of their different audiences, or risk misunderstanding, miscommunicating and missing out. This is the thinking behind a new exhibition, The World in Words, launching in Spitalfields, London today.
Organised by creative translation agency franklyfluent, the show contrasts works from 15 illustrators from across the globe, all guided by the same creative brief: translate into visuals what ‘Home’, ‘Chaos’, ‘Move’, ‘Feast’, and ‘Humour’ mean to them. The illustrative results expose the diversity of interpretations of everyday, seemingly universal concepts when seen through a different cultural and linguistic lens.
"By contrasting these stunning works created by talented artists who’ve grown up in countries and cultures far and wide, the exhibition brings into sharp relief the reality that words mean very different things to very different people," says Catherine Barr, franklyfluent co-founder. "It’s clear that communication is not just about words themselves, but the deep and often overlooked meanings and feelings underpinning them – all of which are embedded by our unique cultural backgrounds.
"With an increasing amount of communication and content catering for larger, broader, more culturally-diverse audiences, the need for awareness and sensitivity to the differences in culture has never been more important.
"Ultimately, failing to properly invest in the translation of your brand’s product or service can be costly and embarrassing. For example, I imagine Clairol’s launch of its ‘Mist Stick’ curling iron in Germany would have been a lot more successful if they’d realised that mist is slang for manure. And this is just a simple example of a blunder over one word; brands must think far beyond this.
"The good news is that the opportunity for those who get it right – and there are a few – is huge. It’s about a need for creativity and rigour in the transcreation sector, which we feel has traditionally been lacking. It is time to raise the bar."
The World in Words, which features new pieces from Tim Lahan, Ori Toor, Antti Kalevi and Cachete Jack, opens today and tomorrow in Spitalfields – 82A Commercial Street, London E1 6LY.