Case Study: Hup Leong Company
Brand Presence | Community Management | Design | Online Advertising
Since 2017, I have had the fortune of building and managing Hup Leong Company’s brand presence online and offline from the ground up.
Hup Leong Company began as a small bicycle store at Tiong Bahru in 1968, but sits on the cusp of Chinatown today. The company has grown into one of the 3 main bicycle giants in Singapore, and represents globally-recognised legacy brands.
When I was tasked to redesign the logo in 2017, it had to be done with the foresight which set the company up for successful digital onboarding. As designers understand, a logo is meant to help one identify the company, and any attempts to integrate a long company name into the logo is often counter-intuitive. The common solution is to lean into acronyms, but “HLC” would only serve to mask Hup Leong Company’s heritage name which is significant to it’s origins. I took this opportunity to invent the digital moniker “hupleongco” in an effort to modernise, and yet keep enough significance in the term to do justice to the company’s history. The current logo has gone through 2 rounds of updating and consists of a formal logo, informal logo and a favicon adaptable to various print collaterals and digital markers.
Description: It seems to literally derive from 6 bicycle chain links paired with an italic font of the company name in reddish and warm hues which were widely used during the 20th Century to attract the attention of a passerby.
Note: This was the highest quality pixel file on hand.
Design by: Jeremychowcollective
Description: The name Hup Leong Company is actually a phonic translation of it’s Chinese name “合龙”, which was intended to mean “to work together”. The squarish profile of this logo paired with the geometric font ‘Futura’ was thought up to signify the company’s dedication to precision in their craft. This worked well as a ‘quick fix’ since we needed one, and was versatile enough to be applied on all mediums–website, favicon, social media, namecard, miscellaneous collaterals.
Design by: Jeremychowcollective
Description: Since the Hupleongco brand had been established in the minds of their consumers for 2 years, and their digital platforms have been creatively noticed, it was time to take a deeper look into the logo. The 2017 logo was just a functional piece, a name in a square, but the hupleongco brand needed a ‘face’ which reflected it’s worth. Together with their Business Developer, we decided that the ‘hupleongco’ identity was here to stay, although this time, instead of boasting precision or heritage in the logo, we focused on the main player–bicycles.
A fresh viewer would know that hupleongco is a bicycle shop because of the tagline “The Bicycle People” and confirm it with the wheel-like letter “o’s”.
An experienced cyclists could identify the type of wheels–3 spoke aero wheels–at a glance. I wanted to hide a little secret in plain sight seeing that most famous brands have fun with this as well (i.e. Fedex, Amazon).
The “o” wheel icon then naturally works as the new favicon for social media profiles and tabs.
^Yes, I do realise it may look reminiscent of a steering wheel, but nobody has a 3-spoke-equilateral steering wheel. Here were the top 5 favicons considered and systematically eliminated due to scalability and legibility reasons.
^these were the top 5 favicons tested
My very first task was to work with their business developer to catalogue the entire store onto a website. Like most businesses today, customers want to see immediate stock updates, and working with an external web developer is just not practical when products come in every other week. What began as an online catalogue has turned into a full-blown ecommerce site.
My idea behind the entire website execution was to look at a bicycle store just as you would a multi-label distributor; because that is what it is.
Bicycle shops have always seen themselves as retail giants who happen to carry many brands, but that cannot be further than the truth. By looking at bicycle stores as a multi-label distributor, we were able to strategise a way for hupleongco to act as a service provider and let each individual brand we carry shine through with their respective benefits. That is why hupleongco’s digital footprint seems to have a consistent minimalistic black-on-white appearance.
Hupleongco is known for it’s welcoming and professional service. While bicycle shops have a bad reputation for being overly exclusive, the atmosphere in hupleongco is always laid back. This could be attributed to the boss who will greet you with warm service, the ‘auntie’ who will make you feel at home, or the staff who will kindly walk you through every step of your cycling journey. This tone is quite simple to get right once you think of yourself as everyone’s old buddy. Since the brand tone should match the personality of the owner and the store, this is translated on all social media platforms as the Friendly Neighbourhood Bike Uncle.
While the hupleongco tone is curated to be friendly and light-hearted, the content coming out has to be of value to their customers. Hupleongco’s social platforms are filled will regular updates about all things surrounding cycling; even about other brands which they do not carry. As long as the content may contain value for any cyclists, it will be reported on. This helps create a reputation of hupleongco being the beacon for cycling news and nuances instead of a storefront in your newsfeed.