In early 2017 QUO was presented with the opportunity to undertake one of its most multi-faceted and fascinating projects in Vietnam to date. The job? To assist in the brand development of a mountain in Northern Vietnam.
This wasn’t just any mountain. It was Yen Tu Mountain, a beautiful 1,068-metre peak just an hour from the Ha Long Bay UNESCO World Heritage Site. Set amid the jungle-clad mountains of Northern Vietnam, Yen Tu Mountain is steeped in history and remains a spiritual home for many Vietnamese people.
Almost 2 million pilgrims climb Yen Tu Mountain’s slopes each year while exploring the historical sites, ancients pagodas, the legacy of King Tran Nhan Tong and the pristine natural beauty of the mountainside.
Preparing Yen Tu Mountain for the World
The challenge for QUO was to develop Yen Tu Mountain into a modern and accessible brand ahead of its introduction to the global tourist market while staying faithful to its historical and spiritual roots. Central to the rebooted Yen Tu experience was the creation of Hanh Huong Yen Tu Village at the base of the mountain – a Bill Bensley-designed cultural complex inspired by ancient building methods and 13th-century Vietnamese architecture.
The expansive new complex is home to a faithfully recreated Vietnamese village centre, hostel-style lodge accommodation, an MGallery Hotel (due to open this summer), a choice of dining venues, a Buddhist prayer hall and indoor and outdoor events spaces.
QUO’s job was to tap into Yen Tu’s significantly wider appeal, making it attractive to younger Vietnamese eager to explore their roots, and adventurous international visitors from East Asia and the West who want to discover something exciting and new. The logic was that millions of visitors were already passing right by Yen Tu Mountain as they made their way to Ha Long Bay from Hanoi. Once they were made aware of the beauty of Yen Tu Mountain and the experiences to be found there, they would be more than eager to visit.
Strategy and Brand Culture
A Captivating Window into History
A Tale of Old and New
The ‘Journey to your essence’ tagline was also retained, while QUO designed a completely new font for the logo and the letterform to be used in all of the brand’s copy. The letterform keeps many of the design elements and accents from the Vietnamese alphabet while adding distinctive flourishes – such as the curves of the capital ‘T’ – which reflect the architectural design found throughout Yen Tu.
QUO will be working with Yen Tu Mountain in the coming months to support it as establishes itself as a major international tourist destination. From the simplest elements such as stationary and business cards to intricate trade fair booths and on-site signage, QUO will implement Yen Tu Mountain’s distinctive visual identity across all its assets and collateral.
Giving the Mountain a Voice
When developing a new brand voice for Yen Tu Mountain, we asked ourselves what such a mountain would sound like if it could speak? What if it could whisper secrets in the rustle of leaves? Share its wisdom through its worn stone pathways? Sing songs in the trickle of a stream, gently revealing the ancient mysteries of its mist-shrouded slopes?
The introduction of Yen Tu Mountain to the wider world will begin at the Hana Tour International Travel Show 2018 in Seoul, South Korea next month. Designed by QUO, Yen Tu Mountain’s unique booth will introduce prospective partners and visitors to the many facets of Yen Tu, the first step on its journey from a domestic destination to a truly international name.