Tekka Online Market: Futuristic Nostalgia
Uncertain times bring about business opportunities for those who dare to seize them. Due to the coronavirus, many traditional shops are going online to remain accessible to customers. Tekka Online Market, an initiative by the IMDA, is leading this pivot to digitisation.
Led by fellow Tekka Market vendor and Facebook Live veteran Max Kee, six vendors started selling goods ranging from poultry to dried foods on 5th May. Since then, Tekka Online Market’s Facebook page, where the action happens, has grown to over 17,000 followers. Its visual identity was created by BLKJ.
Tekka Online Market’s branding is a joy to see. The colours command your attention, and cheeky copy (siam the crowds) calms the nerves of customers who are trying “online marketing” for the first time. Overall, the branding is inviting and familiar, thanks to its use of retro-inspired brutalism.
Just because this initiative was likely created in light of slower business does not mean it should be all doom and gloom. The colours are bright and cheerful, fitting for the equally cheerful vendors who are new to the online scene.
Most impressive are the posters and videos which introduce the different Tekka vendors. The playful GIF posters add to the fun of buying market produce online, while clever and localised copy hits all the sweet spots of branding.
Don't Play Play
Even the live videos are branded - the backdrop provides instructions on how to order during Facebook Live.
For vendors who are inspired to sell their goods through livestreams, Max Kee also gave tips for streaming “swakus”. Don’t play play.
To encourage senior customers to shop online, vendors would likely have to tell them in-person about the Tekka Online Market. Posters were created and hung at the participating stalls to draw attention to the initiative, which pack the same punch as they do online.
After a successful livestream, goods are delivered in sticker-branded styrofoam boxes. A neat, cost-effective touch!
Beauty in its Flaws
A noticeable but understandable hurdle is making every post adhere to the aesthetic. Scroll through the photo feed and you would see a clear mismatch in styles.
With anxious customers wanting their orders confirmed as soon as possible, it probably explains why the page just posts screenshots of Word documents. A simple remedy would be to just slap a colourful sticker on it and change the font.
Nonetheless, an identity which is too polished might come off as overly corporate. This newest poster from 81 Sheng Yu lies in the middle of the spectrum design-wise, but it screams authenticity.
Seeing the Tekka vendors fumble before commanding the livestream speaks to the resilience of our small business owners. In one take, their personalities shone and they truly deserve all the success they get, including a fantastic visual identity.
Tekka Online Market gives us a glimpse of the potential we can achieve when rebranding our heritage businesses for the digital age. I cannot wait to see more.