Translating National Success into Global Recognition

National Cheng Kung University


National Cheung Kung University (NCKU) in Taiwan is one of the country’s largest and most prestigious universities. It is consistently one of the top 5 universities in the world for collaborative research with industry, and in recent years has ranked within the top 100 worldwide for delivering against UN Sustainability Goals through its research and teaching.


When prospective research partners or international students consider universities in Asia, NTU is usually the only Taiwanese institution they have some awareness of. Despite NCKU’s recognition in rankings and a strong national reputation, gaining traction with international partners proved more difficult.

Working with Times Higher Education Consulting, we conducted research amongst a range of universities and research institutes across US, EU and Asia to understand perceptions and challenges of establishing NCKU as a prospective partner, and to test a range of preliminary propositions.


NCKU’s values and focus on high quality collaborative, cross-discipline research resonated extremely well with senior academics and administrators in the key markets. Most were keen to collaborate with a university active in the same areas as NCKU, and open to working with someone in Taiwan. But their lack of familiarity with Taiwanese institutions and means of forging a contact, meant they tended to look to more familiar areas for a partner.

TN NCKU 48 Sheet Poster
TN NCKU Station poster


We simply had to translate NCKU’s strengths and values into a simpler, more engaging and accessible way of speaking with International audiences. Working closely with NCKU’s President and the Office of Strategic Planning, we developed an evolution of the existing NCKU brand identity for use in International marketing – through websites, conferences and communications.

Rooting the brand strategy in the heritage of NCKU and using existing elements of the existing identity, the focus is on taking shared responsibility to improve quality of life for all through applied research.

The international brand includes a distinctive, dynamic monogram of the University’s initials, which animates and frames communications. Research is presented more as stories of human interaction, determination and impact, with imagery focussing on textural elements related to projects or on the researchers in action to help convey the hands-on nature of NCKU’s teams.

Throughout, the brand aims to make the values, expertise and determination of NCKU accessible to like-minded institutions worldwide. Helping international audiences understand the promise written into the university’s name in Chinese: ‘True to our name, we mean to succeed’.

TN NCKU Logo poster
TN NCKU Brochure Spread
TN NCKU Brochure Cover
TN NCKU Banner


The brand was brought to life initially through a website, brand film, conference materials and communications to support international engagement. The positive reception internally and externally for the new International brand has led the University to extend the relationship with True North to help adoption and expansion of the brand strategy across the entire institution.

“The whole process has been tremendously meaningful. We worked with people of diverse mindsets and across interdisciplinary fields and that challenged our imagination of what’s possible.”
NCKU’s President, Huey-Jen Jenny Su
TN NCKU Poster
NCKU Branding on umbrellas
NCKU Branding on T SHirts
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