TMall Logo Design is currently the largest B2C ecommerce retailer in China. Sister company of, the Chinese equivalent of eBay, both Tmall and Taobao are part of the Alibaba Group, founded by the entrepreneur Jack Ma. was first introduced as part of Taobao in 2008 and at that time was called Taobao Mall. The very rapid success of Taobao Mall created branding issues for the company: The two brands had quite distinct offerings and were often targeting different customers. Taobao had a reputation for selling lower quality, often second-hand, sometimes fake, merchandise, whereas Taobao Mall was selling high quality brands. Plus, as you will have observed, the similar names and identities of Taobao and Taobao Mall was confusing!
So to establish a clear distinction between the companies, Taobao Mall was separated from Taobao. In January 2012, Jack Ma announced that Taobao Mall’s Chinese name would be changed to Tian Mao – a name which literally means ‘sky cat’ and which is phonetically very similar to the Chinese pronunciation of the new truncated English brand name;

Planning & Execution

We took inspiration from the Chinese name ‘Mao’ and a viral Internet sensation. Mao means cat and is also a Chinese name, notably that of Chairman Mao.
Just before’s relaunch, a huge sensation hit the Internet in China. An imaginative blogger posted an image of a 100 Yuan bank note (featuring a portrait of Chairman Mao) drawing attention to the anti-counterfeiting background design which seemed to feature several strangely shaped ‘worshipping cats’ with oddly T-shaped heads.
Quick to recognize both the obvious link with Tmall’s new name and a powerful connection with the spirit of the age, Jack Ma was keen to work the ‘worshipping cat’ idea into Tmall’s brand identity. We developed the image of the ‘sky cat’ as the mascot for the new Tmall brand and iconic guide to the online shopper, around which the rest of the visual identity was built; custom-drawn feline logotype and clear, crisp, red, black and yellow graphic structure.
Superunion was responsible for developing a solid foundation for the Tmall brand. Our work included the wordmark, mascot (including it’s characters and usage), colour system and a simple Visual Identity Guidelines.

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