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Graphic Design in South Korea: Oral Histories


As a Research Fellow at Asia Culture Center (ACC), I initiated and led an oral history project about contemporary graphic design practice in South Korea. For this, I interviewed around 15 graphic designers/studios, including: Lee Jaeyoung, Lynn Kim, Shin In-ah, Yang Meanyoung, Kim Somi, Woo Yunige, Sunny Studio, Chris Ro, studio fnt, Workroom, Hong x Kim and Sulki & Min. In addition, I met with other key commentators in the field, such as Na Kim, Helen Ku, Kay Jun and Oh Chang Sup.

This body of research, conducted between May and November 2019, focused particular attention on women designers, those engaged or working with marginalised communities (e.g. LGBTQ+ and physically-disabled groups), emerging designers, and other underrepresented voices in design history.

Transcripts of interviews conducted with Chris Ro, studio fnt, Workroom, Hong x Kim and Sulki & Min have been deposited at ACC. These materials will be made publicly available via the ACC Archive and Research Library Park. The remaining content can be accessed via The Unheard Archive (project website).

Update, July 2021: I wrote an article based on this work for form 291. The English draft of this article can be accessed here.

Image captions (starting from the top, then from left to right): 1) Woo flag, created to mark the publication “Korea, Woman, Graphic Designer 11” (6699 Press). 2) Detail of the “Woowho: Women Talk Graphic Design” event poster, designed by Shrimp Chung with Mat-kkal. 3) Front cover of the “Korea, Woman, Graphic Designer 11” book. 4) Spread from the “Korea, Woman, Graphic Designer 11” book. 5) Image from “The W Show”, an exhibition about women designers in Korea; co-curated by Na Kim, Sulki Choi, Chae Lee and Minhwa Yun. 6) View of “The W Show”. 7) View of “The W Show”. 8) Poster design by Sunny Studio for Shin Ji-ye, a representative of the Green Party and 2018 candidate for Seoul mayor. 9) Decorative elements at the Feminist Designer Social Club launch event.