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Design in Korea

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Korean Design DNA @ Design Korea Conference in Seoul

Hyundai, Samsung, LG or Kia Motors: Korea is known for its outstanding innovative drive, design, industries and companies and was honored with many iF DESIGN AWARDS over the past 60 years. Some of them can be seen at the largest and most famous Asian design business exhibition, Design Korea 2018 – from 31 October to 4 November in Seoul – with nearly 400 businesses and 2,500 product designs. It is hosted by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and operated by the Korea Institute of Design Promotion. Highlight is the Korea Design Award, which will also take part during the exhibition, where 60,000 visitors are expected.

But what is so special about Korean Design and distinguishes it from others? iF CEO Ralph Wiegmann is giving a keynote at the conference about Koreas Design DNA and summarizes what is specific about Korean Design: “Countries have a specified image and significance, standing for certain values like purism, quality, innovation, not necessarily with regard to design – but you can find them there.” Therefore, Korean design buzzwords are mostly solidity, innovation, aesthetics and latest technology – as is for example minimalism, precision, user- and custom orientation for Japan. Companies like Samsung or LG live up to these characteristics.

Interview (in Korean language)

Interview (in Korean language)

Read the short interview with iF CEO Ralph Wiegmann about Korean Design in the newspaper „Seoul Daily“ here.

In the interview, Wiegmann emphasizes that “even though most European people are well aware of ‘Samsung’ or ‘LG’, only a few of them know the fact that these brands came from Korea.” To Wiegmann, the next step is to let the world know these highly innovative and quality products as ‘Korean-made’. “The brand image of Hyundai Motors Group in Germany has grown after famous German car designer Peter Schreyer was headhunted as a CDO. This is one good example of how product image can be influential.”

Korean design is booming – find out more and take a look at our iF charts on the top industries and top companies in Korea from the last five years.

The scales are based on the iF awarded designs from the companies and industries across Korea. As you can see based on our iF World Design Index (iF WDI), Korea has a significant design boom and high quality in the industry of packaging, computer and branding. The same goes for the second table, where the big players Samsung and LG hold the highest score of iF awarded designs.


>> Click here to see a selection of current Korean design honored with the iF DESIGN AWARD.

Impressions of Design Korea

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