Award-winning faculty design work is inspired by Korean heritage

January 26, 2022

Samantha Yoo of Columbus State University was recently honored by International Design Awards, a global organization that exists to recognize, celebrate and promote outstanding design visionaries in fields such as architecture, interior design, fashion and graphic design. Yoo, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at College of Arts, earned an honorable mention for his article, “The Beauty of Hangul: Korean Typography.”

Yoo said the inspiration behind the piece was the experience of seeing his father’s library in Korea. She was drawn to the vivid range of Korean calligraphy, with ancient letter styles catching the eye in the body of the text. Originally from South Korea, Yoo was surprised that she had never seen her everyday language as anything other than a way to communicate information. She started looking into the history of the Korean alphabet and became fascinated with how it is designed.

Elements of the piece pay homage to the muse, style and history of Hangul, the Korean alphabet. The piece – a set of 11-by-17-inch posters with 10 vowels and 14 consonants – illustrates the vivid design that the Korean alphabet has had for centuries. Yoo’s submission was created with Adobe’s Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop design software, using the GungSeo font for the text to give the piece a unique look. The texture on the poster boards is designed to look like Korean rice paper, using the space on the poster not occupied by the text design.

“Graphic design isn’t just about making pretty things,” Yoo said. “We can change people’s minds…that’s why I want my students to understand the true meaning of graphic design. Design can make society better.

Yoo’s other projects include a New York bus commercial for a New York shoe store, as well as projects for Nike, Timberland and CROCS. She has created several book covers and worked on advertisements for a project dedicated to helping starving refugees from North Korea.

In the classroom, Yoo teaches future graphic designers about the power behind the work they create.

“I urge my students through their projects to think beyond their national and cultural boundaries in order to create design that responds to the diversity of today’s audiences,” Yoo said. “Their design concepts stimulate social commentary and raise awareness of issues of culture, race, gender, poverty, crime and other socially relevant topics. Through these cross-cultural experiences, my goal is to foster more impactful communication among my students, as well as help them better understand the intertwined experience of design, culture, and diversity in our lives.

CSU’s Department of Art offers rigorous undergraduate and graduate programs for students pursuing careers in creative fields ranging from education and art history to studio art, design and animation. Visiting artists and scholars are regularly in residence and give workshops or lectures on topics related to their artistic and scholarly work. Students have the opportunity to rent a studio and exhibit their work publicly in several exhibitions throughout the year. Learn more about https://art.columbusstate.edu.

About Raymond A. Bentley

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