Seoul

About the city

Seoul is the capital city of South Korea. I have studied there so when I received a briefing on creating a fictional rebranding for a city, it immediately popped into my head. Seoul is a very interesting city. One moment you feel like you are living in the future, the next you find yourself back in the Joseon Dynasty. With its rich culture, mountainous surroundings and strong will to improve the infrastructure of the city, Seoul might be the most contradicting city in the world. The contrast between the innovative technology, neon lights, tall buildings and ancient palaces, temples and untouched mountains is just breathtaking. That duality is therefore the concept of this rebranding.

Rebranding

My main source of inspiration was the Korean alphabet (Hangul). It is completely different from the alphabets of the neighbouring countries, Japan and China. In a way, it is more geometric and streamlined. My purpose was to promote Seoul not only to non-Koreans but also to Koreans. I thought it would be a nice idea to play with the two most spoken languages by both parties. I chose to mix English and Korean. English represents the modern part because Seoul is the cradle of South Korea's trade, economy and entertainment industry, which also targets the West (Samsung, LG, Kia, Hyundai,... are all brands we know worldwide). Hangul represents the traditional, historic side and also serves to communicate with the Korean residents and tourists.

After having played a bit with the letters and characters of both the Hangul and Roman version of "Seoul", I soaked up some creativity on the internet. I liked the connection between old and new and there was one place in Seoul where that mix was actually the most prominent. Which is where the old palace is along with the statue of King Sejong, he is also the man who introduced the Korean script (Hangul) as an alternative to the Chinese script (Hanja). If you ever hear a Korean talk about a good, mighty king, then that is King Sejong. The palace and statue are surrounded by skyscrapers and you also have a nice view of the mountains behind the palace. The statue also has lettering that has always stayed with me because the font was very special. Instead of dashes, dots were used to indicate the letter ends.

Logo

The logo I ended up creating can be used in multiple ways, you can follow the red colour and you have Seoul in Korean (서울). If you follow the blue, you end up with Seoul in English. Where the two meet (ㄹ/ S) is where you have the first and last letter of both translations which means the end of history and where new beginnings take place. That unification is a combination of the letter (ㄹ) "L" in Korean, and the letter "S" in English.

campaign illustration

This was my very first project in graphic design. Therefor it is not as refined as my latest projects. I didn't have the same detail-oriented mindset I have now. I still find it important to display my journey and as someone that isn't formerly trained in design, drawing and illustrations, I think I did a decent job.

I wanted to display Seoul's diversity and duality by gaining inspiration from South Korea's flag. Like yin and yang, the two colours wrap around each other, creating balance. For me it was important to display that the harmony is not always as apparent and that the very distinct divide between new and old is the charming point of Seoul. The lack of harmony between the two is what makes Seoul intruiging, that's why I decided to draw a straight line between the two because that's how you'll experience Seoul.The contrast is striking which I had to include.

icons

As part of the assignment we had to create icons. I decided to go for the most common icons in Seoul. The hanbok-icons can either be used as an original twist on the traditional toilet signs or they can be used to guide people to the hanbok rental shops.Namsan tower is the famous landmark that is easy to spot from any place in Seoul, like a compass it guides you through the city and has another function as well. According to the colour of the tower at night, people know how bad the pollution is.

There is only one good way to travel through Seoul, and that is with the subway. It is actually considered as a travel activity because it is so iconic. Anyone and everyone uses the subway to get from point A to point B. The famous temples, palaces and hanok districts showcase Seoul's rich history and beauty. Thanks to them, the landscape of the city is truly unique. A great example is Gyeongbokgung Palace, it is surrounded by skyscrapers on one side and enveloped by mountains on the other.

posters

Using both sides of the campaign illustrations, I created two seperate posters according to the target audience. Both Korean and international travellers can now join the festivities by being in the loop of what's to come.

magazine advertisement

The magazine advertisement follows the same designing structure as the posters. There are two sides to every story, two sides to Seoul and two sides to its tourists. It's important that both are showcased.

folder

The folder is created in a way that when it is folded, you can either have the English or the Korean version, you simply turn over the folded folder and you open it to have your desired language. Not only handy to have, it also lowers production costs and paper waste. When the English cover is folded towards the middle, both covers connect and form the campaign illustration.