With the Korean participants of the International CI conference which was held in Beijing, China in 1995.
Leading the illiteracy-elimination campaign in the design industry in the 1980s with a frontier spirit, he is one of the few resourceful pioneers in the Korean design industry.
Kim, Jong-Min/ Monthly Design reporter
.....In November 1983, Hwang, Bu-Yong decided to leave the teaching world after teaching for 8 years in various colleges including Myong-Ji College. He left to accept the Seoul Olympics Committees Design Department Chief position.
.....The Seoul Olympics Committee had already understood the role of design as it prepared for the biggest event ever, not only since Koreas emancipation but rather, throughout its entire history in Korea such as the tenth Seoul Asian Games as well as the twenty fourth Seoul Olympics. Therefore, the Committee had a great deal of interest in design-related works and it did not spare any effort in supporting this area.
.....Regardless of the criteria of the Committee in putting him as one of the candidates, it would be interesting to know what Hwang, Bu-Yongs thoughts were. In fact, even though he thought that it was an attractive and worthwhile offer, it was hard for him to decide.
.....He was well used to teaching since he started at the age of 26 but at the same time, he was becoming a bit weary too. However, quitting a full time lecturer position meant leaving the teaching profession and following a totally different path.
.....After thinking hard for six months, he decided to accept the Committees offer. The following is how he felt at that time.
.....At that time, I did not regret leaving the teaching world after being engaged for many years. Upon reflection, even though teaching had its rewards, the design industry was not as vitalized at that time as today. Even the design works carried out by large companies could not be considered creative. Unlike painting, design is something difficult to get started if a large amount of financial support is not provided under a corporate objective. While I had aspirations to carry out some creative works based on a fixed income from teaching, I anticipated limitations.
.....In addition, he revealed with honesty the negative and undesirable aspects of the design industry at that time using his own examples. While it may be the same in most areas, school was a perfect place for those who wanted to make a comfortable living in moderation. As for the design industry in which direct contribution to corporate profit is a premise, this is very true. It is common to see designers move from companies to school but it is rare to see designers move from teaching to companies.
.....However, such an explanation is extreme self-criticism. On a more positive note, he wanted to become a professional designer to engage in more creative works with a more aggressive goal as a designer.
.....His job as the Seoul Olympics Committees Design Department Chief until September 1987 was to provide suggestions on design administrative questions to the Committee members, make decisions on design-related issues such as planning, budget execution, and recruit people rather than design works. The fact that he had a clear objective and client in addition to the fact that he was responsible for such an important project made him proud and gave him great driving force. Design projects for the Olympics were difficult but he enjoyed them.
.....He reflects that the fact that he supervised and managed the entire design work at the Olympics, which demanded grand design scale, gave him an opportunity to see the overall picture as well as to build management skills in dealing with organizations and people.
.....As he says it, his management philosophy or motto as an entrepreneur is to not be concerned about small losses if they are for greater profits down the road. As for one of the projects that was completed recently, it was the only one that saw a loss among the many projects that the Design Bridge, which he owns, worked on. He became greedy because of the size and weight of the project. This demanded too much time, which is directly linked with profit in the design industry. Even though immediate loss was inevitable, the clients were satisfied with the work and they promised the Design Bridge more jobs for future projects. In other words, they earned trust, a huge capital. These examples show his personality as a designer and his insights as an entrepreneur.
.....Hwang, Bu-Yong is in his early 40s and is very active. It would be premature to classify his chronicle based on his finished works because he will continue to learn and evolve. While he has experienced many ups and downs through several turning points during his choices in life, such as teaching at Myoung-Ji College, working as the Design Department Chief for the Olympics and his days afterwards, he has not changed his mind in pursuing a conceptual approach.
.....The conceptual design approach that became a trend in Germany, Poland, United States, and Cuba among others around 1971 when he was in college was spreading over Japan and Korea with a huge impact. Such a method mixes, inverts and collides different concepts due to the intended messages. By trying a variety of methods, it draws viewers attention, conveys a strong message and includes the fun factor.
.....He was under such an influence in his college years; such an influence is clearly shown in his posters since the early 1970s. Some viewed that his works with dramatic contents and simple expressions pursued a post-artistic world. His early posters such as Leopard-Parasol Show-, Creation and Criticism-Sonorama- clearly belong to that style. Five official posters he created for the Tenth Seoul Asian Games in 1986 while working in the Committee and other posters with which he won prizes in international public contests all belong to such a category. All five Asian Games posters consist of three people, three consecutive actions or three-step close-ups: all were produced based on a similar concept with the three Taeguk (Yin and Yang), which were the molding elements of the Tenth Seoul Asian Games insignia.
.....The above mentioned characteristics of Hwang, Bu-Yong are some of the reasons why he was able to successfully carry out a range of works from administrative duties to design projects. At the same time, it allows us to see his design world and design philosophy.
.....While Hwang, Bu-Yong is one of the rare resourceful pioneers in the Korean design industry; he was also excellent at speaking and writing. In the 1970s and 80s he was a regular writer for Monthly Design, the sole design magazine. One of his exemplary writings was Image-Making People , which was serially published from January through to the May edition in 1986. This was published in 13 installments and consisted of 800 pages in manuscript sheets of 200 letters. Another published serial was 100 years of modern graphic design- from Art Nouveau to Post Modernism -; it was published in 14 installments from August 1987 to March 1988.
.....Image-Making People is an essay style semi-critique. He logically reviewed all the designers who shined in the Korean design industry after Koreas emancipation.
.....As for 100 years of modern graphic design- from Art Nouveau to Post Modernism , this is a chronology on world graphic design history from 1878 through to 1977. He arranged the world design history by design trend, movement, creation, elimination and world-class designers activities, achievements and circumstances in the Korean design industry. It also includes main events not related to the design world for better understanding.
.....He started his vast data collection, which obviously required a lot of effort and time, during his college years because Time magazine said that it always puts a human figure on the cover page because it is not Communism that moves the world but rather, Mao Tse-tung. He agreed with this and thought that it is not the ideology that moves the world but rather, people.
.....He says that he was able to arrange design-related events without difficulty because outstanding figures in design-advanced nations were rising at that time.
.....He would reveal his feelings while collecting and arranging data at the beginning of the serial publications. The idea behind this was to raise awareness that individual design-related activities set trends in thought and brought about results in history. This means to set goals for existence of individuals and values. He was concerned that designers would be like technicians or skilled workers if such ideas were not established.
.....He often used the term design illiteracy while he talked. By this he meant those designers and design industries that do not progress because of ceased study, those who do not understand foreign languages and therefore, do not understand the changing international situation, those who cannot evaluate design results based on accurate criteria, and those who do not know themselves as members of a big picture.
.....Today, 25 years since 1960, when the western graphic design concept was first introduced, there is no room for old-fashioned design any more. As some had pointed out previously, in Korea before the 1980s there was basically no distinction between amateurs and professional designers; the only thing that mattered was which school or which company one belonged to. Such a phenomenon gradually disappeared in the mid-1980s. Today, in the 1990s, the only criteria must be how well one does and what kind of projects one can carry out above all else.
.....He seemed to have some resentment for the designs he could not accomplish.
.....In Korea, we traditionally have a deep-rooted criticism culture. And yet, we cannot find such a criticism in the design industry; and we cannot have design morals without free criticism and discussion. I think that breaking the ice for talks through a medium will be the basis for creative spirit. While I hope to have reviewers in my generation, I believe that they should not be design majors because otherwise, they may lack objectivity and be prejudiced, as we have seen already.
.....While he worked as the art director at Monthly Design for two years since 1977, he established the editorial design concept in magazines. In 1978, he developed Hwang Medium , which is handwriting for headlines in a handwriting-deserted area. He not only developed it but also published it at his own expense. He also established the Sigak Munhwasa, a book publisher in design books. By doing so, he tried to provide advanced design theories in order to improve the overall quality in the design industry. Currently, he is the principal and creative director at the DesignBridge, a company he established in September 1988. DesignBridge specializes in CIP, development of fancy products using characters, and editorial design among other things. He is confident and experienced in all those areas.
.....These days he is busy producing Toray and Tory , a collection of fairy tales in 20 volumes. This fairy tale is based on characters, and he wants to finish its publication by June. Kemongsa, a publisher specializing in fairy tales, has contracted him for planning, editing and production. He has been working on this project for 8 months already. As soon as a part of the collection is finished, he plans to have it published in English and send it to the International Fairy Tale Sample Market in Italy.
.....While his immediate goal is to get a good response in the sample market, the reporter would like him to design better graphic works. Above all, I would like to see him become the reviewer that he is waiting for as the story of The Big Rock Face .