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Delivered a speech on the subject "Future Korean design based on peculiar designs" for the International Design Congress in memory of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Korea Design Center. The Congress was held in the International Conference Hall of Seoul Plaza Hotel in 1990.

Creation of a unique molding language through
conceptual approach. A designer with all:
theory, rationality and design sense.


Roh, Sung-Youn/ Design Journal reporter


.....Most of the time, the US Time magazine, a weekly magazine on current issues, carries human figures on its cover pages. For example, it ranges from famous people such as Khomeini, George. W. Bush, Margaret Thatcher, Gorbachev, Deng Xio-Pyung, Dakesita Noboru, to faces of Beijing rally participants.

.....Hwang, Bu-Yong says that he was moved by the Time magazines founder who said we always carry people on cover pages because the world is not moved by ideology, energy or morals but rather by people . Hwang, Bu-Yong always applies this to design. Therefore, his interests in designers are very extraordinary. He believes that as it is the people that move the world as the Time magazines founder said, designers move the design industry. He argues that as only a few designers determine design trends and tendencies, studying designers will allow him to study the history, philosophy and other aspects of design. As people around him describe him, he is a rare third generation designer with theory, rationality and design sense. He freely moves from axis X to axis Y, and this is probably a preparatory work to show his own molding language.

.....Hwang, Bu-Yong says that he was really shocked by the last scene of The Planet of the Apes . He says that this scene in which the Statue of Liberty, the symbol of world peace, was lying down at the beach, left an impression on him as if the viewers were to be cut by a sharp spade. He says, Doves and bombs are primitive materials shown often in peace posters. The key is how to interpret them. I have turned them into objects because I wanted to give the same impact as the last scene of The Planet of the Apes with these two objects . He says that he wanted to emphasize the sense of fossilization by handling ordinary material in an extraordinary fashion through peace posters, which won second place at the Second Paris International Poster Salon in 1997. He claims that there is a tight relationship between graphic design and literature. In other words, he says that the fact that graphic design initially started with typography can be viewed as a molding of literature. The Hwang Medium , a typography in Korean developed by himself in 1978 was a job he initiated to touch on the roots of the graphic design.

.....His emphasis on the literary nature of graphic design comes from his activities in his high schools literary art club despite being of short term. He monopolized awards in a variety of art areas from elementary to middle school. He derailed into a literary art club for a short while when he entered high school due to his parents persuasion. Such a derailment contributed to creating a Hwang, Bu-Yong who is good at writing and pursuing literary nature in his works with his unique color. In college, he was in charge of various illustrations and gossip columns. This must have contributed to his expansion in molding language. In addition, in college he continued to work part time with college prints or event posters like theater posters, and he expressed a very independent mind. Maybe, in part because his parents passed away early, he liked to pull through by creating works rather than getting only given assignments done. He hung out with his closest friends such as Kim, Jin-Pyung and Yun, Hak-Jung. He worked part time staying at a hotel with his friends. Full of confidence, he had hands-on experience and at the same time, he planned works in a different direction from his seniors in order to build his own world of art. In 1975, he became the recommended author for the industry design contest in Korea. The style he pursued influenced immensely the industry design contest in Korea later on.

.....There is an old saying: if three walk together, there is something to be learned from one of them. If Hwang, Bu-Yong walks with three other people, he will find things to be learned from all three. He will absorb all their strengths, and will be able to create his own world of art with his own perfume. For example, he learnt from Professor Kim, Kyo-Man at his Alma Mater, a design method that moves peoples feelings. He also learnt rational design style with a logical background as well as the relationship between business and design from Professor Cho, Young-Jae. He learnt an aspect of design that is formed by mechanism from Professor Yang, Sung-Chun, and he was influenced on his approach on design theories by professor Kim, Su-Suk. He also learnt design approaches from Kim, Hyun, and aesthetics that can be found in details from Ku, Dong-Jo. If the list were to continue, it might be said that everyone who knew him might have impacted him somehow.

.....Imitating and being influenced, they all mean absorbing creative energy. They are different from stealing others ideas. In this context, I think that having a closed-mind in design undermines the progress in design. In terms of influencing and being influenced, imitation in moderation is the engine for creativeness. While most designers are very touchy on this issue, he views it positively. As for the reason why Japan opened its eyes early in internationalization of design and witnessed progress in modern design, it is because despite its defeat in the Second World War, it dared to accept the US design and worked closely with them.

.....He emphasizes that the Korean design industry, with its infinite potential, needs to accept international views at the macro level to witness further development. Since 1977, at only 26 years of age, he has been teaching at the Myong-Ji College and he has great opportunity for the next 6 years because teaching is learning. At this college, he set up an editorial design course to individualize by developing a curriculum that fitted to colleges: this was the first time ever for such a course to be set up in Korea. In this course, he used foreign magazines such as Seventeen and Life for creative material, and translated theory textbooks from Japanese. The response was so overwhelming that at that time, there was no publisher without a graduate from this school.

.....He has another frontier mind . Contacting overseas designers and designs became his hobby since his college years. He came to realize that designers in Korea lacked information. He even wondered whether the designers in Korea were performing crippled creative works. In 1979, he got involved in the publishing business and ended up publishing a visual literature collection. While he got involved in this business with great enthusiasm and received a huge response from the public, the publisher had to shut down with the last publication of 12 books due to the immaturity of the contemporary situation as well as the financial crisis. As it is clear from his work as a professor and a publisher, he was one step ahead of others and executed his thoughts. He is a designer who even took a supplemental loss one step ahead of others.

.....Had he not become a designer, he might have become a movie director. He enjoyed all the movies that are considered timeless these days even before he was old enough to go to movies. Rather than being drawn to the content of the movies, he was attracted to the moving images so much that at some point, he dreamed of becoming a movie director. I would rather be a producer over a painter. While one must show his individual ability from the beginning to the end in illustration or typography, graphic designers must ensure that there are outstanding results by incorporating other peoples ability from A to Z. In this regard, I pursue conceptual design. He claims to be an introductory designer and would like to have the body and the conclusion drawn by others. In this context, he argues that his recent works should be considered as group works and not just one individuals works.

.....His works are bold rather than delicate. I was overwhelmed when I first saw his works at the Korean Design Industry Contest. When I have drinks with him, he clearly shows his boldness, and he is very good at cheering up a gathering because he is very witty. As is well known, he conducts a variety of events because he is good at writing and speaking. Kim, Young-Ki describes him as a designer with huge ambition and aspiration.

.....The conceptual design he pursues came into being when he attended college in Germany: he was under such an influence since his early years. Therefore, in conveying messages, he focuses on drawing peoples interests by mixing, inverting and colliding concepts or by surrealistic methods. He also wants to ensure that the results will give viewers pleasure and that they carry passionate messages. At the beginning, some criticized him as being extremely Japanese in style because his works were extremely Western and processed with sophistication. On this question, his view is that it was a misconception because the evaluation criteria were not as systematic at that time as today. He says that he has a rather German style: this is supported by the fact that he tried conceptual design in his third year in college and since then, he has been striving to apply it to every project including small ones.

.....In his college years, he was always passionate about his works but the real turning point that led him to where he is now was a recommendation for the Olympic Organization Design Department Chief. He was in agony at the crossroads. He kept asking himself what he wanted to be. His final answer was that he liked to create things rather than teaching others, and he thought that his creations would reward him more. With this conviction, he accepts the offer for Olympic Organization Design Department Chief.

.....I do not think that we have made a huge accomplishment because we held the Olympic games without the know-how in Korean design industry. However, it gave us an opportunity to meet many people in the country as well as abroad. It also gave us an opportunity to identify the strengths and weaknesses in the design industry. He thinks that the Olympics put him where he is now as an individual. As far as the Korean society as a whole is concerned, the Olympics allowed it to diagnose the design industry in Korea and motivated it to develop. He believes that the Olympics were a breakthrough in the history of design industry in Korea. Just like Einstein said, in this universe, there are endless laws that humanity has not been able to find out , I think that we have certain formulae in design. Even though those formulae cannot be expressed with words, designers can find them. In order to find them, fundamental design approaches are needed. His design characteristics, which pursue conceptual design in addition to rational design, derived from such a foundation.

.....Every design solution lies in its problems. This is his recent design motto. He argues that you have to dissect the problem, look at it with a magnifier and find the hidden meaning in order to find a solution to the problem. This is his aspiration on leading the Design Bridge, which was established in November 1988 under such a motto.

.....Even though a poster is the medium by which one can show ones potential and molding ability, it is considered to be a backward genre in Korea. In this context, I want to make efforts to contribute to improving the poster culture and at the same time, I want to participate in management to develop a design system to develop CIP as an opportunity to change the corporate sector in culture. Furthermore, he plans to publish a collection with macroscopic ideas and massive scale editorial design as well. The fact that the people who know him describe him as bold with a strong driving force is proof of all his accomplishments.

.....Hwang, Bu-Young says Now is an era of one communication : he says that whenever there is a new design trend or idea, there must be supporters. In order to achieve internationalization by communication, there must be competition such as ideology, morals and a molding world first. He says that the moral question is the critical element in maintaining an endless number of clients. He uses an oriental medicine doctor as an example: once the word gets out about his warm prescription and effectiveness of his medicine, his business will thrive. He compares designers with doctors and military personnel as well: he values the diverse battle experience of military personnel and curing experience of doctors. Doctors need to have big ears: in other words, doctors must listen to patients as well as they can but at the same time, they must be responsible for their prescriptions. This means that when designers are absorbed in creating, they must have strong convictions and beliefs.

.....Hwang, Bu-Yong wants big ears. He is well aware of the fact that many people are watching him strive to convey messages with feelings as if in a movie or a poem. He is standing firm on a rock-solid foundation that will not be swayed by any strong wind. The status of the Korean design industry seems to be reflected through him.

.....[August, 1989]


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