[Viewpoint]The greatness of hangul spreadsDesigns using hangul, the Korean alphabet, have begun to appear on clothes, home appliances and cell phones these days.
Clothes that incorporated hangul in a handwriting font, introduced by Lee Sang-bong at a fashion show in Paris last year, attracted a great deal of attention.
The design gained sensational popularity in Europe when it was put on the cell phones LG Electronics launched in the market.
Two hundred thousand Shine phones with Yoon Dong-ju’s poem “Reckoning the Stars at Night” inscribed on their backs were sold in Britain alone, just two weeks after their debut on the market.
Korean words written in calligraphy have also appeared recently on home appliances as well.
This is a new trend called “tech-art” marketing, the joining of technology and art.
Hangul has opened a new chapter in the world’s cultural markets and design circles because of its formal and artistic beauty.
A French fashion designer said hangul will become a fashionable product, saying, “Hangul possesses formal beauty, not just in its modernity but also geometrically.”
Now decorating accessories, fashion products, household goods, T-shirts, cell phones and home appliances, as well as calligraphy, seal engravings, china and porcelain, clothes, ties, scarves, bags and purses, hangul has caused a quiet revolution in design.
When they watched the “Han Style Exhibition” held in Tokyo in April of this year, Japanese people were surprised to see that hangul was being used to make a variety of artwork and cultural goods. Many asked where they could buy the products.
The logos of Fendi, Gucchi and Ferragamo ― the world’s most famous designer brands ― are the results of the transformation of a few English letters.
By comparison, even more diverse and aesthetic designs can be formed from hangul.
World-class designs can be made with even one hangul character. This is the “blue ocean” of design, and hangul gives us a new frontier of tech-art marketing.
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher explained the importance of design with the motto, “Design or resign.”
Design incorporating the beauty of hangul can be applied to various household and industrial products to improve their competitiveness.
Hangul, born with modernity and formal beauty, is waiting for our imagination.
Koreans should make intensive efforts to nurture the area of hangul-based design as a future growth business.
Korea’s national brand, ranking 25th in the world, has fallen behind its gross domestic product, 13th in the world, because the country has a weak national image.
According to research compiled by Oxford University in the United Kingdom, hangul has become the world’s best alphabets in terms of its scientific, creative and rational traits.
If its artistic beauty becomes recognized, too, hangul will become an alphabet loved by people around the world.
This is why hangul design should be encouraged as a national brand.
Influenced by Hallyu, or the Korean cultural wave, more foreigners want to learn hangul.
If the image of hangul ― easy to learn and master and at the same time beautiful and rich in design ― is conveyed to them, hangul will be able to gain ground as Korea’s representative brand.
If the semiconductor is called the “rice of industry,” then hangul could become the “rice of Hallyu.”
I hope hangul, as a core material of the Korean boom, will spread everywhere throughout the world along with the Korean cultural wave to benefit mankind.
*The writer is the director of the Hallyu Strategy Research Institute. Translation by the JoongAng Daily staff.
by Shin Seung-il