Friday, October 15, 2010

Hangul Calligraphy

Are you familiar with calligraphy?
There is a growing interest for hangul (the Korean alphabet) not only as a set of alphabets but also as an artistic theme. Known for its highly scientific and pragmatic nature, now hangul is being re-discovered as calligraphy (the art of fancy lettering) as well as applied as a fashion component.
In calligraphy, letters transform into something unique, one-of-a kind, and creative that reflects the emotions of the particular theme that the words denote. Used in the poster for “Festival” (a film directed by Gwon-Taek Lim), hangul calligraphy is now used everywhere, far and wide, from movie posters, book jackets, record covers, to product advertisements etc.
Calligraphy is gaining popularity in the online world as well. Breaking away from the uniform Microsoft fonts, web users are now turning to more original letterings and do not hesitate to make a purchase for calligraphies to use for their blogs and homepages. It is estimated that annual volume of font purchase is over KRW 10 billion.
Cyworld, the widespread web site that offers mini homepages, sell 20,000 fonts daily, and introduces new fonts everyday that are customized to meet users particular wants and demands. Fonts that apply the handwritings of celebrities such as Yuna Kim are particularly appealing to the customers.
Lie Sang-Bong is one of the most well-known Korean fashion designers who is especially acclaimed and recognized for his hangul-themed works. His range of work includes not only clothes, but accessories, electronics, and home appliances as well. Lie incorporates hangul usually written vertically, aptly conveying traditional Korean flavor at the same time as keeping it modern and suave.
Hangul-themed design is gaining further vitality with the efforts of Dong-Eui University in Busan, which established “Han Fashion Center” in 2006 with the support from the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.
The Han Fashion Center launched its own brand called “Hooga” and undertakes various activities such as exporting design carpets abroad and supporting some 130 local companies that lack design capacities. The center aims to create design products that capture the characteristic beauty of hangul – the harmony between its lineal and curved lines.
Hangul, created by King Sejong, is now being re-created in the hands of designers.
As you may have noticed, last October 9 was Hangul Day in Korea. It was a day for us to ponder the value and beauty of the great Korean alphabet, especially in these times where there is an unbridled deluge of foreign languages, ugly slangs and obscure jargons in our everyday communication.


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