Modern Design Museum

Modern Design Museum is the first design-specialized museum in Korea. It was founded in 2008 by professor, Park, Amjong. He is a professor of visual design department at Sunmoon University as well as a director of Visual Information Design Association of Korea.
The museum holds over 10, 000 design-related items of Korea. Around 1,600 items selected from the collection are exhibited in the permanent exhibition halls in 7 sections in the second & third floor.

Modern Design Museum's gallery viewModern Design Museum

The permanent exhibition halls in 7 sections

Permanent exhibition halls are located in the 2nd and 3rd floor, divides into 7 sections chronologically from late 19th century to present. The museum constantly holds various themed special exhibitions and often changes the exhibits in the permanent galleries to show diverse design items of Korea.

Galley No.1 : Inceptive Stage (1880-1910)Modern Design Museum

Inceptive Stage(1876-1910)

The introduction of Western culture and the inception of the concept of design Living in a small land in Asia, Koreans had adhered to their own philosophy and customs until the country opened its ports to foreigners in the 1880s. It was during this period when the concept of modern design, an intellectual offshoot of the Industrial Revolution, was first introduced into Korea. Just as Western culture was being introduced to Korea, however, various historical events also took place that helped Koreans develop their own sense of design. In 1883, for example, Park Young-hyo designed the Korean national flag, Tae-geuk-gi[Fig. 1], which became the icon of Korea. Another is the introduction of the first modern printing system, called Bak-mun-guk, which became instrumental in giving birth to the country's modern publishing industry. The first Korean typesetting matrix was also made during this period, giving rise to the publication of modern Korean newspapers, the first of which was Hansungshunbo[fig. 2]. The modern style of novels, called Sinsoseol(新小설) and Eunsegye(銀世界)[Fig. 3], from 1907 to 1908, considered as pioneers in this area. As a consequence, the production of Sinsoseol aroused interest in book cover design.

The First Book showing the Korean National Flag, Unknown, 1882, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Hansung Ten-day Report, Korean Empire gorvement, 1883, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Munwi Stamp, Korean Empire gorvement, 1884, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Hansung Weekly Report, Korean Empire gorvement, 1886, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Emperor Gojong's Photo, Unknown, around 1890, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Nation's first brand, a fan mark for Whal Myung Su, Min Byeongho, 1897, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Independence Newspaper, Unknown, 1898, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Imperial Postcards, Korean Empire gorvement, around 1900, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Postcards showing the national flag, Unknown, around 1900, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Photo Book, Unknown, around 1900, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Travelog Wirtten by Mrs. Underwood, Horac G. Underwood, 1901, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Photo by Chunyeondang, Korea's First Commercial Photo Studio, Chunyoungdang Photo Studio, 1907, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Stereocope, Unknown, around 1900, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Scenery and Customs Postcards in the age of enlightenment, German Liebig food company, around 1900, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Saechang Corporation needle, Saechang Corporation, around 1900, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Magazine 'Boy', Choi Sinyoung, 1908, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more

Galley No.2 : Dormant Stage (1910-1945)Modern Design Museum

Dormant Stage(1910-1945)

Depression of Korean traditional visual culture and resistance against Japanese rule

When japan colonized Korea in 1910, the design culture(based on Korea's own traditional aesthetic sense) that had been flourishing in the country became dormant because of the occupation. Despite the Japanese's deliberate opposition to the idea of Koreans studying design, however, a small group of Korean students persisted to enter the Department of Design and explored Korean traditional motifs, such as Tae-geuk(Korean Ying-yang), tiger, and han-bok(Korean traditional costume). The most significant development during the period was the foundation of Korean daily newspapers. In 1920, Daily Chosun and Daily Dong-a issued their first editions. Since then, these newspapers have been making great contributions have been making great contributions to the development of graphic design of advertisements, commercial posters, and Korean typefaces. The design of the period can be divided into two streams: the Japanese style and the combination of Japanese and korean traditional styles. While the former was more popularly used during the period, Korean traditional motifs were more utilized in cover designs for Sinsoseols and magazines, stamps, and newspapers, until Korea gained its independence in 1945.

A new-style novel, Unknown, 1911, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
The first Korean cosmetic Parkga Powder, Park Seungjik, Jung Jungsook, 1915, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Mother-of-pearl, Nacre Handicraft Made by Lee Wangjik's Art Production, Lee Wangjik's Art Production, around 1916, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Magazine, 'Art and Craft', Unknown, 1917, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Kyungsung Texile Factory poster, Unknown, around 1920, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
The First Issue of Dong-A Daily Newspaper, Kim Sungsu, 1920, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Printed version of the Korean Stories, Unknown, around 1920, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
rare postcards during late Korean Empire, Unknown, around 1925, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
peony-flower-patterned jar, Unknown, around 1925, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Ginseng package set, Unknown, aroung 1925, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Choseon folklore doll, Unknown, around 1927, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Drawings by a designer Im Sukjae, Im Sukjjae, 1928, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
The Admission Ticket for Choseon Exhibition, Unknown, 1929, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Traditional crafts products, Hyesi shop, around 1930, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Chosun Texile Factory poster, Unknown, around 1930, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Peom & Song Cards, Unknown, around 1930, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Calender of Sachun door pattern, Choi Sinyoung, 1931, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Calender by Elizabeth Keith, Elizabeth Keith, 1934, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Christmas Seal Postcards, Unknown, around 1935, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Kisangdo, A poetry collection, Lee Sang, 1936, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Mulsaebaljaok, Song Book, Lee Insung, 1939, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Poster for encouragement of farming, Unknown, around 1940, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more

Galley No.3 : Incubating Stage (1945-1965)Modern Design Museum

Incubating Stage(1945-1961)

The role of function in design as exemplified by American products

Korean independence was declared in 1945. Only five years later, in 1950, the Korea War broke out, and it lasted for 3 years. During the years spanning the Korean War, the whole country was plunged into confusion. Despite the chaotic situation, though, the Association of Daehan Industrial Design, the oldest graphic design association in Korea, founded in 1945, prospered. After the outbreak of the Korean War, a number of American soldiers were stationed in Korea to help in the fight to preserve democracy in the divided country, and these soldiers brought with them many American products as part of their supplies. The entry of American goods in Korea exerted various influences on Korean graphic design during those years. The illustration or decorations used in the packages of American chocolate bars or candies, for example, were used by Korean designers as design motifs.

On the other hand, big corporation and the media started to foster and promote design as an important component of industrial pro duction. The main daily papers of Korea, such as Daily Chosun and Daily Joongang, started to involve the public in design competitions, particularly in the field of advertising. Around this time, professional institutions like Korean Industrial Design Study Institute of Seoul National University were also sprouting. To meet society's unspoken demands to foster more professional designers, many universities began opening their own design departments. Such nationwide developments further produced many able designers whose talents and expertise were utilized for the success of businesses, such as banks, department stores, and pharmaceutical companies.

Magazine, 'International Report', Unknown, 1945, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
The poster congratulating the foundation of the Republic of Korea government, Han Heungtaek, 1948, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Typewriter made by Gong Byeongu, Gong Byeongu, 1949, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
The initial text books after Emancipation, Unknown, around 1950, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Label design of Jinro soju, Unknown, around 1950, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Gusang', a poetry collection with the cover designed by Lee Sunsuck, Lee Sunsuck, 1951, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Lucky Toothpaste, Lucky chemistry company, 1954, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Novel 'Free Lady', Kim Youngju, 1954, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Basket made of lines, Unknown, around 1955, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Poster against communism, Unknown, around 1955, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Movie posters In the 1950s, Unknown, around 1955, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Magazine, 'New Art', Unknown, 1956, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Gold Star A-501, the first radio assembled in Korea, Gold Star, 1959, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Yuhan Antipuramin, Yuha company, 1961, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Postal No. 1 phone, Gold Star Company, 1961, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more

Galley No.4 : Early Developing Stage (1966-1975)Modern Design Museum

Early Developing Stage(1961-1976)

The role of design to promote exports and economic development

As industrial production gained momentum and as mass-produced goods penetrated every aspect of Korean life, the demand for quality and competitive designs to meet international requirements also gained urgency. During this period, the national policy called "art for export" was established, placing more weight on the role of improved, cutting-edge design in the national economy. As a result, the 1st Korea Commerce and Industry Art Exhibition was conducted in 1966. Hosted by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, it played a leading role in improving designs level of quality. Later, with the government's help, it was reorganized as Korea Design and Packaging Center(renamed as the Korean Institute of Design Promotion later), an organization tasked to promote the role of design as an important companion in the country's export industry. The arrival of private cars and multinational products like Coca Cola(introduced in 1968) and Pepsi Cola(introduced in 1969) dramatically changed society and stirred significant developments in the field of advertising. Professional advertising agencies serving the needs of such multina- tional products were established. The first of such agencies was Manbosa, founded in 1969, which was a spin-off from the advertisement and planning office of Hapdong Communi-cation. A number of advertising companies also spang up, such as Cheil Communication, Inc. in 1973, Yonhap Advertisement in 1974, and Oricom in 1975. Furthermore, the CI(Corporate Identity)area came to be considered as a new field in graphic design, In the late 1960s, foreign partnership companies began setting up offices in the country, like Korea Oil Corporation. The birth of these large corporations affiliated with foreign companies required an integrated design management system to provide a unified design and manuals-a need from which the concept of CI originated. For example, Park Jae-jin opened the doors for the CI industry when he produced the CI for Seoulin Hotel[Fig. 18]. Min Cheol-hong and Cho Young-jei followed suit by designing the BI(Brand Identity) of OB Beers[Fig. 19]. In 1975, the systemized CI of Shinsegae[Fig. 19] was announced for the first time as a corporation.

Samyang Ramyeon, Samyang food company, 1963, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Ice machine, Unknown, around 1965, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
GR-120 refrigerator, Unknown, 1965, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
VD-191, the first televsion manufactured in Korea, Gold Star Company, 1966, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Nickel-silver lunch box, Unknown, around 1965, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Beer OB, Dongyang company, around 1965, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Republic of Korea Commerce and Industry Art Exhibition., Unknown, 1966, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Comic artist, Sin Dongwu, Sin Dongwu, 1967, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Groom and wife dolls, Unknown, around 1968, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Seoul milk, Unknown, around 1970, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Seasoning, 'Miwon', Unknown, 1970, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
The pay phone, Unknown, around 1970, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Creon, 'Prince Pas', Unknown, around 1970, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Electronic computer of Daehan Electric Wire Co., Daehan electron company, around 1970, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
ABC Fomade, Amorepacific Company, around 1970, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more

Galley No.5 : Developing Stage (1976-1988)Modern Design Museum

Developing Stage(1976-1988)

The subclassification and specialization of design-Korean design takes root.

Since the middle of the 1970s, Korean society has been enjoying a certain level of economic affluence, which has been coupled with a stronger demand for more specified, profes-sionalized designs. In 1976, the magazine Monthly Design put out its first edition[Fig. 21]; it has since been contributing to the systematic information collection and popularization of Korean design. In 1976, Hyundai Motors began producing Pony 1, the car for the common people. Keumsung(renamed as LG in 1995) Design Institute was also established in 1977 as a corporate offshoot, lending credence to the importance of product design from a corporate perspective. In 1984, Korea Graphic Designer Association(KOGDA-the parent organization of VIDAK-Visual Information Design Association of Korea)and Korea Society of Design Science were established to efficiently pursue the academic development of design. From the middle of the 1970s, the field of CI enjoyed immense popularity among corporations like OB Beers, the Ssangyong Group, and Kolon Group. In a similar vein, various exhibitions have been held since 1979, such as "Graphic Design Exhibition of Korean Image"(1979)[Fig. 23]; "Rhythm of Korea" of Kim Kyo-man(1980)[Fig. 24]; "Kookpoong '81" of Chung Yun-chang; "Beauty of Korea, Posters Exhibition'(1981);""The Faces of Korea Exhibition"(1981);""The Faces of Korea" of Na Jae-oh(1982); and "GraphiKorea'85"(1985)[Fig. 25], in which Ku Ding-jo; Kim Sang-rak; Kim Hyun; Na Jae-oh; Bang Jae-gi; Lee Bing-sup; Chun Gap-bae; Chung Yun-chong; Cho Jong-hyun; and Hwang Bu-yong participated. Such group and private exhibitions that articulated the spirit of the beauty of Korea greatly influenced the Asian Games and the Seoul Olympic Games. The Olympic designs fleshed out and effectively presented the elements of Korean-style design into the whole motif. The Olympic mascot Hodori[Fig. 26], designed by Kim Hyun; the "Samtaeguek"[Fig. ] emblem, designed by Yang Seung-choon; and the official posters[Fig. 28, 29] designed by Cho Young-jei

Park Chung-hee's Poster, Unknown, 1971, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Monthly Design specialized in designs, Unknown, 1976, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Robot Taekwon V, Unknown, 1976, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Aimi, the first campaign charactor, Unknown, 1976, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
A passenger autombile Pony manufactured first in Korea, Unknown, 1976, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Magazines, ' Deep-Rooted Tree', Han Chnaggi, 1976, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Gukpung 81 Poster, Unknown, 1981, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
GVC-6000 Video Camera, Gold Star Company, 1981, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
SPC-1000, the first computer made by Samsung, Samsung Company, 1983, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
WP-181 washing machine, Daewoo company, 1984, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Gold Star radio, Gold Star Company, 1984, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more

Galley No.6 : Taking-off Stage (1989-1999)Modern Design Museum

Taking-off Stage(1989-2000)

Emergence of exclusive Korean aesthetics, as well as the internationalization and globalization of design

Since the Olympic Games, Korean designs have been keeping pace with international trends. The arrival of the information era also brought about advancements in communi-cation and office automation system as well as major improvements in telecommunication, proving a fertile technology base for visual media. It was also the beginning of "green design"[Fig. 30], and Korean-style products featuring Korean emotions became popular. For the constant development of design, the government promoted a five-year development plan for industrial design, and put spurs to the design development of small and medium- sized companies, aided by Korea Institute of Design Promotion(KIDP). The Expo, an international exhibition for science and technology held in Daejeon in 1993, attracted people's interests in the particular beauty of Korean-style mascots[Fig. 31] and design since the Olympic Games. Designers also founded a foundation called Visual Information Design Association of Korea(VIDAK). VIDAK gathered together all the leading figures in the visual design industry, including the former members of Korea Society of Visual Design(KSVD), which had been dismissed in 1993, and the members of Korea Graphic Designers Association(KOGDA)[Fig. 32]. Since 1994, VIDAK hasbeen active in performing its duties and pursuing its design-related objectives. The most remarkable development in the 1990s was the opening of a new, exciting field in visual design: the production of movies and animation featuring state-of-the-art computer graphics. The new development phased out the old production method of designing by hand as computer-aided designing system took over.

Samsung SH-100, the first cellphone manufactured in Korea, Samsung, 1988, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Pager, Unknown, around 1990, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Wet mop Cleaner, Gold Star Company, 1991, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more

Galley No.7 : Maturing Stage (2000~)Modern Design Museum

Maturing Stage(2000-)

The New Millennium and the elevation of Korean design to a higher level

With computers and communication equipment now commonplace, the "N" Generation took center stage as they enlarged their field of activities. The advent of the one-source multiuse system opened up a new virtual world for design, with opportunities beckoning from areas such as advertisements on Internet cybershopping malls, webzines, and internet banner ads. Flash-produced characters became the main concept of advertisements, as character-related products are sure to bring in large number of sales and revenues. Hugely popular characters such as Mashimaro[Fig. 33], Jollaman, and Hallman, which young designers created out of simple ideas, are efficiently distributed and popularized through high-speed Internet access; businesses based on them have become as lucrative as a goose delivering golden eggs.

The design society of Korea successfully conducted the Millennium Seoul Exhibition of ICOGRADA in 2000 and the General Meeting of ICSID in 2001[Fig. 34].

Winia Dimchae Kimchi refrigerator, Winia company, 1995, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
2001 Isideu World Industrial Design Congress, Unknown, 2001, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
2000 Ikogeurada World Graphic Design Contest, Unknown, 2000, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
2002 World Cup 'Be The Red' shirts, Unknown, 2002, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
2002 FIFA World Cup, Byun Chusuck, 2002, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Iriver MP3, Iriver company, 2002, From the collection of: Modern Design Museum
Show lessRead more
Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.