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Week 23

Posted by Jonathan on August 12, 2011

I have to agree with what Keela said last week and exclaim “Can anyone believe its already mid august?!” Everyone has been working really hard, and I don’t think we saw summer flash past us.

I returned from Korea last week, which was probably the best trip I’ve ever been on, despite the incessant rain (it’s monsoon season). So I’ll treat the beginning of this post as a sort of show and tell. The design scene in Seoul is one of the best in the world. Literally at every corner is an art bookstore, incredible museum, experimental retail shop, or the best handmade food you’ve ever eaten (this is a traditional soup called dukgook, which includes stock broth, egg, seaweed, fresh sliced vegetables, meat, spice, and of course duk, which is compressed rice cut into slices):

It’s always a good bet that if you think something is cool, there’s something cooler there. What is most fascinating, not only from a design point of view, but also linguistically and historically, is Hangul, the native language. It was invented by King Sejong in 1443. Concerned that his people were unable to express themselves in everyday language with Chinese characters, he enlisted the services of scholars and together with them, devised the writing system that is used today. The amazing part is that all of the characters were designed after speech organs, and the basic vowels were representative of the confucian realms of heaven (ㅇ), earth (ㅡ) and man (ㅣ).

You can see how these symbols represent their inspiration. 대박! So research, synthesis, design. They were using the design process a long time ago. Not only that, Korea invented metal moveable type. Let’s just say for a graphic designer, there’s a lot of inspiration. What I thought was really cool was the typographic logo on this truck (can anyone guess what it means?):

(It’s the Korean word for Milk! Notice the milk droplets.)

Luckily, the Bay Area is famous for its Indian Summer, so we get a summer bonus in the fall. Thinking about it now, that’s really nice. Although the weather might be nice, it does feel a bit like “back to school.” We’ve been preparing all summer for some big things in the fall – some of our Exchange projects will be in their final stages and wrapping up, and new ones will be starting. We’ll be meeting a lot of new people. Damien’s SoCap appearance is just a month away now also. I’ve just recently read his piece in the August edition of PRINT magazine, which summarizes a lot of points that have themed these summer months at Central. Snag a copy if you see it!

We were lucky to have Linda join us full time this week. She has a pretty cool background (she worked at IDEO), which makes her ideal for her new role as Studio Manager. It’s really fantastic to have someone new join our team. We’re already good friends, and I’m a bit envious of her EU passport. We had actually run into each other before, at an IDSA awards event last year. SF is such a small place! I’m hoping next week she can do one of two things: 1) bring it some cool german music, 2) ask Pandora to add new songs to their playlist. We’re happy to have you here, Linda!

Kathleen and Keela have been working super hard this week as well. They’ve been working together on Kathleen’s research, and from what I gather, Kathleen is totally breezing through what would otherwise be a very steep learning curve.

This weekend, the Outside Lands concert is taking over Golden Gate Park in the city, although I waited too long to get tickets. I might have to just experience it vicariously through Keela’s Monday description.