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A study of collision among and the coexistence of different Korean typeface designs

Comparative analysis of three designs
When Sun 14 Oct 1400
Where Hotel Icon
Who hyun guk ryu

The best efforts were directed toward the manufacture of small printing types for the multi-language Korean French Dictionary (1880), produced using the first horizontal type-setting in Japan by Western missionaries in late 19th century, as well as the first Bible (1887) with a Korean translation side by side the original text, published in Manchuria in China. Such experiences in the production and improvement of printing types resulted in consideration of aesthetic issues in relation to the multilingual mixed use of Hangul, Chinese characters, and the Latin alphabet.

Major chronological events in this development are as follows: traditional Chinese character-based vertical writing and vertical typesetting during the period between the 15th century and the early 19th century; mixed use of Chinese characters and Hangul after Japan’s annexation of Korea in 1910; the introduction of the Benton matrix cutting machine to produce textbooks written in horizontal format by the democratic government under the UN trusteeship system after Korea’s independence from Japan in 1945; Hangul mechanization movement and a policy of exclusive use of Hangul waged by the Korean military government and mixed use of vertical and horizontal typesetting resulting from the introduction of photocomposing machine from Japan during the period between the 1970s and 1980s; and the urgent need for digital handwritings amid revolutionary changes in the printing and type industry triggered by popularization of computers during the 1990s. Under the circumstances of an absolute shortage of types of handwriting, suddenly diversified market demands, and lack of preparedness for nurturing and training of handwriting designers, the market became inundated by about 2,000 low-quality handwritings centered on horizontal writing and typesetting within a very short time.

Rapid transformation in typesetting technologies triggered by the above factors resulted in changes in the three types of handwriting design production—vertical writing, vertical-horizontal writing, and horizontal writing—and design education and designers in the field experienced a lot of confusion and collisions. Although the above issue is very important in Korean typeface design, relevant analyses and studies have been lacking, and therefore the discovery of functional and discriminative characteristics among unique handwriting designs Hangul has is very difficult.

This paper extracted and examined the representative handwritings most frequently used—haeseo style, a type cast for vertical writing; ming style, produced by photocomposing machine for vertical-horizontal writing; and gothic style, developed in earnest from the 1990s for computer use.

Handwritings comparatively examined by this study included Baekhakseong style in 1910 from the cast type Leesujeong style in 1886; Jangbongseon style by Benton matrix cutting machine, developed for vertical-horizontal writing in 1956; Choijeongho style by photocomposing machine in 1970; typewriter handwriting Gongbyeongwu style for horizontal writing in 1967; gothic style -centered Ansangsu style, developed from the 1990s as a computer handwriting, malgungothic style, created by Microsoft in 2001; and a handwriting for exclusive use by Samsung Group in 2005.

This study is expected to provide basic materials for typography design education by clarifying changes in the production process and structural forms of handwritings in Korean typeface design.

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