A Dynamic Teaching Duo: Dong-Joo Park and Seung-Min Han Featured in Graphis Journal #370

We’re featuring not one but two great design teachers in today’s post!

Dong-Joo Park was born in South Korea in 1979. She is a graphic designer based in Seoul, and is head of the department at Hansung University’s Design & Arts Institute. She received a MFA in visual communication design at Ewha Woman’s University, then worked as a marketing director for KT&G affiliate Youngjin Corporation as well as Ilshin New Drug Corporation’s advertising department. She has won awards such as four Graphis New Talent Annual Platinums, an IDA Awards Gold, and a Creativity International Design Awards Silver. Most recently, she was a judge for the Korea, China, and Japan Illustration Contest.

Her teaching partner, Seung-Min Han, was born in South Korea in 1976 and is a graphic designer, illustrator, visual artist, and educator based in Seoul. He received a MFA at Kookmin University in South Korea and a BA in visual communication at KvB Institute of Technology, and is a professor at Hansung University’s Design & Arts Institute. He’s been awarded more than forty prizes, including ten Silver, two Gold, and four New Talent Annual Platinums from Graphis. He’s had twenty solo exhibitions and more than sixty selected exhibitions, and served as an editorial committee member of the Asia-Pacific Design No. 12 in Guangzhou, China. Most recently, he also was a judge for the Korea, China, and Japan Illustration Contest.

Over the course of their partnership, these two professors have consistently produced outstanding results both in regards to their own work and their students’ work. For example, the Gold-winning “Dynamic Power” (below, right) by student Ji Young Moon captures the energy of taekwondo by depicting the traditional board breaking technique while incorporating South Korea’s colors. In doing so, Moon ties the energy of the martial art to the country, helping promote South Korea as energetic and powerful.

Here’s some of their shared Q&A:

What is your process for selecting students from your class to apply for the Graphis competitions? 

Dong-Joo Park (D.P.) & Seung-Min Han (S.H.): We always encourage our third- and fourth-year students to submit their final projects to the Graphis New Talent Annual. The juniors have mostly focused on communication design, while the seniors have been working on their senior projects that they need to complete for graduation. Our third-year class is about experimenting with graphic design and focusing primarily on developing clear and effective graphic communication. Any student who has passed their freshman and sophomore classes in graphic design can register for our junior-year class. It’s different for the seniors. They can only apply to be in the senior seminar if they’ve completed more than ninety credits. Students in senior seminars have to go through three stages of review: the first planning stage, the second design review, and a third and final portfolio review. Even if a student has completed all of the credits required for graduation, they cannot graduate if they fail their final portfolio review. 

What might be a typical first assignment? 

D.P.: We start by having the students discover different ways to solve problems through visual design. We encourage them to develop clear visual communications using basic principles of graphic design, but also to experiment and to consider different perspectives as they work.

S.H.: Whether a student takes our class to improve their overall design skills, to improve their creativity, to improve their problem-solving skills, or to improve the aesthetics of their work, all these goals have something in common: Always have a clear purpose and goal in your work. Whether a student is working on solving a problem from a conceptual angle or a visual angle, I think it’s important for each student to carefully analyze and establish the purpose and the goal of their project.

Do you work with students individually?

D.P.: Yes, throughout the course of the class we spend 1:1 time with the students to help guide them through the design process.

S.H.: I work with different companies and public institutions to present real-life client cases to our students. In the class, I am like an orchestra conductor, directing the entire project and the students’ work with my guidance and coaching. We, the professor and the students, work and breathe together as a team, rather than working individually.

To learn more about these professors, pre-order Graphis Journal #370 now.

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