Typojanchi 2013
Seoul International Typography Biennale

August 30–October 11
10:00 am– 7:00 pm
Closed every Monday
Free admission

Culture Station Seoul 284
1 Tongil-ro, Jung-gu
Seoul 100-162, Korea
T. 82-2-3407-3500
F. 82-2-3407-3510


Hosted by
Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism

Organized by
Korea Craft & Design Foundation
Korean Society of Typography


Typojanchi 2013
Administration Office
Korea Craft & Design Foundation
5F, 53 Yulgok-no, Jongno-gu
Seoul 110-240, Korea
T. 82-2-398-7945
F. 82-2-398-7999
E. typojanchi@kcdf.kr

Typojanchi 2011

Modern Korean Cursive
Digital typeface concept

Ahn Sam-yeol
Born in 1971, Korea

From his long experience and refined sensibility as a graphic designer, Ahn Sam-yeol developed and released his typeface, Ahn Sam-yeol-che, in 2011. While relying much on intuition and wisdom of experience, he combines sharp eyes on historical sources and respect for functionality to create useful typefaces.

Ahn Sam-yeol graduated from Hongik University, and worked from 1996 until 2001 at Ahn Graphics (not related). After working as art director at Communications Wow and the magazine Geo, he started his own practice as a graphic and type designer. He has shown his work in many exhibitions, and in 2013, was selected as a winner of type design at the Tokyo TDC Awards for his Ahn Sam-yeol-che.

His new typeface concept, Modern Korean Cursive can be seen as a cursive counterpart to the upright Ahn Sam-yeol-che. In Korean typography, there is a shortage of cursives based on brush-written models. One explanation may be the inherent difficulty of developing cursive Hangul types: as a featural alphabet, Hangul characters are prone to misunderstanding when a small detail is lost or distorted. Perhaps for this reason, cursives or even semi-cursives are rarely found among old Korean metal types: only in modern times appeared a small number of Hangul cursives.

Creating a new Korean cursive typeface, therefore, is a formidable challenge in itself. Furthermore, it is even difficult to imagine a typically fluid, cursive counterpart to Ahn Sam-yeol-che, which is characterized by its “modern” style: upright structure and sharp contrast. Unexpected suggestions, however, may be found in reconsidering the Hangul cursive tradition. Unlike printed documents where cursive letters rarely appear, it is not uncommon to encounter fast-hand cursives in the manuscripts of novels and epistles. While still written with round-pointed writing brushes, the cursives are often characterized by their counterintuitively sharp, angular and rigid strokes: the result of writing fast with a relatively dry brush.

To many, “modern Korean cursive” may sound like an oxymoron. Ahn Sam-yeol is prepared to prove it otherwise, by combining simple, robust and angular skeletons with uncharacteristic swashes and a sense of flow—a task requiring a sufficiently flexible understanding of tradition, and an imaginative interpretation of heritage.

현대적 흘림

Courtesy: the artist

현대적 흘림

Courtesy: the artist

© Typojanchi 2013