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Unknown Forms

Graphic Design in South Korea

Faculty: Chris Hamamoto

South Korea: July 7-22, 2019

SF campus: August 12-16, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Housing Check-in: Saturday July 6

Housing Checkout: Monday July 22

Interested students should contact Chris Hamamoto to start the approval process for registration.

gif of a minimalist poster with floating rock-like shapes against a background that alternates between grey and black

Open to undergraduate and graduate students, this course is an immersive two-week design experience introducing students to the vibrant and ascendent design culture of Seoul, South Korea, and the uniquely ahistorical work being produced there today. While quickly becoming one of the technology, fashion, and entertainment capitals of the world, Seoul also supports an experimental local design scene, one informed by the global exchange of ideas resulting from Korean designers going abroad and filtering Dutch, American, and Japanese design influences into their own sui generis approach to design. Students take two intense, three-day workshops with local practitioners, participate in an experiential neighborhood walking tour with a local designer, conduct 8-12 design studio visits, and visit culture sites to gain intimate access and insights into the unique culture of Korean design.

Interior of the graphic design studio, hey joe, in South Korea

During their stay, students not only visit contemporary design practitioners, but also become familiar with broader contemporary and traditional Korean Culture. Visiting the Bukchon Hanok Village to view the centuries old architecture, Paju Book City – a city totally devoted to the production and circulation of books, eat ‘Temple Food,’ and visit contemporary cultural sites like piknic, SeMA Seoul Museum of Art, The Book Society, Index, and Post Poetics.

The workshops and individual instruction are a pivotal aspect of the course. Each student participates in two workshops, led by innovative Korean designers. During the workshops, the process and final projects are posted daily on a group website to share with the other students and the public. Participants also undertake a walking tour to important contemporary design and historical sites.

Looking down the street of traditional houses of Bukchon-Hanok with a backdrop of contemporary highrises

Students stay in the Hongdae area of Seoul, a region known for its historical counterculture roots, indie music scene, art and design, cafes, shopping, and nightlife. The area encompasses Hongik University, home to the country’s top Graphic Design program, where workshops are held. Students have access to Hongik’s design production resources and share in visits from Hongik’s Graphic Design faculty.

Studio visits may include: Sulki and Min, ADearFriend, James Chae, Yejin Cho, Hey Joe!, Triangle Studio, TEXT, Corners Studio, Ordinary People, Joong hyun Cho, OCQ, Yehwan Song, Studio Fnt, and PAPEPRESS.

Chris Hamamoto has exhibited, taught, and lectured in South Korea. Visiting on several occasions for research – he has actively pursued, and is maintaining, cross-cultural collaborations with Korean designers focused on understanding and introducing contemporary and historic Korean Graphic Design to new audiences while promoting cultural exchange.

Learn more about Christopher Hamamoto »



  • Undergraduate: Successful completion of at least sophomore level by summer 2019 and instructor approval.
  • For Diversity Studies Studio credit: Drawing 1, 2D, 3D, 4D, Writing 1, Foundations in Critical Studies, Intro to the Arts and Intro to the Modern Arts. Junior standing
  • For Graphic Design Advanced Studio Elective credit: Graphic Design 3 (GRAPH-300) and Typography 3 (GRAPH-304)
  • Graduate: MFA Design major and instructor approval.

In addition, all students must be in good academic, conduct, and financial standing for the 2018-19 academic year. Students who are on probation in fall 2018 are not eligible to enroll in a 2019 summer study-abroad program.

Course Satisfies

  • For undergraduate students, this course satisfies a Graphic Design Advanced Studio Elective, a Diversity Studies Studio, or a Studio Elective.
  • For graduate students, this course satisfies a Grad-wide Elective.

Program Fee
$5,100 + $50 summer registration fee.

Included in program fee:

  • 3 credits, housing, welcome and farewell dinners, local transportation, guest artist, field trips, entrance fees, and travel/health insurance

Not included in program fee:

  • Airfare to and from South Korea, ground transportation to and from the Korean airport, most meals

Please read the Summer Study Abroad Registration & Related Information in its entirety.

Please see Frequently Asked Questions.
All CCA summer study-abroad courses are coordinated by the Office of Special Programs.

Office of Special Programs
Oakland Campus, Ralls 201

Nina Sadek
Dean of Special Programs

Carol Pitts
Operations Manager, Special Programs