Discover a hidden country
through its colors.
Have you ever wondered what North Korea really looks like?
North Korea is a deeply hidden country and you can only see what the government allows you to see. But if you look at the colors of the architecture, the landscapes, the people’s outfit, you will access a small piece of the “real” North Korea.
From the 1950s Stalinist Architecture to the buildings of the late 1970s, from the pastel walls to the Propaganda posters, from the traditional dress of the mass dancers to the student’s uniform, from the Pyongyang metro to the countryside, “Colors of North Korea” offers a fascinating journey through the architectural, historical and ideological reality of one of the world’s most hidden countries.
Work: Graphic design | Personal project | Software: Photoshop, InDesign
A few years ago, I stayed in Seoul for a few days after a business trip. At the time, I was working for a famous Korean company. During the course of my stay, a local teacher extended an invite to me to visit her school, which I gladly accepted. I had no idea that it was a very unique school, known for one particular reason. Upon visiting the school and meeting the teacher's students, it was explained to me that each of them had escaped the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) and were now in a special program which supported North Korean refugees. This series of encounters, first with the teacher, then with her students, made an impact on me, and my curiosity about North Korea grew.
A year later, I thought it was the perfect time to go to North Korea and see for myself what the country really looked like. Pyongyang was not the sad communist city I had expected, only made from grey and brutal-looking soviet-style concrete buildings. I was really surprised by the pastel color palette of the city architecture and the vibrant local interior design.
While there, I discovered how much the analysis of these colors taught about the history, and the modern reality, of the country. Because the Korean culture includes a tradition of a rich color spectrum based on an ancestral symbolism, I thought that identifying the more minute details of this color reference system would be an interesting way to understand the North Korean culture as a whole. This was the moment when I embarked on my quest to understand the traditional color symbolism of North Korea, and therefore, the country and culture of North Korea itself.
While there, I discovered how much the analysis of these colors taught about the history, and the modern reality, of the country. Because the Korean culture includes a tradition of a rich color spectrum based on an ancestral symbolism, I thought that identifying the more minute details of this color reference system would be an interesting way to understand the country as a whole. This was the moment when I embarked on my quest to understand what the traditional Korean colors could reveal about North Korea.
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GLOBAL BOOK DESIGN
A SPECIAL THANK YOU
A special "Thank You" goes to Nerd Nite Tokyo for encouraging and supporting the publication of this book.
Colors of North Korea
“Colors of North Korea” aims to go beyond prior writings about the country. This hybrid book explores 12 situations captured on camera in North Korea, and the meaning of its colors, to reveal the country’s hidden realities. This examination is rooted in solid research on Korean history, color psychology, and the traditional Korean color system. The book's design showcases the meanings and references of these colors and includes the traditional Korean colors table redesigned for the occasion. Thus, it offers an unprecedented window into the historical and ideological reality of one of the world’s most hidden countries.
Main category: Graphic design
Additional categories: History, Art and photography book,
Format: Square, 18×18 cm (7x7 inch) - 68 pages
ISBN (hard cover): 9780368981593
Publication date: 22, 2019
Key words: Psychology of colors, Architecture, North Korea
Copyright © 2019 Nadia Boudjella.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” at the address below.
ISBN: 978-9949-01-215-2 (Hardcover)
First printing edition 2019.