‘Design is the starting point of corporate innovation’

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Sept 20, 2012 - 23:20
  • Updated : Sept 20, 2012 - 23:20
Hyundai Card’s design department director Joon Oh! speaks on design management and competition. (Ahn Hoon/The Korea Herald)
Hyundai Card’s design director Joon Oh! said corporate design should be a first priority for a company to build its brand image.

“In Korea, companies start considering design after they grow big enough in sales. But design should be the first step for building corporate identity,” he said during his lecture at the Herald Design Forum in Seoul, Thursday.

Since joining Hyundai Card in 2009, Oh! has made the company a leading innovator within the credit card industry here, unveiling a series of hit cards that represent the lifestyles of card holders, not the company.

The company’s latest “it Card” allows customers to customize the color and material, and is gaining positive reactions even though customers are required to pay an additional 50,000 to 100,000 won depending on specs.

“We have no choice for paper money but credit cards should be selected by consumers. That was the starting point of the whole idea,” he said.

“People spend money to buy bags and wallets. Why not on credit cards?”

His innovative attempts are expanding beyond the credit card business. Among other things, the company applies the creative design idea for social contribution, offering business counseling for underprivileged people.

During the lecture, he expressed some concerns that a design team is usually isolated within a Korean company and is not directly involved in the important-decision making process.

“A design team at a company should inspire the whole company. Even though final decisions are made by the CEO, the quality of the decisions are decided by the design team,” he said.

“A successful company is loved by consumers and design helps it.”

Oh! graduated from Hongik University and studied product design at Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs. He also was creative director at the design consulting company Inno Design between 2004 and 2008.

By Lee Ji-yoon (