Gin Kim

a journey to happiness

Passport2guide Logo


This was a project that I did during my MA in the Creative Economy. Our business was about a stylish town guide in ‘Passport size’. We ended up starting from online town guide due to the printing cost but the logo was designed from the initial idea of passport sized guide as its name says.

2 criteria for this logo was to keep the look & feel of the conventional Passport cover but still look young and trendy!

I realised that most passports have ‘Crest’ on the cover aligned in the center – apart from the swiss passport. Then I selected some icons related to our contents – food, club, shops etc and put them randomly to make it look like a crest. Et voila!


Filed under: Design, MACE 2009

Designer, Manufacturer & Contemporary Design Retail Business

“Have you ever bought a chair for £150?”

I was asked, with little expectation of a positive answer, during my first job interview for the position of a designer. Let leave a chair with ticket price of £150, I had never bought a single piece of furniture at that point in my life. Ironically this is a rather common predicament for fresh graduates of design school. However the question indicates the criticism towards the mindset of most young designers who expect consumers to pay good hard-earned money for their designs without knowing its value through an actual experience of buying. This also highlights the specificities and contradictions of the design industry.

This question leads me to explore the economy of design industry. To initiate this research, I have focused on contemporary design retail business as one of the most desirable business formats for designers, yet not the most interesting subject for economists or researchers due to the fact that the sector remains comparatively small in terms of both individual size and overall market share.

This research aims to analyse the high-end design and furniture industry in order to find out the hidden structure and correlation between designers, manufacturers and retailers within the deign industry. This research will explore a broad range of context around the furniture and design industry especially focusing on the impact of the economic downturn and the tide of e-commerce on the research area. To understand the internal issues within the businesses, the literatures about the small business sector have been reviewed with greater emphasis on starting up a business, management, marketing and finance.

This research contains both quantitative and qualitative data that are collected via unstructured and structured interviews, a questionnaire and online research. In order to understand a real life phenomenon within the context, case studies are developed based on interviews as well as secondary data. Findings are analysed and synthesised in the form of diagrams.

From manufacturers to customers
– Competitiveness of contemporary design retail business and its channels of communication.
– (Left) Correlations between well established global furniture brands and well established design shops in London.
– (Right) Assessment of the product range and marketing channel of contemporary design retail business in London, 2010

Diversification of retail channels

Traditional structure of the design industry from designers to individual customers.

– Current trend of the diversification of retail channels for designers and manufacturers as well as retailers

(This is from my dissertation about contemporary design retail business in London)

Filed under: Design, MACE 2009

Final Presentation –

Filed under: Design, MACE 2009

1 Mar. – 11 Mar. addicted to

Honestly, for last 2 weeks, I’ve been obsessed with this website doing nothing else (completely forgetting about miguel’s essay, smell project of my design module, my own blog updates and even food…damn!) But it’s been such a pleasure to see the progress that our team is making, and wanted to contribute as much as possible, and it’s never enough. Now we have 44 published posts, and 19 drafts. We’ve been visiting shops, talking to people, and give our biz cards away. OK let’s make some points.

1 Mar. Yvonne found a shop to sponsor our competition by offering a lovely panda bag! Well done Yvonne!

2 Mar. Team meeting (11am-7pm)
– Filming for our ad
– Visiting our ‘sponsor shop’ to thank and to take more pictures! (Thank you ‘Octopus’!)
– Lunch at Kingston Mill for our website updates
– Working at Woody’s for our website updates, and website design with Pinar

3. Mar. Working at Woody’s again (2pm-8pm)
Talked with the manager and showed our website post of the bar. He really appreciated that

4. Mar. Working at Kingston Hill all day (9.30am-6pm)
Had meeting with Catherine in the morning, then again work, work, work!

Well, then I got sick and couldn’t go to school on Friday…. and then lost my wallet again on saturday…it’s a bit stupid but anyway, we’ve achieved quite a lot of things for this last 2 weeks.

Website updates
44 posts, 19 drafts, & a lot more to come!


Our first ad by Seb


Our business card


Passport2guides exclusive Kingston Town guide map!
(more detailed shop guide map to come later)


Our competition poster


hopefully final?


Our competition prize
– Panda bag
– Free meal voucher at Korean restaurant ‘Phoenix’, Raynes park (Thank you Cristina!)
– (TBC) Discount voucher from KAI’s kitchen


Visit our website and be our fan on facebook!!/pages/Passport2guidescom/357716367021?ref=ts

Filed under: MACE 2009,

20 Feb – 25 Feb Work in progress

Last week was pretty much of business project week. How many hours? pffff can’t count… I spent 4 days fully dedicating on business project…

20 Feb. Saturday : taking pictures & video of shops in Norbiton / Borough Market, Meeting with pinar

21 Feb. Sunday : Blog posting, contents making

22 Feb. Monday : morning – field research in Kingston (taking pictures & videos of shops in Kingston), afternoon – making contents (selecting pictures and writing reviews)

24 Feb. Wednesday : went to Marketing Forum (TFM) with Pinar & Seb

25 Feb. Thursday : Team meeting at 3 at Southbank till 6 / Contents making around Southbank centre from 6-9 / Uploading contents on our website 10-2am

I just realised that making contents needs a lot of time and efforts as well as ‘Money’ as I have to try by myself to write a reliable review! But it’s been quite fun, and it’s good to see our website with more and more contents from all of our team members. Great! 🙂

Filed under: MACE 2009

Week #3 29 Jan. Leadership 2. egg, myth, and oranges…

The morning session was led by Alia about her own project, research process, and also the types of leaders. And we were asked to express the given type of leaders using any kind of creative means – play, performance, sculpture, etc. We were given 30 min of discussion + preparation time, and our theme was ‘natural born leader’ (it had more professional name but as it was professional I forgot…). Basically it’s a type of leader who was born to be a leader such as nelson mandela or Jesus. So we brainstormed and these are the keywords we drew out.

– DNA, Jesus Christ, Queen Elizabeth, Lion King, Lincoln, Hitler (well, we got a little confused between narcissistic leader and natural born leader)

From that, Jongwha gave an idea of Korean half myth, half history that an ancient King who founded one of ancient kingdoms in Korea was born from an egg, and we found it as a perfect metaphor to express the ‘Natural Born Leader’. Then I brought the biggest cocoon that I used for the design module as an egg shell (How perfect it is!). After our presentation, there was a discussion focusing on the ‘Myth’ factor of leader especially concerning Jesus. Well, it was emerged mainly because we brought the Korean myth into our play, and also gave Jesus as one of examples of natural born leaders. But the myth is used not only for natural born leaders but also for most leaders (mostly after they become a leader) to make people believe that they are ‘natural born leaders’. Personally, our play conveyed the essence of natural born leader concept, but we haven’t really delivered the attributes of this type of leader. But is it possible to define their attributes ( I think no… it can differ depending on different situations)? Are there real natural born leaders without any myth making about them? Then how can you judge that they are natural born leader?

Well, then we had a discussion about leadership with 2 oranges…….. To be honest, I couldn’t really get the point. what is the relationship between 2 oranges or dropping oranges randomly and leadership or creative leadership? Does the definition of creative leadership have to be different from the definition of conventional leadership?  I couldn’t follow all ‘narrative’ there but about an issue of leadership as a science, I remember having thought that this research area is basically based on empirical research as far as I understand, so the behavior or attributes of good leaders have been analysed then they were grouped into different criteria. But if you ask if we can apply these criteria to explain all kinds of leadership out there inversely, the answer should be no. There are always exceptions, but can you then say that these criteria are useless or wrong? no… Well, I’m asking these questions maybe because I like to remain neutral about any kinds of issues, but yeah… sometimes you have to go extreme for the sake of creativity…?

Filed under: MACE 2009

Week #2 22 Jan. Leadership Session 1. We rocked!

Miguel’s back!

During the induction course, I found it very hard to participate in the debate that Miguel encouraged us as it was somehow too conceptual for me and I couldn’t figure out his intention of where he wants to drive us to.  At the end of the day, I had a headache and I assumed that it must have been a language barrier, or a tension I had about the new circumstance. Then after this week’s session, I realised that the reason for my headache was more  of Miguel’s debate than a language barrier as  I had a exactly same headache after the class.

However, it was interesting to talk about creative leadership from the different point of view which is ‘Narrative / Storytelling’. Well, he also talked about the conventional concepts of leadership, but it was obvious that he has a quite negative point of view about judging a person as a good leader with these conventional criteria. I agree with him but at the same time, it could have been better if we discuss about it after having a considerate look at these conventional approach which must have been researched for a long time. Especially after having worked with quite a ‘special’ boss for 3 years, I’ve been always wondering about what makes a good leader in creative environment. Well, my boss was a good leader in terms of storytelling as he knows how to sell himself and attract/allure people (clients), but for everything else but that point, there were considerate amount of problems among him and the rest of designers or even with clients. So can we really ignore those conventional qualities that define ‘a good leader’? Also, the examples given were all well known politicians such as Obama. So I was wondering if this theory of narrative can be applied for infamous yet good leaders (well ‘good’ is quite a vague adjective but let’s say ‘considered as good leaders’) all over the world. I guess  It doesn’t seem to make sense for them. Or I’m not fully understanding his point which is very possible.

Anyway, after a short lunch break we were asked to do ‘A one act leadership play’ and our team had free theme (yeah!!:) ). We came up with an idea of a rock band whose name is ‘MACE in Faces’ performing in a TV show such as X factor so we can describe different kinds of leaders

– Vocalist : Generally the leader of the band as they tend to be exposed the most, and to be loudest as well.
– Drummer : In this role play, drummer was a quiet, hidden but real leader in the team.
– Judge : an absolute power / authority in the industry

Narcissistic leader?

(hidden) Supportive leader?

Amazing reporter! MACE in Faces without AC is then ‘ME in Faces’… lol

Judge : an absolute authority in the industry.

Well, we had a lot of fun, and I was simply amazed how our team members are good at acting. I also realised AGAIN that acting is definitely not my thing…. pffff

Filed under: MACE 2009

Week #1 15 Jan. First MACE class in 2010!

New start with full of energy, hope, and joy of rejoining amazing maces!

It was great to see Catherine on the first day of the semester as we finally have our course director! Most of us have been experiencing quite a lot of administrative problems such as missing specialist modules on study space, so it was already a good news for the new year.

We had a quick introduction time for Catherine, but it was interesting as we were asked to tell what we want to be in 5 years of time rather than telling the same thing that we’ve done at the beginning of the course, so everyone’s knowing. Also, it was quite thought provoking test, as I always tend to live today not the future (one of my core problems). What will I be like? what do I want to be like in 5 years?…

“I will be working with my friends (friends back in Korea, or MACES) happily and enthusiastically as a small design consulting group in a humble but nice and cozy area. Our studio will be where we work, where we cook, and where we throw parties! We will be working very very hard to open a small cafe/restaurant near our studio. Last but not least, we will have 2 months of vacation a year.”

Well, I think it’s a very possible scenario apart from ‘2 months of vacation’. But this shows my will of not wanting to be the pet/slave of clients that I used to be and of being full of ‘Joie de vivre’!

It was also good to hear that we will be organising field trip to agencies or companies we want to visit. I personally want to visit the Conran group to see how they manage to run all those various businesses such as restaurants, retail shops (The conran shop), book publication, and design studio. Also, I would like to visit and see how they work at Jasper morrison’s studio in Shoreditch even if I visited only their shop and could see roughly the office from outside. It will be also a good occasion to have a nice Vietnamese food there. 😉

About drawing whatever related to circle, it was again interesting but seemed a bit repetitive for me. I understood the aim of the task but as the actual doing was the same, it was somehow less interesting part of the day.

Filed under: MACE 2009

Our new website!

Our new website in progress!

Today’s lesson :
It’s much better to work in a cafe than in the uni library!
Me and Pinar have been working on our website at cafe 1001 in Brick lane (Also Cristina & Seb popped up to help us) for SEVEN HOURS NON STOP! But with nice food in a nice place packed with nice people made us enjoy working without realising the time. The website is still quite empty but will be uploaded very soon with lots of fun contents! Keep checking our website!:)

Filed under: MACE 2009

Week #13 11 Dec. Last class before christmas, Secret Santa, Branding

Finally the last post for the last year! (But I’m not sure if there is any point of doing all this NOW…) Well, actually it’s very me to be lazy then start to do all of a sudden at the very last minute torturing myself. Whether it is worth doing in terms of assessment(?) or not, I feel quite good in a way as I’m recovering my momentum of feeding my blog. Anyway, my painful memory track back is getting easier and clearer. yupi!!

After submitting bl**dy essays (my first 3000 word essay in my life!), I felt just so good. It was like taking off 10 kilogram backpack.
Also the gifts were waiting for us as we arrived at the classroom, everyone seemed happy. (It was also my favorite macers, Isara & Pinar’s birthday!)


This week’s topic was ‘Brand’! I’ve been waiting for this lecture for such a long time, as I thought that we are missing ‘down to earth, commercial’ part of our products while focusing on ‘Innovation’ even if branding has so much power on success of the product. Also, all about Brand is always FUN such as background stories, histories, and concepts. We’ve been through very well known examples such as Apple, and Nike, then talked about the ‘culture’ factor of brand. The beauty of Corrine’s class is that it’s fun! It was the funniest and the most hilarious class ever when Corrine asked Matteo, Steffen, Harry to react in certain circumstances during football match, and Seb played the Kebab shop owner. Also it was the first time that I heard so many different national anthems on one day – I’ve never heard of most of them except American in my life, and it was so different. I like this quite dramatic shift of ideas, examples that Corrine used to give such as this because I would never be able to relate national anthems or football game with cultural factor in Brand.

It was also good to have a look at Corrine’s work which seemed very professional and good. I liked the strategic approach of her for each brand while many designers tend to forget about it, and produce looking-nice, and trendy one. The logo, the first thing people tend to recall when talking about brand, is so small but contains so much ideas and stories in it. That is why I love it and although I’m not capable of being a pure good graphic/brand designer, brand is definitely a fascinating area for me.

Very good class on very good timing!

Filed under: MACE 2009