Daldal Sool is a brand of six traditional + authentic Korean spirits made from native fruits, born from my love for the Korean culture and the search for authentically Korean culture and visual language. By gathering pieces of the culture from traditional architecture, retro street signs, traditional accessories, style of art, and illustrations, Daldal Sool successfully captures everything Korean, including the spirit of our people and our pride to be Korean.
Korea being one of the only countries to not have lost its native language and script despite the 35 years of colonization, the resilience and willpower that Koreans have demonstrated throughout the Japanese Colonial Era to reach independence are deeply ingrained in many parts of our culture.
Having been a small country surrounded by larger countries for most of its history, Korea often had to deal with foreign influences and preserve its culture. Korean graphic design in its early ages was criticized for resembling Japanese or American graphic design too closely. Korean graphic design in the more recent years has become more influential, original, bold, and recognized within the global playing field. However, Korean words are constantly being lost and replaced by English words, and western beauty standards are ever so predominant even in the field of design and art.
The objective of this line of alcoholic beverages is to (1) introduce lesser-known parts of the Korean culture to the global audience by embodying a welcoming design for the western perspective and (2) also envision what a uniquely Korean visual language would look like.
From a very long time ago, Koreans have considered birds to be the bridge that connects the two worlds that are far apart: the sky and the earth.
At Daldal Sool, we strive to introduce lesser-known bits and pieces of the Korean culture to those who are not familiar, and the brand hopes that the birds can once again serve as the bridge that connects worlds and cultures far apart from one another.
“Daldal Sool” directly translates to “sweet liquor”
in Korean. The crescent moon-shaped birds in the logomark are a reference to how “Dal” by itself refers to the moon.
CORE IDENTITY ILLUSTRATIONS
SHAPERS + MOTIFS
Inspired by traditional Korean hair accessories, Tuljam
A reference to shapers used in retro Korean packaging
Simple organic line illustrations with a dotted pattern fill echo the modern Korean illustration style. It serves as a nod to the Korean folk art style (Minhwa) that everyone and anyone could practice. The line art illustrations for the brand's core identity make it appear approachable and friendly. Retro or modern, the brand captures moments of pure Korean visual elements.
"Various iconic imagery and styles of different periods of Korean culture come together harmoniously in this design. 'Retro or modern', subtle but beautiful details flourish the packaging, creating a really enjoyable experience to inspect closely at all the corners of the design. As a Korean-American, I appreciate that this design doesn't simply rely on and push to the viewer cliché symbols of Korea. This difference produces feelings of authenticity and novelty all the while preserving elements that are recognizable and timeless."
Kind words from Yunha Seo, a Korean-American UX Designer
These fruit illustrations were used for the bottle labels and were inspired by the Korean Folk Art style (Minhwa). The gradients and textures closely imitate the Minhwa art style. The thin black lines that can be found in Minhwa were converted to white to resemble the typeface that integrates consistent white strokes into the letterforms.
The shape of the label is inspired by Dancheong patterns that follow a similar arch shape along the border of traditional Korean architecture, and the shaper that frames the name of the product, as well as the stripe patterns are commonly found in Korean retro packaging. The vertical shapers loosely follow the visual characteristics of each fruit, while still resembling the motifs used in retro packaging.
A playful tone of copy is a core component of Korean products and packaging, which are incorporated into these bottle labels as well.
A grid-like design is implemented to organize the information, which resembles the modular nature of the Korean writing system, Hangul, as well as the traditional window patterns from Korean architecture.
Typically, alcohol containers are sold in tinted glassware, such as dark green for wine and soju and amber for beers, to prevent the taste of the beverage from altering due to exposure to sunlight. Daldal Sool comes in clear bottles as a design decision, but the boxes protect the beverage from altering in flavor by completely blocking out any exposure to light.
The bottles have small line illustrations of clouds and birds that are not noticeable at first glance for some flavors, which encourage viewers to take a closer look and drink the beverage to find out what the hidden drawings might be.
Sweet & Authentic Korean Fruit Liqueur infused
with a spoonful of moonlight for the sweet-toothed.
Bags were designed to hold boxes and bottles. In the old times, ceramic bottles of alcohol had ropes around their bottlenecks to be carried by the waist. To pay tribute to this convenient form of portability widely practiced by the common people, the bag handles use a similar type of rope that was used back then.
"As an expat from South Korea to the US, I am always searching for references of home in the west.
As a kid, my mom or grandma read Korean folk tales to me. I’ve repeatedly heard the expression, 'When tigers used to smoke pipe cigars'. Tigers smoking pipe cigars is out of the ordinary, but so is life. My ancestors saw imperialism, colonialism, and liberation in one sitting. When we, Koreans, say, 'all the way back to when tigers used to smoke pipe cigars', we date all the way back to when the impossible was possible. In modern Korean society, I don’t sense the same level of conviction and innocence as my ancestors.
It’s hard to come by Korean fruits and spirits, especially in the Midwest. Then I saw Daldal Sool at the Artifact exhibit. Daldal Sool is my childhood. In the summer, my aunt always kept a jar of omija syrup in her refrigerator. Daldal Sool is my adulthood. Now in my 20s, I go back home every so often. In the winter, my best friend and I drink hot yuja tea by the seashore as we reflect on the past and share a couple of laughs.
My friend Minjae Lee's heartfelt response to my project