[Story]Himart and 「Hirown」

Type branding 


The collaboration between Himart and the development of "Hirown" began with a question: What does it mean to be 'Himart-esque'? This was a question that couldn't be defined from just one perspective. Given Himart's long history, it's important for us to contemplate together the future direction we should take.

Himart has long been a beloved specialty electronics shopping mall, known for its distinctive characteristics. As a result, a font conveying professionalism and trustworthiness was necessary. Additionally, there was a goal to target bright and energetic young users. Against this backdrop, it was defined that a font should embody a blend of professionalism, wit, and casual appeal. Sandoll and Himart embarked on discussions, aiming to encapsulate contrasting concepts into a single font—light yet weighty, concise yet expansive.

롯데 하이마트 폰트 하이로운

Getting the feel out of it 

During our initial meeting, we discussed how to incorporate the concepts of "professional yet witty and casual" and the "Himart-esque impression" into the font design. This process involved sharing specific references to visualize how each of us imagined these concepts could be represented. It was a collaborative effort to align and share our interpretations of the imagined feelings and impressions we had in mind.

As a result, the distilled keywords were 'geometric', 'playful', 'lighthearted', and 'unique'. These four keywords were defined to embody the "Himart-esque impression" in the font design. It was crucial to determine how much each keyword would be represented. For instance, when expressing a unique character, it was important to consider how prominently it would stand out. Considering Himart's pursuit of a professional image, we needed to avoid directions that felt overly exaggerated. Simultaneously, it was essential to incorporate unique features specific to "Hirown". In type branding, deciding which keywords to imbue into the font and to what extent was a challenging yet critical task. Finding a suitable middle ground that aligned with the goals of both extremes was imperative.

Test, test, test

After visually organizing the feelings that each person had previously only imagined, we began our exploration into defining the "Himart-esque" character in earnest. During the prototype stage, we delineated the characteristics of "Hirown" into two main categories:

Firstly, we contemplated expressing the keywords "playful and geometric" through variations in the height of the letterforms. Korean characters are composed of various components within a square frame. The more tightly packed the square frame, the less variation there is in the outline of the letterforms, resulting in a neat and aligned impression.

1 From left to right: Sandoll Gyeokdong Gothic 2, HG Kkotdeogssi, Sandoll Gothic Neo1 

Conversely, if the square frame is not fully filled, the variations in the outline of the letterforms increase, giving a dynamic and somewhat irregular impression as if they are moving. When this variation becomes pronounced, it can even evolve into a non-square shape.

 From left to right: Sandoll Gothic Neo2, Sandoll Gothic Neo3, Sandoll Roma

For 「 Hirown」  we adjusted the square frame to be less filled to showcase its playful characteristics. By varying the height of the letters, we aimed to create a rhythmic feel in the lower outlines of the letterforms. At the same time, the design was based on a geometric form. Characters like 'ㅇ' and 'ㅎ' maintain a circular shape as much as possible, retaining a geometric impression.

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Designing geometric shapes and letterform structures 

Secondly, we pondered on expressing the keywords "lighthearted and unique" through distinctive shapes of characters. The main features that were mainly discussed included three aspects: ① the peaks of 'ㅎ' and 'ㅊ', ② expression of character joints, and ③ expression of character omissions.

① Peaks of 'ㅎ' and 'ㅊ'

The peaks of 'ㅎ' and 'ㅊ' are positioned at the outline of the characters. Due to their relatively wide area or short strokes, these parts can be easily modified to create a unique impression. A slanted shape can evoke the start and end points of strokes and add a sense of speed. To enhance the lighthearted impression in "Hirown," we experimented with various angles and expressions to find the right balance

롯데 하이마트 폰트 하이로운Version testing of 'ㅎ' peak shape

롯데 하이마트 폰트 하이로운Final version of 'ㅎ' peak shape

② Character Joint Expression

Hangul utilizes a script where multiple letters combine to form a single character, resulting in various combinations of attached and detached letters. In "Hirown," we focused on this aspect to create unique characters. The key was to add strokes in a way that maintained readability and conveyed simplicity. Naturally, there were far more dropped expressions than adopted ones. Even a slight difference in the placement of a single stroke, at very small sizes, can turn '멍멍이' (dog) into '댕댕이' (puppy).

Testing character joints in '머, 대, 터' (adopted '머', dropped '대, 터')
Testing character joints in '을, 활' (dropped 'Concept A', adopted 'Concept B')

③ Character Omission Expression

Next, we conducted various tests to determine if omitting strokes would be effective. There were significantly more dropped expressions in character omission than in character joints. In Hangul, omitting strokes is often more critical than adding them.

Testing omission based on the presence of short vertical strokes (entirely dropped)

‘쌍닿자’ 생략 테스트 (전체 채택)

Refining the Outer Shape

Through repeated testing, we gradually solidified the "Himartesque" form, building upon previous efforts to infuse considerations of "Himartesque" into the inner workings of the font. Simultaneously, refining the outer shape was crucial to ensure the font could be effectively utilized in its file format. This phase maximizes the font's usability, particularly for web and app environments where "Hirown" is intended for use. Considering these environments—display settings, file formats, and configurations can vary based on where the font will be deployed. Refining the outer shape is just as iterative and critical as refining the inner design.

 Example of service application scope shared by Himart 

We went through a process of applying and refining the font across its intended scope. Below is the final version image of numbers, which was particularly important. In Hymart's web and app environments, numbers used for displaying prices or discount rates are especially critical. Since prices typically appear in small sizes, they needed to support quick and easy readability for users. Therefore, we minimized distinctive features and refined shapes and spacing to ensure clarity even at small sizes.

Additionally, we also refined punctuation marks such as arrow symbols (↑↓←→) frequently used in UI environments, the percent symbol (%) used with numbers, and commas (,) used to separate units when displaying prices. Punctuation was adjusted to ensure comprehensive usability, considering usage with not only numbers but also Hangul and Latin scripts.

 Final version of numbers and punctuation symbols

Himart and  「 Hirown」 

「 Hirown」  is a font created with a focus on embodying the essence of "Himartesque" that Himart aims to convey. This project was carried out based on clear objectives and intended usage environments, resulting in a satisfying outcome. To conclude the article, we will add examples of how "Hirown" is actually used in Himart's services. We hope 「 Hirown」  resonates with users as the perfect voice for Himart.

Himart website application screen

 Himart app application screen