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  • Writer's pictureTongRo Images

Tips to Create Color Palettes of Korean Culture

Updated: Nov 11, 2022

What would be the best way to express one’s identity? The most classic yet effective way would be using color. As well as the national flag represents every nation, or the logos of the corporates such as Coca-Cola or Starbucks could be good examples. Accordingly, this week’s Special Feature will go through the case of Seoul Special City and Incheon Metropolitan City to find inspiration to compose a color palette that holds a clear cultural identity.


Firstly, the city of Seoul conducted Defining and Systemizing the Representative Colors of Seoul Project to establish its representative colors that connote its own culture and history in 2008. Diverse specialists covering archeology to colorology have collaborated on selecting 69 items from three classifications of natural environment · artificial environment · human environment then have extracted the colors by using the naked eye and the color index, a ‘colorimeter’ which is a measuring device for color value, and extracting colors from digital photographs by using computers.

By doing so, 10 Seoul’s representative colors including Dancheong Red (Seoul Red) · Hangang Silver (Seoul White) · Kkotdam Hwangto (Seoul Orange), and 50 Seoul regional colors were selected. Along with these colors, 600 ‘Recommended Colors for Seoul’ which are derived from those 60 colors have also been announced and are being used in various urban design planning departments.

Furthermore, the city of Seoul is providing Seoul citizens a chance to get involved in urban design freely by releasing 《A Guideline For The Representative Colors of Seoul》 which contains each of Munsell Color Code and CMYK · sRGB value. According to this, Seoul city’s project of defining and systemizing the representative colors could be regarded as a positive case that enables not only the local government but the Seoul citizens to incarnate Seoul’s unique characteristics in harmony.


In 2017, the city of Incheon also released 《Incheon Metropolitan City Color Design Guideline》 and 《Incheon Standard Color Guide Book》 demonstrating 3 Incheon City Colors and 10 Incheon Environmental Colors. Their ways of extracting color samples, or the guideline which indicates the Munsell Color Code to get the citizens involved was considerably similar to Seoul’s case, however, the City of Incheon had this eye-catching difference.

  As we can see in the picture above, the significant difference was their way of naming the colors that successfully created Incheon’s own cultural identity. Such as ‘Incheon Dawn Ocean Color That Prepares Its New Era’ or ‘Korea’s very first modern lighthouse White’ or ‘International city, Future Incheon’s Platinum’ were signifying Incheon’s beautiful landscape, its history that lives in historic sites, and lastly the futuristic values that the local government is willing to pursue.


In conclusion, by studying the case of Seoul Special city and Incheon Metropolitan City, we were able to come up with the fact that we could express the region’s identity with a refined method of colorology. By broadening our perspective on this matter, it is surely possible that we could get the hint to create stock images that hold the unique color of Korea. How about producing your own color palette that captures Korean beauty and then planning on creating the stock images?

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