Eva Min 2 Where We Belong

  • Tauira / Student
    Eva Min
  • Kaiako / Lecturers
    Katie Kerr, David Coventon
  • School
    AUT Art + Design

Auckland is a melting pot, full of diverse ethnicities, cultures, and languages. Amongst the diversity are people with multicultural identities, especially those of 1.5- or second-generation immigrants. A common phenomenon for anyone with a multicultural identity is to have come across an identity crisis. Their complex and peculiar identities affect their manaakitanga and whanaungatanga — leaving them to question their identities as tauiwi in our contemporary society. Where We Belong is a design project that aims to provide a platform where people with multicultural identities can share their anecdotes, relate, and introduce to others experiences people with multicultural identities may go through. This project discusses how a community may obtain its personalised voice and identity through communication design, primarily through typography. It also unpacks the idea of multicultural identity and its influence on an individual’s manaakitanga and whanaungatanga.

As a part of the project, I have created the Kowi typeface, a multilingual typeface that hopes to help the Korean Kiwi (Kowi) community better celebrate and appreciate their unique identities. The Kowi typeface challenges integrating both Korean and English languages, based on my influences as a tauiwi of Korean descent, to reflect the multilingual characteristic of a multicultural identity. A unique language pattern called Konglish (Korean + English), commonly and comfortably used amongst Kowis, was used as a tool to visualise both English and Korean within a single typeface. The typeface integrates Hangul with English alphabets by replacing elements of alphabet letterforms with Hangul consonants that share the same pronunciation. The Kowi typeface strives to be a celebration and a representation of the Korean Kiwi language and be freely and appropriately utilised by the Kowi community as part of their identity.

To support the typeface design, I have conducted photographic research on Korean typefaces used in our contemporary New Zealand society. The photographic research surveys different Korean locations around Auckland, capturing the signages of the venues; the abstract visual representations of each locale that distinguishes them from the others.

Alongside the research, the project also includes a collection of interviews with young Korean Kiwi adults to amplify their voices as a community of a minor ethnic group and emerge both positive and negative everyday experiences people with multicultural identities may undergo in a melting pot like Auckland. The interviews mainly question their sense of belonging within the Korean Kiwi community and anecdotes about their identity crisis.