‘Dancheong Red’ to Symbolize Seoul
Kim In-cheol

Staff Reporter
Yonhap News

The reddish color found in dancheong, the paintwork on traditional wooden buildings, has been selected as the color symbolizing Seoul and will be featured prominently in facilities and structures around the city. In addition, the array of colors used indiscriminately on buildings and facilities around Seoul has been organized into a system of 600 recommended colors that includes a selection of 10 major colors and the city color “dancheong red.” The city color scheme, announced by the Seoul government on May 22, was based on a citywide study, public opinion poll and opinions of experts. In a press briefing, Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said, “Establishing a symbolic color and color system will provide a turning point in improving the appearance of the city. It will mark the end of the era of disorder and disharmony.”


As for the reasons behind the choice of red as the symbolic color of Seoul, red is one of the traditional system of five colors for the five directions and was used on palaces and other traditional buildings, and it is also the color that linked everyone during the 2002 World Cup. In short, it is a color loved by the people of Seoul. The city will be producing guidelines titled the “Seoul Red Program” to show how to use red in public spaces such as the new City Hall building, products such as souvenirs, and other places important to the history and identity of Seoul.


Another major color is “Hangang silver white,” named after the river that runs through the capital. Also making up the 10 key colors are “Namsan green,” “palace brown,” “flower-wall yellow,” “Seoul sky-blue,” “stone-wall grey,” roof-tile dark grey,” “gingko yellow” and “hemp white.” Believing that the haphazard use of color has destroyed the cityscape over the years, the Seoul government has selected 600 recommended colors and plans to use them in refurbishing the face of the city.


Guidelines for using the colors according to situation and place will be established under the Basic Plan for the Urban Design of Seoul. From the second half of the year they will be applied to public facilities, outdoor billboards, buses and subway trains. From next year the color scheme will be promoted for use on buildings and other structures. In order to facilitate implementation of this plan, Seoul will be putting together the Seoul Color Guide, including the symbolic color, key colors, 10 major colors, 50 regional colors and 600 recommended colors, planned for distribution to citizens and businesses from July.

[May 22, 2008]