Contribute an Essay for Our Discipline Now 2021, UDA Annual 2020

Choi, A. Y. (2021). “Our Path Together as Designers for the Next Generations.” 2020 UDA Annual, Jan 2021, 42-45.

2020 UDA Annual

Our Path Together as Designers for the Next Generations

I was in the elevator with three event attendees and an average-looking woman. We shared a short moment from the high floor to the ground floor. We didn’t know each other, but we all shared a good vibe. Perhaps out of a habit, a person said “Hi!” to another, and soon we were all saying “Hi!” to each other. What a pleasant feeling. As she saw our conference badges, suddenly the woman opened a mannered question, “What kind of conference is TypeCon?” One attendee, a conference speaker, answered cheerfully, “about type.” Suddenly there was a silence in the compact space with an uncomfortable atmosphere. Like a last round’s bell, the elevator sound echoed, “Ding!” We reached the ground floor and casually exchanged “have fun!”.

This story is my experience at the 2019 TypeCon Minneapolis. The average-looking woman showed a typical nondesigner’s reaction and understanding of design, and the conference speaker showed a familiar designer’s response and attitude. I realized that these two types of people had not changed since 30 years ago when I began my design career. There were many great designers and designs in the previous century, but the design did not accomplish a strong recognition in humanity. Therefore, as a designer, educator, and researcher, I always want to share my thoughts on this unchanging issue, and I hope people find them interesting.

Why can’t we, designers, collaborate like scientists and historians? There are three reasons for this question. First, we are selfish and full of conceit. We do not respect fellow designers. We only listen to our clients. We think we are in control, but we are always in the shadow of creativity and business. Second, we don’t allocate proper standard terms and theories. We say many catchy words such as “Problem-solving,” “Visual Thinking,” “Strategy,” and more, but we do not realize that these words are common words for everyone. Also, we say “typeface,” “font,” “typography,” and “type family,” but these words have the same meanings to everyone with no importance. When we explain their definitions, people are uninterested. The third and most critical reason is that designers do not know what ‘design’ is, so they act as artists. Designers don’t see a difference between Poster Art and Poster Design; Logo Design and Symbol Design; Commercial Design and Experimental Design. The lack of those comparisons is an excellent example of how many designers don’t know what ‘design’ is.

I have respected all designers from different countries to prove that I am not a selfish designer, educator, and researcher. I am always open to all suggestions and sharing ideas. You can find my directions by visiting Also, I initiated a global design organization, United Designs Alliance (UDA), to respect the designers (the UDA members, winners of competitions, design students, and UDA Medallions) worldwide.

I have been researching standard design terms and theories to support communication design. My design terms and theories strongly emphasize consumers and cultures in branding services and goods. These accomplishments have been recognized in many research articles. I have taught undergraduate students about utilizing my standard terms and theories to create designs easily and logically. I have taught graduate students about branding and design, emphasizing consumers and cultures to develop more logical commercial design methodologies. I welcome all students who want to study my methods and become YoungGamm or people with “passion and sense of youthful sustainability in design.” (For more information about ‘YoungGamm, visit

I accomplished many international, national, and local brandings in the USA, China, and Korea. With that knowledge and experience, I teach how to balance theoretical design and commercial design. I strongly recommend choosing the right design education direction for students who want to mobilize their education experience. For example, if you are a design student and wish to be an influential commercial designer, you need a design education from developed countries. Developed countries (high-income) have the highest industrial outputs, which means these countries have more commercial design opportunities with appropriate and responsible approaches. On the other hand, if you want to be a poster artist, you can study anywhere except in developed countries. Developing countries and least developed countries (low-income) have the lowest industrial outputs, which means these countries do not have as many commercial design opportunities as developed countries.

As I consistently grow my knowledge and experience with every design and year, I try to find a system to implement my existing design terms and theories. I continually search for the answers. While my search continues, I stand here to share and nurture you all, the designers from the next generation. If you need my hand, please reach out to me. Handing from me to you, we can make a difference in the design discipline, society, and humanity. We will change people once we become real designers.

Design as a Catalyst for Change
“I’m no longer accepting the things I cannot change… I’m changing the things I cannot accept.”

A Challenging Legacy
“When the World has Returned to its Pre-COVID State….”

Our Path Together as Designers for the Next Generations
“Handing from me to you, we can make a difference in the design discipline, society, and humanity.”

The design is not just how we create visuals, objects, or concepts, but significantly, the design is closely related to society, culture, and people. We experience the power of design every day: design influences us by sending appropriate messages to us. Thus, the design must incorporate marketing, psychology, anthropology, sociology, semiotics, and other disciplines in developing compelling messages.

A new generation of design educators and practitioners investigate a new design position in a new direction. Hence, UDA’s activities, such as ‘about our discipline now,’ share valuable thoughts with colleagues worldwide.

Visit the website: About Our Discipline Now 2021