- The ABCs of English Korean city slogans
- English Korean city slogans are wonderful, fantastic, amazing, and fresh—not!
- What’s with the obsession with English Korean city slogans?
- Now for the main feature, the definitive collection of English Korean city slogans
- Out with the old, in with the new?
- Table of English Korean city slogans
Since June 27, 2021, I’ve been posting weekly about English Korean city slogans. I’ve recently started posting about city districts, but fewer of them have English slogans. I remember seeing this blog post from ten years ago and decided it was time for an update.
The ABCs of English Korean city slogans
I’ve previously touched on some common trends found in English Korean city slogans. The stand-out favorite is to make an acronym of the word used to describe the city.
- Smart Asan (Spring, Mankind, Art, Renovation, Technic)
- Yes Gumi (Your city, Exciting city, Smart city)
- Just Sangju (Justice, Unlimited, Success, Together)
- Fantasia Bucheon (Fantastic, Art, New, Techno, Advanced, Symphonius, International, Area)
- ART Icheon (Active, Rich, Top)
- Good Chungju (Great, Opportunity, Open, Development)
and most recently…
- Busan is Good (Global, Original, Open, Dynamic)
BTW, Busan’s former slogan was Dynamic Busan. Nothing original about reusing your previous slogan and copying Chungju’s slogan. Only capitalizing the “G” in “good” doesn’t indicate that “good” is actually an acronym either. In the press, it’s stylized as “Busan is Good” but on the city site, it’s “Busan is good.” Confusingly, the new slogan only appears on the city’s English symbols page, but not the Korean page.
Which leads us to the biggest problems with this method—most of the time the general public isn’t aware
- The word is an acronym.
- What the acronym stands for.
I’ve looked at a lot of slogans that use this method and I’ve yet to find one I like. Either the word/acronym feels awkward or forced (Fantasia Bucheon), or the words the acronym stand for are clunky and unconnected (Active, Rich, Top Icheon).
English Korean city slogans are wonderful, fantastic, amazing, and fresh—not!
Another trend in English Korean city slogans is to pair the word with a catchy buzzword or a positive adjective.
- Romantic Chuncheon
- Wonderful Samcheok
- Fresh Sokcho
- Clean Gwangju
- Amazing Iksan
- Active Yangsan
Ironically, even though this method was used in Busan’s previous slogan, I think it worked well. Dynamic is a buzzword, but I think it also accurately describes Busan. I also liked how the logo incorporated the sun when dotting the “i.” The waves under the “us” in Busan make it seem like Busan is inclusive. Much better than “Busan is Good.”
What’s with the obsession with English Korean city slogans?
Presumably, based on my regular posts on this topic, a newspaper contacted me for my views on English Korean city slogans. I agree with the reporter’s take that, often, new city slogans are an attempt at creating a legacy. It’s fairly low risk. If the new slogan isn’t successful, you (or someone else) can always make a new one. If it’s a hit, you’ve created your legacy, and your name will always be tied to that legacy.
The problem is, a lot of time and money goes into these slogans, but for what reward? While researching these slogans, I was shocked to find out that almost every major city in Korea has not only a logo (and oftentimes a slogan) but also:
- A complete design system, including colors and fonts
- An official bird, flower and tree (EVERY city has one of each)
- A city song
- Many cities also have representative characters
As I commented in the article, I wonder about the efficacy of all these efforts. Have you ever visited a city based on its slogan? Aside from the city you live in, how many English Korean city slogans can you recall? How many people actually know their city’s Korean or English slogan? How many know their city song or characters—and more importantly—how many care?
Now for the main feature, the definitive collection of English Korean city slogans
Below, you’ll find a collection of English Korean city slogans (where they exist) for major Korean cities. In some cases, I’ve taken liberties. For example, for some cities, I’ve commented on a vision statement or phrase from their English site, even if it’s not the official slogan.
I’ve linked to the city’s English page featuring the logo or slogan where possible. This is not always possible for several reasons:
- The city’s English page may not be as up to date as its Korean counterpart
- Even when an English slogan appears on the Korean site, it doesn’t always appear on the English site
- There isn’t always an English version of the city site
- Many cities use “auto-translation” software that translates the site in real time (prevents linking to individual pages)
As a side note, the quality of the translations on the vast majority of these sites is subpar. The auto-translated sites are by far the worst. These translations often border on incomprehensible.
I applaud the cities that have gone through the trouble of attempting to translate their sites. But it is painfully evident most did not consult with a native English speaker. If you really want to bring your city to the world, then make an effort to translate your website correctly. At the very least, ensure a qualified native English-speaking proofreader is involved.
I’ve also included links to my weekly Instagram posts on each slogan in the table below. These posts give more information on the slogans, their meaning, and my thoughts on the slogan or logo. In some cases, the slogans I originally posted about have been replaced.
Out with the old, in with the new?
For example, Busan recently changed its slogan from “Dynamic Busan” to “Busan is Good,” and Seoul has replaced “I Seoul U” with “Seoul My Soul.” The English site was open to voting on the design of the slogan until May 30th, but there is still a Seoul Brand Design Contest running until June 20, 2023. Sadly, that doesn’t allow for new suggestions.
I’ll post on these updated slogans in the future.
Many Korean cities don’t have English slogans—which I’m fine with. I’d rather a city have no English slogan than an ill-conceived one. In these cases, I’ve either posted about an unofficial slogan or tagline from their English site, the translation of their slogan/logo, or the logo itself.
At the time of posting, all links were verified working links. If you find any broken links, please contact me, and I’ll try to update them as best I can.
|City||English Slogan/Motto/Brand||Logo Page||Instagram Post||Notes|
|Seoul||Seoul My Soul|
(Doesn’t appear on Korean or English site yet)
|ENGLISH||Previous Slogan (I · SEOUL · U)|
|Busan||Busan is Good||ENGLISH||Previous slogan Dynamic Busan|
|Incheon||all ways Incheon||ENGLISH|
Full of Freedom and Vitality
|ENGLISH||Previous: Colorful Daegu|
(Updated since Instagram post)
|Daejeon||Daejeon is U||KOREAN|
|Gwangju||Your Partner Gwangju||ENGLISH|
|Ulsan||Ulsan, the Rising City||KOREAN|
|Special Autonomous City|
|Sejong||Sejong is the future||ENGLISH||Updated since Instagram post|
|North Chungcheong Province|
|Cheongju||No English Slogan||ENGLISH|
|Jecheon||Healing City Jecheon (Unofficial)||KOREAN||See logo in top left corner|
|South Chungcheong Province|
|Cheonan||The World’s Best City (Unofficial)||ENGLISH||Appears on English main page|
|Gongju||Gongju, the Gateway to a Happy Future (Unofficial)||ENGLISH||Not a slogan but rather a concept|
|Seosan||Sun Rising Seosan (Unofficial)||ENGLISH||See logo in top left corner|
|Donghae||Donghae, Sunrise City||ENGLISH|
|Gangneung||Pine City Gangneung||ENGLISH|
|Wonju||Healthy Wonju / I Love Dynamic Wonju||ENGLISH|
|Ansan||No English Slogan||KOREAN|
|Anseong||City of Masters||ENGLISH|
|Anyang||Anyang, Smart City of Happiness with Citizens||KOREAN|
|Dongducheon||Do Dream Dongducheon||ENGLISH||Click on “About Dongducheon” and then “Symbols”|
|Gimpo||Full life, Gimpo||ENGLISH|
|Goyang City||Peace is coming|
Opportunities are coming
|Gunpo||Gunpo Good for you||ENGLISH|
|Guri||No English Slogan||ENGLISH||N/A|
|Gwacheon||I am 과천||KOREAN||New slogan (updated since Instagram post)|
|Gwangmyeong||No English Slogan||ENGLISH|
|Hanam||No English Slogan||ENGLISH|
|Hwaseong||The Way to Better Living||KOREAN|
|Namyangju||No English Slogan||KOREAN|
|Osan||Fresh Enegry, Osan||KOREAN|
|Paju||No English Slogan||KOREAN|
|Pocheon||Fortune City Pocheon||KOREAN|
|Pyeongtaek||Citizen-Centric New PyeongTaek (Unofficial)||ENGLISH||See logo in top left corner|
|Seongnam||No English Slogan||KOREAN|
|Siheung||No English Slogan||ENGLISH||N/A|
|Suwon||No English Slogan||KOREAN||(Updated since Instagram post)|
|Uijeongbu||No English Slogan||ENGLISH|
|Yeoju||No English Slogan||ENGLISH||N/A|
|Yongin||No English Slogan||KOREAN|
|North Gyeongsang Province|
|Andong||Andong, the Capital of Korean Spiritual Culture (Unofficial)||ENGLISH||Appears on main page|
|Gimcheon||Happy together, Gimcheon||KOREAN|
|Gyeongju||Golden City, Gyeongju||ENGLISH|
|Gyeongsan||Together GyeongSan (Previous English Slogan)||KOREAN||Updated to Korean slogan|
|Mungyeong||Moving forward – The New Mungyeong (on page translation of Korean slogan)||ENGLISH|
|Yeongju||No English Slogan||ENGLISH||N/A|
|South Gyeongsang Province|
|Geoje||Blue City Geoje||KOREAN|
|Gimhae||Royal Capital of Gaya, Gimhae||KOREAN|
|Miryang||No English Slogan||ENGLISH|
|Sacheon||Mecca of high-tech aviation industry (Unofficial)||ENGLISH||See logo in top left corner|
|Tongyeong||The Land of Sea Tongyeong||ENGLISH||N/A|
|North Jeolla Province|
|Gimje||The only place where heaven and earth meet||KOREAN||Appears in emblem|
|Gunsan||No English Slogan||ENGLISH|
|Jeongeup||No English Slogan||ENGLISH|
|Jeonju||Feel Korea in Jeonju||KOREAN|
|Namwon||The City of Love, Namwon (Unofficial)||ENGLISH||See logo in top left corner|
|South Jeolla Province|
|Mokpo||Romantic Port Mokpo||KOREAN|
|Naju||No English Slogan||ENGLISH|
|Suncheon||No English Slogan||KOREAN||Previous Slogan: In Suncheon|
|Yeosu||No English Slogan||ENGLISH|
|Jeju||Only Jeju Island||KOREAN|
|Seogwipo||No English Slogan||KOREAN|