Seller Interview VOL.10
“Covering Korea’s painful history themed theme to webtoon and entertainment collaborated theme, Let’s hear the theme story of doubledot, the company establishing unique theme world in Samsung Themes. “
Edited by / Choi Youjin, Design Jungle Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Photo by / Jae Wook Yoon, Niotani Studio Cheif Photographer (email@example.com)
Please introduce doubledot including the projects it has executed.
Park Hyong Shin, Representative : We are the design agency established in Nov. 2010. Our main business has been generally UI /UX area’s business. And, Of course, for the past 6 years, we’ve implemented several different attempts including clothes production, making prototypes of products and furthermore, we did product design as well. People may wonder why UI/UX specialized company does such jobs, but we try to make various attempts if we consider it’s interesting. In this year, we actively engage in Samsung Themes’ works.
doubledot, How they started working with Samsung Themes?
How and when did you start working with Samsung Themes?
Park Hyong Shin, Representative : We’ve got their proposal in December last year and started making themes in January this year. Actually, we’d hesitated to join Samsung Themes, ’cause it wasn’t considered as profitable but at the same time we’d hoped to make digital contents so we started working in Samsung Themes.
What did make you to be a seller in Samsung Themes?
Park Hyong Shin, Representative : Each design company has its own strength. For example, a certain company’s designers are good at print and a certain group of companies are good at product. It goes like this. But we thought we would like to collect such strength together. We thought we should be a pivotal company by extending our scope and decided to collaborate with various contents. So we decided to join Samsung Themes and apart from our own designed themes, we could present works in collaboration with webtoon artists, GuiGui and Maso & Sadi and photographer Rotta.
If there is the unique thing of Samsung Themes compared to other phone decoration service.
Park Hyong Shin, Representative : Freer expression is available in Samsung Themes. For example, when we were working with SK Telecom in the similar service, we tried to present a work with GuiGui, a webtoon artist, it was not available due to their characteristic unique code. But in Samsung Themes, we could present a theme of GuiGui and now we are presenting a variety of themes. And due to easy difficulty of theme making tool it provides, everybody can register the themes. I think this is the unique thing and strength of Samsung Themes. Additionally, Samsung realizes coexistence in profit share.
doubledot’s themes feature delicate graphic and refined color sense. What is the No. 1 priority when you make high quality themes?
Park Hyong Shin, Representative : Almost every theme we made was made by individual designer’s concept work. We execute theme making work by granting authority to each single designer. Designers make themes as they want to make and they choose the subject.
Jeong Oh Seong, Deputy Senior Staff : Design elements are important as well, but when we make themes, we more care about making it not to be too straightforward. We put such effort in theme planning phase.
Lee Eun Ji, , Deputy Senior Staff : First of all, we think a lot to make it without strongly ambivalent reviews. Once the concept is made I look into themes in Theme Store a lot so that I can make distinctive themes.
Lee Ji Soo, Deputy Senior Staff : I’ve mainly made themes with free atmosphere. I search for subjects that has a common denominator between the public and me. I consider making concept that users would like is the most important.
Make Themes with Social Issues
doubledot have presented free themes that demands interest on social issues, for example Comfort Women theme, for what purpose did you made such themes and what did you want users to know with them?
Park Hyong Shin, Representative : We started donation since the second year of doubledot. I think there is a deep sense of accomplishment with donation. It is a different kind of accomplishment compared to the accomplishment from work. We made Sewol ferry theme by Samsung Theme’s free theme making request. In considering what to make, we thought it would be much more valuable that what we can do with money. So we decided to make it. Also we thought we could let it be widely known in overseas ’cause Samsung Themes has bigger share in U.S. and China.
What was the reason to choose ‘Sewel Ferry’, and ‘Comfort Women’ as themes with social issues and what did aim with such themes?
Park Hyong Shin, Representative : The reason to choose was that it was so miserable. It would be great if wearing a yellow ribbon badge could do something helpful but it could not. We also kept condolences in our mind. But the chance that enabled us to do something with a theme came to us. A theme has a good spreading speed and it is a good media to deliver the massage indirectly. If yellow ribbon places on the lock screen, some of users would have resistance. But we could coordinate the screen avoiding such resistance and we could put messages on every appropriate spots since a theme is not only one image art. For example, placing the date on icons was available. By ideas of Kim Seong Won, Senior Staff and Jeong Oh Seong, Deputy Senior Staff, we concealed such elements in all over the theme.
Jeong Oh Seong, Deputy Senior Staff : As you can see in Sewol Ferry theme, we didn’t describe sad scenes like ferry’s sinking scene. That was our early concept. ‘Let’s describe things that would happen if there was no accident. So we put images describing boys and girls playing in Jeju after safe arrival in Sewol Ferry theme. If there was no accident, each one of them would have their own memories. So I made the scenes in the theme as if it’s their memories and diaries. Among icons, we considered message icon as the most important one. Because the saddest things were the text massage to mom that failed to send in writing and another text message just written ‘mom’ as it could not go further. They were the most painful scenes for me. Message and Memo things were the best match with such metaphor.
※Wikipedia link about Sewol Ferry Accident : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinking_of_MV_Sewol
※Wikipedia link about Comfort Women : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comfort_women
Do you think that themes can contribute to drawing people’s interest to social issues?
Park Hyong Shin, Representative : Of course. In particular, spreading speed of a free theme is very fast. Feedback is much better than expected. A theme doesn’t get removed at single use. It make people experience the theme from the moment they open the phones, including when they send message, to the moment they close phones. Sewol Ferry theme’s download count is nearly coming to 500,000. Download is increasing in overseas as well. As for Comfort Women theme, we used English in the theme, so that users in overseas can know the history and we designed icon metaphor as well. As a result, some overseas users leave comments of consolation and condolences.
What was the most memorable feedback from Korean users? And from overseas users, what kind of comments were there?
Park Hyong Shin, Representative : Most of Korean users give us good feedback. In particular, about Sewol Ferry theme and Comfort Women theme, many of them say ‘thank you’ and ‘I will remember’. There were several responses that surprise me from overseas users. Actually comfort women theme is not available in Japan. Due to political reason, it is available in all countries except Japan. But a Japanese resident in Mexico who has Japanese nationality left a message saying ‘It’s so sad’. Some left message saying ‘Seugoi’ which is Japanese language meaning great. Among other feedback written in English, we can see many of them were conscious replies with full understanding of the contents in the theme. Maybe this is the strength of Samsung Themes that is penetrability. Because we can inform overseas users such issues. Though we cannot build monuments of comfort women in other countries, we can do what we can do with design.
What are you planning for the next free theme? And please tell us about upcoming series theme.
Park Hyong Shin, Representative : We are planning on a theme about Dokdo Island. We will start the work in November. Besides, we have lots of items we want to make and we are going to make. According to policy, it is not available to make themes with political issues. At present, we would like to make themes focusing on the issues we can inform. We would like to make more such themes but we are planning to make themes with social issues once every 3 months ’cause we are a profit-centered company. Even if we do really good things, it cannot be sustainable without having profit. Meaningful actions can be done continuously when we make profit.
Found new Biz model with Collaboration themes
Among doubledot’s themes, ‘Gui Gui Gallery’ inspired by webtoon is quite interesting. What themes did you make with webtoon? And what are the webtoons?
Park Hyong Shin, Representative : Gui Gui theme is a theme of Gui Gui’s webtoon who is a webtoon artist. Due to his genius, we wanted to make his work as contents but we would like to avoid emoticon things. Theme was made with webtoon scenes of Gui Gui. We extracted his webtoon images from each episode of webtoon and put them into the theme. The reason we made the theme by episode was for promotion. We are planning to present ‘Gui Gui’s book and mobile application’, so we would like to let overseas users know the characters.
I wonder how the responses were different between the users in Korea who like the webtoon and the users in overseas who don’t know the webtoon.
Kim Seong Won, Senior Staff : Due to Gui Gui theme’s characteristic feature and humor, overseas users express quite good responses. In Korea, Gui Gui seems to have strong maniac group. If you see the feedback, you will know that many of them did repurchase. Most of them come via links we made for promotion or they are the fans of Gui Gui, so they come to buy it.
I wonder what new territory you will try to attempt in future. Do you have planning projects?
Park Hyong Shin, Representative : We are planning on a variety of projects with photographer Rotta and webtoon artist Maso and Sadi, the artists we met for Samsung Themes. Since various works with artists are meaningful attempts for us, we would like to make dynamic and various works. Theme making for companies and brands will be executed in B2B scheme and as a new format of business, Gui Gui’s book will be published by us.
Please tell us what you want to say to Samsung Themes.
Lee Ji Soo, Deputy Senior Staff : I hope animation function in lock screen become more flexible. I think if music function is applied it will express much better.
Kim Seong Won, Senior Staff : I hope policy on subjects become more libaralized so that we register various contents. In some cases, we cannot register the contents due to its youth protection policy though it is not having serious problem. In fact, teenagers are exposed to more harmful contents by other medias. It is bad when we cannot express fresh ideas due to the strict policy.
Lee Eun Ji, , Deputy Senior Staff : We usually work in Mac but the theme program is optimized in Window. So we have to turn on window and move the resources to server when we do editor job. I hope it fully become compatible with Mac.
Park Hyong Shin, Representative : Only Galaxy phone is available to download and it is invisible with other phone. But if other phones are available to see the introduction of Samsung themes and preview image, it would increase sales of phones and it would publicize the themes as well.