SELLER INTERVIEW VOL.12
“In Samsung Themes, Individual artists and companies with distinct design colors are working usually. Conspicuously, there is a seller who offers the works of approximately 80 Korean illustrators. Let’s hear the theme story of THENEW, the company expanding its range to worldwide presenting various illustration works. “
Editor / Heo Young Eun in Design Jungle (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Photo / Jae Wook Yoon, Niotani Studio Chief Photographer
Please tell us about THENEW
Yoo Hyoung Joo, Representative : THE NEW is a illustration platform company. We connect illustrators to companies or organizations that need illustration and we manage and handle commercial arms occurred in project execution.
How many affiliated illustrators are in THENEW at present and what is the standard of selection?
Yoo Hyoung Joo, Representative : 450 illustrators and 8 video art team are registered. At the beginning, according to our purpose, we selected good artists regardless of styles. But as of now, we prefer to select artists with friendly drawing style in general people’s view than artists excessively doing artistic works. However, if the artist is considered to have good value in works and really good at artwork, we accept their joining. The biggest client of THENEW is ad agency and they sometimes accept artistic style for the sake of brand value improvement. Eventually, what we care in priority isn’t the style but the ability of good drawing.
We wonder how you carry out the process after the request of a client.
Yoo Hyoung Joo, Representative : Generally, clients contact us having desired artist but sometimes, we recommend an apt artist considering suitability with the style they want. If we select the artist likewise, then we kick off the work after consultation of schedule, cost and etc. In order to satisfy both artist and client, work process is divided to 4 phases. In the phases, we take charge of legal works like contract and we offer guides that minimize the problem such as mediation of modifications.
Illustration market in Korea is getting bigger nowadays.How do you think about changes and growth of Korean illustration market?
Park Yong Joon, Team Leader : Basically, we are proceeding with many of works via advertisement agencies. In addition, as game market grew, illustration market also grew up more. From the year before last, lots of mobile games were released and illustration was widely used as a means of public relations. Illustration is also used in publication market but the conditions are still difficult.
What were the trends of illustration in the last couple of years?
Yoo Hyoung Joo, Representative : There are no definite trends ‘cause the trends are changing quickly and it changes depending on tendencies of companies that demand illustration. But recently a number of illustrators are drawing fun and light graffiti like illustration. In contrast, clients prefer cute and sedate style that can deliver a brand image friendlily.
How and when did you engage in Samsung Themes?
Yoo Hyoung Joo, Representative : One of our member illustrator was working in Samsung Themes as well and, by chance, the illustrator introduced THENEW in a conversation with the person in charge in Samsung Themes. Once they were told that there was an illustrator agency named THENEW and it carried out Dodol theme project in Line, Samsung Themes made contact with us. We began to work in July last year after receiving their proposal in June and registered our first theme in August.
What made you to decide to work as a seller in Samsung Themes?
Park Yong Joon, Team Leader : The biggest reason was that it was a global service. For illustrators, there are few areas to work in Korea. One of the important roles of THENEW is to provide illustrators with opportunities to work on and we thought Samsung Themes was the one we were looking for. Furthermore, it is a great chance to experience UI/UX for illustrators who only draw.
At the first time you suggested to do theme work in Samsung Themes, how did you convince the illustrators?
Park Yong Joon, Team Leader : We held a briefing session to illustrators. We introduced what Samsung Themes was and the styles of themes in it. And we told them there would be some difficulties including design calibration but it would be a great portfolio. An implicit affirmation could cause repulsion, so we convinced them to find a good way.
How are the responses of illustrators about Samsung Themes?
Yoo Hyoung Joo, Representative : Most of them are positive due to the good portfolio it has brought while some of them are inconvenienced by not having a good result as much as they spent the time. We are thinking about how we can help such inconvenienced illustrators. We are considering giving support in difficult parts in the creation procedure or suggesting, as guidance, interface, style, color with understanding of users.
THENEW registered more than 400 themes in only half a year.There must be knowhow in creation and management. Is there particular person in charge of Samsung Themes?
Park Yong Joon, Team Leader : Yes, I am in charge of it. As for work, I do theme registration and management, update, modification on rejected themes, balancing the revenue and etc. The most important job is to communicate with artists. We have a conversation with illustrators about theme concept and theme making and we provide them with good UI/UX resources and color resources. And we share the user feedback as well. As a result of enforced communication in the last couple of months, users’ responses have become way better. Obviously, the more communication we make with illustrators, the more satisfactory responses are coming.
Isn’t there difficult situation to encounter when you make and manage themes?
Park Yong Joon, Team Leader : Many of illustrators undergo trial and error in using Samsung Theme Editor. Lots of illustrators are using Mac than Window but Theme Editor is optimized in Window. Of course, there is Mac version as well but it has slow update ability, so it doesn’t make illustrators catch up immediately. As a result, unexpected problem happens occasionally and modification is required when a theme is rejected.
Ahn Shin Hye, Designer : A difficulty I encountered was that when it is applied in device it doesn’t look the same with the screen I work with PC Editor. I hope those two become the same.
Samsung Themes is available in worldwide. We wonder beloved themes the by country.
Park Yong Joon, Team Leader : Favored themes are totally different depending on countries. When we see the themes released by THENEW, graphic-oriented themes made by designers are favored in U.S. and Europe while Asian countries, including Korea and China, prefer illustration themes with pretty or small and cute characters.
Is there a memorable user response?
Park Yong Joon, Team Leader : There is a memorable reply written by a Korean user saying “THENEW theme, I download them in a strong faith.” There are many replies from overseas users but we are not able to translate all the replies. So we only feel gratitude from them.
Do you deliver users’ feedback such as replies?
Park Yong Joon, Team Leader : Yes, we do. Illustrators’ responses are totally different. Illustrators who would like to communicate actively are reflecting feedback by modifying and updating. Some busy illustrators cannot cope with it.
How do you do on pricing?
Yoo Hyoung Joo, Representative : We set out our criteria on consumers’ willing to pay amount without burden as 2 dollors(approximately 2,000 won). And we thought 2 USD is the minimum amount to enable profit and allocation. But we are planning to decrease the amount so that people can easily download good themes. Since we have lots of registered themes at present, many of them were converted to free theme according to policy. So we will make only paid themes and will convert them to free themes after a certain period of time. For the existing themes, we will offer discount event periodically. Themes that couldn’t attract users may have attention by discount event.
THENEW mainly performed B2B business such as consulting and agency.What is the distinct feature of Samsung Themes, compared to your B2B business experience.
Yoo Hyoung Joo, Representative : Previously, no one told us what is good and what is bad in our works. But there is a advantage to read users’ feedback in Samsung Themes. And we have high expectation with the fact that we can increase our revenue as much as we give efforts.
Park Yong Joon, Team Leader : As Mr. Yoo just mentioned, I think the fact that we can observe consumers’ responses and cope with the situation immediately is the biggest feature. And for us, as a B2B-oriented company, it is a great chance to experience B2C business.
Is it helpful to work in Samsung Themes for your business?
Yoo Hyoung Joo, Representative : Of course. As it is a worldwide service, we could accumulate preference data by country, for example favored theme style and favored graphic style by country. The data we accumulated will be a good foundation for future business of THENEW. We may find a good illustrators for certain projects and find more accurate results when we do overseas related business.
We are wondering the next challenge of THENEW.Please tell us if you have a planning project.
Yoo Hyoung Joo, Representative : In January, we are planning to release a THENEW’s internally made theme. With the theme, I could experience difficulties of illustrators in person. So it made me understand illustrators more.
Ahn Shin Hye, Designer : I could know how it is hard to make a theme and how illustrators suffer to make it by a completion of theme making on myself. I found how they were supportive though it is too much like hard work.
Yoo Hyoung Joo, Representative : Besides, we are making phone cases using wallpapers of Samsung Themes. We expanded existing phone case business by connecting with Samsung Themes. Responses are better than expected.
Lastly, tell us about THENEW’s plan in 2017
Yoo Hyoung Joo, Representative : We are planning to make a particular application to publicize THENEW’s themes. Consumers can see wallpapers and phone cases made by THENEW’s at a glance. And another plan is to invite and make themes in B2B method if there is company desiring to make themes.
Lastly, we will reduce the frequency of rejection. By sharing reject report, download report, feedback report and etc., we will improve production environment to be easy internally. If artists can work efficiently in a favor environment, stress will decrease even if their performance is below the expectation.