How Samsung cultivates Design Talents: Samsung Design Membership

on December 12, 2014
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Here at Samsung we talk a lot about design, but we didn’t get to talk about how to become designers as much as we’d liked. Previously we delivered the story of SADI (Samsung Art and Design Institute) alumni, and today we’re about to introduce Samsung Design Membership.


Samsung Design Membership is an industry-academia program for college students, which was founded in 1993 by Samsung Electronics. Samsung Tomorrow met three designers who participated in Samsung Design Membership before joining, to ask them of their experiences.


Designers who participated in Samsung Design Membership - Jaedeok Yun, Myungsun Kim, JaeMin Lee

▲Designers who participated in Samsung Design Membership
(Jaedeok Yun, Myungsun Kim, JaeMin Lee)

What is ‘Samsung Design Membership’?

Samsung Design Membership space (entrance)

Samsung Design Membership is an industry-academia program for college students to foster creative design talents. Founded in 1993, Samsung Design Membership is currently accepting members through its 23th application season. There are three tracks: ID(Industrial Design), VD(Visual Design), and UX(User Experience), and UX track is open for students of non-design majors. Competition is intense, but if selected, students are given opportunities to participate in various design tasks including actual projects with Samsung Electronics.



Exchanging ideas of students from various majors

“Samsung Design Membership gives an opportunity to work with friends from various majors. Yun said he was able to interact with students from diverse backgrounds and be engaged in work with the company, which is one of the best advantages of the Membership. “You can broaden your views. That enables you to take a more comprehensive approach to design work.”


Jaedeok Yun, Graphic Designer at Visual Display Division, Samsung Electronics

Jaedeok Yun, Graphic Designer at Visual Display Division

“When it comes to UX sector, there are even diverse members of music, management, and even AI(Artificial Intelligence), because better understanding of users comes from different views,” said Kim, mentioning the fact that she met various friends and work together while exchanging opinions was the best. “There is special synergy comes from the program’s diversity.”



A Fun and Creative Place: 24/7

“Samsung Design Membership space is open 24 hours a day. It was the best place to collaborate on projects and I was able to whenever I wanted to,” said Yun. The membership building located in Seoul offers everything that students’ need for design activities such as working spaces, meeting rooms, and even a resting place.

Samsung Design Membership space is open for members 24 hours a day, providing a great place for design works and membership activities.

▲Samsung Design Membership space

Samsung Design Membership is operated by a Student Council. Each member takes a role and participates in financial operation, member management, or event planning. Students often form small groups for in-depth study or clubs so students can keep up with their interests or explore new ones.



Enhancing design skills through Intensive Programs

Membership activities are comprised of a  Foundation Course and a Creative Course. In the first year of the Membership, students are engaged in the Foundation Course and carry out projects dealing with the basic and practical design work. In the second year, students participate in projects with designers from Samsung, which allows them to learn essential processes and gives them hands-on experience.


JaeMin Lee, Refrigerator Designer at Digital Appliances Division, Samsung Electronics

JaeMin Lee, Refrigerator Designer at Digital Appliances Division

“It was challenging to do both school assignments and membership activities. But the sense of accomplishment that comes after finishing the tasks is that much greater,” said Lee. “There are many projects that are memorable. To name two, a project for making graphics inside a refrigerator and another creating icons of smartphones were very rewarding.”

Myungsun Kim, UX Designer at Visual Display Division, Samsung Electronics

Myungsun Kim, UX Designer at Visual Display Division

Kim added, “The membership holds an exhibition at the end of every with the results. For me, I worked on making an application that you can enjoy when riding a bike.” For that project she said she worked with friends from Software Membership and completed the app including developing process. “We made a prototype to test how the app sets coordinates, and conducted a user research to analyze customer needs. It won the UX workshop competition and was memorable not only because of the recognition, but more so because I could learn through a whole UX design process.”



After graduating the Membership, many grads end up applying for positions at Samsung Electronics. “However, what’s more attractive about the Membership activity is you can enlarge your views through diverse experiences,” said Yun. Membership graduates not only work at Samsung, but they also operate their own independent studio or do freelance work.


The three designers we spoke with said that the Design Membership was invaluable and gave them both knowledge and diverse networks. From their confidence and affection for the Samsung Design Membership, we at Samsung Tomorrow could understand why Samsung has been focusing on this program over 20 years. Samsung Design Membership has now become part of the company’s tradition based on its philosophy valuing design and creative talent.



*by Bohee Shim, editor at Samsung Tomorrow

**For more stories about Samsung Design, visit Design Samsung website.

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