Working As A Designer In Korea
Foreigners can work as designers in South Korea. This includes working in fashion design (including household item, furniture, stuffed toys, clothing, shoes etc), interior design, and automobile design.
Designers create original products for example: clothing, accessories, and footwear. They sketch designs, select fabrics and patterns, and give instructions on how to make the products they designed.
Regardless of which field you specialize in as a designer, these are some things that you typically do:
- Study trends and anticipate designs that will appeal to consumers
- Decide on a theme for a collection/project
- Sketch designs
- Use computer-aided programs for graphic design, layout etc. to create designs
- Select fabrics, embellishments, colors, or style for each garment or accessory
- Work with other designers or team members to create a prototype design
- Showcase design ideas in fashion or trade shows
- Market designs to potential customers
Most designers are required to have a Bachelor’s degree or higher in a related field. To be able to work as a designer in Korea, you also need at least 2+ years of prior work experience in the related field. Many employers prefer applicants with creativity, as well as a good technical understanding of the production process.
In order to work successfully as a designer, you need to be a strong team player, passionate, committed and have a high level of initiative and energy.
You also need: good communication skills, computer know-how, and decision making skills. Since you will primarily be working with Korean team members, you must speak some Korean for effective communication.
Applicable Job Types
You can work as: Product Designer (Automobiles, Furniture Designer), Fashion Designer (Materials, Clothes, Accessories, Bags and Shoes Designer), Interior Designer (Interior Designer) or Graphic Designer (Advertisement, Packaging, Book Designer, Illustrator)
Where To Find These Job Openings
Most designer jobs are posted on the Internet. You can easily find them on job websites or Craigslist. Also, visit the website of the companies you are interested in and apply online. These job openings are sometimes advertised in local newspapers. There are various reputed recruiting agencies that can help you find a suitable position.
Required Documents And Visa
Many employers do not provide visa sponsorship and want applicants with valid work visa.
You can apply for a Designer (285) visa under E-7 visa. Along with a valid passport, application form and visa fee, You will also need: A recommendation letter from the Administrator of the Small and Medium Business Administration (Small and Medium Business Corporation). If you meet all the requirements a single-entry visa for up to 2 years will be issued.
I recommend calling your nearest Immigration office or Korean Embassy/Consulate for more information about the visa requirement.
Salary And Working Hours
Designers work long hours to meet production deadlines or prepare for fashion shows. Hours are likely to involve early mornings and/or late nights depending on where you work, deadline etc. You may also have to work on weekends at times.
Those who freelance generally work under a contract and tend to work longer hours and adjust their workday to their clients’ schedules and deadlines.The amount of money you earn depends on your qualifications, skills, experience and the company/client you work for. Larger firms/companies tend to compensate fairly well. You can make between 2 million KRW to 3 million KRW a month for an entry level position. The internship position are underpaid. Most internship positions pay less than 1 million KRW or nothing. Some internship programs provide daily stipend for food and transport.
If you are innovative and have talent. If creativity is what inspires you and is the vision that motivates your work. Try your luck as a designer in Korea!