KARP: Behind the Logo
Updated: Apr 22, 2022
The Korea-Australia Relations Project aims to deepen people-to-people relationships between Koreans and Australians. Established with funding from the Korea Foundation, the project will go beyond the ‘high-level’ rhetoric of bilateral relations and instead aims to understand how this important relationship is experienced by everyday citizens that interact with their Australian/Korean counterparts.
We wanted to express this commitment to deepening Korea-Australia relations through our public image, and as such we have aimed to create a welcoming and inviting ‘face’ for the project that is instantly recognisable and understandable. This begins with the logo.
It wasn’t long before we realised that the somewhat lengthy ‘Korea-Australia Relations Project’ shortens to KARP, an easy to pronounce acronym that is also similar in pronunciation to ‘carp’, a group of fish from the cyprinidae family that are native to Europe and Australasia.
The KARP logo was designed by Australian graphic designer Chris Erickson, and builds off these two themes of fish and friendship. The logo presents two carp circling each other in a way that is loosely symbolic of the taegeuk (태극); the traditional Korean symbol representing balance that appears on the Korean national flag.
The two fish themselves represent the Australian and Korean people, intertwined in a complimentary relationship that is of great importance to both groups. The blue and red fish represents Korea, taking inspiration from the red and blue of the taegeuk. The lines on the fish represent the trigrams present in the corners of the Korean flag which are symbolic of movement, harmony, and the classical elements.
Rather than taking the blue/red/white colour scheme from the Australian flag, the
green/yellow fish takes inspiration from Australia’s national colours- green and gold,
which are most commonly associated with Australian sporting culture but also reflect the
country's national floral emblem- the wattle. Separately, the green is said to represent the forests, eucalyptus trees, and pastures of the Australian landscape, while the gold reflects Australian beaches, grain harvests, and the fleece of Australian wool. The gold in the KARP logo is presented as stars, in the formation of the Southern Cross constellation that appears on the Australian flag.
When viewed as a whole, we hope that the KARP logo reflects the core purpose of the project: to deepen people-to-people relationships between Australia and Korea, in turn leading to a stronger foundation on which to enhance co-operation between the two countries.