The Magic of Hongoram!

Loose leaf | Personal-a-Teas

It was this time last year, only much darker and certainly colder. The Promoter was deep within ‘The Forest of Innovation’, where wood and trees look too alike to decipher, developing the pioneering and fun Personal-a-Teas concept. There was so much to learn! Countless ‘balls were being juggled through the air’. He had gathered a band of willing disciples from the Ignite Academy (‘The Je Suis Personality Igniters’). Each member of the team had a specific skillset contributing to the energising of the concept. As the leader of The JSP Team, it was (and still is) important for the Promoter to be able to converse with the other members on a (somewhat) even footing about their fields of expertise. It’s a vital requirement in building confidence within the Team.

Latte | Personal-a-Teas

Which is why, the Promoter attended a ‘Meet Up’ gathering in Graphic Design, that November night.
It was at this gathering, in a poorly lit backroom reserved by the Meet Up Organisers, that the Promoter met Sun Young Hong, or Sonja to give her, her ‘English’ title. At the time, there was a significant gap in our team of Personal-a-Teas’ illustrators. (Let’s just say, the team member who left has gone onto to very significant commercial success in recent times (Irelandopedia, McDonalds etc.). We might even see her on this year’s Late Late Toy Show. 😉

Having spoken to Sonja for most of the evening it was certainly very interesting to hear that she was dedicated to her hobby: creative illustrations. All the signs were encouraging. Until, Sonja, told the Promoter, she was leaving Dublin to head back home to Seoul, South Korea two days later! Prior to leaving the Gathering, she handed each of the attendees a card with a selection of very cutely drawn stickers. It was a wonderful way for piquing interest, to exhibit of one’s work – a business card from a creative spirit! This young lady was special!

Loose leaf tea - Euro 2016 football | Personal-a-Teas

The Promoter went home and started to look through The Hongoram portfolio online. (You may find access to the portfolio below!) Initial impressions about the work within, was that it was super cute! The Personal-a-Teas criteria for illustrations is that the artworks must be emotive. Art that cannot generate an emotive reaction is next to useless, lifeless. It must move, stir, evoke a reaction. Preferably, create a memory, an indelible mark. The inkling of a smile could not be halted from adorning the Promoter’s face… ’there’s magic here’, he thought!

Earl Grey tea | Personal-a-Teas

Would Sonja’s creativity complement what we were trying to achieve with Personal-a-Teas? Could she bring the Personal-a-Teas portfolio of drinks to life? It was a ‘no brainer’ to have Sonja begin work on a selection of Personal-a-Teas characters. Loose Leaf Tea and Earl Grey portfolios were provided initially. The images returned from Korea a week later can only be described as ‘wow!’. By no means where they the finished article, but they were sufficient examples of the talent and imagination of Hongoram. At this juncture, The Promoter knew that we needed Sonja to become an integral member of the Je Suis Personality Team.

Loose leaf tea | Personal-a-Teas

And so, without further ado, it gives this Promoter great pleasure to introduce to you, Dear Reader, the Wonderful Hongoram!

So, Hongoram: Please tell us a little about yourself
Hi! My name is Sun Young, My art nickname is Hongoram.
I am an illustrator and graphic designer in Korea.

When did you discover your creative side?
Um, I don’t remember the discovering point, but I just only have enjoyed making or drawing something for the children.

What generally is the focus of your creativity? What inspires you?
Observation. Everything what I see, hear, experience, inspire me to make some visual images with many other stories.

You have worked with the Personal-a-Teas concept for a while now. How do you find it? What is your opinion of Personal-a-Teas?
When I stayed Dublin for 7 months, I have met Gavin in graphic design Meet up. At that time, he was planning a new project (This Personal-a-Teas).
So, I knew this project. then He required me to create some character designs.
Compare with Korea (I am a Korean), this project is very fresh. Many people like coffee or tea, also love characters (to buy goods). So, I think the combination of coffee and character design is new and fresh. It is fun and easy.

Why should people engage with Personal-a-Teas?
I think Personal-a-Teas is a break time for hard working life.
We need to take a break for a moment.

Do your drawings / creations reflect your personality in anyway?
Of course! When I draw a character further landscape, My personality is reflected all in them.
I can see my personality from a brush stroke, a pen touch, colour.

What is your favourite Personal-a-Teas creation to date? What have you enjoyed creating the most? Why?
Cafe latte female! At that time I was interested in the Disney Movie, Zootopia.

Latte Hongoram | Personal-a-Teas

I was inspired of their 2D character design (for goods). The expression of face, gesture looks real. It was cute too. So, I tried to make real the Latte, then made it, I am satisfied with it.

It looks so cute, even to me!

What are your ambitions / dreams for the future?
The cuteness saves the world!

I would like to collaborate with various companies with Hongoram artwork.

Could you see Personal-a-Teas working in Seoul? Perhaps we should introduce it to your favourite cafe in Seoul???
Yap, there is a good coffee shop near my house. The name is Tailor Coffee. It is nice, clean simple. Logo design is also very good! I like a Dutch coffee, and particularly I love Coco Freddo in there. Coco Freddo is a cafe latte of sweet coconut flavour (coconut milk?).

Here is CoCo Freddo images.

Tailor Coffee

Any plans to return to Dublin? (‘I will have to take you to Two Pups Coffee’!!!!)
‘but I don’t have any plan yet. 😉
I wish I could visit there but it’s just too far …so sad makes me sad.
I will go there someday!’

Loose leaf tea - Euro 2016 football | Personal-a-Teas

You can see even from this brief interview that Sonja’s has an energetic ‘child-like’ imagination (in the best possible way!) and a temperament for creativity in any situation. She sees things, others don’t. Her characters have an inherent mischievousness, ‘there’s life behind their eyes’! They probably come to life when we’re asleep, Dear Reader (akin to Toy Story selfies!).

Time and again, Sonja has exceeded our Personal-a-Teas expectations. Examples of other memorable efforts from her portfolio are below, and they provide further evidence, too that Sonja can work on vast range of animation types.

Have fun creating and sharing your Hongoram Personal-a-Teas selfies, Dear Reader!

Ref 1:
Ref 2: Create your Personal-a-Tea Selfie
Ref 3:

Additional Illustrations:
In basement - Hongoram

Take a walk - Hongoram

Workers of Thursday - Hongoram

Orange boys - Hongoram