A decade ago, Samsung was best known for budget air conditioners and low-end TVs but its leader, Kun-hee Lee, had grander ambitions, Wired reports in a very detailed article. He...

A decade ago, Samsung was best known for budget air conditioners and low-end TVs but its leader, Kun-hee Lee, had grander ambitions, Wired reports in a very detailed article. He wanted to transform his company into the world’s top consumer electronics brand – the place that makes the coolest stuff. A decade later, Samsung is ranked number 21 among the world’s top brands by Interbrand, just one notch below Sony.

Lee wanted a "design philosophy" to give his products a common identity, so he hired a Japanese consultant who told him that Samsung’s products should be infused with Korean values. But Korea had been systematically purged of its identity during the Japanese occupation that lasted from 1905 to 1945. So the company began a search for places and objects that embody the Korean spirit and found Seokguram, a remote mountain grotto that houses an exquisite eighth-century Buddha. Through the search they developed the slogan "Balance of Reason and Feeling" to express Samsung’s design philosophy. "It’s very Oriental – not black and white, but a balance of things," explains Hyun-joo Song, the executive in charge of design identity. "It states that we will meet the emotional needs of our customers with the technological solutions we have."

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