A millimeter, a milligram. It is the tiniest difference that can make the biggest impact; this happens to be the main philosophy of Korean stationery brand MMMG. MMMG is one of the many Korean stationery brands that are currently on the market, but whose designs don’t rely on the popular approach of utilizing “characters” in their products. Their designs are aesthetically pleasing in a simple, clean, to the point sort of way while not being stark and modern, but full of heart and charm.
MMMG has been around since the late 90s, which makes them a fairly young stationery company.
The oldest maker of stationery in Korea is Monami, whose ballpoint pens have been a staple in students’ pencilcases since the 1960s. Monami’s classic 153 ballpoint pen design hasn’t changed over the decades; it’s simple, functional, and by this time so iconic it would actually be counterproductive to change.
Korea did not pay much attention to decorative stationery design until the 80s, after the country’s surge in economy. Companies such as Barunson and Morning Glory led the way for what is called “fancy goods”, which are mostly bright colored stationery adorned with cute characters.
Art Box, another company established in the 80s, took another direction. Unlike the cute approach that their competitors were taking, they focused on a wider market covering children and adults alike with pop art elements in their designs, which was new at the time.
The term “design stationery” was introduced into the public lexicon in the 90s. Independent designers came together to establish their own brands and specialty shops started to open around the country. MMMG was one of the brands set up during that period who successfully faced the trials of time, keeping up with the changing consumer trends while also keeping true to their design identity.
MMMG’s main store is in Anguk, across the street from Insadong. The building is also home to its own café and the brand’s office.
Stationery goods greet you as you enter and are on display throughout the store. Purchase of the goods is possible, of course. You can browse while waiting for your coffee.