Made in North Korea: Graphic Culture in Ordinary Life – North Korea uncensored and unfiltered, ordinary life in the world’s most secretive nation, captured in never-before-seen ephemera.

Made in North Korea (1) Made in North Korea: Graphic Culture in Ordinary Life Made in North Korea: Graphic Culture in Ordinary Life Made in North Korea: Graphic Culture in Ordinary Life Made in North Korea: Graphic Culture in Ordinary Life

Made in North Korea uncovers the fascinating and surprisingly beautiful graphic culture of North Korea – from packaging to hotel brochures, luggage tags to tickets for the world-famous mass games. From his base in Beijing, Bonner has been running tours into North Korea for over twenty years, and along the way collecting graphic ephemera. He has amassed thousands of items that, as a collection, provide an extraordinary and rare insight into North Korea’s state-controlled graphic output, and the lives of ordinary North Koreans.

Made in North Korea (1)

Made in North Korea (1) Made in North Korea (1)  Made in North Korea (1)


Nick Bonner studied landscape architecture in the UK. During a study trip to China in 1993 he visited North Korea and subsequently set up Koryo Tours, based in Beijing, specializing in tourism to the DPRK. Since 2001, Bonner has produced three documentaries on North Korea and a feature film.

“Leaving North Korea is not like leaving any other country. It is more like leaving another universe. I will never truly be free of its gravity, no matter how far I journey.” —Hyeonseo Lee, defector

“Inside, I’m assaulted by the evening propaganda broadcasts coming over the apartment’s hard-wired loudspeaker. There’s one in every apartment and factory floor in Pyongyang.” — Adam Johnson, author of The Orphan Master’s Son

“Because Pyongyang is the only North Korean city frequented by foreigners, the regime goes to great lengths to ensure that its inhabitants make a good impression with their appearance and are ideologically sound.” —Barbara Demick, author of Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

“[D]ocuments a secretive side of a country’s culture that very few ever see or experience.” —Hypebeast

“Nicholas Bonner has assembled a fascinating collection of graphic ephemera from the country – everything from comic books to canned sardine wrappers and airsick bags to cigarette boxes. Steeped in Cold War-era Communist iconography and antiquated fonts, this coffee-table book reveals a country with a design aesthetic frozen in 1950s amber, and much of it is enchanting and beautiful to behold.” —The A.V. Club

“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a place of endless fascination… Nicholas Bonner […] in a solid position to consider, in impressively vast detail, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s state-controlled design output… Thousands of items, from tinned food labels to invitations for state performances, many strikingly beautiful in design, are laid across 240 pages, bringing with them many hours of browsing.” —

“An insight into the banalities of a country’s whose name is synonymous with the cult of personality, political and cultural oppression, and the threat of nuclear war.” —

“Graphic designs used in adverts for drinks and sweets offer a hint of luxury and a break from daily monotony.” —Wired

“The few examples of North Korean design seen by those outside the secretive state show a number of recurring themes… But now a different side of modern design in the country – one rarely considered by non-North Koreans – is being showcased in a new book.” —

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Source: phaidon