Duration: Three years as a freelancer.
Location: Seoul, South Korea.
Education: BFA in fine arts from Korea National University of Arts, Seoul, South Korea.
Career path: I’ve been drawing and making things since I was a kid, and I had made up my mind that I would be a creative. I majored in fine art in university and mostly created conceptual work—for example, a project that visualized the meanings of words. But upon seeing my work in prints and books, I started to notice the value of design. I enjoyed making things with letters and images for print media like posters and books.
After graduation, I began working at a design studio and pursued various projects. I stayed there for about a year before starting to work as a freelance graphic designer in 2018.
Artistic influences: I like images that contain classified, typological things, such as scientific diagrams, pharmaceuticals and industrial marks—things that are artificial and refined. I tend to dive into scientific references for inspiration; recently, I enjoyed looking at NASA’s diagrams and the books of Ernst Haeckel.
Favorite projects: My identity for Studio Simdo, a black-and-white photography studio. Its identity is inspired by clear rules and systems that connect photography with optics. The identity is composed using illustrations from Ephraim Chambers’s Cyclopædia: or, An Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences as well as systematic typography approaches. I think the ideal identity system is clear and logical, so designing one for Studio Simdo was an incredibly satisfying project for me.
Work environment: I work and live in the Mapo District in the west side of Seoul, where many design studios and publishers are located. The neighborhood is also filled with youth culture and design trends, so it feels like a proper place for people in the creative industry to live.
Approach: I experiment and create interesting visual elements and design languages in self-initiated work without a specific goal; then, I consider how to use these in client work. It is not easy to express a visual language in words every time, so I take a relatively long time to set the design direction with the client while sharing my collection of reference materials or previous work.
Aspirations: I want to design something more physical and universal for corporations, like Paul Rand’s identity for IBM or Helmut Schmid’s packaging for Otsuka Pharmaceutical.
Philosophy: I pursue meticulous and delicate design, but I think it’s important to not be afraid of unexperienced or experimental methods. Good results come from fearlessness.
Anything else? I’m planning to have a showcase to present my work this year: an exhibition not just limited to graphic design where I can show my thoughts and attitudes.