We, as the Designer Interviews ("DI") had the distinct pleasure and opportunity to interview award-winning, most creative and innovative Bumseok Hong ("BH").
Bumseok Hong is a brand designer based on graphic and motiongraphics but also take a picture and film. He uses a lot of tools and media to mix up. He thinks that all the brands has a different character. So he uses multiple media to express themselves in a proper way. He doesn’t like to build a new concept just for cover the past one, especially in case of local brand. He pursues the best way of storytelling and time has stories. So he prefers branding that keeps the history and heritage of the brand and changes it in the better direction. He makes not only the brand’s outfit but also inside philosophy. That’s why he’s called by creative director.
Bumseok Hong Designs
We are pleased to share with you original and innovative design work by Bumseok Hong.
Designer Interview of Bumseok Hong:
DI: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
BH : I majored in film, tv and multimedia at university. It was interesting to know about creating films, narratives, and sequences. Over the next few years, I became more interested in creating graphics. Among them, the motion graphics that showed the logic of the logo attracted my attention as the logo moved. I have studied marketing and branding in depth while studying management as a double major, and I have been studying the way to make brand identity. Working in a network brand design team in the broadcasting industry, I am now in the process of creating a visual identity of content from dealing with a big brand of network.
DI: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
BH : After I have been working on as a brand designer for 8 years at CJ EnM, I changed to be a freelancer. Studio Lad is the creative design consultancy based in Seoul, Korea. I work on graphics and identity, motion graphics, packaging, advertising and communications. I also have a wide range of work because I can shoot videos and photographs as well. I can give clients the solutions about Branding, Design, Motion Graphics, etc. Especially, when it comes to Brand Identity, I will be very helpful. In addition to creating brand identity, I can also help with wayfinding, motion graphics, film, and packaging.
DI: What is "design" for you?
BH : The design is basically logic. Instead of expressing words, it expresses intuitively the message you want to convey by visual expression, the atmosphere you want to express, and the direction you want to go. In order to allow viewers to accept and experience what they intend to do, it is necessary to reduce the error range through multiple simulations. Design must have always the purpose. And by repeating the question of whether it meets the purpose or not, it is design to derive a simple result through the complex process of visually creating logic.
DI: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
BH : I like many kinds of design works, but most of all I like brand identity design. I think that brand design is the most important area of logic. I think it is a difficult field because it should be not too familiar, it should not be too familiar, and it is creating unique visual identity of the brand. I like it because it is the field that faces the most challenges.
DI: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
BH : I like the "PUBLIC" brand identity design by Paula Scher, partner of Pentagram. I think it is better to say that it is meaningful than liking. It's a design that many people like, but for me it was a design that breaks the frame of typography. When I was studying the theory that typography should be like this, I felt that it was a bit far from creative work to deal with. But once I saw the brand identity design of "PUBLIC”, it changed. I felt like I could do creative design as much as I applied the theory.
DI: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
BH : Designing a new network for CJ EnM's lifestyle channel "Olive" was the company's first project. In the past, it was a project to launch a new food specialty channel from the channel that covered the whole lifestyle. I did not just think the category of "food", but I did network design by people enjoying it, and it was evaluated as a successful example.
DI: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
BH : I do not prefer specific materials, platforms, or technologies. But I am always curious to learn new things. I think that all ideas come from experience, so it's a great pleasure to take a variety of experiences and come up with moments when those experiences come to my way.
DI: When do you feel the most creative?
BH : I prefer to work on text when designing. At the same time, I try to draw the whole big picture into my head. Continuously simulating text and images at the same time, they meet the exquisite moment. It starts to develop from there. I feel like I'm ready, and I feel it is the most creative moment.
DI: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
BH : Design is logical. Text work and image making are tasks that must be done at the same time. That's why it's the most basic and most important task for me to derive keywords.
DI: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
BH : The design is creative but close to labor. Physically and mentally, the energy is important. Sometimes it feels boring and tiresome because it takes a lot of work and time. But I'm always proud of the results. That’s why I design.
DI: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
BH : Is there anything more pleasant for a designer than for my design to get attention? When I heard that I won the award at the A'design Award, I shouted. "Yeah! I got it!"
DI: What makes a design successful?
BH : People tend to think that design is the outcome. But I think it is more important than that. It is essential to keep track of how your intentions and messages are being communicated to people. Leave good things, discard bad things, and update things that are confusing. I am sure that continuing to care is the way to make a successful design.
DI: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
BH : I see unconditionally good parts first. To see if the part that I thought was most important when I did the design was recognized. If so, the bad parts need to be modified to meet the intent. But if not, I'll have to think again from the beginning.
DI: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
BH : Many designs created by designers are the target of consumption. It can be a product that actually gives money, or it can be advertising, signage, etc. that are consumed visually. In any case, people will be aesthetically or message affected. I think the effect of the message is much greater. That's why designers have to seriously consider how people will be affected by the messages I throw.
DI: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
BH : The design has attracted more attention than ever before as many technologies and platforms have emerged. In order to show good design, it is important to take advantage of the core of technology and the characteristics of the platform that consumers experience. But when it come to the good design, there always should be people at the center. If you think about technology and platform without considering the person who experiences it, such design will be ignored. As technology evolves and platforms become more diverse, ironically, design should be centered on the people who experience it and be sustainable in it.
DI: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
BH : I began to work on analogue, feeling that the field of graphics started to lose its materiality. It was literally hand-made graphic design. I was disappointed by simply copying past archives, doing digital work, or downloading and typing fonts. So I started a project called <This is Graphic> with the idea that every visual thing could be graphic. In this project, all work is hand made, and various objects and tools are used to continue the work. I plan to open the exhibition at some point. Maybe it will be opening this year.
DI: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
BH : Many graphic designers are inspired by the visual things. But I get a lot of inspiration from texts and conversations. Fiction, poetry, and essays are also sources of inspiration, but inspiration from the stories of ordinary people and conversations with friends has a greater impact. Bonds and sympathy are the greatest sources of inspiration for me.
DI: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
BH : I do not pursue a particular style. I do not feel that a particular style is needed because design is the process of finding a solution. There is a certain area to be confident. Typography is one of them. The reason why I have been using typography steadily is because I think the strength of the text is great. Sometimes the typography itself has intend. I approach to design so that it can produce a complete one voice.
DI: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
BH : I live in the Republic of Korea. Although the history and culture of Korea has a long tradition, it is difficult to preserve the cultural heritage. In the 1900s, Korea lost its cultural heritage due to the colonial era and the Korean War. Since then, we have been rapidly transformed into a modernized nation, and I am a generation that has not seen before. It is hard to see that it has had a great impact even though I have experienced the legacy through studying history and a few remaining cultural assets. I think that the shape of the modernized country that has been transformed radically has influenced me so much. The development and dissemination of technology in the Republic of Korea was universal, so I was always motivated to change and to be curious about new things. I think the reason why I want to continue to show a new design comes from this environment. On the other hand, it is a pity for us to do visual work because we do not feel the identity of the country is visually clear.
DI: How do you work with companies?
BH : When I work with the company, I present the exact process. Because the company is usually systemized and there are many stakeholders, it will be confusing if I do not present the exact process. I ask a lot of questions to understand exactly the project of the company. If I need to answer questions, it could be in an interview format or proceed on/offline. I want to share the progress of the work in as much detail as possible, in order to give them confidence.
DI: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
BH : When companies work with a designer, it is important to understand the value that the company pursues. If designers do not understand core values, it will be difficult to present a good design no matter how good they are. I do not think there is any good designer or bad designer. There are only designer that fits well. A designer who can understand and appreciate the value of the company will eventually become a good designer for the company in that situation.
DI: Can you talk a little about your design process?
BH : The first thing I do is work with text. I interview clients to look closely at their thoughts. Present keywords based on the interviews and write down exactly what each keyword means. As the work is progressing through the text, it searches and categorizes various images suitable for it. At this time, the image is not another design but a picture or a painting. After that, I will proceed with the design process. The most appropriate design is derived by revising several times while examining whether keyword - image - design cue is aligned.
DI: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
BH : I do not want to turn on mac at home. Instead, I draw or create something with hands. The most common ones these days are thread, marker pen, paper, cloth, glue gun.
DI: Can you describe a day in your life?
BH : I try to get up in the morning and sleep at night. I want to maintain the most common lifecycle. In the morning, I do not do business-related work unless I am in a hurry. I go to the exhibitions and enjoy the relaxing time or stop by the charming café to organize some thoughts. I work in the afternoon and write the next day's tasks at the end of the day.
DI: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
BH : I am still wandering occasionally. I ask myself whether this is the right way or not and what I want more. But there is no right answer. Sometimes it feels meaningless to try to find the right answer. If it goes well, it will be the correct answer, but even if it does not work, it is not the wrong answer. Do not be in a hurry. Your life is all yours.
DI: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
BH : The job of a designer faces a lot of challenges and questions. Designers need to talk to a lot of people, convince them, and produce results. Sometimes it is a bitter situation. Nevertheless, the pleasure when the final product comes out will blow this stress all at once. So I keep doing this and I will.
DI: What is your "golden rule" in design?
BH : In design, "Golden rule" is always "ratio". Apply a very stable ratio to a sophisticated design and a proportion that is intentionally unstable for rough and raw designs. When dealing with typefaces, the impression depends on how you apply the proportions of each letter, so when you decide how much to impress, the first thing to consider is the ratio.
DI: What skills are most important for a designer?
BH : Designers need to be able to draw a whole picture. Designers should not think that design is simply drawing. That's why directing is most important. Directing is most important when working alone or when collaborating. Designers need to be able to direct themselves so that can show the unity and suitability of the design and the resultant good design.
DI: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
BH : The tool is important when designing. But I do not think it should be tied to a specific tool. I know how to handle various tools, so there are many ways to think about it. There is a sketch note to unfold when I start design. Whenever I come up with an idea, I write it down as a text or a picture. Among the tools I use, it's a spleen weapon.
DI: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
BH : Design is time consuming and deadline is important. Before I get to work, I want to create a schedule table and work on it as much as possible. Sometimes there are times when there are overlapping things, and even if it is attracting, I refuse if I think it is going to be difficult. It may be a good opportunity, but I will make a careful decision because the opportunity may be poisonous.
DI: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
BH : It is difficult to say that it takes roughly some time because it depends on design. I have a quick temper, so it is going to be fast. Sometimes clients are surprised like “Already?”.
DI: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
BH : There are a lot of questions, but there is one question that come up always. How did you become a designer? When that happens, I reply, "I've become a designer by chance."
DI: What was your most important job experience?
BH : It was lucky to get into a big company and work. There were a lot of challenges, and at that time I had a lot of things that I did not have confidence. It is also why I did not stick to a particular style. Through such experience, I came to think that the designer is the solver.
DI: Who are some of your clients?
BH : There are still a lot of big clients because of my career in a big company. There is no reason to reject them, but it is hard to get the feeling of growing up together. Recently I am working with startups and small brands and I am very satisfied. It is also small brand design that won the A'design Award. The representative of the brand and I have a partnership now.
DI: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
BH : Being primarily in the brand design tells me that this is my favorite. Brand users will experience it through design from the front door to the exit. It has the highest contact points with people, but it is not direct. It feels more exciting to me personally because it is the brand design that permeates the users in the cloud.
DI: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
BH : I want to work globally. I want to improve my common sense while working with people with diverse backgrounds and diverse thoughts. I am sure that I will be able to share many thoughts and experiences while working with new people, and that it will certainly help to break my limit once again.
DI: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
BH : It stands for ‘sometimes separately, sometimes together'. It is more like a partnership than a team. Because I may have difficulty developing my design by myself, I share my workplace and discuss it with many partners. They and I are in good condition.
DI: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
BH : The project is under the title of "FACE MAKERS CLUB". It started with personal work, but I am now looking for ways to share it with more people. It's a project that started with the idea that everything can be a face. I started to make fun of a face shape by putting food on dishes with my friends. I have made a play by expanding the category of graphic design to "something made visually". I’m making faces in a variety of ways, and am looking for ways for more people to participate freely. Please look forward to.
DI: How can people contact you?
BH : You can contact Instagram through the homepage. If you go to www.studio-lad.com, there is a contact tab. If you click on it, you can send a message directly. There is also a way to contact me through Instagram @ studio_lad_com. Follow me.
DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
BH : I want to let you know that there are many designers who show good designs in Republic of Korea. I would like to have the opportunity to announce to the world, starting with the award of this A'design Award. I'm pretty sure that the world would be my stage.