We, as the Designer Interviews ("DI") had the distinct pleasure and opportunity to interview award-winning, most creative and innovative Bonggu (Jeremy) Kang ("B(K").
Jeremy Bonggu Kang is a multidisciplinary graphic designer, painter, illustrator skilled in developing concepts and visualizing creative ideas in exquisitely detailed design. He graduated from Seoul Art High School and got his bachelor’s degree in painting at Seoul National University in Korea. After moving to Vancouver, he studied Graphic Design at LaSalle College, known as the Art Institute of Vancouver in the past. He won one of the 2019 RGD student awards for packaging design. He has worked and volunteered as a freelance graphic designer since 2009.
Bonggu (Jeremy) Kang Designs
We are pleased to share with you original and innovative design work by Bonggu (Jeremy) Kang.
Designer Interview of Bonggu (Jeremy) Kang:
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?
B(K : I graduated from Seoul Arts High School in Korea, and I first learn about photoshop and illustrator program. Then I went to Seoul National University to study painting in fine art. Even when I was studying painting, I created and designed logos, postcards, flyers, business cards and a lot of works using design skills. Then I move into Vancouver and studied Graphic design at Lasalle College(previously Art Institute of Vancouver). I've always wanted to be an artist, and I think I found the way to be an artist in the design field.
DI: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
B(K : I work as a freelancer for now. I'm very obsessed with the quality of my work and the client's satisfaction. Both of them are my key value. To achieve that purpose, I just put my every effort and resource to each project. I'm specialized in branding, packaging, illustration, and poster campaign.
DI: What is "design" for you?
B(K : It's an attitude, tool, and a way of life. Everything relates to "design." I struggle every day to design my life. Then it will come out naturally in my "work" of design. I think "design' is a really powerful and effective tool to affect people's life. So I think designers should be ethical and responsible for what they design.
DI: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
B(K : I like the works that have rooms for the designer's creativity so that I can push myself to break the limits. I don't mind if that's a branding project, an illustration, an advertisement, or anything needs a fresh pair of keen eyes and critical thinking.
DI: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
B(K : In my previous works, I'd like to choose "Fantasy Trillogy" book cover design for Michael Ende's great books. I enjoyed every moment of doing that project. I would love to introduce the project to the world someday, too. And the works of Marian Bantjes and Stranger & Stranger always inspires me. I love how Marian explores the extreme of ornamental and experimental typography with patterns. And I love all the works of Stranger & Stranger, because their designs are extremely detailed and creative to satisfy the purposes of each project in almost flawless quality.
DI: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
B(K : I designed a logo and created interior illustrations for a geriatric hospital in Korea.
DI: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
B(K : I'm trying not to limit myself always. However, I love digital painting and all the printing related works. Those are what I'm used to, but I'm really interested in motion graphics and 3D printing technology.
DI: When do you feel the most creative?
B(K : It's when I'm alone with the problems that I have to solve. I've always one of the students that like homework and project given by instructors. And I like researching and developing concepts.
DI: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
B(K : Developing a clear & unique concept based on proper research is the first one. Then perfect execution of visualizing the concept in maximal quality is important to me.
DI: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
B(K : Excitement, expectation, joyfulness, and alive. It is a dynamic process.
DI: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
B(K : Relief and pure joy.
DI: What makes a design successful?
B(K : It needs a clear & unique concept, then has to be developed and visualized with perfect & detailed execution.
DI: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
B(K : The relation between the interesting visual aspect and its strong concept is the key to good design. I think great design should be able to visualize its concept successfully in a way to captivate its target audiences. Of course, it should be based on proper research and concept developing process. But, even though someone had a great idea and awesome concept, it's not possible to catch the audiences' eyes if it fails to catch their eyes first.
DI: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
B(K : I think "design' is a really powerful and effective tool to affect people's life. So I think designers should be ethical and responsible for what they design. Simply, just think of all the propaganda posters during World war I and II. And all the advertisement "war" about the climate change issue. I think we, designers, have to remember that we are members of society and small parts of great nature.
DI: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
B(K : It is getting bigger and becomes more important. Every little part of our lives relates to the results of the "design field." So, at the same time, it is getting more competitive than ever before.
DI: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
B(K : My inspirations are from various sources, such as my experience, what I read and watched, the works of other designers, social issues, everyday life, conversations I had with people, etc.
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?
B(K : I think my design style is all about the details. And also the detailed illustration is a big part of my design. My painting background and the love of all sorts of Art affect my design style a lot, I think.
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?
B(K : I live in Canada, now, but my cultural root is in Korea. I definitely feel that the cultural heritage of Korea affects my design. Contemporary Korean culture is very fast, clever, and flexible enough to accept the global trends and translate them in unique ways based on Korean's taste. And also we are very competitive and passionate about what we do. Those are the good qualities of my cultural heritage. I'm only worried about myself being too competitive and anxious about the result sometimes. So I try to be relaxed and have a moment of rest during the pile of hard works.
DI: How do you work with companies?
B(K : I always try to make every aspect of a project clear with my client before I dive into it. It really allows both parties can have a clear view of what direction we should go together to make the best results and to avoid unnecessary conflicts. And I'm very open to criticism and suggestion from clients and fellow designers. Because what I really care about is a great result.
DI: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
B(K : I think the very first step is to find a designer who knows what he/she does exactly based on what they've done: portfolio. Please don't even try to test them, asking the sketches of the project: it's spec work, and that's a bad and awful thing to do to designers. And once you asked a designer to do your design jobs, then trust the designer with an open mind.
DI: Can you talk a little about your design process?
B(K : First is having enough conversation with my client and a fair amount of research. Then develop a clear and unique concept different from the competitors. The next is to visualize the concept with many sketches and tools. And finalize the result based on the discussion with the client.
DI: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
B(K : 1. Wacom tablet and pen, 2. postcards and books I bought from museums and galleries, 3. two sets of dining table and chairs that I reformed, 4. a pair of Dr. Martens boots with Hieronymus Bosch's painting: The Garden of Earthly Delights, 5. an embroidered cushion cover that I bought in Paris.
DI: Can you describe a day in your life?
B(K : Design work, tutor job(teaching drawing lessons to the students), researching for fresh inspiration, and some cooking time for myself, these are my daily routine.
DI: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
B(K : I think one tip that I can give to young designers is this: please keep your design eyes sharp and trendy with tons of research, including studying art history, design history. You can learn from both the old and contemporary masters.
DI: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
B(K : One of the positive and negative aspects of being a designer at the same time is being in an extremely creative industry. It is fun and exciting, yet challenging all the time under the pressure of being creative and innovative.
DI: What is your "golden rule" in design?
B(K : Keep high quality, and do not lose the details.
DI: What skills are most important for a designer?
B(K : Strong concept-developing ability and perfect technics that can visualize the concept are important for a designer.
DI: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
B(K : Photoshop, illustrator, time management app, many design books, Pinterest boards for researching, sketchbooks and sharp pencils are my tools.
DI: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
B(K : I try to make many small deadlines for each process works and give myself proper break times during the works, which helps me to be freshened up for the next tasks.
DI: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
B(K : I think it's different from each project's complexity.
DI: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
B(K : Where are your inspirations come from?
DI: What was your most important job experience?
B(K : I've worked and volunteered as a freelancer a lot. All the works that I did were memorable and important to me. Recently, I designed a logo and an annual report for POIEO Centre, Christian Arts Ministry. It was an exciting experience to work with them.
DI: Who are some of your clients?
B(K : MAEUM Concept store(Paris, France), Yonsei Elim Geriatric Hospital(Seoul, Korea), POIEO Centre(Vancouver, Canada)
DI: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
B(K : Any work that needs high standards, creative direction, and perfect details. Because those are what I am good at.
DI: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
B(K : I'm still trying to find my place in a creative design studio as a graphic designer. And someday I hope I can found my own design studio.
DI: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
B(K : I've worked alone for many years, so I'm used to it. However, I'm very open to collaboration and teamwork.
DI: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
B(K : No. Just some personal small projects.
DI: How can people contact you?
B(K : I have a website, jbkang.com, that shows my portfolio and has a contact form. And anyone can contact me through my email: email@example.com