Designer Ginko Yang was born in a semitropical town of Southern China. A few years later, she spent five years in Beijing before embarking on a new creative adventure in London. But it seems that no matter where Ginko is based, the act of “drawing creates the same effects as a mental massage," she tells It’s Nice That, and, as a result, Ginko’s turned her attention away from graphic design to illustration, after years of working as a magazine designer.
“Generally, I think my illustration style is not yet fully developed because I started off working on commercial commissions where my drawings had to adapt to restrictions”, says Ginko. Despite this, Ginko’s designs possess an inherent structure that offers a unique insight into the way the designer approaches viewpoint and perspective. Primarily influenced by the fantastical novels of Yuichi Yokoyama, Ginko’s work is similarly “flat and concise, but also rich in detail.” She distils objects down to their fundamental two-dimensional shape and builds detailed layers of narrative around illustrations through pattern, colour and typography.
An example of this is seen in Ginko’s visual identity for the fashion labels Innersect and Emotionally Unavailable. The brands approached Ginko with a brief to express “modern attitudes towards love and desire”; the theme of the season. In turn, Ginko’s outcomes reflect an exploration of intimacy seen through self-identification in objects. A man looking into the mirror, a papaya as a symbol of a humid atmosphere, a mysterious keyhole; these such scenes present Ginko’s examination of the subject and are graphically illustrated in a flexible sequence of imagery that can be applied to various parts of the label’s identity.
“I was thinking about the objects coming from a fantasy world and I tried to be flirty in a reserved, graphic manner”, says Ginko. “It is always good to keep something visually reserved or abstract so that the audience can interpret the visuals for themselves.” The designer utilises a “classic pair of conflicting colours”, red and blue to underline the visual clarity of the identity. The simple colour palette allows the fashion garments to take centre stage and additionally, it means the identity is easily adaptable to varying formats. For instance, the design can smoothly transition from a striking poster, to being wrapped around a metal can. The project is a testament to Ginko’s ability to apply illustration effectively to a graphic design practice, ensuring memorable yet functional design for the budding illustrator’s clients.
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor.