“I’m obsessed with texture and materials, both visual and tactile,” says graphic designer Hui Yeon Hwang. Despite being taught fine art painting while growing up, Hui Yeon was always more interested in creating collages. “I collected and organised different parts from magazines and ad papers quite obsessively,” she recalls. Now, she creates graphics which incorporate her early interests, packed full of character and colour, and spends her time “collecting, arranging, and sometimes actual image-making”.
Hui Yeon’s love of texture manifests quite literally throughout her process. “I like seeing and touching materials such as textiles, papers, metals, and plastics. These experiences through textures give me a lot of inspiration,” she explains. If not actually available to hand, she browses online shops: “imagining the tactile sensation makes me want to visualise the texture or remake it in 2D or 3D graphics.”
When it comes to outputs, Hui Yeon works across print, identities and editorial design, but she often incorporates both 2D and 3D elements in them all. For example in her project, STU (Simulation Trucker Union) produced as part of her thesis at California Institute of the Arts, bold typography sits next to 3D renders, rotating logos and holographic imagery.
“I’ve always been into simulation games,” she explains of the beginnings of the projects, “and last year I found Euro Truck Simulator.” An online game, it allows players to live our a virtual life as a truck driver. “What drew my attention more than the actual game was the fact that the gamers playing ETS made a virtual trucker labour union,” she tells us. Fascinated by this application of (rather mundane) real-life conventions to a virtual sphere, Hui Yeon decided to design her own identity for a union. The result is a series of logotypes and moving images which, although inspired by real-world trucking companies, reflect the slightly absurd space that is ETS.
The nature of ETS is reflective of Hui Yeon’s practice as a whole, with her professing “I like fantasies and sometimes ridiculous ideas”. Although often not plausible in commercial projects, “I want to put a subtle little element that still remains surreal or at least fun,” she explains, “I think I like the idea of translating weird things into reality.”
Originally from Seoul, Hui Yeon spent time working at Fisk in Portland after graduation and is now back in her hometown before heading to Italy for six months of freelance work.
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor. Get in contact with Ruby about ideas you may have for long-form stories on the site.