When we first spoke to graphic designer Hui Yeon Hwang, our conversation focused on her obsession with textiles and materials – both visual and tactile. So when we caught up at the beginning of this year, it seemed only natural to hear that she has been working for MTR, a company which produces fabrics for brands like Burberry and Chanel. Hui’s role as in-house designer has been to design packaging, some textile pattern design and the company’s website.
On the side, she’s been working on several freelance projects and it’s in these projects we've noticed a certain style developing. While it is, off course, great to be recognised for a signature look, it’s something Hui has been veering away from, she tells us: “I’ve focused on exploring different methods of image-making and just trying to start differently for each of my freelance works by stepping out of my comfort zone (like stopping using certain colours, typefaces and styles) to broaden the area I can reach.”
A recent freelance project of Hui’s which was particularly special to her saw her creating the identity for Ildetex. Continuing her interest in the world of materials, Hui was in communication with the textile company, based in Prato in Italy, from the get-go. Although it’s the convention for textile companies to sell to fashion labels, Ildetex’s mission is to sell directly to customers. This coupled with the fact that Ildetex creates very high quality cashmere and wool called for an identity which is “friendly – but not too friendly,” Hui tells us.
“I started with making a sans-serif logotype, inspired by the form of textile structure,” she continues. “I focused on a very clean and modern look overall for the identity.” As most of the textile companies in Prato are family owned and have existed for generations, their branding is quite traditional (“I mean… old,” Hui jokes) so, in juxtaposition to that, she wanted to produce “a modern look” for Ildetex. The result is contemporary and polished but personable and young at the same time, largely thanks to the curves and rounded corners of the logotype.
Another project which shows a totally different side to Hui’s portfolio is Let’s Run For It, a series of posters designed for Nike’s running brand team. “They gave me some keywords for the posters like; rave/club culture, vert, light and inviting,” she tells us of the series which was to visualise the team’s inspirations for the next season.
As a designer who tends to use multiple colours in her work, using just vert provided a stumbling block, especially as it’s a colour with a “specific mood that is almost fixed.” Hui therefore, ironically, tried to deliver “different feels of vert,” expressing the colour’s personality in myriad ways. “I tried random things, like making weird running human forms in 3D and 2D, and making surreal images that neutralise vert’s too-specific character,” she explains.
Both Let’s Run For It and the identity for Ildetex are testament to Hui’s way of thinking. Not the one to go for the obvious option, she’s inventive and takes risks – an approach which often produces unexpected results.
Looking ahead, one area in which Hui’s super keen to push herself next is creating something physical. “I haven't really thought about how yet, but recently I've been looking at many experimental arts and that made me think about making something that actually exists in real life outside of the screen,” she concludes. Whether this is bringing to life the multiple personalities of another colour, or an extension into something totally unforeseen, we’ll be keeping an eye out for what this imaginative designer delivers next.
GalleryHui Yeon Hwang
Hui Yeon Hwang: Let’s Run For It
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.