Jaeho Shin explores letters as polyhedric sculptures, then designs posters from his findings
The Seoul-based designer started his career before he'd even graduated. Here, he discusses two recent projects and his concept-driven approach to each brief.
- Jyni Ong
- 4 February 2020
There’s no denying that Jaeho Shin is a very talented graphic designer. It seems like he can make anything look good – skincare packaging, album artwork, an exhibition pamphlet and of coarse, the humble poster. His work feels effortlessly cool, as if it was just flung on the canvas and happened to fall in an aesthetically pleasing formation. But the truth of the matter is, it’s the Korean designer’s experience and hard work that makes him so good.
“When I was in my sophomore year in college,” he tells us of his extensive career in the industry, “I had to get a job because I needed the money.” As he was studying design at the time, he thought he may as well work in a studio, and quickly sent out a portfolio of his work to surrounding agencies. At the time, his portfolio consisted of logos and posters that he made in his spare time, and luckily for him, the Seoul-based studios looked kindly on Jaeho’s raw talent, snapping him up quickly as a result.
Four years whirred by and, while Jaeho was busy learning amidst the bustling studio environment and countless deadlines, he never found the time to return to university. With his studio experience, he realised he wanted to have a studio of his own one day. And in 2017, he achieved his goal, going freelance and working independently to carry out his design visions. “I still want to graduate from university someday,” he adds, “but I can’t at the moment because lots of different things have happened.”
With each brief, he tries to see the overall design as one image rather than a curation of disparate elements. Specifically, he tries to “destroy the balance” between the connotations of an existing typeface and the overall look of a design. Operating predominantly in the cultural sector, Jaeho prides himself in participating in exhibitions as well as working commercially. For the designer, “it is an honour” for his work to be shown in an exhibition, and having displayed at the likes of Typojianchi and Open Recent Graphic Design, such projects sit at the forefront of Jaeho’s proudest works.
He created the official poster for the latter, using a timer function as the main graphic motif across the identity. Playing on the idea that “exhibition posters disappear over time”, providing useful information during a certain duration, and then expire, Jaeho experimented visually with the concept of time in the poster series. In general, his work is deeply rooted in a thoughtful concept. Whether it’s time or the idea of the polyhedra (a solid figure with more than six plane faces,) Jaeho’s thought processes extend beyond the aesthetic.
For last year’s Typojianchi, the renowned Korean type biennale, Jaeho created a series of works surrounding the polyhedra. He explains, “Originally, letters used to be a medium of communication. However, as letters started being used as design elements, their natural form experienced a process of deconstruction and reconstruction.” He evaluates how, today, the meaning of letters is not only limited to be a means of communications, but also exist independently as a sculpted polyhedra. In his project for the biennale, Jaeho explores the boundaries of letters as a medium of communication, using the AI of google live translator to consider letterforms alternatively, as polyhedra.
Constantly thinking about how viewers engage with and understand his work, Jaeho’s thoughtful design practice is full of visual rhythm, inspired by a childhood brought up by musical parents. And hoping to further explore his musical interests a variety of mediums in the future, for now, Jaeho’s more practical and realistic aim, it so move into a larger workroom.