Minkee Bae unites seemingly disparate visual motifs through his multi-hyphenate design practice
First falling for the graphic design medium during the prominence of “technographic style” in the 90s, today Minkee's work spreads across print and digital.
- Jyni Ong
- 16 January 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
When we first came across the Seoul-based graphic designer Minkee Bae’s work, we were immediately wowed by its fluidity of movement, visual balance and interpretation of infographics. In his words, his interests lie in the “collisions of heterogeneous elements, combinations of vector and bitmap images, tedious jokes and anachronistic wonders of movement itself.” He juxtaposes colour, texture and genre through graphic design, uniting seemingly disparate visual elements together with his balanced design eye.
In turn, Minkee’s innovative design practice provides his cultural clients with a slight edge which is always easy on the eye. Working for both print and screen for exhibitions and in the art sector in general, the designer, originally from Busan, is also a lecturer at a number of Korean universities. Though there wasn’t a particular moment when he knew design was the career for him, Minkee recalls his teenage years during the 90s when “technographic style” was rife, no doubt influencing his aesthetic preferences to come.
As the first digital discourses came into being, Rick Poyner coined the term “technographic style” for the design trends of the late 90s. “The music of Warp Records appeared and there were a lot of cool sci-fi movies and Japanimations,” remembers Minkee. “I was interested in visual arts and I think it naturally led me to graphic design.” Like contemporary pop culture, Minkee similarly pulls aspects from a variety of sources in his designs. We can see elements of the Adobe software interface floating amidst compositions, and he even likes to incorporate official signatures from government documents “for no logical reason at all” in his designs.
Above all however, it is his interest in trends that continues to drive his practice forward. But it’s not the design trends themselves that Minkee feels drawn to, instead, it’s peoples’ attitude towards trends. He’s fascinated by the people who follow trends for no apparent reason at all, and even more captivated by the people who accuse other people of following trends. An increasingly prevalent conversation in design media today, Minkee utilises prevalent visual motifs from this dialogue (emojis, vlogging and so on) to inform his dynamic graphic design work.
In his recent work, Minkee created a moving digital poster for Cava Life, an art commerce agency. “For me, a graphic designer who is often commissioned by clients, it was a new experience to submit my creation to an online select shop as if it were an artwork,” he says. “This work is not a physical object that can be touched by hand, but a digital video file.” Like more and more of the industry today, Minkee is bridging the void between traditional print and the digital.
Becoming more of a multi-hyphenate creative akin to the rest of the industry, Minkee’s other work, which expands into fashion, exhibition design and design direction, allows Minkee to push the boundaries of his graphic design practice. No longer limited to the confines of printed matter, in recent times, the designer has even embarked on a moving image project as seen in Previsualisation. Here, he combines 3D animation with 2D moving storyboards before shooting a live action film recording the process of filmmaking to “pre-visualise the future of a brand.”
Whatever the medium, Minkee’s distinct creative identity carries through to the final vision. An amalgamation of what may seem like random objects, the designer’s work has an underlying rationale and logic to its systems. Above all, his work is thoroughly engaging to look at, toeing the line between the abstract and the coherent.
Looking to work more in the fashion industry in the future, the possibilities are endless for Minkee. And finally, he goes on to question: “Can I invent a new way for graphic designers to intervene in other fields? Can I update it in a sustainable way?” For us Minkee fans, let’s hope so.
About the Author
Jyni became a staff writer in March 2019 having previously joined the team as an editorial assistant in August 2018. She graduated from The Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Communication Design in 2017 and her previous roles include Glasgow Women’s Library designer in residence and The Glasgow School of Art’s Graduate Illustrator.