Since we last wrote about the graphic design studio Ordinary People in 2015, we’ve seen a considerable increase in great work coming from Korean studios. Despite what seems like a spike in Seoul-based creativity, Ordinary People’s founder Jin Kang tells It’s Nice That, “I’m not sure whether it’s booming or not, I think only a few designers survive” amidst the sea of talent seen on Instagram.
For Jin’s studio, the last few years have proved to be an exciting time. Notably, they designed a new identity for one of Korea’s biggest broadcasting companies, as well as exhibiting their work internationally. Jin shares a few recent projects with us, discussing their variety of graphic outputs at the same time. Earlier this year, the studio designed the visual identity for Hyundai’s card library. “Inspired by the 1970s and 80s advertisements and signage, we created bold lettering in an arch which resultantly becomes a symbol” says Jin.
Combining Wes Anderson’s symmetry and pastel palette with a hint of corporate design, the designers create fan-shaped lettering which is easily adaptable to all manner of mediums and formats. In another project, Ordinary People have designed the liberal arts magazine Fingerprint from the beginning. The quarterly publication publishes stories surrounding ordinary, everyday objects while its title derives from the French saying “Nous avons notre propre empreinte dans la vie” meaning “we have our own imprint in life.”
In turn, Jin and his team design the magazine around a key graphic element that echoes the ovular shape of a fingerprint. The oval graphics appear throughout the publication, as well as on the cover, providing context and graphic consistency throughout the work. Additionally, the design studio has designed the exhibition identity for a show Title Match taking place last year at Buk-Seoul Museum of Art. The main concept behind the identity revolves around a Venn diagram which represents what people will see in the show. Using the diagram “in three different ways”, the studio exerts the Venn diagram’s design and function by adapting, and appropriating throughout the identity.
With the hopes of expanding their practice overseas, Ordinary People are continuing to grab exciting opportunities with both hands. Willing to embark on projects that they have never done before, Jin concludes our interview with a hint that they are currently working on a new collaboration that they’ve never done before. “It will be released soon, so please stay tuned to our Instagram!” he finally adds.
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. Feel free to drop Jyni a note if you have an exciting story for the site.