For Pa-i-ka, a graphic design studio based in Seoul, the act of designing revolves around tapping into certain themes. Noting “culture, art and social attention” as its driving forces, Pa-i-ka embeds itself within these topics, working with cultural institutions and for various exhibitions too. This process of working has led the studio to think of “design as another voice,” to artistic conversations that are already happening.
Founded in 2015, Pa-i-ka is made up of graphic designers Lee su-hyang and Ha Ji-hoon. A pair with self-described “different personalities” no Pa-i-ka project looks the same as the last. Lee and Ha’s “thoughts and designs have a positive effect on each other so that we can do the various tasks and attempts we want,” the studio point out of its founding members’ outlook.
By joining forces because of their differences, Lee and Ha like to keep Pa-i-ka’s design possibilities broad. “We’re very interested in working in a variety of areas, not just graphic design,” the studio tells us. “That’s why we like to try various things, and we don’t want our work to look like any single ‘style’.” This is certainly evident when you look at the breadth of design outcomes Pa-i-ka has managed to accomplish in just the three short years since it started producing work. In one project, the studio will design the identity, wayfinding and printed material for an event such as MMCA Festival or a film festival for Women’s Rights in Seoul. In others, it’s able to simply convey the same design thinking in just a single poster for an upcoming exhibition or in a live event, such as creating a children’s playground with the same joy it inputs into flat graphics.
Despite always changing in concepts and outputs, one consistent element of Pa-i-ka’s design practice is an illustrative lick of paint most of its projects seem to apply. Its usual approach appears to be typesetting all the relevant information detailed from its client before adding personality through illustrations, like a dancing flower smiling away on top. This is also where the studio plays with a wide range of popping colours even if the subject is something more serious such as extinction or even something a little more academically-led like architecture.
With different projects and personalities embedded in Pa-i-ka’s design ethos, the studio has set itself up for an exciting future of continuing to “make new, more diverse, interesting and attractive attempts” at creating and playing with graphic design.
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