Cheese books and yeast-risen type; Paul Jeon designs using daily life

The designer talks us through a catalogue littered with surprising interventions, including grated lemon and cheese rind, centring childlike curiosity above all else.

Date
4 July 2022

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Turn to pages 22 and 23 of Paul Jeon’s book All About Cheese, and you’ll find a double cheddar-yellow spread with Emmental holes punched into the paper. From this angle, the chapter reads: “Why holes had become a symbol of cheese.” If you skip ahead to pages 24 and 25, you see the man behind the curtain; the type leaves brilliant cut-out “stains” in the circular spots left behind. Playful winks like this are everywhere in the Bay Area designer’s portfolio. Although, All About Cheese does hold a special place in our hearts, perhaps for the subject matter, but probably for the unashamedly Gouda-hued palette.

Paul designed All About Cheese while he was still at university; “I had to create an editorial design related to food”, he recounts. Though, the decision to explore cheese was not taken on a whim. The complex product with its range of production methods posed a wonderful challenge for Paul. “Cheese has fascinating attributes that excite a graphic designer,” he affirms, “such as its variety in types, history, shape, ageing process, etc.” Thus, in what is a beautiful dream for many, Paul got to research the history and background of each variety, visiting stores to “observe” – and we hope, sample – cheeses in person.

While the book contains an abundance of information about cheese, how Paul translates these attributes visually is even more exciting. For example, in one moment, a reader can use a wooden cheese knife to slice along the side of a page, revealing precious information beneath (a guide to making cheese curds at home!). Other wonderful illustrative moments include drawings of cheese textures by way of their distinctive moulds.

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Paul Jeon: All About Cheese (Copyright © Paul Jeon, 2019)

For the lacto-adverse, Paul does have other brilliant projects to get into; such as one of his next works, Y2K20. On this project, fellow designer Jae Jeon approached Paul in lockdown, looking to create a record of how everyone’s daily lives had changed during the pandemic. It seems he found the perfect pairing with Paul, a designer whose “creativity gets triggered by various things in my daily life, including old memories, characteristics and shapes of objects”. Together, the duo noticed the uptick in lockdown-induced baking, thus landing on the idea “to bake different mask-shaped breads”. Y2K20 presents these images in a series of posters complete with typography that looks like it’s been kneaded, rolled, left to rise, and then baked in a fan-assisted oven.

While food-focused design certainly feels, to us, like Paul’s calling, he boasts an eclectic portfolio that also comprises trading card-inspired basketball identities and kinetic typography for electronic artists. Overall, Paul would simply describe his design approach as one of “a young kid’s since I am always curious and like to scribble and design with [my] imagination.” Having recently landed a role as a graphic designer at Mucho, Paul’s output looks pegged to reveal even more exciting projects this year. While we can only speculate what’s on the horizon, if the work is anything like his previous yeast-infused works, we’re sure we will love it.

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Paul Jeon: All About Cheese (Copyright © Paul Jeon, 2019)

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Paul Jeon: All About Cheese (Copyright © Paul Jeon, 2019)

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Paul Jeon: All About Cheese (Copyright © Paul Jeon, 2019)

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Paul Jeon: All About Cheese (Copyright © Paul Jeon, 2019)

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Paul Jeon / Jae Jeon: Mask (Y2K20) (Copyright © Paul Jeon / Jae Jeon, 2020)

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Paul Jeon / Jae Jeon: Mask (Y2K20) (Copyright © Paul Jeon / Jae Jeon, 2020)

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Paul Jeon: All About Cheese (Copyright © Paul Jeon, 2019)

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Paul Jeon: All About Cheese (Copyright © Paul Jeon, 2019)

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Paul Jeon: Black Sands Brewing co. (Copyright © Paul Jeon)

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Paul Jeon: Black Sands Brewing co. (Copyright © Paul Jeon)

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Paul Jeon: Black Sands Brewing co. (Copyright © Paul Jeon)

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Paul Jeon / Jae Jeon: Elite 24, photography by Hans Gutknecht and Jon Lopez, video by SLAM and HoopDiamond (Copyright © Paul Jeon / Jae Jeon, 2020)

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Paul Jeon / Jae Jeon: Elite 24, photography by Hans Gutknecht and Jon Lopez, video by SLAM and HoopDiamond (Copyright © Paul Jeon / Jae Jeon, 2020)

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Paul Jeon: All About Cheese (Copyright © Paul Jeon, 2019)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, she worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.

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