“Visuality is my way of communicating with others,” says Korean graphic designer Phillip Kim. His work, in its capacity to act as an interface between people, organisations and communities, intersects with fashion, print and philosophy. Phillip’s eclectic influences are evident in his designs, which merge experimental typography with illustrative details, photographed objects and people, and digitally constructed scenery.
Phillip tells us: “I have a lot of curiosity. Particularly, I am interested in politics and philosophy. When I spend time outside of work, when I eat or when I walk alone somewhere, I ponder an idea or an event that I am interested in. In order to organise those thoughts, I create artworks. Depending on my purpose and my subject, my designs display different themes or messages, and sometimes a poster becomes a canvas, a book, or clothes.” In this sense, Phillip’s works are in constant evolution as his designs adapt to different formats and undergo a variety of iterations.
With his work for Korean fashion identity God Particle, Phillip repeatedly reimagines and reframes the visual identity of the brand while retaining the consistency of God Particle’s logo. In one promotional design, the logo appears on a digitally rendered building alongside the tagline “Elusive Power”; in another, two ornate bags – one in the form of a bright purple gas cylinder – bear the brand’s name and insignia; another presents Phillip’s posters for the brand against a snowy, mountainous backdrop.
As such, even when he creates a series of works under a single, united purpose or concept, Phillip conceives of each design as a separate work of art. In his own words: “All my artworks are inspired by profound concerns, serious anxiety, and happiness. Each work has its own unique purpose and definition. My work becomes a true and complete form of artwork when it’s tailored to a specific audience with a specific atmosphere.”
Phillip’s use of typographic elements also fluctuates in correlation with the surrounding images, colours and overall mood of the specific design – from playful, mismatched, fragmented and freewheeling letterforms, to sleek and minimalist typefaces. As Phillip says: “Typography is my dream because it is a scientific and analytical system that consistently ponders and communicates new ideas. So, when choosing or creating typography, I approach it more functionally. The spaces between letters or words convey the sense of smell, sound, and temperature within the final artwork.”
Speaking of his overall approach and style when it comes to creating his designs, Phillip states: “My design is very rough. However, I try to incorporate details and narratives of meaning. My style reflects my personality. If you know my personal characteristics and the environments in which I move, you will able to see and recognise these in my artistic style.”