As Press Room, Seoul-based graphic designer Jieun Yang has been serving up fresh identities, publications, printed matter, as well as digital and physical spaces since she launched the studio in 2016. This breadth of scope no doubt was amplified by Jieun’s education, which included four years of Western and Oriental painting, sculpture and design, but is something that the designer can trace back to childhood. “Back then, there was a greenhouse and a bird cage in my backyard, so I often drew peacocks, butterflies and plants in my spare time,” she tells It’s Nice That. “One day, I saw a flying butterfly in CGI on a TV commercial, and I thought I could make it better.”
What appeals to Jieun about design over her art-fuelled background is the specificity of communicating a particular message, often by playing with a limited framework. “During the process [of developing a design], I keep realising that the ‘form’ of design delivers more than what most people can imagine,” she says. In many of her projects, Jieun pushes expected formats to unexpected places, trying to make the form of her work echo its meaning.
In her first publication Angles, a collection of work by photographer Kyoung-tae Kim featuring the corners of buildings, Jieun tried to reveal the relationship between the content and the structure of the book. “In order to emphasise the edges of the buildings, I purposely placed them where the paper is folded, instead of safely placing them on a flat page,” she explains. The result is an architectural tome, that stretches what a photography book usually looks like.
Her identity for 2018 exhibition Breathing whew- whew- similarly connects form and meaning. “The organisers wanted the exhibition to be warm and cozy to melt away the cold highlands, so I made an animated poster where the title of the exhibition was literally melting the photo of a frozen mountain,” she explains. As well as a clever use of typography to create a pattern, the animated poster immediately conjures up that feeling of thawing and warmth.
The physical structure of type also played a part in Jieun’s posters for iwillmedievalfutureyou1, an exhibition at the Art Sonje Center which explored post-humanism. Here the past, present and future and human relationships (all dealt with in the exhibition) are placed at different angles, creating an imagined 3D shape. Cleverly all of the text can then be broken up and used separately for posters, banners, and online promotional images and throughout the exhibition. With just three years in business, Jieun’s portfolio is already bursting at the seams with clever and elegantly executed projects. We can’t wait to see what she does next.