A nostalgic approach to analogue media dictates Studio Front-Door’s publication-focused practice

Considering things as intricate as the transparency of paper and incorporating secret flip books, Seoul-based Studio Front-Door seeks to generate a multi-layered reading experience.

Date
26 April 2022

Share

“When we were young, many people bought paper tickets to take the subway, some people read books on trains, or in parks, collected CDs and wrote letters. We still like analogue media like that,” begins Minjung Kang of Studio Front-Door. “This is not to say that things that exist in the real world are better than digital media, we just like something that we can touch with our hands.” With this thinking, and the fact that Studio Front-Door was founded with the foremost mission of creating “a book that could rival the iPad – beautiful and firm”, the studio has always focussed on the potential physical graphic production has to rival an online world. And, this nostalgic approach to physical media has served the studio well. Recently starting its own publishing venture alongside its graphic work, Front-Door is now notable for creating well conceptualised, thoroughly researched and meticulously detailed publications.

For its catalogue design Art(ificial) Garden, The Border Between Us, the studio wanted to emulate the core concept of the text. Created for an exhibition that explored the relationship between humans and nature and the problem of boundaries, Kyungmoon (the other half of Studio Front-Door) expands that “‘Us’ refers to humans nature, and art, and the same time, is a Korean homonym (Woori), meaning fence”. With this in mind the studio looked to express the idea of both visible and invisible boundaries, executed by making the letters of the title visible through the front cover’s grid pattern. Equally as innovative, Front-Door recently created a series of publications focussing on a 1970s collaboration between an American public broadcasting station and video artist Nam June Paik. Spring-boarding off the motif of “a cathode-ray tube, reminiscent of an analog TV,” the seven covers demonstrate an effortlessly vintage digital style. And, what’s more, nestled in the bottom righthand corner of the pages, the studio included a brown TV graphic featuring images captured from Nam June Piak’s videos, that when flipped, gives the impression of watching the video.

Above

Studio Front-Door: Art(ificial) Garden (Copyright © Studio Front-Door, 2022)

Meeting at university, both Minjung and Kyungmoon originally pursued different creative pathways. Minjung wanted to major in fashion design whilst Kyungmoon was originally a painter. With both eventually changing their majors to visual design, the pair aptly met at a typography club. After university, the duo worked at a design agency, gaining experience related to galleries, corporate brochures and magazines. Later leaving and continuing their creative partnership, the duo then started Studio Front-Door in 2017.

Last year the studio started its publishing branch, Front-Door Press, a long term goal of the pair. With the central goal of publishing books which focus on art and photography, the project combines their love of graphic design and penchant for culture. Its first publication, Abnormal Sense, is a photobook containing the work and collected material of Hyoyeon Kim, a photographer who explored the lives of second and third generation Koreans who experienced firsthand the Hiroshima nuclear attack of 1945. Wanting to express the passing of trauma, Kyungmoon explains that they chose to depict a girl and grandma looking over an expanse of water, “and their silk-screen printed silhouettes”, Kyungmoon expands, “expresses an image than you can scarcely see, like an afterimage on the sea”. Moreover, even exploring how their choice of materials could reflect the publications content, the book's “thin” inner paper “was used to show the meaning of ‘abnormal sense’ by using the see-through effect”.

Telling us that the studio was pleased by the response to Abnormal Sense, with many more people showing interest than expected, looking ahead, Kyungmoon and Minjung are leading with the simple objective of continuing to craft publications “that people can enjoy”.

Above

Studio Front-Door: Art(ificial) Garden (Copyright © Studio Front-Door, 2022)

Above

Studio Front-Door: Namjun Paik (Copyright © Studio Front-Door, 2022)

Above

Studio Front-Door: Namjun Paik (Copyright © Studio Front-Door, 2022)

Above

Studio Front-Door: Abnormal Sense (Copyright © Studio Front-Door, 2021)

Above
Left

Studio Front-Door: Abnormal Sense (Copyright © Studio Front-Door, 2021)

Right

Studio Front-Door: Abnormal Sense (Copyright © Studio Front-Door, 2021)

Above

Studio Front-Door: Abnormal Sense (Copyright © Studio Front-Door, 2021)

Above

Studio Front-Door: Shiota Chiharu (Copyright © Studio Front-Door, 2022)

Above

Studio Front-Door: Shiota Chiharu (Copyright © Studio Front-Door, 2022)

Above

Studio Front-Door: The Face of Play (Copyright © Studio Front-Door, 2022)

Hero Header

Studio Front-Door: Art(ificial) Garden (Copyright © Studio Front-Door, 2022)

Share Article

About the Author

Olivia Hingley

Olivia joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in illustration, photography, ceramic design and platforming creativity from the north of England.

It's Nice That Newsletters

Fancy a bit of It's Nice That in your inbox? Sign up to our newsletters and we'll keep you in the loop with everything good going on in the creative world.