Designers Jisung Park and Chul-hee had both admired each other’s work for a while before starting their own graphic design studio, gradually starting to collaborate on projects naturally. Deciding to establish a studio which would offer them the freedom to work either separately or together, the pair adopted the name of Chul-hee’s queer bookshop, Sunny Books in Seoul and Sunny Studio was born.
For Chul-hee, it was the motion graphics on MTV that first triggered an interest in design. “I watched a lot of MTV when I was younger,” he tells It’s Nice That, “and I was fascinated by the graphics in between programmes.” Growing up surrounded by lo-fi marketing goodies catalogues (due to his dad’s business) Chul-hee went into the arts with this haphazard aesthetic in mind. “Also, I was not very good at mathematics,” he says on his choice of degree.
Alternatively, for Jisung, who recalls wanting “to be a cartoonist from a very early age,” the Korean designer has also been influenced by motion graphics since his childhood. Combining his love of music videos with a later interest, typography, it comes as no surprise that Jisung’s present work culminates in seamlessly animated, typographic posters.
Fusing their creative and technical skills together, Sunny Studio creates friendly and inviting designs for the cultural sector across Korea. Focusing on visual identities, poster campaigns, publication design and so on, the studio consistently produces innovative work to suit the client. But for Chul-hee, “it’s most fun when my friends ask me to do a project with almost no specific requirements.” Though they can only offer him no or very little money, he values the freedom of expression to do whatever he wants with these kinds of projects; not to mention the trust his friends have in him to deliver.
While Jisung’s current interests are veering towards packaging design these days, he finds the challenge of designing for mass production an intriguing test. “I’m interested in the strict conditions that exist for this kind of production,” he tells us, “from the production, texture and printing methods. It’s also fun to work on lettering which needs to be both communicative and popular.”
As our society continues to delve deeper into the digital age, studios like Chul-hee’s and Jisung’s offer the animated requirements that more and more clients are after. “Animation is now a must for posters, it catches peoples’ eyes and delivers the message clearly,” says Chul-hee. In agreement, Jisung continues: “Most information about events or exhibitions can be found on the web. So the screen as a platform is essential and there is a need to make the graphics on screen move. As a design studio, we plan animated posters or digital goods even before the client requests it.”
Recently, the studio created the visual identity behind Shin Ji-Ye’s mayoral candidacy, also known as “Seoul’s feminist mayor”. Subverting the dated graphic language around women being “obedient” or “motherly”, Sunny Studio’s contemporary campaign produced an unexpected political campaign, disliked by Shin’s conservative opponents. Additionally designing the visual identity for the Korean capital’s Queer Parade in My Heart! festival, another project designed to empower, the studio hope to do more political projects like this in future, amidst extending their practice into photography and snack packaging.
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