Interview with Hyemi Song

Winner of Generative Design Awards

Award Winning Designer Hyemi Song shares insights


Interview with Hyemi Song at Thursday 3rd of May 2018:

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
HS : After receiving BS (Molecular Biology) in Korea, I went to Chelsea College of Arts in London in order to study art and design. In London, I focused on learning visual communication, particularly clay animation to become a puppet Animation Director. Since then, I changed the venue of study to the interactive technology and have been exploring diverse works in design and art, delving into Data Visualization and UX/UI design. In this process, I received a MFA degree from Rhode Island School of Design in USA pursuing data art/design research.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
HS : Most of data-driven projects are interesting to me because I like articulate stories through accumulated small things from different timelines. I think data-driven will continuously be a type of design that I want to work.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
HS : 1. Just make designs, not too much focusing on learning tools. 2. Focus on what you want to say through your designs. 3. Have a chance to teach yourself (technically and conceptually) through delving into a personal project.” are my recommendations for them.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
HS : Good designers are people who have competitive design skills and experience to the point that they can lead a project successfully in any cases. A great designer could be called like an influential creator who addresses new questions against the current design trends.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
HS : Most of data-driven projects are interesting to me because I like articulate stories through accumulated small things based on timelines. If I have more time, I want to delve into data arts in Machine Learning and AI.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
HS : I like most of Dieter Rams' design and his design philosophy. His works are masterpieces representing a top quality of minimal design. And, I also love design done by Saul Bass, especially I was inspired by his films and graphic design when studying motion graphic design and typography. Nowadays, I am again exploring the discourse about the representation of TIME in the 2-dimentinal mediums through David Hockey’s book and paintings that are my favorite art works.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
HS : My first data visualization, Temperature of my mind is the greatest design. Even though I did not know what data visualization was at this time, I fully understood and naturally found ways to create data visualization because I was thoroughly motivated by my desire to know myself. It was a leap into the world of data easily through exploring a personal curiosity how accumulated data could be utilized as a source of language so that I learn about myself and convey hidden stories, even thoughts and emotions through using visualization methodologies.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?
HS : Design is a language.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
HS : One of my next projects is “Walkestra” that is related to the previous research, called "Walking in a Place, Walkestra" that entails the discussion of designing and developing a methodology to generate a ‘decodable personalized soundtrack’ using an individual’s ‘walking data’ collected in a place.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?
HS : I will continuously explore something new and traditional forms of creations in data, design, and technology.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
HS : It depends on the size of projects. But, I try to finish within 3-6 months generally.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?
HS : I usually write up concept, plots and ideas on my 7x7 sketch at first.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?
HS : Technology is an environment that provides different medium, tools, and contexts when users explore content.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
HS : Many. Nowadays, I am reading a David Hockey’s book and Information written by James Gleick

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
HS : I just make many personal/commercial projects. Teaching myself is also a good way of improving skills conceptually and technically both.