Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Bumseok Hong ("BH") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?

BH : I majored in film, tv and multimedia at university. It was interesting to know about creating films, narratives, and sequences. Over the next few years, I became more interested in creating graphics. Among them, the motion graphics that showed the logic of the logo attracted my attention as the logo moved. I have studied marketing and branding in depth while studying management as a double major, and I have been studying the way to make brand identity. Working in a network brand design team in the broadcasting industry, I am now in the process of creating a visual identity of content from dealing with a big brand of network.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?

BH : I had to go through a lot of fundamentals as I chose film, tv and multimedia as my major. Thanks to the open curriculum, I was able to think about "what do I want to do?" For a considerable amount of time. In the course of the theoretical process, I was interested in semiotics and my interests turned to symbolism and I began to study how people accept what images they are. Graphic was a field that rely on symbols more than any other field, and it became interesting to express intent in a non-verbal way, so I spent a lot of time working on graphics / motion graphics and I became a designer. The process of understanding and expressing people's common sense, and the way in which they are received in an intended or unintended way, is a meaningful experience for me.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?

BH : I think it was the way I chose in many coincidences.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?

BH : I work mainly on visual representation of brand identity. I like to work on creating a complete picture from head to toe depending on the logic. I am always curious about where I can unfold and I want to make a more robust design in the future. At the same time, I want to make a more diverse variation within it.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?

BH : I am still wandering occasionally. I ask myself whether this is the right way or not and what I want more. But there is no right answer. Sometimes it feels meaningless to try to find the right answer. If it goes well, it will be the correct answer, but even if it does not work, it is not the wrong answer. Do not be in a hurry. Your life is all yours.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?

BH : I do not know if I can link good designer and great designer to good design and great design. Maybe there was a good opportunity to show off great design, or maybe could stay in good design because there wasn’t that opportunity yet. But I think that a great designer has no ups and downs. If someone is a faithful designer, we can call him or her a great designer.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?

BH : I’m not sure if I can link Good design with Good designer. I think maybe there was good opportunity to show good design or meet good client to make good design. But logic must be clear. Good design always has logic, so we can see tightly connected points. I think good design comes from good logic.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?

BH : Good design comes from an understanding of the value that the brand pursues. When designers understand the core values and find the right way to express it, we see good design. I would like to tell that invest to the designer rather than invest in design. This is because a designer who can understand and appreciate the value of a brand can show a good design and that makes the value of the brand good.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?

BH : Asia still has negative public opinion about LGBTQ. Among them, the Republic of Korea I live in is even more severe. Recently, however, we have been dealing with a lot of LGBTQ content through media such as broadcasting, and younger generations seem to become more tolerant. If I had the time, I would have designed the Campaign for the LGBTQ rights of the Republic of Korea.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?

BH : I want to design related to the campaign. I would like to deal with social messages with the dimension of brand design under the condition that the message is progressive and socially beneficial. I want to show that design can be much bigger than people think. Design is not just all about prettiness.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?

BH : People tend to think that design is the outcome. But I think it is more important than that. It is essential to keep track of how your intentions and messages are being communicated to people. Leave good things, discard bad things, and update things that are confusing. I am sure that continuing to care is the way to make a successful design.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?

BH : I like the brand identity design of Paula Scher, partner of Pentagram. Although she’s many designer’s favorite designer, I was impressed by Netflix's <Abstract>. I looked at it and thought like this. "That's bold." As a designer, I thought that the curiousity of the world would be directly connected to what I would design, and I thought that it would lead to conviction. Since then I often ask myself these questions. 'What is the thing thrilling to see?'

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?

BH : I like the "PUBLIC" brand identity design by Paula Scher, partner of Pentagram. I think it is better to say that it is meaningful than liking. It's a design that many people like, but for me it was a design that breaks the frame of typography. When I was studying the theory that typography should be like this, I felt that it was a bit far from creative work to deal with. But once I saw the brand identity design of "PUBLIC”, it changed. I felt like I could do creative design as much as I applied the theory.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?

BH : Of course, I got the award for YM Coffee Project brand identity design, so I think it is my greatest design so far. The YM Coffee Project was relatively small compared to the usual work, but it was a relatively long-term design. I organized the text for a long time to catch the overall picture of the brand and created solid logic. I think I was able to show great design thanks to the creation of brand identity in very solid logic.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?

BH : I think there is nothing as important as continuing. I also get confused sometimes. With the development of social media and platforms, we watch and buy a lot. There will be a lot of good things, but creators can easily compare them with other creators. Some designers do these things well, others think that they are not good enough and they ask if it's the right way to go or not so often. I think designers need to focus more on themselves. It would be the only correct answer to continue. So did I.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?

BH : I don’t know. I am sure that even if I did not become a designer, I would have worked in a creative field in any way.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?

BH : The design is basically logic. Instead of expressing words, it expresses intuitively the message you want to convey by visual expression, the atmosphere you want to express, and the direction you want to go. In order to allow viewers to accept and experience what they intend to do, it is necessary to reduce the error range through multiple simulations. Design must have always the purpose. And by repeating the question of whether it meets the purpose or not, it is design to derive a simple result through the complex process of visually creating logic.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?

BH : I would like say my mom is biggest supporter. She doesn’t help in any design achievements. But she has been in my whole life which means without her I never could have done this.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

BH : I think confidence matters when designing. I’m the type of designer who can only grab a pen by conviction. I think that the times that I have been worried about have made me a great designer. I'll have time to keep thinking.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?

BH : Other great designs gave me good inspiration and a new perspective, but they also became obstacles. The images that do not leave in my head interfere with the design thinking, and I tried to avoid being similar. Sometimes I went in the wrong direction because of attempt to escape the similar image. Now I just go my way. Someone goes by the same road next to me, and the others go the other way. But it doesn’t matter any more. Now I only think about my direction.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?

BH : I think it is worth spending as much time and energy for presenting as design. I think that the presentation should show the design process and be in agony how these results can be appealing. As I have been loving my design, I have to be careful about how I can show it well. It is imperative to think about how I can successfully show what I think about the most important points.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?

BH : The project is under the title of "FACE MAKERS CLUB". It started with personal work, but I am now looking for ways to share it with more people. It's a project that started with the idea that everything can be a face. I started to make fun of a face shape by putting food on dishes with my friends. I have made a play by expanding the category of graphic design to "something made visually". I’m making faces in a variety of ways, and am looking for ways for more people to participate freely. Please look forward to.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?

BH : I do not want to pursue fame or wealth. I think it is the same as illusion. I always think about why I made the design. I am interested in creating something visual, so I only want to design better for as long as possible. Then I will have more days to receive the award like now. I think it's a result of how much fun I have in design rather than how much I am greedy.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?

BH : People expect new experiences from so-called esteemed designers. It does not matter whether you have seen it before or have never seen it. It is important to know how to approach it in some way, and how solid logic it has. The new, intuitive experience is what people expect.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

BH : Many designs created by designers are the target of consumption. It can be a product that actually gives money, or it can be advertising, signage, etc. that are consumed visually. In any case, people will be aesthetically or message affected. I think the effect of the message is much greater. That's why designers have to seriously consider how people will be affected by the messages I throw.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?

BH : I began to work on analogue, feeling that the field of graphics started to lose its materiality. It was literally hand-made graphic design. I was disappointed by simply copying past archives, doing digital work, or downloading and typing fonts. So I started a project called <This is Graphic> with the idea that every visual thing could be graphic. In this project, all work is hand made, and various objects and tools are used to continue the work. I plan to open the exhibition at some point. Maybe it will be opening this year.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?

BH : Designing brand identity through typography is the most exciting and fun. Typography is interesting because I thinks the power of text is enormous. Sometimes the text itself has intense. I approach to design so that it have a complete one voice.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?

BH : The design has attracted more attention than ever before as many technologies and platforms have emerged. In order to show good design, it is important to take advantage of the core of technology and the characteristics of the platform that consumers experience. But when it come to the good design, there always should be people at the center. If you think about technology and platform without considering the person who experiences it, such design will be ignored. As technology evolves and platforms become more diverse, ironically, design should be centered on the people who experience it and be sustainable in it.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?

BH : Design is a field that must meet the trend of the era. It is a field that expresses what people want now, or what people need now, visually. But now the world is much more complex and diverse than before. The design also requires a variety of perspectives. I think it is a good phenomenon. We are moving toward more diverse, so that designers could do new designs.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?

BH : It is difficult to say that it takes roughly some time because it depends on design. I have a quick temper, so it is going to be fast. Sometimes clients are surprised like “Already?”.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?

BH : I prefer to work on text when designing. At the same time, I try to draw the whole big picture into my head. Continuously simulating text and images at the same time, they meet the exquisite moment. It starts to develop from there. I feel like I'm ready, and I feel it is the most creative moment.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

BH : Don’t be hesitate to do something new. There’s no failure. There’s always next page.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?

BH : I think trends and designs are in a mutual relationship. I do not think either side defines the other side. I do not want people to think of trend as a style. Trend shows that the value in time we live now and message that we desire. I think that design expresses it visually. Conversely, when design conveys the values or messages it needs in the present, people follow it. There is no one who’s only accepting. We exchange each other.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?

BH : I do not prefer specific materials, platforms, or technologies. But I am always curious to learn new things. I think that all ideas come from experience, so it's a great pleasure to take a variety of experiences and come up with moments when those experiences come to my way.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?

BH : I do not prefer a particular tool. Everything starts with an idea and finds the right way to express it. Of course, the various software from adobe are a great help in finalizing the design.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?

BH : Color, materials and ambient are the most important elements that enable people to experience design in five senses. It gives a certain mood and gives a new touch. This is the first impression because it is what they will experience first. That's why designers must carefully choose color, materials and ambient. First impressions is difficult to change.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?

BH : I would like people to wonder about the process rather than the outcome of the design. That gives me the opportunity to talk about my thoughts, and I can learn common sense through people's reactions. I always wonder how well my intentions and their thoughts are matched, and I wonder how they were received if they were accepted differently. The process of exchanging thoughts is a very interesting experience for me.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?

BH : First, "Wow!" and then "Who did?"

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?

BH : I like working with designers in other areas. Because they have different bases, they work in a more diverse way of thinking, which usually leads to good results. It is important to have an idea that I might not know because no one can know everything. I have often worked with other designers and would like to have as many opportunities as possible.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?

BH : It's hard to say that someone has had the most impact. I can not even make a list. Inspiration from ordinary people's stories or conversations with friends has a bigger impact. Bonds and sympathy are the greatest sources of inspiration for me.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?

BH : I studied many of Jacques Lacan's books while studying semiotics. Theory of desire, mirror stage theory, and so on. I did research on how people accept messages through images, and I think that semiotics have had the greatest impact on my design.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?

BH : The tool is important when designing. But I do not think it should be tied to a specific tool. I know how to handle various tools, so there are many ways to think about it. There is a sketch note to unfold when I start design. Whenever I come up with an idea, I write it down as a text or a picture. Among the tools I use, it's a spleen weapon.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?

BH : I want to talk to various designers around the world. I want to talk about what they have in mind, what they design, and what experiences they have been doing. Not just about design, curiosity about people is ahead.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?

BH : My answer is "Yes, it is hard to be famous." Whether or not a prize has been awarded, whether it has been recognized or not, it is only a process and I think that it is enough if I have learned about design or presentation through such a process.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?

BH : Orange, home, nothing special, spring, iPhone and ... My favorite brand is YM Coffee project, which was awarded me a prize.

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?

BH : This is a case that I was mean, but there was a client who speak without courtesy. He required too many modifications and I was exhausted due to repeated feedback. Once I was a yes man, I replied as if I were accepting everything, and I had sent previous version again. The client said to me, "OK!" What ... ?

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?

BH : I try to get up in the morning and sleep at night. I want to maintain the most common lifecycle. In the morning, I do not do business-related work unless I am in a hurry. I go to the exhibitions and enjoy the relaxing time or stop by the charming café to organize some thoughts. I work in the afternoon and write the next day's tasks at the end of the day. Keeping this routine is motivation for me.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?

BH : I liked to paint, but I never thought I would be a designer. When I was little, I didn’t even know what designer is. It was the same when I entered university. Then I found out that I wanted to become a designer after got through lots of new experiences.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?

BH : I have not thought of 1000 years later, but the appearance is likely to change a lot. But won’t be the most important value is person, though? People are worried that even they heard some about the fact that human being, relationships and related values are fading. I hope that technology will develop into a more human-oriented path.

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?

BH : If you are my fan, please contact me, please. You can contact Instagram through the homepage. If you go to www.studio-lad.com, there is a contact tab. If you click on it, you can send a message directly. There is also a way to contact me through Instagram @ studio_lad_com. Follow me.



YM Coffee Project Brand Identity

YM Coffee Project Brand Identity by Bumseok Hong

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