Yuna Kim wants to see graphic design become a more tactile medium

Forming the basis of her design practice, Yuna considers exhibition design to be so important because “exhibition posters are a way to present them to the public, and exhibition space is an expansion of the thinking of the artist”. Additionally, a lover of “transforming what is on screen into real-world objects,” Yuna loves how exhibit design has the potential to exist in both the online and offline world. There’s nothing more satisfying, she tells us, than “when the graphic language and material match – that’s where all the fun and enjoyment comes from.” Before starting any project, Yuna also tells us that she will study the artist she is working with in depth, which often leads to an atmosphere of fruitful collaboration. When she worked alongside botanist Jung Sung Kyu for his exhibition negative lines, she visited his studio and spent hours listening to his thoughts and exploring his range of plants.

Describing herself as “a curious child who loved art and music and enjoyed visiting museums”, Yuna knew she would continue to be involved in the visual arts. Pursuing interior design studies at university initially seemed like a “natural choice”, but it was while carrying out a mission to design a space that she found herself “most fascinated by the visual aspects of it. Following this discovery, Yuna applied for a design internship at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Korea before later being hired as an in-house graphic designer. Working at the museum between 2014 and 2020, Yuna sees it as an important period to help her “develop a sense of scale and space”. Now Yuna runs her own independent graphic design studio, yunakimc.

One of the defining visual themes throughout Yuna’s work is her abstraction, often using geometric shapes and grid-like patterns. This focus on abstraction, Yuna explains, is rooted in how she wants people to receive her work: “When people see contemporary art, they interpret the works in a way that is often unrelated to the purpose of the artists. Abstract graphic design is a way for people to think more and come up with their own interpretations. This application shines through in Yuna’s recent poster for On and around the table. While the spherical shapes are made up of round tables stacked on their sides, Yuna explains that many people have told her that they initially thought they were representations of the moon or lunar cycles.

Always inspired and always in pursuit of innovation, Yuna shares with us that she recently came across a crumpled handkerchief on her desk, which was “crying to be discovered”. Having now created a collective, HituruMaturu, alongside her friend, inspired by the encounter, Yuna seeks to embark on the creation of physical objects and designs inspired by the visual physicality of the “crumpled”. “Who knows”, she concludes, “this could be a new start for me as a different creator”.

Clifton L. Boyd