School of Art, Media, and Technology

BFACD Faculty Highlight: Hoon Kim

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Communication Design faculty, Hoon Kim is a New York-based graphic designer, educator, curator, and researcher. He founded Why Not Smile, a multidisciplinary creative consultancy in New York in 2009, which focuses on integrated branding across various media for art, fashion, architecture, and cultural clients. He holds an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design, a teaching certificate from Brown University, and a BFA from Seoul National University, Korea. Hoon has taught at Parsons the New School for Design, Harvard University, Pratt Institute and RISD, and given lectures at Royal College of Art (UK), Princeton University (US), Werkplaats Typografie (NL), and various schools internationally. He has earned recognition from diverse organizations such as ADC, AIGA, Brno Biennial, Chaumont Festival, D&AD, Print, and TDC, and has also been awarded the title of The Design Leader by the Ministry of Knowledge and Economy of Korea (MKE).

PIN is a three-weight, nine-cut family of geometric sans-serif types. The design, available in dot-matrix, stencil, and solid variations, is based on an expanding grid. Available at Colophon Foundry.

A Sustainable Future for Exuma is a multi-year ecological planning collaboration among the Government of The Bahamas, the Bahamas National Trust, and Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD).

How did you get into design? Was there a defining point in your career, and if so, how did it shape you as a designer?

I started drawing futuristic cars and planes from age 9. Those sketches were very systematic and modular that came from nowhere. This led to my first aspirations of becoming a car designer, and majored in product design first. I changed my major to graphic design when I was a junior in college, but my design still has strong influences from product and car design, which are very systematic.

A series of photographs for Byredo Kabuki

Branding, marketing and advertising for Dr. Jart, a dermatological skincare brand

Outside of other design and illustration, what sorts of things inspire and influence your work?

It is mostly from everyday life. Whenever I hit the streets, I become an observer, a graphic design observer. Typography on wild-postings, articles on someone’s newspaper in the train, a random painting at a coffee shop, snow patterns on the street, tree shadows on a building, white noise from street lighting, etc. All those fragmented pieces are inspirations and influences. What’s most important is making connections amongst these kinds of unrelated inspirations. I don’t believe there is anything really new from scratch. With given materials and ingredients, how and what should I cook? That is always my first question, like a chef.

Print materials for AIA New York Honors and Awards

Identity, advertising and publication for Wheelwright Prize from Harvard University

What tips would you give to anybody who is looking to get started in design?

Always be curious. It is more close to habit rather than ability, but it is open to everyone. To have this good habit is to install a strong and stable foundation stone for your future in any creative field.

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