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Interview with Juyoung Hwang

Home > Designer Interviews > Juyoung Hwang

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Juyoung Hwang (JH) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of Juyoung Hwang by clicking here.

Interview with Juyoung Hwang at Sunday 15th of May 2022
Juyoung Hwang
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
JH: Design is like the process of cooking. ‘Idea’ is a fresh healthy ingredient, and using it as a design tool and program ‘Skill’, food is completed. The design is to serve the finished dish with a 'story'. For Ju-Young Hwang, the designer must clearly understand and fulfill that responsibility. I started walking the path of a designer to give deep impressions and messages to people.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
JH: I am currently working as a freelancer, not affiliated with a company/design studio.

FS: What is "design" for you?
JH: Design should clearly show meaning regardless of shape or size, and should present general themes from a unique point of view. That point of view is an Idea, an Inspiration, and the aggregate of those principles is a Design.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
JH: ‘Anna G’ by Alessandro Mendini. Ingenious and simple, his products inspire us to create stories. His designs are fun, imaginative, and thus lively. That's why I like his work.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
JH: When I was 6 years old, I first saw the ‘Anna G’ wine opener. Holding the handle of the product and moving it, the product danced gracefully like a ballerina. At that moment, I imagined through the product and created a story. It was no longer just a product, but a children's book, a toy, and love. It was the first product that made me dream and dream of design.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
JH: It is a tunnel design using media glass at Jeongok Port in Hwaseong, Korea. At that time, I majored in environmental design at university, so I belong to the space design department at the company. The company's main product was the 4th generation display glass for media playback. the product was heavy, so it was designed by adding auxiliary devices considering the load.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
JH: Surprisingly, my favorite material is paper. Paper is one of the oldest materials, and I think it is an important material and source that gave rise to various cultures. That is why, as a designer dealing with digital contents, I like and are interested in the Digilog(A compound word that connects Digital and Analog) platform, which is a combination of analog and digital.As a tool to connect the platform, interaction design based on Hashtag and QR code technology is often used. Although the frequency of use of QR codes was low in Korea just a few years ago, they have been actively used since the pandemic. I am really looking forward to the related technologies that will come out in the future, and I am thinking about my design and how to apply it.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
JH: The human hand is the most creative tool since the birth of mankind. Because tools and civilizations were created by hand. Today, with the development of modern technology, there are many programs that are more effective and easier. However, there is no more creative moment than when you use your hands to sow, refine, and organize your thoughts.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
JH: Mostly, when people encounter a design, we consider it to be intuitive in how they think and use it. Nothing is more important than a single powerful concept than aesthetics or versatility.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
JH: Designing is as exciting as playing a game. To play a game is to win by effectively using strategy and skill with the elements you have (team members, budget, time, etc.). Similarly, design is a very enjoyable and exciting process of going up a level, solving problems in different situations.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
JH: I don't have any emotions when the design is finished more than I thought. Because I considered all the situations in the planning stage and expected various outcomes. So no matter what results (good results or bad results) come out, I accept the situation and plan and proceed with another project for a new challenge.

FS: What makes a design successful?
JH: Continuous analysis, strong concepts, and sustainable questions are what make a successful design. First, analysis through data and data determines the direction of design we will pursue in the future. A simple and clear concept leads to the success of the design. Finally, the question of sustainability provides the potential for design to evolve without stopping. Good design does not stay in the present, but has the power to move forward.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
JH: When encountering a design, the first thing to look at is whether this design is clearly understood. No matter how aesthetically good a design is, if communication between the user and the designer is not achieved, it cannot be said to have played a fundamental role in design. Good design should be understandable to everyone.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
JH: Designer Victor Papanek emphasized social change through process rather than outcome. The role of the designer is to urge change with continuous interest in the environment and society through the project. If a designer does a design without purpose and without a message, it is avoiding responsibility to people and cannot be called a good designer.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
JH: Today, anyone can easily shoot and edit video to make a movie. In addition, programming development can be easily made through software. Compared to the past, various design tools can be used in one design field today. People will be confused by the myriad ways to use the different design tools. So the ultimate principle of design will become even more important. Consistency and clarity are needed in any field. In the future of design, technology will be subdivided, and design spirit and principles will be simplified.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
JH: In July 2020, it was an exhibition in Incheon, Korea. Before the pandemic, an exhibition was held every two years. Currently, the situation is difficult due to the long-term pandemic, but he is aiming to hold an exhibition within three years.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
JH: Inspired by classics and news. Designers should always be able to face new problems and give people a better direction. How to recognize the problem and how to solve it should be considered from various viewpoints. Therefore, the most effective way to develop creativity is to meet and talk with people of various professions. If a single problem is viewed through various opinions and processes, good results can be obtained.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
JH: The design style is simple and pursues something that can be easily expressed by anyone. Designs that are difficult to access are not remembered by people. Even if they are not designers, it should be a design that anyone can try. In order to develop a style, I search for retro products and pictograms in each country and try various things.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
JH: I live in Incheon, Korea. Oriental painting is different from Western landscape painting, and its realistic approach is also different. Oriental painting, especially Korean painting, emphasizes the power and relationship between blank space and subject matter. It is also a required element in many designs today. In addition, the approach to nature rather than people is a guideline that evolves the field of design and suggests the future.

FS: How do you work with companies?
JH: First, I listen to a briefing about the project at the company and consider whether the direction I am pursuing is right. And discuss the feasibility of the project with the company. If the project is feasible and suitable for several factors (social impact, potential, etc.), the proposal is accepted. After that, negotiate with the company about the conditions and rights for the project.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
JH: Designer should always have a clear concept. To do this, communication skills between team members are important. For example, the story of the Tower of Babel. Inconsistent terminology and processes make it difficult to get a clear concept. When working on the same project, different values and directions for design have a bad effect on designers and companies. Therefore, companies should have criteria for selecting designers with the same goal to some extent.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
JH: Ideas seek to come out quickly and easily. I prefer to come up with ideas within 15 minutes. If it doesn't come out, take a break or postpone it to the next day. The selected ideas are organized into sentences so that anyone can easily understand them. Condensed sentences into words as a concept. After that, I try to work from various occupational and environmental perspectives to effectively express the derived concept. Finally, the design is completed after hearing opinions from experts in various fields.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
JH: Pen, bookshelf, desk, chair, paper. It is the best functional design product for design!

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
JH: When I wake up in the morning, I start my day with a nutrient supplement placed by my bed and stretching. After that, after checking the work request or proposal e-mail, make a work schedule for the day. I eat a light lunch at noon and study for the future. I start working again, and I go to gym at 4:30 in the afternoon. After my workout, I eat dinner at a nearby restaurant. And when I get home, I go back to studying, work, and housework that I couldn't do. It's a very simple and repetitive day.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
JH: I often say to young designers, 'Put yourself on a piece of paper'. For the most part, people are more tolerant of themselves than others. That's why they don't know their problem. As they read their introductions on paper, they learn what they need to fix and who they are. When they evaluate themselves, they have to be as strict as they give points to players after a football match.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
JH: A designer is someone who convinces others with one word or one product. So, keeping things simple and easy is my characteristic and strength. Ironically, the disadvantage is that it is difficult to simplify the process of organizing it.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
JH: The golden rule should be simple. If you are working on a project, there are a lot of steps you need to cut down. A series of similar work steps makes you tired and narrows your perspective. The workflow should be meaningful and provide multiple perspectives. A design doesn't have to be perfect all at once. When the work phase is over and it is not enough, just repeat it. This is like the daily routine of our life.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
JH: Finding the core is the most important thing. Designers have to look at tons of resources and information to find out what people are asking for and needing. We also have to define what we find there, and it has to be understandable to people. In conclusion, the ability to find the core is the most necessary competency for designers and for the future of design.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
JH: I think of a designer as an engineer as well as a philosopher like the ancient Romans. As technology expands, design tools and programs are important, but the wisdom and essence of people are important. That is why books are indispensable for design work. The wisdom and stories of classics are the same for all generations. We can also realize the approach and way of finding the heart of the design.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
JH: Design seems easy, but it is an aggregate of complex processes. Time is limited and we need to manage it systematically. That's why it's very important to plan ahead of time. We need to strictly manage and control that time.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
JH: It takes as little as 1 week and as long as 1 year. It depends on the size and situation of the project. However, during the project period, the process is always the same.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
JH: People ask me, 'Where do you usually get your ideas from?' The answer is . ‘Go to many places, hear many things, see many objects’.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
JH: The most important experience is R&D development support project planning. B2G businesses for startups are active in Korea. It was the first business and field that challenged me. As I received and proceeded with the project, I was able to create a more accurate and understandable concept. This was enough to further develop my design skills.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
JH: Although diverse, the main customers are finance and mothers with children. I am interested in education, and I am thinking about how to provide a better future for my children. For financial customers, I mainly propose planning and processes to create products that are intuitive and easy to use for users.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
JH: Drawing work. Because the unconscious drawings sometimes become clues for the next project. It is not burdensome, and I like it as a lubricant that softens the hardness of thoughts.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
JH: Currently I am working as a freelancer, but I would like to go into a company where I can work with a better size and workforce and work on projects. A new challenge always excites me and inspires passion.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
JH: I do both team and individual work. A team project is a good way to improve and develop skills that I lack. Personal design work is great for organizing my thoughts and strengthening my core.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
JH: Since the pandemic, the movement of many people has been controlled. If communication between countries becomes more free and restrictions are lifted, I would like to proceed with design work related to travel.

FS: How can people contact you?
JH: You can communicate with me through my E-mail or SNS. E-mail : gabell@naver.com, Instagram : jimmy_n_yom.

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
JH: I want to tell you about my ultimate dream. When I was asked what my dream was since I was a child, I always replied this way. ‘Even if people don’t know the name of designer Juyoung Hwang, I want it to be a design that anyone can recognize when they see his work.’ Thanks for reading this long interview.


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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