To kick off our new series, we asked brilliant visual designer Sung Yoo, Creative Director of the “design + build” agency Hucbek, about her love for analog, her favorite Insta accounts, and her project for rockstar K-Beauty brand Glow Recipe.
Who was your first designer crush?
Angus McIntosh (of New York City artistic venture, Ennis McIntosh): such a charming and talented maker. I distinctly remember how impressed I was with all the great spaces Angus and Sean (Ennis) have designed and built. I respect all business owners, but even more so when they made it happen in New York because I know very well that the hustle is real. There are so many variables outside of just “design” that are so critical in the business, so I respect that about individuals and successful brands.
What set off your light bulb — that moment you knew “design + build” was the career path you were going to follow?
I don’t think it was a light bulb moment. I’d describe it as more of a strobe light of moments and events that led me to design and build. At the very start of my career, regardless of scale, format or budget, I didn’t discriminate projects and I put myself in positions to learn really quickly. My attitude has always been to “find a solution,” so value engineering became very relevant and critical in design and build.
What was it like to work with Korean Beauty brand Glow Recipe on their pop-ups? We love what you did with their custom-built pop-up at Saks’ The Wellery!
I love designing pop-up stores because the challenges we face with the details are so satisfying once you find the solutions for them. They’re like an astronaut ice cream or those compressed T-shirts you buy at Disneyland! Absolutely everything you want is in there but in a condensed and special format!
I love working with Glow Recipe, our collaboration is where the magic happens. (Founders) Sarah Lee and Christine Chang both bring such different expertise to the table that it’s pretty incredible when it all merges. It’s a very rare synergy we’ve found and it’s very educational for me (and my face!). From e-commerce to retail, it’s an actual dream that we brought to life and I’m looking forward watching to the brand’s expansion. #GetYourGlowOn!
We love the connection you feel to the Korean word “Hucbek” — can you please explain your connection to “black and white” / monochrome, and how it inspires you creatively?
Yes, absolutely. It felt right in theory and in a literal sense. I survive off creating lists, thinking three-dimensionally and dreaming in color. It made sense — at least in my mind — that the foundation of those elements were like a black and white sketch in my brain. I also liked how the letters looked as a structural unit!
The definition of the 🇰🇷 korean word #Hucbek #흑백 : black & white or monochrome. – Define ˈˌblak ən ˈ(h)wīt: (of a photograph, movie, television program, or image) in black, white and shades of gray. – (of a situation or debate) involving clearly defined opposing principles or issues. – Define ˈmänəˌkrōm: (of a photograph or picture, or image) consisting of or displaying images in black and white or in varying tones of only one color. That's where that came from 🐼 #blackandwhite #monochrome #grayscale
What’s your favorite 2017 design trend (so far)? Is it here to stay, or is it just a fad?
I’m enjoying jewel toned mohair this year. It feels luxurious without trying too hard to be anything it’s not. Sure, mohair (or any textile) is here to stay, as long as it’s executed to be timeless and most importantly, functional for your lifestyle.
Who do you follow on Instagram for daily inspo and motivation? In other words, which Insta accounts “give you life”?
I LOVE @friendswithyou, @teddytheshetland (he’s a pony), @petitepassport, @beaver_suit, and @dailymini. I understand this may not be the full design answer you’re looking for, but I am obsessed with these!
You seem to be really loving hand-lettering and analog writing techniques. We love it too and are obsessed with all things analog. What do you love about it?
I started off in visual arts and according to my mom, I was making random things since I was 3 years old, i.e,: paper money! (LOL) So I think I’ve always just enjoyed a tactile experience, to some extent. I love a challenge and although it’s much more time consuming than digital output, if I have the opportunity to apply an analog method, I will. There’s nothing that can replace the painterly, textured and emotion of a product created by hand.
🖍 Concept to execution sometimes ☝🏽requires tedious, labor intensive details but SO worth it 😎 I chose this method for the art because it's truer to the concept and the painterly texture is much more impactful than a digital print 💛 You'll see it all Vegas next week! 💛#staytuned @sephora @glowrecipe #Illustration by @katiecadamatre #handlettering #designprocess #handpainted #retaildesign #kbeauty #vegasbaby
Just for fun, complete this sentence: “Other than my phone, I never leave home without _______.”
A 10′ mini tape measure, a writing utensil, swimsuit, and a black emoji heart.