While one should never judge a book entirely by its cover, it’s still true that the power of appearance has an undeniable impact on the viewer, for better and for worse. In a world oversaturated with imagery, the importance of good design cannot be overstated, which is something this week’s student designers understand.
ArtCenter College of Design student JiYun Choi, who we’ve featured before for her professional illustrative work, continues to impress with her cover illustration for the beloved book “Life of Pi” (above). Written by Yann Martel and published in 2001, it tells the story of an Indian boy, Pi, and his attempt to survive a shipwreck alongside a Bengal tiger, and is a moving journey of philosophical exploration. Choi’s illustration captures the central conflict of the book by illustrating the head of the tiger merged with a body made of waves, allowing the viewer to feel the sense of impossible circumstance and struggle. Within the tiger’s mouth, Choi subtly inserts the lifeboat with a silhouette of Pi. Viewers are keenly aware of the urgency of the situation, yet Choi’s illustration also allows for a sense of wonder, urging the viewer to read the story for themselves.
The next entry comes from Lia Jiyun Kim, who designed a branding series to help transform the visual branding of the Otis Design Week Exhibition at her school, the Otis College of Art and Design. Inspired by a top, a traditional Korean toy, Kim created an icon with options for personalization that not only include color and design, but also present location, pronouns, nationality, and personality. As the top spins, one can watch as all these different elements blend together into something even more beautiful. Additionally, Kim altered the slogan for the exhibition from “You Belong Here” to “We Belong Here” (above) which is a much more sociable, welcoming approach that reinforces the value of our social surroundings. These designs combine color theory with the importance of inclusivity, and the series spans posters, stickers, and even a top-making kit.
Both JiYun Choi and Lia Jiyun Kim succeed in making designs that reach people. Where Choi illustrated the climax of a seemingly impossible odyssey, encouraging the audience to give in to the power of a good story, Kim designed a brand series pioneering deeper connections. Where “Life of Pi” illustrates a dark journey, “We Belong Here” is a spotlight for encouraging diverse relationships. In each piece, the importance of a good appearance is never underestimated and is, instead, revered, urging its viewers to go deeper than what is traditionally expected of them.
For more information on the New Talent 2023 Competition and to submit your own work, click here.