For graphic designer Ted Hyunhak Yoon, research is as integral to his process as form-making. Hailing from Seoul, South Korea, Yoon recently graduated from London’s Royal College of Art with a Masters in Visual Communication, where his thesis analyzed the historical statues of dictators from current and former socialist countries like China, North Korea, and the Soviet Union. By cataloging the similarities between each statue’s visual components (the gesture of a hand, the tilt of a head) Yoon’s posters and publications explore the nature of propaganda and how art, design, and symbolism are used for political control.
He’s currently expanding on this project during his residency at Van Eyck Academie in Maastricht, Netherlands, while also creating work for cultural clients locally and abroad. Though his taxonomic poster of propaganda monuments garnered plenty of online attention, the bulk of Yoon’s portfolio is far more enigmatic, relying instead on abstraction and custom typography to drive the narrative of each composition. We spoke with Yoon about some of his recent poster designs, primarily those commissioned by contemporary art gallery Interaction Seoul.