Hey Joe studio’s founder Youl Joe Hyoun uses ambiguity in his hand-drawn letterings

It’s a project imbued with a certain finesse, a simplicity that provides visual clarity and intrigue. With similar projects such as Grey Navy Black, an identity for the Korean Cultural Center in Hong Kong, and Blue/Red, a poster designed for Birmingham Design Festival 2019 exhibiting similar qualities, Youl Joe has an obsession with drawing letters, he tells us. “Drawing letter forms is interesting. It is improvisational, accidental,” he explains. “The form of these drawings resemble the tool that is used.”

These letterforms are not, however, created to achieve exact legibility but rather to express the plethora of inspiration Youl Joe absorbs via the internet as significant abstract forms. “I like abstract forms,” he explains, “they leave room for various interpretations and give the charm of unfamiliarity. However, the abstraction I look into does not just result in ambiguity, but makes a link for something specific.”

Finally, it the choice of materials that complete any Hey Joe project, with Youl Joe having a particular affinity to print. On what he enjoys most about being a graphic designer, he responds: “The appearance [of my work] on the paper, the most traditional medium. The weight, smell, sound of paper, its colour, texture and the smear of ink deposited on it.”

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