Bold and borderless, Ji Soo Eom’s designs echo the multiverse
With clients such as Google, The New York Times, and having worked at the likes of Pentagram and Mother New York, Ji Soo Eom’s CV is the subject of envy for a lot designers out there. With a diverse portfolio spanning print, web and moving image, the New York-based designer has grown a plethora of creative inspiration since childhood.
As a child, she would watch her father sketch out small yacht diagrams every day which he would then hang on the wall. “He’s influenced me the most,” Ji Soo tells It’s Nice That on her father’s significance. Early on, he introduced Ji Soo to classic films from the 1980s and 90s; Blade Runner, Akira and so on. She liked the openness of these films, as the viewer is allowed to decide for themselves whether the apocalyptic universes put before them are either vulnerable or hopeful. “That’s what fascinates me when it comes to design,” adds Ji Soo. “I like to create a design that is open ended in its visual interpretation.”
Born in Korea, then growing up in Montreal and Vancouver, Ji Soo’s international upbringing has greatly informed her intentions within design. “I want to create a place where there aren’t any borders between nations. Where I can just imagine how it could be and this has allowed me to push myself further in the search for clarity to figure out who I am and what I like to do to be happy,” continues the designer.
Consequently, her recent projects are both conceptual and speculative. Besides her constant flow of work as a designer at Pentagram, on the side, she continues to work with her friends. Whether it’s album artwork, a music video or a visual identity for a jewellery brand, Ji Soo’s innovative designs are unique in the way they reflect her everyday experiences. She incorporates minute details that have inspired her into a purposeful design. From small talk at parties, to postcards bought on the street or a song played out from an apartment block, no matter how fleeting the subject of the inspiration, the designer always manages to incorporate it into her work in some way.
Interestingly, she designs from a point of time, always considering how the past, present and future of an idea ties together. “What affects, reflects back,” she says on this ethos. “It’s about balance, like a multiverse,” Ji Soo goes on to say, hinting back to the openness of the apocalyptic animations she watched as a youngster. And, through design, she translates this idea of something being both catastrophic and idyllic at the same time. Her visual language plays on dark and light, magnetic opposites, colour inversions and rotating compass needles which in turn, create a body of work that feels entirely unique to Ji Soo.