Junki Hong expresses his love for k-pop through a series of playful typographic posters
K-pop originated in South Korea, but its sound is actually owed to several global musical styles, from rock, jazz, gospel, hip-hop and R&B to reggae, electronic, country and classical. Since Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ quite literally took over the world in 2012, the genre has continued to dominate; with supergroups like Blackpink and BTS regularly commanding the charts, breaking records and winning awards.
To express his love for k-pop, New York-based South Korean designer Junki Hong decided to create a spree of typographic posters, titling the series’ jun.playlist’. Each design is based on a specific song and draws on different elements such as the title, lyrics and rhythm. “K-pop is very addictive because there are always repeated hooks that can be easily sung”, Hong explains. “My method for the design was making layouts with repeated words. In addition, I mixed Korean and English lyrics like the actual songs.” While the two languages are interwoven, the Hangul is often given more prominence when used in order to showcase its striking graphic forms.
Each poster adheres to a consistent margin and grid system but mostly avoids defining rules, allowing the essence of the song to be expressed freely, be it through typography, illustration or texture. Speaking on the black-and-white-only approach, Hong reveals that “in the early process, some sketches worked well with colours; however, I felt that it made the whole package feel overwhelming”. By having one less element to think about, the restraint benefitted his creative process; adding that he “was able to convey different vibes and feelings for each song more clearly with the limited colours”.
Hong plans to expand the series in the future, with the hope of introducing more obscure k-pop songs to a broader audience. “Ultimately, I hope that the posters will not just be my artistic expression, but also make the songs more enjoyable to listeners.”