Hwasoo Shim: Senior Designer

Hwasoo graduated from GMD in 2012 (having also completed a Diploma in Professional Studies) and has had a busy 5 years building an impressive career in branding. We gave him some questions and asked for his advice for current students…

 
– What are you doing now? 
“I’m a senior designer in a branding consultancy called Rufus Leonard in Clerkenwell (the building used to be a bunker during WWII). Rufus is a good-sized independent design firm, but like other big branding agencies we have a variety of different portfolios – Lloyds Bank, Halifax, Bank of Scotland, Lloyds London, AA and BBC. I’m currently leading a whole group digital rebranding project for Lloyds Banking Group. Unlike other corporate clients, they are always keen to be forward thinking and use design centred approaches, therefore it’s the most rewarding thing for a designer, to see the business transform and move forward with all our design work at the centre of changes.

Also, I’m operating a design collective with a couple of guys based in London and Seoul, while pursuing my own design practice and crafts. (Our portfolio site is under construction at the moment).”
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– How has your career path evolved since graduating (and why?)
“It has been as swift as the speed of light. Thanks to DPS, I could start the career journey earlier than expected, before graduating from LCC. As soon as I came out from the school, I was mesmerised by the flux of design opportunities available in the industry. However,  realistically, getting hold of a career chance is always tough and ever time consuming. I had tried all those opportunities that I believed to be suitable for me to pursue in branding and design. Of course there were lots of failures and disappointments that happened for many reasons; lack of certain knowledge, experience, timing, etc.

But my direction towards to my future career and design hasn’t changed at all, which is to fully utilise design skills to come up with better and healthier creative solutions for the businesses (the clients) in this every changing 21st century. With this in my heart, I’ve worked in various studios and agencies where they were in the middle of big changes, so I could be responsible or able to take part in those changes. Chasing big name agencies or studios is fine, but for me, leading and taking ownership in the studio that is going through changes attracted me more.

So now I’m here at Rufus, leading a shifting design team and clients with more responsibilities, even though it gives me constant overtime work.”

– Any reflections on your time studying at LCC? 
“Lots of after-school workshop sessions, lots of tutorials with tutors, great range of lectures given by professionals from the industry, DPS study, very talented technicians who helped me broaden my practical skills… I’m still thanking all those opportunities that I had during my time at LCC. The higher I move up in my career, the more I realise fundamental and academic design knowledge is crucial and even more necessary. Sometimes I tell myself that ‘I should’ve read or studied at least half of all the design references that tutors recommended’!

There is another thing that I appreciate all the time, which is the presentation skills I learned whilst studying. It was always mind boggling or nerve wracking, but thanks to endless opportunities for speeches and presenting work during the course, now I’m here and capable of convincing or dealing with clients, with good manners.”
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– What are your design interests?
“My design interests have always been to do with lifestyle and new technology. Apparently my main skill or backbone is branding design, however I’d like to see different design fields all come together to co-create better brand experiences. The term ‘branding’ especially has become very broad and more vague than ever before, which requires different considerations from branding designers in these fast moving times. As a part of that, I’m trying to foresee how different design principles and technology come together, as well as practicing core design principles that will never change in an everyday designer’s work.”

– What are your plans for your career/enterprise in the future?
“I’m still testing lots of different options and opportunities carefully, but there will definitely be a time when I embark on a bigger challenge on my own.”

– Any tips for current GMD students? 
“You’re already a designer.”
“I say this to all students every time. Act like a professional, do your work like a professional, present your work like a professional and treat your time like a professional. Once you start treating yourself as a professional, you will see what you need to focus on during your time at LCC and treat your school projects as ones that you are proud to present on your portfolio website. This might lead you to opportunities that you never expected. You are already a part of this small-but-big creative network.”
Work shown all taken from Hwasoo’s personal website: www.hs-hwasoo.com
Media / motion graphic work: https://vimeo.com/hwasoo

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