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Creativity Squared: Eva Kim on Finding Her Own Creative Voice

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The Cheil Graduate Designer spoke to LBB’s Delmar Terblanche about finding confidence in her own creative vision, and learning to trust her process, all amidst the fast-paced demands of her agency

 Creativity Squared: Eva Kim on Finding Her Own Creative Voice


Eva Kim is a Graduate Designer at Cheil Australia. She joined the marketing company after an internship in January this year, and moved to Sydney when she was 12. A recent graduate from the University of Technology Sydney with a Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication, Eva is passionate about learning and has found that passion stimulated at Cheil.

She has described her experience as one filled with challenges as well as learning opportunities - all in a fast-paced agency environment, and is excited to grow out her career and personal potential in the years to come.

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Person

LBB> How would you describe your personality? Would you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert – or something else? Why?

Eva> As someone with an 83% introverted score and INFP (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving) personality result in the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®) test, I would consider myself super introverted. I think of myself as empathetic and open-minded so I tend to interact better with smaller groups of people. In saying that, I have been able to settle at my current job at Cheil, and develop valuable friendships with fellow interns thanks to the agency’s internship programme and one-on-one mentoring programme. I often find myself lost in daydreams and my train of thoughts, and my close friends often describe me as a ‘free spirit’.

LBB> How do you like to see the world?

Eva> I think I am quite critical of how I see the world. As I mature, the world I now see is not as broad and overwhelming as I imagined during my childhood. It is such an interesting place; we occupy a mere speckle in space, yet there is a vast number of people, lands and living creatures, all with their own histories, stories, morals and beliefs. I can’t help but ponder about the meaning and purpose of life, enjoy the encounters of stories, ideas, and all sorts of possibilities along the way, and these eventually become sources of my inspirations in my own creative world.

LBB> Do you think creativity is something that’s innate or something that you learn – why?

Eva> I think there is no boundary to what “creativity” is or where it comes from. Whenever I ask someone from a non-arts/design background whether they would give designing a try, 9 out of 10 would usually say ‘I’m not creative enough’. Yes, illustrative skills would be necessary in design, however, I think all individuals possess some sort of creativity within them, whether it be drawing, writing, speaking, singing, dancing, problem-solving, etc., and it doesn’t have to be related to arts and design. There are certain people who are born with gifted talents who stand out from the crowd, but I believe learning and experience are also crucial in helping shape the creativity within.

LBB> How do you feel about routine?

Eva> I think routine is important in keeping track and stabilising systems or flow, such as setting an effective work/life balance to reduce burnouts. It’s surprisingly difficult to accomplish for someone like me who gives up writing diary entries just after the third day! As a designer who is given a variety of work at the same time and is required to think outside-the-box, routine helps with flexibility in my work performance and in adapting to new challenges.

LBB> When it comes to creative ‘stuff’ that you enjoy, do you like things that are similar to the work you do or do you enjoy exploring new things?

Eva> I tend to enjoy exploring the works that interest me, and they usually tend to be something that I cannot do or make. For example, Disney’s Frozen is one of my favourite animations, and after watching it, I researched documentaries and interviews that featured the film’s designers and producers who spoke about the processes that took place to create the film. I think I find the challenge more interesting when learning something that is completely new and out of my skill set.

Product

LBB> How do you assess whether an idea or a piece of work is truly creative? What are your criteria? (Has that criteria shifted or evolved over the years?)

Eva> A piece of work that is able to clearly convey the idea or the meaning intended to its audience is when I think it is truly creative. A piece of work can be so subjective, but a well-executed design will speak for its meaning and I believe that’s what makes it truly creative.

LBB> What creative campaigns are you proudest of and why?

Eva> I have two creative projects that remain very memorable to me: my final year UI/UX project during my University of Technology Sydney Visual Communications (UTS VisCom) degree and my Final Internship Project at Cheil Australia.

The UI/UX project was a very new scope of design and a conceptual brief to work on. The brief was to unveil the city through the digital platform with an open scheme and I decided to unriddle this problem through storytelling. This individual project was very stressful due to tight deadlines and new skill sets I was required to learn on Adobe XD. However, once I settled on a concept, and received feedback from the tutor and cohorts, I ended up having lots of fun throughout the whole process. I achieved great results and gained a lot of insight.

The other creative campaign is a project I presented at the end of my internship programme at Cheil Australia. There were seven interns at the time (including myself), and we were tasked to present a group project - a creative campaign that explored ways that Cheil’s client Samsung can further target their products to Gen Z. This was a great learning experience as it was my first client-related creative brief, and I got to learn the roles and responsibilities of the other interns who came from different departments within the agency (creative, design, retail and accounts). I really enjoyed the entire process of the project, and it was an exciting challenge for me to flesh out my skills into real practice. We received positive feedback from our mentors and the executive leadership team, and they were so pleased with the result that I was offered a full-time position within the company!

Process

LBB> How do you like to start a campaign or creative project?

Eva> From studying Design in Visual Communication at UTS, I developed brainstorming skills for initial ideas on a creative brief. I like to identify the project and its purpose. As I am not a designer with ‘natural-born talents’, as they say, jumping straight onto blank canvases freaks me out a little. Therefore, the initial stage of brainstorming and researching in the creative process often helps me have a solid start on the project.

LBB> Are there any tools or platforms (analogue or digital) that you find particularly helpful for gathering or iterating ideas?

Eva> As a poor first-year university student, I used to scan paper drawings onto the computer to work on projects. In my final year, I was graced with an iPad, and it was a game changer! It improved both my work ability and expanded the ways I’d developed ideas. So if you are planning to study design or are a first-year design student, I highly recommend getting an iPad or a tablet! There are also a variety of platforms that can help you gather ideas including Pinterest, Behance, Instagram and YouTube. I also recommend looking at competition and award sites such as the Clio Awards, Best Design Awards at Designers Institute, etc. They were often resourceful and easy to access when researching ideas for a number of my projects.

LBB> Do you like to start every project as a blank sheet or are you constantly collecting possible inspiration or references for future projects?

Eva> Whether it is a digital work or physical drawing, working straight from a blank artboard or canvas has not been the best start for me when working on projects. The art of brainstorming and analysing the brief in depth prior gives me a bit of direction, in helping me understand what needs to be done to get to where I need to be. 

LBB> Do you prefer to work collaboratively or alone?

Eva> I would say 60% of the time I like to work alone and the other 40% collaboratively. There are pros and cons to each working arrangement, but I probably learn more working alone as I’m more productive than when I work collaboratively.

LBB> When it comes to the hard bits of a project, when you’re stumped, do you have a process or something you like to do to get past those tricky bits?

Eva> I tend to think of alternative ways to produce a similar picture in mind or, step back and try to rethink the problem. But often, thinking alone and getting stuck on one thing can really narrow my vision, so I like to get some advice and opinions from co-workers in the creative team.

LBB>How do you know when a piece of work is ‘done’?

Eva> In the workforce, I think a piece of work can be called ‘done’ when the client approves of the final outcome. But, I personally don’t think a piece of work is ever ‘done’. There are always parts you can edit or change, and the more you work on something, the finer it gets. What is done now could seem incomplete in a year’s time. I believe that learning is a never-ending process and people consistently develop their skills and mindsets, and ultimately the way they view a work. So, I think there is always room for improvement on creative works.

Press

LBB> Where did you grow up and what early experiences do you think sowed the seeds of your creativity?

Eva> Growing up as a Korean-born Australian, I’ve had the opportunity to encounter a variety of different cultures. Having experienced living in two different countries, Korea and Australia, I was exposed to very different environments that have helped widen my views of the world. Also, I loved and still do love getting into various extracurricular activities such as reading, playing tennis, drawing, learning different languages, playing games, and many more. And I can say that these side interests have definitely influenced my journey in the creative field.

LBB> How did you hone your craft?

Eva> Ever since I was young I loved drawing; from day one, it has been my escape from stress and a source of happiness in life. I think a strong initial interest in something can branch out to something even bigger. There were a number of factors that helped strengthen and develop my interest in design, including studying visual arts in high school where I learnt about human proportions, light and shadow, painting techniques, etc. I also had an obsession with animated movies, and loved exploring the world of illustration and motion. I then used my interest and skills to create special birthday cards and videos for friends and family, and also loved drawing cartoons and portraits. I believe that from my initial love for drawing, I have and continue to develop and explore it deeper by discovering a number of related interests in the field of design and creativity.

LBB> When it comes to your own creativity, what external factors can really help you fly, and what do you find frustrates it? (for example, do you thrive on stress or does it spur you on? Does clutter trigger ideas or does it distract you?)

Eva> It’s all about the perfect balance. The right amount of stress and clutter can be acceptable with helping trigger ideas in my creativity. They act as a source of motivation to help push through and develop the initial concept, and that process of bringing the idea to life. However, if the pressure gets too tough, that initial crack or breakdown works as a catalyst for the butterfly effect where more issues start to arise as the creative job process continues to develop, adding unnecessary problems and prolonging the entire project. So I’m constantly developing my work management skills, and learning better ways to build my workflow to keep that right balance afloat.

LBB> What advice would you give to clients looking to get the best out of the teams and agencies they worked with?

Eva> Working as a Junior Graphic Designer at Cheil Australia has provided me the opportunity to work closely with big companies like Samsung and Logitech. And working in such a fast-paced environment with tight deadlines has definitely helped improve my “hard skills” in particular work programmes and in managing work efficiently. But from what I have observed and experienced thus far, if clients allow sufficient time on briefs, I think designers and the agency as a whole, would produce stronger and better quality creative outcomes.

LBB> How do you think agencies can best facilitate creativity in terms of culture and design?

Eva> At Cheil, we host a wholesome talk session called Creative & Caffeine every Friday. This is where everyone in the creative team gathers together to brainstorm ideas for client projects and talk about general agency news. During the session, a casual presentation is usually made by two members in the team, who are chosen randomly each week, where they get to share their own creative inspirations. I thought this really helps keep the energy alive and the creative juices flowing within our team. I also think that if agencies in general dedicate a few hours during the week to internal creative study sessions, like a tutorial on Learning How to Illustrate with the Senior Art Director, this would definitely help inspire and promote cultural creativity within the agency. 


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Cheil Australia, Wed, 31 Aug 2022 08:03:42 GMT