"Women designers and artists are essential worldwide" says typographer Jin Kim
"Embrace what is fair and live with the mindset to help others. Help close the gender gap and bring a stronger voice to women by showing your support and speak out for women everywhere," says Jin Kim, an Atlanta-based lettering artist and illustrator whose impressive artwork [pictured above] is celebrated via the IWD x Typism's annual Lettering Challenge.
The challenge saw typographers like Jin show their support for the IWD Women Creatives Mission by creating artwork that highlights the IWD2023 campaign theme #EmbraceEquity.
An impressive portfolio of projects
Jin was born and raised in a small town in Ohio where her childhood memories made up of strawberry donuts in the summer and catching crawdads in the creek.
After working as an Art Director in Birmingham, Atlanta, and Nashville, Tennessee, for eight years, Jin left the agency life and started pursuing full-time freelance with a concentration in lettering and illustration with a strong backbone of design knowledge know-how.
Jin's work has been used for Taylor Swift as part of the ST8MNT team, The Washington Post, The Telegraph, Shake Shack, and American Greetings.
Jin spends her days with her husband, identical triplets, and long-haired dachshund named Ollie. Busy doesn’t begin to describe Jin's life. Yet, Jin is available for select projects and always down for making new friends. Reach out to Jin, she says, if you enjoy comfy, oversized sweaters or playing Animal Crossing.
Below Jin discusses her #EmbraceEquity design in terms of inspiration and processes, and what the campaign theme means to her.
Illustrating the meaning of embrace
For the design concept, Jin wanted to focus on how the meaning of "embrace" made one feel when looking at her piece.
"By definition, embrace means to accept or support (a belief, theory, or change) willingly and enthusiastically. My piece has a lot of movement because if one was to embrace someone or something, it would have a lot of emotion and gusto to it. The elaborate flourishes bring balance and intricacy to the piece. The idea behind having them is to push that idea of "embrace" again with how the flourishes curl and bend with each other," explains Jin.
Mapping out the design composition
When creating the artwork, Jin started by going through her most recent work to get some ideas on the composition and style of the piece. Jin wanted this artwork to showcase her style, and going through her latest work helped to hone in on that. Jin explains how, lately, she has been doing everything exclusively digitally, using the design app Procreate on her iPad.
"I knew I wanted to show a lot of movement in my piece, so I added an upward wave to the composition and planned to have elaborate flourishes. After an initial sketch, I refined the letterforms to feel balanced and evenly spaced. Once the letters are mostly finished, I look back and decide where the flourishes go to fill out the composition. Embellishments, like the stars, dots and lines, come after the flourishes are mapped out. Afterwards, I play with color until it's the right palette I want. For this specific piece, I wanted something more serious with high contrast. So a dark navy background with off-white lettering made sense to me. The last step was to add details like shading and texture," adds Jin.
The importance of International Women's Day
Jin explains what embrace equity means to her: "Fully and eagerly welcoming the idea that everyone is provided with what they need to succeed. Equity leads to equality," says Jin.
"Having a day where we can acknowledge and honor women worldwide for their contributions means a chance to be heard. I identify as an Asian American woman, artist, and creator. Being able to voice my opinions through art, especially on social and economic issues such as gender inequality, is fundamental. Equality at home, gender bias in education, and the gender pay gap are some issues that can be brought to attention. Gender equality is a human right, but there is a constant issue with having opportunities and decision-making power for women," explains Jin.
Giving women a voice through typography
Jin believes that women with a craft in type are such a powerful combination. For Jin, utilizing communication arts as women will give them a voice to accelerate social change.
"Typography, like most other "technical professions", is considered a male-dominated field. The problem with having one gender being the bias in design is that it can skew how we communicate. Women designers and artists are essential worldwide and must be supported," adds Jinn.