Unpacking the 3Package Deal: Jungmyung Lee

fig. 1 - Jungmyung Lee
fig. 2 - Jef Geys
fig. 3 - Dialogues
fig. 4 - Dialogues
fig. 5 - Jungka
fig. 6 - Plutchik, wheel of emotion
fig. 7 - Eminem
fig. 8 - Jungmyung Lee
fig. 1 - Jungmyung Lee
November 29, 2016

In the upcoming months, we’ll be catching up with the fifteen eclectic, genre-bending participants of the 3Package Deal 2016 as they work on their craft and prepare themselves for their final presentations in the wide-ranging fields of visual arts, fashion, film, theatre, urban dance, social design and even olfactory art. First up is graphic designer Jungmyung Lee (Seoul, 1984) (fig. 1), who told us all about her inspirations and aspirations.

Developing your own voice 

Lee’s classic yet expressive typefaces and project-based performances disclose a wide range of interests and inspirations outside of graphic design practice. After graduating from Werkplaats Typografie, Lee started her own type foundry, Jung-Lee Type Foundry (J-L TF). An essential part of her written manifesto states that her typefaces are autonomous, and that they like playing with the rules. Lee: “I constantly try to find a balance between institutional learning, and unlearning. I respect how artists (non-graphic designers) like Jef Geys (fig. 2) use graphic elements to reflect their own voices. Punk zines are equally inspiring, because the musicians haven’t been taught. They digest things in their own terms. That’s most interesting to me.”

Lee’s own practice often focuses on the human stories behind typographic design. “I’m interested in the personalities behind fonts, the expressions and emotional cues they deliver,” she explains. “My exhibition Dialogues (fig. 3), for instance, showed a series of conversations between font personalities I created. There was Suomi 100, this Finnish font that’s in love with this Arabic-style font. Like a Nordic white girl fancying this tall dark beaut.” Most touching is the story of the Impact Nieuw typeface, which was inspired by the most known font, Impact, that was ubiquitous before people became “sick of it”, as Lee says. “I thought - what if Impact was a guy in his sixties, a former rock star who hits midlife crisis because he’s become outdated. He gets a make-over and becomes less hardened and condensed, more flexible and rounded. Impact New even has a sixpack!” (fig. 4)

Working together

Lee likes exploring the possibilities of multidisciplinary presentation and collaborating with other artists - whether it’s creating a live performance ‘type show’, quoting surrealist literature on her website or creating a 4D animated typeface music video (fig. 5) which reflects her appreciation for hip hop music. The video shows a computer generated male rapping about the development of Jungka, a typeface Lee created together with designer Karel Martens. The lyrics reflect their “bombastic attitude to the type industry.” She found the rapper and the lyricist that turned her essay into a song on Fiverr - an online platform where artists and musicians offer their creative services. It was, in Lee’s own words, “a chain of outsourcing.” They liked it. “The rapper was like: who wrote this? It’s dope!”

Aspirations: plans for the 3Package Deal

The following year, Lee wants to focus on creating two readers, one of a kind publications, with support from the 3Package Deal: “I want to have the first reader published by February and the second one by the end of the year. Each reader will explore one of my typeface personalities in depth, taking inspiration from psychologist Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions (fig. 6) with visuals and stories created by editor Charlie Clemoes and others.” She also wants to complete an album of ‘typographic songs’, similar to the one she recorded in the video for Jungka. “The second song is going to be about Impact Nieuw. It’s going to be Eminem-style (fig. 7), a capella, just talking about his life.” Now that sounds dope indeed.

About the 3Package Deal

The 3Package Deal talent scheme - a collaboration between the AFK and Bureau Broedplaatsen (BBp) - assists and encourages exceptional young artists through affordable live/work spaces, a development budget of € 22.500 and professional encouragement from a coalition of renowned Amsterdam art institutions. Jungmyung Lee is part of this year’s Publishing Coalition, with Mevis & Van Deursen, If I Can't Dance, the Sandberg Institute and AGA LAB.