Juliette Kim: A sense for beautiful colors combined with minimalist illustration.

04.05.2019  |  Share  —  Twitter   Facebook   Copy link

We catched up with Juliette Kim from Seoul, South Korea creative director at her graphic design studio: ‘Studio Juli-ette’. She is an extremely talatented illustrator and graphic designer working for various international clients. Hear her story:

What led you into your current career path?
I first started freelancing in my sophomore year at RISD, so it’s been 5 years since I’ve been an independently working designer. I’ve officially started Studio Juli-ette in 2017. What really gave me the confidence to go fully independent was that I had already been working as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator for a while. But most importantly, what really allowed me into my current career path is that I love making creative decisions and there have been enough people who trust and love what I am doing as much as I do.

Before starting my own design studio, I’ve interned and worked at another branding agency, but only for like 3 months because I immediately knew I can’t work 9 to 5 (which is actually 9 to 6 in Korea). Also, I am much more creative when I work in different environments, which is not often allowed when you work at a company. I learned a lot though- in that short period of time while working at another company, I learnt about the importance of good collaboration and that running a business is not just about making good designs. Also it really helped me understand what kind of designer I am, and want to be.

How do you keep in touch with the creative world and community and how does the creative scene look like in your city? 
I share my work on Instagram and Behance. Instagram is great when you want to reach out to the general public and get attention in general. Behance is great because you can get inspirations and attention from other creatives.
I've actually only lived in South Korea for about 1.5 years now as a creative person, So I am also still trying to experience more. But from what I've seen so far, I like how there are many opportunities for new creatives to grow. There are many design & illustration fairs and shows where creative people can socialize and share each other's work. I see people collaborate a lot too. I plan to participate more in these events.

Playful illustrations for Dear Sweet Lab coffee shop branding


Juliette's new clean & minimal Studio website with great color combinations.


What creative(s) do you admire for their work? Have you collaborated or thought of collaborating with other like-minds?
I LOVE TO COLLABORATE. I have been collaborating with other creative people a lot actually, but I’d love to do it more.  

1. @bellthealien  This is Bell, my creative partner, we often work together! He’s great with form and 3D designs, which I am not as great at, so we complement each other well. We’ve recently worked on a re-design exercise together. 
2. @lullatone I’ve first discovered Lullatone’s music as a college student. I’ve created a piece of design inspired by one of their album "Songs that Spin in circles”. Their music is amazing. I am very grateful because they recently sent me a link to their new album as a gift! I am actually thinking about re-making that old project of mine into a book form as well...  
3. @jamesjeanart I recently went to see his exhibition which was held in Seoul. think everyone already knows how amazing James Jean is as an artist, but I especially admire him for his use of colors.   

What’s your favorite hack to get work done?
Communicating with other people! I think it’s really important because I work independently now. I talk to my designer friends, non-designer friends, my little sister, and even clients. Sharing ideas/progress always speeds things up as it allows me to shows see the problems from other perspectives, which might have taken hours for me to realize myself.

What are your 5 favorite work tools/apps and how do use them?
1. iMac / Macbook Pro
2. Adobe Illustrator 90%
3. iPad Procreate - for digital illustrations, sketches
4. Google Spreadsheet to document my progress and projects
5. My Hands – I prefer to use traditional mediums when possible


Screen Shot 2019-05-21 at 4.08.29 PM

Juliette's go to tool on iPad: Procreate - for digital illustrations & sketches 


Time managment hack: "I record my projects and what I work on each day on a Google spreadsheet like this. I’ve been doing this for about two years now, it helps me see how much time I am spending on each project, admin work or personal things."

What creative or non-creative challenges do you face at work?
Creative challenges: One of the biggest challenges I am facing right now is finding projects that will reflect my personality and interests. I’ve learnt that it’s important to select what you show on your website as you get similar projects to what you show.
I also have multiple styles, so I am still figuring out what I am best at doing, and what I need to work more on. It’s also challenging not to stay in your comfort zone and keep creating similar works, so I am trying my best to use as many different styles, materials, mediums as possible.

Non-creative challenge: Managing everything myself. Time management and being organized is very very important but very challenging at the same time.

What projects are you most proud of and excited about? Are there any side-projects you work or worked on? 
I have a design bucket list (a list of designs I would like to create or a list of companies I would love to collaborate with) and here are some of the works that were in the list.

1. Dear Sweet Lab Coffee shop
A branding for "Dear Sweet Lab" in Suwon, South Korea, best known for their tasty macarons and tarts. The brand identity is using playful illustrations that are inspired by shapes and colors of their food menu.

2. Glitter-in-the-dark safety family hoodie
I love love love children and babies. I love small things. I love small baby clothes. I’ve collaborated with a South Korean kidswear brand “Playcloud” and create an illustrated hoodie!  It’s a safety hoodie because the illustration is printed in retro-reflective material, which glitters at night.

3. Shore Soap Co. 
This project means a lot to me because it was one of the first full-brand identity projects I’ve done. I’ve redesigned everything, from their logo, color system, typography, graphic elements, and packaging.

4. Tiny Organics 
My most recent published work.tiny organics is a baby finger food startup company in New York. I’ve created a set of colorful labels and icons using their brand assets.

5. My Side project:
On our studio account (@studio.juliette), I am currently working on redesign challenge together with Bell (@bellthealien) ! We’ve just done one redesign so far, but we plan to redesign 10 iconic South Korean products in our own way. If you’re interested, please follow us and stay tuned!


"My most recent published work. Tiny organics is a baby finger food startup company in New York."


"I love small baby clothes. I’ve collaborated with a South Korean kidswear brand “Playcloud” and create an illustrated hoodie!"

What’s your morning or evening routine and habit after work?
I wake up around 9am, and start working around 10am because I don’t like going to work during the rush hour. Seoul is so so crowded. I currently live with my parents and have an office in Gangnam, Seoul, so I still need to commute. I usually start the day by checking emails and doing some admin work. I start creative work after lunch. I also take breaks by playing games! (I love playing games) I try to go to cool new places or museums with my friends after work. I can get inspirations from them and most importantly it’s fun!    



8am-9am: I wake up beside my lovely 2-year old cat named Taro. 




9am-9.30am: Time for some cereal breakfast and early morning sketches (when I feel like it).


10am-11am: I get to the office, do admin work - reply to emails, do some instagram work, talk on the phone, go to meetings etc.


My favorite thing in the office is my green sofa. It's simply my treasure.



I also often buy flowers and have them in my office.


12pm-1pm: lunch time! I usually eat outside, there are so many good food places to try in Seoul, and I also snack a lot.


After lunch: creative work -- sketch, think, read books, look for inspirations and references, research and design


3pm: I have a big desk, I do a lot of craft work and illustrations so I prefer to have as much space as possible.


I prefer to take my own presentation photos.


6pm: Beautiful SEOUL evening sky


8pm: I love visiting cool new places such as museums and galleries with friends whenever I have time.


What is a design-related hobby or passion of yours?
One of my design-related hobbies is journaling.  I have been writing journals for over 10 years. Also I collect random things from stickers to candy wrappers, and put them on my journal pages. it’s something that I do purely for fun.  It’s an activity that perfectly combines my skills as an illustrator and a graphic designer. As a student, I’ve once created my own journal as a personal project. I hope someday I can actually make my own stationery brand.

Any advice for ambitious creatives starting out?
I’ve learned it’s important to remember that not all projects go the way you want or expect. Be patient. 

Where can people find and follow you?
I have a design bucket list (a list of designs I would like to create or a list of companies I would love to collaborate with) and here are some of the works that were in the list.

"My work is not just a job
to me. It’s my hobby, and
the fuel of my life."

Quote by Juliette Kim