Jongmin Kim, the precociously talented Korean graphic designer who works at Firstborn Multimedia in New York (clients include Cadillac, Sony and Aflac) offers a refreshingly simplistic take on his craft: “Less is more”—an attitude that has earned him numerous awards (FWA, Webby, etc) and the attention of designers everywhere. With a craftsman’s approach to interactive design, as evidenced by his Form Follows Function (FFF) microsite, he’s quietly established himself as a designer from (and for) the future.
Jongmin was kind enough to submit to our questions about technology, the state of responsive design, and his favorite ground-moving graphic designers.
Content: It seems there are several different definitions of the term “HTML5.” What does it mean to you?
Kim: Just another technology—nothing more and nothing less.
Content: Is 2013 the year of responsive design?
Kim: Actually, many people had made responsive design already. I think 2013 will not only be the year of responsive design, but also of minimal design.
Content: Aside from your own FFF site, can you give us two examples of your favorite HTML5 sites?
To me, there are two types interactive developers in the world. The first type makes something follow the code rule, perfectly—the designer who thinks code is the most important thing in a project. The second type is the one who doesn’t care about the code rule, but thinks that animation, interaction and design are more important. Sylvain Tran—my friend who made these two websites—and I are the second type of person, and that's why he is one of my favorite interactive developers.
Content: Can you tell us about your microsite FFF (Form Follows Function)? How did you create it? What software?
Content: What artists do you pay attention to?
Kim: I like the product designers who aim for minimal design—Jonathan Paul Ive, Dieter Rams and Naoto Fukasawa. I also like Yugo Nakamura, a Japanese interactive director, because, as you can probably guess, he’s made a lot of good interactive things with minimal design.
Content: What tips would you give to interactive developers?
Kim: The programming language is not important. Technology is always changing so fast, so to subordinate to a programming language is a little dangerous. The important things are design and interaction. In short, if you are an interactive developer, you should improve your sense of design and interaction, instead of learning a programming language.
Content: Flash forward five years from now: how will technology express interactive design?
Kim: A few years ago, there were no smart phones, people just experienced interactive design on desktop computers or at kiosks. But now we use smart phones as a part of our life. In the foreseeable future, interactive design will be more closely correlated with our lives. There will be so many other devices to help people with interactive design. Google glasses are a good hint as to what’s to come.