Gendered Design

GENDERED DESIGN is a vector illustration based on Park Bom celebrating her debut song Spring.

2NE1 and the Legacy of Female-led Groups in the music industry

Music has been an important part of my life since my childhood, and girl groups hold a very special place in my heart for their songs about love, independence, and belief in oneself. One such group from the K-Pop scene of South Korea epitomized these themes, paving the way for all-girl groups that would come after.


In my earlier years as a traditional artist, I feared using color in any of my work. With sketchbooks full of charcoal, graphite, and ink drawings, the use of color simply did not fit in. I did not understand it. Everytime I used it in a piece I permanently messed it up. And I just…no

When I finally discovered vector art at fourteen in my graphic design vocation class, color suddenly became a possibility. Through trial and error I found myself moving in the opposite direction of my style as a traditional artist from highly detailed black white, and grey drawings, to restricted two or four bold color illustrations that popped off the screen. I doubted myself often, and spent countless hours reworking edges, and curves trying to emulate fluid movements even at points of juncture at edges. It was not until I came across the work of Malika Favre that I began to trust my instincts.

Favre exhibits effortless splashes of color in provocative and at times subtle vector illustrations in magazines, promotional packaging, and motion graphics. The French artist inspires me to trust my process, and allow myself to have fun along the way.


DARA is a vector illustration based on Sandara Park, known to all her fans as Dara, who made a surprising return herself in Park Bom’s music video for Spring. At the time of the song’s debut, Dara had not released any music of any kind since the group’s disbandment. That was three years of nothing but modeling and acting appearances on her part, so her unexpected appearance meant a lot to us fans.


This gif shows the moment from the music video that I found most inspiring, and would eventually reference. The crimson jacket and lips, strands of hair frayed aside from the well styled body, and her eyes looking above and then outward together  indicate a struggle. The white oval zipper tag represents the purity of familial bonds, whilst the red all around it represents the all consuming hate that surrounded them.


Working from reference provides a strong platform to build upon. Although, I believe as a designer we sometimes need to strip away the safety of a balanced experience in order to provoke the truest emotions and convey purer messages.

In my process I embark on a journey of discovering what the piece wants to become, and how I want to communicate that identity with the tools afforded to me. In the process of creating DARA, I sketched around the form of the model and captured an exact likeness. Then I worked to pull away elements that hindered the experience, while elevating some that would aid in provoking the desired emotions.

Below you will see the development period, and follow visually with me as I made decisions to remove and alter the piece.


Design Appreciation

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