Marvin Kim on exhibitions, identities, plus founding his studio and publishing house Spine Press

While tackling a brief, project or publication idea, Marvin likes to combine the subjective and the objective as much as he possibly can. So much so that he describes his process as “making bones and putting flesh on them; it’s like making an avatar in a game.” With this in mind, Marvin’s work is both formulaic and free, composed from a set of variables that he then produces multiple results from. “I think the most important step is to analyse the subject rather than the expressive and stylistic parts, such as ‘inspiration and style’,” he notes. Although, he does think of this part as being important too. Being systems-based, however, means there will be more than one outcome, which is what Marvin hopes to achieve throughout all of the projects he takes on.
Setting up your own studio is by no means an easy ride, but nor does it change your design direction or ethos as a creative. “Rather,” adds Marvin, “I continue to insist on what I think is right.” This means that clients often propose ideas to Marvin and book him for the work he now excels at – that of which is expressive, diverse and riddled with references. In turn, his portfolio is now littered with projects in the realms of exhibitions and music. “But I don’t mind any genre if it’s a project that can produce interesting results.”
Marvin Kim is a designer-publisher polymath. In the two years since we last heard from him, he’s built an enviable portfolio replete with works across identities, exhibition design, web, print, branding and more. Last year, for instance, he designed an impressive identity for the exhibition and fair Grimdosi, and this year he’s been tasked to take the lead again. Besides this, he designed the branding for the virtual gallery desk desk, “a unique and fresh experience because I mainly dealt with flat surfaces,” he tells It’s Nice That. It was through this commission that he learnt a new skillset across tech and collaboration, which has ultimately helped him to reach his goals today. And last but not least, he’s also founded his own graphic design studio and publisher, Spine Press, which is where he’s able to expand on his broad range of activities across both design and publishing.