Graphic designer Zheng Kai’s work interrupts attention and never gets too comfortable


Meet Zheng Kai, the Singapore-based graphic designer who positions himself at the opposite of minimalism. He tells us, “I tend to make my visuals scream when my words are generally used to fill as much space as possible. If he appreciates the refined movements of graphics, this creative likes to make the work uncomfortable. Thinking of the viewer, he tries to design material that “interrupts his attention and slows him down”. Stopping viewers in their tracks, he catches their curiosity so that they never know exactly what they will be up against when it comes to the enduring works of Zheng Kai.

With enough time to experiment, he enjoys exploring concepts that “clash with preconceived notions of what the subject was meant to be to me.” He does this in a subtle or obvious way, by twisting the output from digital to analog for example, or by introducing a new perspective into an old genre like still life. Zheng Kai has had an interesting creative journey so far to arrive at this unique vision of creativity. Born and raised in Singapore, where he is still based, he soon realized he was not going to be good at studying at university. “I was never a fan of the manual,” he says, looking back, “and I could only understand with pictures or visuals.”

From then on, art is the only subject that holds all his attention. This was the first catalyst for pursuing a career in the arts. Still early in his career, Zheng Kai is currently studying visual communication at Nanyang Technological University. There, he immersed himself not only in the fields of graphic design but also 3D and moving images. His studies also introduced him to other mediums such as tailoring, film and photography, providing him with a wide range of visual inspiration to pursue his interests.

On weekdays he follows strict college schedules, but on weekends he experiments with more unconventional design approaches that broaden his mind in both 3D and 2D. Influenced by artists and studios such as Darío Alva, Obby & Jappari and Theseus Chan (“they showed me that unconventional methods can be used to approach design”), Zheng felt ignited to try something again and create something different. Scouring the internet for a myriad of tutorials, he began experimenting with software and documenting his essays on Instagram.

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