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Life At Chelsea: Se Jin Park – MA Graphic Design Communication  


Written by
Gavin Freeborn
Published date
18 September 2018

We caught up with MA Graphic Design Communication student Se Jin Park, who told us about her journey from her home city Seoul, South Korea, where her career has led her to study at Chelsea, after working in user interface design for companies such as LG

Se Jin’s research includes creating emojis for web 3.0 that will help people express a fuller suite of emotions such as when someone is feeling depressed. Her MA Summer Show project, a board game called Wonderland, involving a wizard, a witch and the black dog, expands on this, creating a narrative where the Black Dog is a metaphor for depression. Se Jin told us more about the project and her practice. 

“Throughout my practice, my MA at Chelsea and my Wonderland board game project for the MA Summer Show, I attempt to communicate a better understanding of the effects of depression through the facility of empathetic design and graphic design. My specific goal is to try and break the stigma of depression.

Three rows of badges with different slogans and images on.

“The idea started from Susan Sontag who talked about a lack of empathy through the in-group and out-group theory. It is a notion that when people see out-group, they tend to dehumanize the group and become indifferent. I tried to reduce the gap between currently depressed people and currently non-depressed people by giving information for better understanding or providing an opportunity to understand each other’s perspective.

“As a graphic designer, I have experimented with methods and visual languages to achieve goals effectively. For the final assessment, I made a board game called Wonderland, with a black dog character, which is a well-known symbol of depression. For the following reasons, the board game has been chosen as the format that can supply a seamless experience through physical activities. 

“According to Miranda, the creator of Some Body App, “People react positively when things are clear and understandable. Thus, a design must seduce, shape, and more importantly, evoke an emotional response.” My board game could provide an experience of playing a role.

An image of the front of a board game featuring a castle.

“For the next step, I have made a set of emojis with the main character. As people use it in their daily life, I want people to be more aware of depression. In many Asian countries, lots of people cannot get help due to a misunderstanding about mental disorders like depression, because it is often seen or talked about as a personal failure.

“I particularly enjoyed studying at Chelsea due to its central London location, beautiful building and friendly staff. My practice really developed through my tutorials at Chelsea. The college provides not only regular tutorials but also academic support and language support. My biggest influence during my time at Chelsea has been my classmates’ and tutors’ different perspectives and ideas, which have helped me see my work in a different way. I also found Chelsea’s 3D workshops and the technicians helpful. 

“One of the reasons I came to London to study design is because there are lots of museum and gallery exhibitions. It is beneficial to see the work of other artists and designers. I got inspired by ‘Can Graphic Design Save Your Life?’ in Wellcome Collection as they talked about what graphic design really can change.

An image of a board game and stacks of cards beside it.

“Whilst I was at Chelsea, I took part the Tate Exchange program with my classmates at Tate Modern, where I tested a prototype product that works with people’s memories to personally alter the design of the product. I am always impressed by how art can communicate with such a wide variety of people and it was great to collaborate on the project with my classmates. 

“For anyone thinking of doing the course I would suggest, stop thinking, start making, ask other people’s opinion, without fear of discussing your ideas, make sure to use Chelsea’s workshops, and make sure to get some help from the wide variety of services for academic and language support. 

“After MA Graphic Design Communication at Chelsea, I will return to work in Seoul and continue with my work making a set of emoji with the black dog character to help people have a better understanding of depression.”

We’re excited to see where Se Jin’s practice will take her next and we’re confident she will continue to design to make a real difference in people’s lives. 

See more work on Se Jin’s website 

Check out more work from the 2018 MA Summer Show on

Discover more about MA Graphic Design Communication

A selection of board game cards