Sunday, 20 November 2011

Kai and Sunny

This week I introduce to you the fantastic Design duo known as Kai and Sunny. For those unfamiliar with the pairs work you might be surprised to know that you have seen more of it than you first realized. Kai and Sunny (as far as I'm aware) first began to gain the publics attention with the release of the hit novel Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. This book became a huge seller and won several awards for not only the author but also the wonderful pair that designed its cover. Ever since Cloud Atlas's release Kai and Sunny have picked up many big name clients and gone on to establish themselves as a deign team to be watched.

A beautiful cover and fantastic read. I bought this book solely for the cover design but was by no means disappointed by the story.

As I mentioned Kai and Sunny are known for their award winning book cover design, but they have gone on to prove that they are more than a one design wonder. As well as designing many more covers for David Mitchell they have also won over several other authors and are quickly become the go to team for book covers.

In my opinion I would say the pair are more Illustrators than Designers as they have a very distinct style which the mold to every new brief they are presented. Instead of starting every project from scratch Kai and Sunny clearly know their strengths and have worked hard to develop a style that they are both happy with, which they then adapt that to the brief. These two have a fantastic style that they know how to work. It is very surreal and tranquil, detailed, yet simple and open. They have a great way of capturing (in the case of books) the stories feel and mood. There is a true craft to their work and you can tell they take each job very personally in order to produce the best possible final design. Their work appears to go beyond being just another job to them, it seems almost like they are designing for themselves. Their is clearly a love in their craft.

The 2nd of Mitchell's books I own. Once again the cover just drew me in. If you can be sure to check out the detail of the title font Kai & Sunny created for this book. Ridiculously detailed they clearly have a lot of patience.

This personal craft is not something they keep solely for book covers though. As well as Designing enough books to fill half your local library, Kai and Sunny are also working on becoming established artists. Taking their developed style a step further they have gone on to produce beautifully detailed prints for their own exhibitions (currently attracting a lot of attention in London). The duo focus on abstract patterns and linear shaping to create simple but striking pieces. 

Kai and Sunny are doing what many Designers in the industry want to but can't. They have gained mass attention in the industry but have also found the time to design for themselves. The art shows are their personal projects, their escape from the fast paced world of Design briefs and clients. They can experiment to their hearts content and with no restrictions on these personal pieces, only then to take what they have learned and bring it back to their commercial projects. 

It is something many designers the world over strive to achieve and I honestly believe it is something we should all push to make happen. This team has show it can be done. You can be both experimental and in demand. It may mean juggling a few many projects at once but clearly, as Kai and Sunny's work shows, it's worth it.

Below I have included some of the better known pieces by this fantastic pair for you to enjoy:

This was theme for one of their more recent exhibitions. The pair asked their friend and long time client David Mitchell for a short story they could then interpret and illustrate. They produce several striking prints to accompany the story and have released them all, including the short story, in a limited edition box set.

Some of Kai and Sunny's more commercial work. It doesn't seem to matter what the project or who the client is, these two don't skimp on the detail in their work.

The future for these two seems to be to focus on design for music and fashion.

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