Soyun Kim

2007 Western District Student Merit Winner

Design may or may not be a laughing matter, but when Soyun Kim sees bad design, the experience for her is just not funny. “Sometimes I see an object make a user uncomfortable, like a bad joke,” she said.

Kim is a natural problem solver who took an interest in design at an early age. “I found I was sometimes bothered by poorly designed objects and I often wondered, ‘Why can't this be different?’”

Naturally, that led Kim to focus on product design and fostered a keen interest in the user experience. 

A prime example is her work on Mr. Bubbs, a disposable and biodegradable laundry bag, which incorporates bioplastics to provide users with one product to store their dirty clothes, apply detergent and load a washing machine. “I started to think more about the user and how different material could change the experience,” she noted. “The design would be manufactured by the detergent company and would be much more convenient for the consumer.”

While attending a locally organized IDSA student portfolio review, Kim received some invaluable guidance. "Tom Matano and Tom Luedecke advised me to think as a director of my portfolio, not as a creator of my projects,” she reported.

Kim is interning at Lunar Design through this fall. Ultimately, she wants to design lifestyle goods and make sure that users don’t have to endure any more bad jokes in the form of poorly designed products. Kim said, “When my designs make people smile and they are satisfied, I would say I've met my goals.”

Soyun Kim can be reached at