Young Guns 18: June Park

By Alixandra Rutnik and Brett McKenzie on Nov 18, 2020

Highlighting the creative superstars that make up the class of Young Guns 18

2020 has been one rollercoaster of a year, but fortunately, the spirit of creativity can't be dampened. Want proof? Check out the winners of Young Guns 18!

Beginning with our largest and most diverse jury in history, acclaimed creatives from across the globe spent three months reviewing hundreds of submissions from insanely talented young professionals seeking validation for all of their hard work. After narrowing down the field to 83 top-notch finalists, the jury engaged in virtual discussion and debate, deciding who will win one of the most career-impacting honors in our industry.

In the end, we are honored to present the 31 incredible winners of Young Guns 18, a diverse collection of artists, filmmakers, animators, designers, illustrators, and others, all of them representing some of the very best that their fields have to offer.

We invite you to learn about all 31 Young Guns 18 winners in this series of interviews.







When did Young Guns first pop up on your radar?

I found out about Young Guns when I learned about ADC in college. I was lucky enough to have a few friends who received the award back then, and as a student, it seemed like a prestigious position to reach as a designer.

You're a first-time entrant — congrats! What made you enter this year?

I was kindly nominated by Art Director Christopher Brand, and I had just turned 29 so I thought I should go for it this time around.

Young Guns is as much an exercise in self-curation as it is in sheer creative talent. After all, you are only allowed to submit six projects. How did you go about deciding which pieces to submit and which to leave out?

I built a career around book cover design for the most part, so the medium was an easy decision. The covers are a blend of what I feel is my best work in different genres within publishing.

What went through your mind when you discovered that you won, knowing how difficult it is to make it into Young Guns?

I think initially the announcement had caught me off guard. As the days went on, I felt a wave of accomplishment and gratitude.

If you had to pick one of the six projects that you entered as your favorite, which one would it be and why?

The Trump cover I illustrated for The Boston Review. I think the 2016 election created a lot of frustration and anxiety for most people in the creative industry, and making that cover felt like my moment of protest.

If you had to describe your creative style, the part of your work that’s most distinctively “you”, what would it be?

I aim to not have a style, which I think works well for me as a book designer. It's also more fun for me that way. That said, I think my illustration background tends to shine through in a lot of my executions, but I don't necessarily feel limited to that. My process has always been to figure out a solution and then find a style that best fits that solution, so I'm happy to explore what I can do differently each time around.

Who are some of the biggest influences on your work and career, people who may have had a hand in mentoring and supporting you?

I learned a lot from my time at Rodrigo Corral Studio. I met Rodrigo Corral during my senior year as an illustration student while trying to transition into graphic design. Working with him taught me how to utilize my illustrative skillsets into design, while not leaning heavily into one or the other. He really helped me set a standard and increase the versatility of my portfolio.

The past few years, my team at FSG has been my rock, my resource and my biggest support, both creatively and personally. They are kind, generous and incredibly talented people, and I look up to them in so many ways. Especially Art Director Na Kim. Every day, I count my lucky stars for Na Kim, Thomas Colligan, and Alex Merto

Now that you’re in the Young Guns family, are there any past winners you look up to and admire?

I can't possibly list them all here, but CHLOE SCHEFFE (YG17) is amazing. You can just tell she's having so much fun.

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a pretty crazy year, with a global pandemic and social upheaval shaping so many facets of our lives. Aside from the positive news of winning Young Guns, how has this year been for you?

2020 has been wild to say the least! Everything from my mental health to the state of politics has been in constant flux, and it’s hard to have a clear grasp on the state of things. With so much chaos surrounding us, keeping my creativity afloat has definitely been a challenge. It’s also invigorated a sense of belonging in my community that I’ve never felt before. It’s inspiring to see us all come together and find the willingness to support each other to find new ways of living and working through the pandemic. These acts of kindness give me hope, and fill me with vigor, even on the toughest days.

Name a creative/professional dream that you have yet to fulfill — hey, maybe Young Guns can help propel you in that direction!

I'd love to work more globally, and to start expanding into industries beyond publishing. I'm also excited to see where @panolo_blahnik can go. We've had some incredible opportunities to collaborate with brands like Dropbox and Nicotine Magazine, and we would love to do more projects like that.

Any last words about winning Young Guns 18 that you'd like to share?

Just a big thank you to the judges for having me in this year's class, and to all my friends and family for their constant support.


"June's designs for book covers and magazines showcase an insightful eye and an innate sensitivity in bringing out the essence of the content in each of her projects. Her talents in layout, typography, and illustration transcend any singular style — which I find particularly refreshing and rare in this day and age. June's designs seem to emerge out of the content and material she works with — visually elevating it and expanding it, but also imbuing it with a unique and soulful personality."

Anh Tuan Pham
Creative Director
For Office Use Only
Young Guns 4 Winner

"June Park's work is about the content as much as the design, whether it's talking about the global perception of Korea or consumerism. Her work has an ironic twist and a creative spark whether in black and white or color."

Lina Kovačević
Young Guns 5 Winner

"June Park is that rare double threat in our world — an insanely talented graphic designer and a brilliant illustrator. Her book cover designs do what they should:  jump off the virtual shelf and scream “Read this thing right now!” But more importantly, June's work does what the greatest book cover designers of all-time do best — they are instantly iconic and forever memorable."

Mike Joyce
Stereotype Design
Young Guns 1 Winner

"June Park’s stylistic range allows her to take a unique approach to each project, evoking a distinct mood for every publication. With seeming effortlessness, she moves between illustration and typography. Her conceptually driven covers both tell their own stories and capture an essential aspect of the book content, drawing attention and curiosity. Through experimentation she creates excitement and drama, delivering the unexpected."

Sigi Moeslinger
Antenna Design
Young Guns 2 Winner



Make sure to check out all the Young Guns 18 Winners in the archive!

Young Guns 18 Archive



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