what's in your toolbox

What’s In Your Toolbox: Sebit Min

by Annie Werbler

What's In Your Toolbox: Sebit Min, on Design*Sponge

Conjurer of irresistible book covers, arty zines, and austere photography, designer and illustrator Sebit Min takes inspiration from her vibrant worlds in Brooklyn and Seoul. Her love for books led her into a book design career, with art books (Frida Kahlo, Halston and Warhol: Silver and Suede), artist zines (#fashion by Matin Zad), cookbooks (Hey There, Dumpling!), and independent zines (Nuvozine, i’mazine) among her work. Through her “private paradise” persona, Sebit explores additional mediums beyond print publication. She draws postcards, photographs intriguing compositions, and engages in whatever creative ideas come to mind during much needed “treat-yo-self” time. Throughout her work, the power in purposeful restraint is evident. “A certain amount of cuteness is definitely charming,” she says, “But overdoing it is one of the worst design crimes.” Sebit values “structure and reason” in the artist’s process — and in her own studio, where everything has its right place. —Annie

Photography by Sebit Min; Portrait by Gajeong Kim

What’s in your toolbox?

The basics: blank notebook, pen, pencil, blue marker.
The gadgets: iMac, laptop, iPhone (which doubles as a camera).
The helpers: inspirational books, stickers, rulers, music, coffee, and snacks.

What's In Your Toolbox: Sebit Min, on Design*Sponge

Fill in the blank, “When I’m in my studio, I feel ____________.”

When I’m in my studio, I feel as if I’m in my private paradise.

What's In Your Toolbox: Sebit Min, on Design*Sponge

What’s on the top shelves of your inspiration library right now?

NOUS magazine, which a friend brought me from Düsseldorf
-Pamela Rosenkranz’s monograph No Core
Political Chaos by Paul Kooiker from Étude Books
-A photograph of Ansel Adams’ sand dunes

What's In Your Toolbox: Sebit Min, on Design*Sponge

How do you keep yourself organized?

Clean, functional boxes and containers (the prettier the better). I assign things to their places, and always try to return them to where they belong.

What's In Your Toolbox: Sebit Min, on Design*Sponge

If you could have one superhero (or magical) power, what would it be and why?

I would love to be like Imperator Furiosa from Mad Max. She might not have any superpowers, but her general badass-ness and her strength — both physical and mental — are as special as any super power.

What's In Your Toolbox: Sebit Min, on Design*Sponge

What is the best advice you have ever received, and what is the one piece of advice you would offer to a young artist, maker, or designer?

My typography professor Sara Giovanitti said that being “cute” could as easily be considered a diss as well as a compliment. A certain amount of cuteness is definitely charming, but overdoing it is one of the worst design crimes. So my advice would be to go easy on the cuteness.

What's In Your Toolbox: Sebit Min, on Design*Sponge

How do you combat creative blocks?

I run away from it, both literally and figuratively. I find that jogging to the point where you sweat lightly, with music blasting in your earphones, helps to empty the mind. I also run away from my desk and dedicate some quality “treat-yo-self” time doing all the things I love: gallery strolling, window shopping, spacing out in a café…anything but giving a single thought to the project at hand.

What's In Your Toolbox: Sebit Min, on Design*Sponge

Where do you like to look or shop for inspiration?

Bookstores: Strand‘s art book section is holy — there are hidden gems in the cheap catalog bins. Dashwood Books specializes in photography books from all over the world. The owners have sophisticated, exquisite taste and extensive knowledge of their collection. The museum store on the first floor of the New Museum has a modern library with fun art objects (and there’s no admission fee for the shop!).

Galleries: The Hole on Bowery, Galerie Perrotin on the Upper East Side, Matthew Marks Gallery, David Zwirner, and Pace Gallery in Chelsea.

Stores: Maryam Nassir Zadeh, the McNally Jackson Store, and duo nyc have some of the prettiest, most glorious things ever made.

What's In Your Toolbox: Sebit Min, on Design*Sponge

If you could peek inside the studio or toolbox of any artist, maker, designer, or craftsperson, whose would it be and why?

John Pawson: his minimalistic, detail-oriented, near-perfect designs always have me thinking about what his workspace would be like. I bet there would be structure and reason, even behind any clutter, and I would love to sift through every little piece.

What's In Your Toolbox: Sebit Min, on Design*Sponge

What’s on your inspirational playlist at the moment?

The Internet, D’Angelo, The Pharcyde, Frank Ocean, and J Dilla. All things groovy and soulful. And since it’s autumn, Chet Baker and Vince Guaraldi.

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