A successful designer working for Kakao, Kim Woo-young, an Ewha graduate, is also an illustrator who published an essay “I’m a mother going through growing pain.”
At first, Kim did not think that she would become a designer. After her coincidental but fortunate experience of working with film directors and actors on set, she decided to transfer her major to Broadcasting and Film and developed her interest in storytelling.
“Although I first attended Ewha as a Social Studies Education major, I found out that I am most passionate when I work with directors and filmmakers,” Kim said. “After I changed my major, I also took art and design classes, which opened my eyes towards designing.”
Kim’s interest in storytelling and design intrigued her to apply for the position of Kakao’s UX designer.
“A UX designer’s job is to design and create contents for the app itself,” Kim stated. “We run and produce promotion marketing to ensure that our product’s story is successfully delivered. I’ve participated in making Kakao Story, Kakao Taxi, and now we’re working on developing Artificial Intelligence.”
She also explained how the working environment of Kakao was surprisingly suitable for her as she was able to get instant feedback from consumers as soon as they release a new service, giving her a sense of accomplishment.
“I’m also satisfied with our unique office culture where we call each other by our English names,” Kim said. “In this way, we can deliver our ideas freely without having to be conscious of the hierarchical structure within.”
Although she enjoyed designing for Kakao, she wanted to create her own artwork to reflect her state of mind after having a child. That is when she started to draw illustrations under the name “Milky Baby,” depicting the perspective of a mother.
“Raising a child can be tough,” Kim admitted. “So, I wanted to shed light on the positive and bright sides of child-raising and also console those who have a hard time.”
Her aim is to empathize with other women who went through the same experience through her drawings. She first started with uploading some of her works on her blog and surprisingly, these drawings aroused a lot of empathy from fellow parents. This elicited her desires to communicate more with those who look at her drawings to tell them that they are not alone.
Kim has also held multiple exhibitions with the theme of motherhood and family relationships. In her recent exhibition, she wanted to accentuate that it is important for a mother to not forget who she really is.
“When you become a mother, you naturally give your fullest attention to your child,” Kim said. “However, I thought that mothers should not lose their identity because of parenting. So, I tried to show that mothers are individual women before they are mothers through my drawings.”
Kim admitted that juggling three roles – a designer, an illustrator, and a mother – is difficult in many ways. Nevertheless, she enjoys what she does.
“I think managing time and thinking positively were the most crucial factors to help me keep going,” Kim explained. “Even though I’m busy, I love my job. Being a designer in Kakao and an illustrator gives me satisfaction in different ways so I’m not easily fed up with my work.”
Kim also added that trying out new things will eventually help find what one is truly passionate about.
“Getting involved in different activities is important,” Kim said. “When I was in Ewha, I tried part-time jobs, volunteering in a festival, and an internship abroad. Even though something may not seem related to what you want to do, I don’t think that anything is a waste of time. Everything you do will be helpful in the long-run in various ways.”