Cover concept for Yi Sang, Boredom, commissioned by Heren, January 2016.

Seven designers were invited to propose speculative cover designs for a range of books, and we chose Yi Sang’s short story “Boredom” (1937). What we found particularly interesting about the architecture-trained, avant-garde writer’s body of work is that his compositional principles are relatively clear, yet their meanings are not. For this design, we made twenty-four permutations of the four Korean characters that make up the writer’s name and the title of the piece. Treating the strings as twenty-four potential story titles — some are simply nonsensical — we arranged them in alphabetical order. It’s not easy to spot the real title among them, but it was not meant for a real publication anyway.

The editors also asked us which line in the story was our favorite. And this was ours: “To me, the monkeys imitating humans are quite detestable.”