Graphic designer Zheng Kai’s work interrupts attentions and never gets too comfortable – It’s Nice That

Graphic designer Zheng Kai’s work interrupts attentions and never gets too comfortable – It’s Nice That

Meet Zheng Kai, the Singapore-based graphic designer positioning himself at the opposite end of minimalism. He tells us: “I tend to make my visuals scream while my words are usually used to fill up as much space as possible.” While he appreciates the pared-back movements within graphic design, this creative likes to make uncomfortable work. With the viewer in mind, he tries to design material which “interrupts their attention and slows them down.” Stopping viewers in their tracks, he draws out their sense of curiosity so they never know exactly what they’ll be faced with when it comes to Zheng Kai’s immutable works.

Given enough time to experiment, he likes to explore concepts that “oppose preconceived notions of what the subject matter was supposed to me.” He does this in either subtle or obvious ways, twisting the output from digital to analogue for example or introducing a new perspective to an old genre like still life. Zheng Kai has had an interesting creative path so far to arrive at this unique outlook on creativity. Born and raised in Singapore, where he’s still based, he realised early on that he wasn’t going to excel in academic studies. “I was never a fan of the textbook,” he says looking back, “and could only understand with images or visuals.”

From then on, art was the only subject that held his full attention. This was the early catalyst for pursuing a career in the arts. Still early on in his career, Zheng Kai is currently studying visual communication at Nanyang Technological University. There, he immerses himself in the fields of not only graphic design but also 3D and moving image. His studies have also introduced him to other mediums such as sewing, film and photography, providing him with a broad range of visual inspiration to further his interests.

During weekdays, he follows the strict schedules of university but on weekends, he experiments with more unconventional approaches to design which expand his mind in both a 3D and 2D sense. Influenced by artists and studios such as Darío Alva, Obby & Jappari and Theseus Chan (“they showed me unconventional methods can be used to approach design”), Zheng felt ignited to try something new and create something different. Ransacking the internet for myriad tutorials, he started experimenting with software and documenting his trials on Instagram.


Graphic design