Korean Immigration book

Korean immigrant book cover design

Korean immigrant book cover design

Project brief

Going Against The Grain is a collection of both comedic and tragic anecdotes from the life in South Korea and as a Korean immigrant in New York. It is written to appeal to both immigrants and Americans alike. The story narrates how an immigrant changes her life for the better—not just financially, but intrinsically—by moving to the United States.

Design process

Initially, Sunnie wanted to use photos from her personal library. They depicted how middle school student girls were assigned to polish the floors of the school’s hallway. The scene was a good metaphor, but the photos were a bit too dark and low quality. So, I decided to take a different more creative approach. The main story line discusses the unfair double standards affecting women in Korea and around the world. I used that as the basis of my design. I loved the idea of conveying the difference between traditionalism and modernism. I gave an original spin to the cover by using the reflection of a Korean female model in two totally different instances. The top image was of the woman dressed in a traditional costume while the bottom part was the reversed version of her wearing modern western clothes. I used the title of the book to help the two instances interact naturally. In the end, I created an organic flow of the full jacket by using a subtle magnolia branch—the national flower of South Korea. The overall effect was a very creative, inspirational and emotional design that reflected the subject of the matter perfectly.

Final thoughts

Sunnie wrote a great book about breaking out of customs and traditions. Her book is not only for those familiar with Korean life. It is for anyone interested in a heartfelt true story. I was very happy she was open to a more creative approach than her initial cover suggestion.


You can keep up with Sunnie’s blog on PaintLikeMe.com. and make sure you check out Sunnie Sung’s Going Against the Grain on Amazon.

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