• Lim's interpretation of the Oribe logo
  • A portrait of the artist
  • An exercise in cut paper titled Elk Paper Sculpture
  • An exploration in package design and promotional packaging for Old North Bourbon
  • Lim's thesis project titled Kepler Orbital Space Travel

Nicholas Lim

Designer and illustrator Nicholas Lim hails from Oakland, California, and received his formal education in graphic design at Drexel University in Philadelphia. The gifted young designer caught our eye with his portfolio of beautiful cut paper sculptures, prompting us to ask him to reinterpret the Oribe logo in his medium. Lim’s talents aren’t just limited to paper though; he also designs movie posters and dabbles in illustration, branding and product design. Read on for more about the inspiration behind Lim’s rendition of the Oribe logo, his inspirations and perspective on art and design, and what’s in store for the future.

Tell us a little about your background in art and design. When did you know that was your calling?

I've been drawing forever. I started when I was a kid because my older sister was always drawing. I didn’t really begin pursuing "design" until high school, though. After seeing digital art for the first time, I wanted to try it. I got a copy of Photoshop Elements and just started to explore. During that time, the work I enjoyed and felt most accomplished by was more design-oriented. Rather than creating as an outlet for self-expression, I liked having a message to communicate and center each piece around. It makes the creative process more of a puzzle or an exercise in problem solving through creativity. When I look back, it really feels like becoming a designer has been what I've been working towards since I was a kid. I am very lucky and incredibly grateful to be able to do what I love.

How would you describe your design aesthetic?

At the moment, my work is comprised of very clean lines and a minimal use of color, and it is usually my intention to have a certain subtlety to it. But I feel the aesthetic that emerges in my work is more a result of my process. I like to start by breaking things down to their most basic elements, and then I use the most basic principles of geometries and colors to push myself to try and create something new with it. These "restrictions" make it more fun to figure out a beautiful solution and, because those principles are so basic, it comes down to focusing on the details to make it unique. That process has essentially guided the development of my aesthetic.

Why did you decide to design the Oribe logo in the way you did?

I felt this was a great chance to get back to crafting with paper and move the logo into a more three-dimensional space. I wanted to play with the ideas of growth and flow that I've always associated with hair. Looking at the logo on its own, I imagined a story behind it: There is this woman whose hair grows with such speed and strength it seems to have a life of its own. My piece was essentially thought of as a second act, where her hair has grown to such lengths that it envelopes her and her whole world…but even so, she remains poised and calm because she’s still in control.

Where do you typically find inspiration for your pieces?

While I do look to other graphic designers for inspiration, I really like to look in other design fields, like product, system or interaction design, for inspiration. I think all design fields have somewhat relatable processes, but the thinking behind each has to be so different that it can bring a different perspective or approach to similar basic principles and problems.

If you could collaborate with any artist, living or dead, who would it be?

With respect to cut paper, Peter Callesen is incredible. Before I had ever used an X-Acto knife, I had seen his work and was stunned by it. If you've seen his pieces then you know he’s amazing. There are certain pieces where his use of negative and positive space is just so clever…it’s absolutely beautiful.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever gotten?

Once I was presenting these conceptual ideas that I thought were pretty great to my professor. When I was done explaining them to her, she said bluntly: "OK, now do it." She said it so matter-of-factly that I was actually a little confused. I think what she meant was that ideas are great, but an idea has little value unless you make something of it. It's obvious to me now, but it completely changed how I approached my design work and how I valued the different stages of the design process.

How do you normally wear your hair?

I've gone through a number of different hairstyles, but currently it’s short on the sides and longer on top.

What's the sexiest way a girl can wear her hair?

It doesn't really matter to me; I just like seeing a girl who owns it. She has chosen this haircut and style and she knows it's right for her. If you wear your hair with confidence, that’s the sexiest thing.

Are you working on any upcoming projects you're particularly excited about?

I've been developing a few personal projects…now that I’ve completed this, it’s time for me to really kick them off!
Go Back


First to Know

Join and get the latest news, offers and style tips delivered to your inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.