Duration: Six years.
Location: New York, NY.
Education: BFA in visual communication design from Istanbul Bilgi University, Istanbul, Turkey; MFA in design at the School of Visual Arts, New York.
Career path: I went to high school and undergrad in Istanbul, Turkey. During high school, the university admissions process forced students to choose a “concentration” in high school. Once students graduated, they had to take a general exam, which was more difficult if students chose an undergrad major not related to their high school concentration. The art and design departments were the exceptions, as they had their own admissions process. My school life was never bright, so I picked the foreign language concentration over math and science. Thus, I was either going to study English literature or apply to design school. I didn’t know anything about graphic design and typography, yet I applied to design school—it worked out for me.
Artistic influences: I have always been fascinated by foreign affairs and history, especially flags and symbols. As a kid, while my classmates were drawing landscapes and mountains, I was drawing the United Nations General Assembly, full of flags and delegates. I’m interested in stories, visual aesthetics and mediums that come together to function as graphic design, film or architecture.
Favorite projects: I’m proud of every project I have done so far, but recently I designed a poster series for my close friends’ short film, ‘Dwell.’ It was a pleasure for me to work with them; a client/designer relationship built on trust and familiarity provided me with more creative freedom.
Work environment: When I’m freelancing on off-site projects, my studio apartment in the East Village becomes my office. When I’m doing an on-site gig, the place I’m working in at the time becomes my office.
Approach: I spend a reasonable amount of time researching the subject matter, but when it comes to visual research, I prefer not to get drawn into visual references. Sometimes I sketch, but usually I start designing with something in mind and let the concept and execution evolve along the way.
Aspirations: John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Couldn’t agree more.
Philosophy: I don’t follow trends. I value beauty as I believe it’s an important component of the function of design. I escape out of my comfort zone when I can.