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Interview with Rana Nur Ozdeslik, PhD

Home > Designer Interviews > Rana Nur Ozdeslik, PhD

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Rana Nur Ozdeslik, PhD (RNOP) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of Rana Nur Ozdeslik, PhD by clicking here.

Interview with Rana Nur Ozdeslik, PhD at Wednesday 24th of April 2019

FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
RNOP: I am Molecular Biologist by training. In addition, I continued my education, finishing a doctoral degree in Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology. In this science-heavy education of mine, I was able to squeeze in a couple of courses which got me a step closer to visual arts. When I was an undergraduate student at Bogazici University, I took “Art of Animation” course, covering basic and creative drawing from Galip Tekin, a prolific comic book artist best known for his science fiction comic series. Later on, when I was an exchange student at City University of Hong Kong, I learned how to use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop from their “Creative Media” course. These two courses are the only ones I could recall when it comes to my art and design background. All the other tools I had to use to realize my design ideas come from my personal endeavors.

FS: What is "design" for you?
RNOP: Elegance + Uniqueness = Design; Elegance + Uniqueness + Functionality + Simplicity = Great Design

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
RNOP: If I, or people I know, feel a need for a particular design, I engage in the project at a deeper level and get more motivated to see it cross the finish line.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
RNOP: In terms of material, glass and porcelain have a special place in my heart. On top of their intrinsic grace and beauty, when they are shaped with an elegant design, it becomes so beautiful that I can hardly take my eyes off them.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
RNOP: America designer Charles Eames once said, “Recognizing the need is the primary condition for design.” I also believe that design grows in a crib made out of desperation and need. My own desperation with the commercially available coffee cups is the source of my “WithDelight” design and I would not think about it if I did need a better-designed coffee cup.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
RNOP: Among the elegance, uniqueness, functionality and simplicity features that I consider as musts of great design, I focus on the simplicity aspect more than others. In my personal design process, I find myself battling an involuntary urge to add more and show more. So, the design gets easily very complex and branches out to tangent topics. I try to prune down those undesired branches constantly to keep it true to its original purpose.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
RNOP: I first judge whether it is appealing to look at or not. In other words, is it elegant? I do not think I do this judgment deliberately since in the psychology it is well known that in a matter of seconds our subconscious mind makes a snap-decision about objects and people we interact with. Surely, I continue my judgment with other equally important aspects.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
RNOP: I think a designer needs to be aware of the current condition of the people and the planet they live in and the planet they might be living in; and, work on the betterment of these conditions.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
RNOP: In the last ten years, I checked Best of Behance and Vimeo Staff Pick pages every night after work. I believe following good design for a long time sharpened my sense of what is good and what is not. Was my design and illustration abilities at the level of these works? Absolutely not, but I knew what to work on to produce better results.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
RNOP: I follow the steps of scientific thinking: (1) I do a background reach on the field, (2) come up with a design solution addressing a specific problem, (3) test the product and analyze the results, (4) if the design solves the problem I work on it further to optimize it, if not I go back to the second step.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
RNOP: I work in a research laboratory during the day and work on design at night.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
RNOP: Try as much as you can and leave yourself room for mistakes.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
RNOP: As cliché as it is, still it is very true: Less is more.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
RNOP: I believe that critical thinking skills are very important for a designer. If I could be selected as a winner for a prestigious design competition with a limited art and design education, it is only because I relied on my problem solving and critical thinking abilities. Other design tools, such as 3D modeling or branding, could be covered later with enough level of determination and perseverance.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
RNOP: Every project starts with a pen and paper for me. I use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop if it is a 2D image I am working on. If I need to produce a 3D model, I use Maxon Cinema4D and Rhinoceros. For the 3D printing of protein models, I heavily use PyMOL.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
RNOP: I try to use time realistically. We all have limited time and energy, so there is no point to put an unrealistic amount of task in your schedule and then beat yourself for those that have not been done. I try, as much as I can, not to put too much on my plate and to be kind to myself.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
RNOP: From 1 month to a year.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
RNOP: I 3D printed hands for children born with upper limb abnormalities. Experience Remarks: I met a 12-year old boy at a conference conducted by Helping Hands Foundation, which is a community connecting families of children with upper limb loss. I mentioned my 3D printed hand project to him and his mother, and he wanted a super-hero themed arm with Wolverine claws. That was a challenge I undertook happily and designed a glow-in-the-dark custom-made claw which completed his hand with a proper super-hero theme. In the end, seeing him pleased with the result was pure joy. Later that week, I got this message from his mother: “I cannot thank you enough for you and your colleague's hard work. As you could probably tell, he was very happy AND excited! I honestly wasn't sure how he would react but to see him trying to contain his excitement made me so happy and know that he LOVES it.” I could not wish for a better outcome than this.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
RNOP: I will continue to work on my design and science projects.

FS: How can people contact you?
RNOP: Please contact me via email: rana.ozdeslik@gmail.com.


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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