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Interview with Polin Kuyumciyan

Home > Designer Interviews > Polin Kuyumciyan

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Polin Kuyumciyan (PK) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of Polin Kuyumciyan by clicking here.

Interview with Polin Kuyumciyan at Monday 4th of May 2020
Polin Kuyumciyan
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?
PK: I started off by drawing figures and portraits at age 6 and as years passed by I knew that I wanted to study in the field of art and design. I got interested in Graphic Design and got my BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 2011. After working at a couple of places in Istanbul, I decided to work as a freelancer. Besides working on graphic design projects for various customers, I also founded a small stationery brand called PK Design in 2015.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
PK: I have founded by design studio, Polin Kuyumciyan Studio, in 2014 as a one woman show. I get occasional help from editors, copywriters, photographers, illustrators and software developpers, depending on the project I work on. IMy studio mainly specializes on printed works such as branding, logo design, catalogue / brochure design and stationery design. Of course, with the digitalization of every aspect of daily life, I also get projects concerning social media design, website design and UI/UX Design.

FS: What is "design" for you?
PK: Design is everything we see, touch and feel. Design dictates the modern society and shapes the way we live. Design is the reason why we choose the way we live.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
PK: My favourites are catalogue, stationery and presentation design. My brain loves categories and listing things so I love to deal with a multiple paged design project. Those projects allow me to divide things into lists and categories and work from there on. Also paper is simply amazing.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
PK: I generally fall in love with a very well designed book and frankly I have so many to choose from. Recently I bought a special edition book of Animal Farm by Can Yayinlari (a Turkish publishing house). It comes in a special wooden cover and the book cover is covered with hay. I fell in love immediately.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
PK: A logo for a sunglasses company when I was a student at RISD. It was called Nifty Glasses.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
PK: I think right now computer is my go-to medium. Among the programs I love Adobe Illustrator. It gives me a good amount of space to work with. But my all time favourite would always be a paper and a pen/pencil.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
PK: Mostly during night time. During the day there is so much going on. Emails keep popping, customers call and text, last minute revisions come up and it's just hectic. But when everyone goes home and it gets quiet outside, I can concentrate really well. Also weirdly enough, I get very creative when I'm under pressure.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
PK: Two things make the top of the list: The interaction between imagery (shapes / patterns / objects / photography) and typography as well as the hierarchy of text.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
PK: For me, designing is a long and tiring process. Mostly I'm navigating my way through many questions and rather than feeling a certain way, I get a mixture of curious and confused.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
PK: When the customer gets satisfied and I see the final draft completed, I feel completely ecstatic.

FS: What makes a design successful?
PK: When both you and the customer agree on the same thing and you completely fall in love with the end result. Of course it's also very crucial that the audience understands your message and you design translates correctly.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
PK: Does it suit the needs of the company? Can the audience understand the message fast and easy? Does the eye travel from one part to the next, following the correct path of the story?

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
PK: In my point of view, a designer is a person who stands in between a problem and a solution that concerns the society. Plus we have the benefit of finding that solution in the most eye catching, beautiful and successful way.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
PK: In terms of graphic design, I think we will see motion graphics a lot more in the future and the future is graphic design will grow largely in digital platforms. Most graphic designers will also become UX/UI designers. It won't be an extra skill to learn, UX will be a natural part of graphic design.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
PK: My last exhibition was in college and after that I never had another exhibiton. But I would love to participate in the next Istanbul Design Biennial.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
PK: The answers to all the three questions are about the same: books, design shops, travel, food, sleeping, friends, interesting conversations, new technologies and most of all, great design!

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
PK: My design style is mostly typographic and colorful. I like using type as imagery when working pn personal projects or my stationery products. Big, bold, colorful type always has always attracted me since college and once I realized that's what I enjoyed, I started combining it with geometrical shapes and more color. I think everything looks better bigger, bolder and brighter! Contrast always catches the eye and from there on, one can convey a message to its audience.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
PK: I am from Istanbul, Turkey and still live here. Cultural heritage definitely affects my perspective. Not just the way I design, but the way I go about my interacting with my clients. I think pros and cons of living and designing in Turkey are same: everything is urgent, which makes forces me to think faster and work faster, and graphic design is still not fully known and understood, which allows me to introduce myself to all kinds of possible clients.

FS: How do you work with companies?
PK: Usually companies find me through internet or previous customers. I have an initial meeting with them and try to figure out their needs. Then I'd ask them to send me and email of all the the elements they want me to design. I might add or suggest some as well. After we negotiate and finalize the pricing, I'd send them a timetable with realistic end dates. And then the design / revision / finalize process begins.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
PK: Although some companies in Turkey know how to brief a designer, mostly they have to taught how to. That is one my daily tasks. When briefing a designer, they should always write an email and be very clear about what they want. The images

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
PK: I would start by making a research on the client and the type of work they want. If it's a logo, I would search for interesting and new fonts. If it is a catalogue, I would first sketch possible layouts and try out the my favourite ones on the computer.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
PK: My Louis Erard watch, the dining table that my grandfather made about 50 years ago, my collection of playing cards (love all of them, cannot pick one), a whisky glass I bought from Venice and my engagement ring.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
PK: I usually wake up around 9 or 10 am, take a shower, have my breakfast and head to my office. With a cup of coffee, I check my emails, post feeds and storied to my social media account and then begin

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
PK: Always have a tidy work space, always carry a small notebook for inspiration and idea lists, make lots of friends and expand your network.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
PK: Both would have the same answer: dealing with a client.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
PK: Stick to deadline, be organized, don't overdo.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
PK: A good sense of what works visually and great communication skills. You have to understand people in order to design for them.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
PK: I mostly use the Adobe products such as Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Dreamweaver and Premiere Pro. I always use a sketchbook initially and then move on to the software. Books, both design related and unrelated, can also be part of my design process. I do a lot of research on shutterstock, pinterest and font sources. And I always save inspiring ideas or images/things I come across for later use.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
PK: I usually work with on 5 projects simultaneously. I make a timeline for all of them prior to accepting the job, so that both the customer and I can follow the exact schedule. It can of course be tiring but one of my most outstanding qualities is working rather fast.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
PK: It depends on the customer and the job but on the average, I can say about a month.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
PK: How can you work so fast? I tend to work really fast. It might be because I don't have too much patience and have very little tolerance for slow everything. It's both an advantage and a disadvantage.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
PK: Although I cannot put it on my portfolio and technically it is not my design, on my first year as a freelancer, I landed the job for Epsilon Publishing House (Turkish company), as their licensed product designer. That was a whole new experience for me and in the first two weeks, I had no idea what I was doing. I ended up working with them for two years and I gained too many skills from that job.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
PK: Some of the past and current local / global clients include: Güçlü Kırtasiye, Tarko Kozmetik, X Flats, Hacı Bekir, Assan Gayrimenkul, İKSV, Apple, Epsilon Yayınevi, Bain de Mer, BUGECE, Muzlu, Tepta Aydınlatma, AKS Otomotiv, Keskin Color, iodes, Yasocial and more.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
PK: I enjoy working on stationery projects or catalogue/book designs. And I think it shows because among all the work I've done up until now, those have always been my favourites. Firstly, I love paper. And I love the options I have for a multiple paged design. I enjoy thinking in terms of categories. Playing with the layout, seeing how typography works with the images, learning new ways to convey a message on a page are all great!

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
PK: I want to work with more international clients. And I believe I would learn a lot more by working for people from different cultures. It would definitely widen my perspective.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
PK: I develop my designs myself. I love having a team but I don't like to have people physically be around me when I design. I have a weird method and working hours. I would definitely have a meeting with a team at the beginning of the project, and talk about the process and role distribution. From there on an email thread is usually sufficient for everyone to deliver on time and keep up with the updates. If necessary, I would meet up with the team if something out of plan occurs and sort it out.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
PK: I currently work on three logos, one UX / website design, 2 branding, 3 packaging projects and one future online class about freelancing. I like multitasking, it keeps me interested in my work. Many people might disagree but working on many projects at the same time is easier for me.

FS: How can people contact you?
PK: They can most easily contact me via email: polinkuyumciyan@gmail.com

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
PK: Thank you!


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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