When surfing the web, we sometimes get rewarded with unexpected discoveries of projects, articles, organizations or businesses that manage to intrigue us or move us deeply. Great art has the power to do that, as well as fresh and often interdisciplinary positioned perspectives on existing phenomena, well elaborated through words or some other type of media. Exploring and learning is what makes us human and in the 21st century – these precious wanderings through the cyberspace seem to be the main way we seek for inspiration or strive to connect with like-minders.
Creative individuals who leave their digital mark and selflessly share their thoughts and work within their field of expertise are one of the great reasons we love the internet so much.
Today, we have the honor of introducing a remarkable artist and scholar, with her main interest being visual communication, visual sociology, typography design and history. Prepare to get inspired by Özlem Özkal and her personal website, ozlemozkal.me.
If you’re a visual artist or a proud member of the designer community, you know how complex it can be to convey a message through an image. Vision is our dominant sense and the process of unlocking the meaning behind what we see is layered. Both the way we produce and interpret visual images are deeply rooted in a number of factors, while our culture remains a predominant one. This means everything we register with the eye (e.g. photos, art, tattoos, fashion styles, visual aesthetics, etc.) is also a means of communication, which is the basic interest of visual sociology.
Among other research fields, Özlem Özkal is particularly interested in the communication design. Within her publications, she has explored the connection between the evolution of Turkish typography and identity, as well as the concept of design activism, i.e. using the power of visual elements in order to make a positive social change or spark a dialogue.
In case you want to learn more about Özkal’s publications, they are all listed on the homepage of her website, in the chronological order. As a matter of fact, the homepage serves as her publicly open biography where anyone can see important information about her professional life. From her education and work experience to publications, presentations, and workshops she has organized – the “about” page is simple and clear, yet compelling.
Özkal’s personal website is a duo-chromatic, minimalistic one-pager with quick links on the left side, enabling visitors to easily browse through the site. In addition to the “about” page (which is actually a homepage), one can explore the art projects or click on the “blog” and get redirected to the Tumblr page.
We love this straightforward design and the simple structure as it is functional and serves it purpose, i.e. showcases the diversity of author’s professional and artistic work.
You can explore different types of art as Özkal uses various media for expression:
Take Özkal’s posters for example. She has a nice portfolio of poster art that’s been done on commission, for specific events. By displaying her work on the website, she doesn’t only underline her ability to produce divergent artistic styles, but she also shows her artistic sense and capability of creating a visual message that fits a specific purpose and is an effective communicator.
Compare the poster/invitation the author made for a baby shower with the poster she crafted for the event of showcasing subversive shorts, i.e. the event revolving around the politically active theater. Although the styles seem diametrically opposite, they align perfectly with the specific topic. In addition, different types of projects she worked on the show her good reputation and artistic versatility.
Glance over Özkal’s typography work, and you’ll see admiration-worthy design solutions. In addition to others, she’s also responsible for the logotype and type design for Istanbul Design Institute, where she’s currently employed as an assistant professor. This fact certainly shines a new light on her professional work as such a great educational institution put trust in her to design its visual identity.
Don’t miss exploring her captivating sour ink artwork that has elements of surrealism and surely can be interpreted in numerous ways, her project “Shadow Theatre” that reminded us at Ancient Greek black-figure pottery art, her mostly black-and-white sketches, and her “Talk to Me” project which uses one-word format that contextually seems more powerful than a whole story.
Designers are already familiar with the importance of having an updated online portfolio. Whether you’re seeking for a job or some freelance gigs, you need to have something to show to your potential client or business partner. Imagine applying for a job and just sending a link to your website within your application? A personal website that serves as your portfolio will certainly make you stand out from other candidates, as it will show you’re proactive. In addition, it sends a message about your professionalism.
Even if you’re not actively looking for employment, being present in the cyberspace is irreplaceable, for several reasons.
Having a website is the most important step towards building your personal brand, especially because it gives you better control of the information you want others to see.
Rest assured, your name will be Googled and it is entirely your responsibility that search results don’t show anything that could hurt your reputation. This means you should be mindful about your behavior across social media, but also let others know more about you through a unique, centralized source of information completely regulated by you alone – your website.
A website could help you position yourself as a thought leader through blogging, but it can also showcase your artwork that would speak on your behalf, 24/7. Simply by leaving your contact information, you allow people all around the world to reach you, which opens amazing possibilities.
But in addition to the advantage of having a self-standing representation of your work and personality online, there’s something else you should take in mind regarding your website, and it’s all about utilizing the asset of hyperconnectivity. Someone who happens to stumble upon your website might get inspired by your design solutions or artwork. Therefore, your website communicates through different types of media (words, photographs, images, videos, etc.) and makes an impact even when you’re away from your computer.
Your personal website does not have to be flashy or heavily designed. Let’s go back to Özlem Özkal’s website: it’s simple and light, but it contains all the information a visitor would seek for.
The fact we can research any name with just a couple of clicks might be scary as we often lack the awareness about our digital footprint, but there’s a more positive side to this coin. You can certainly make the most of today’s digital age and focus on the beauty it brings. It has made our world smaller, our communication more meaningful and faster, and therefore – it opened new doors for creative individuals.
More than ever before in the human history, it’s easy to put yourself out there and get heard. Why would you miss this opportunity?
Success has a lot to do with commitment, hard work, and patiently building expertise throughout the years. Undoubtedly, being visible in the cyberspace is an important piece of the puzzle. That’s where owning a personal …