Mete Erdogan graduated MADA’s Communication Design Honours program in 2011 and is now a designer with Saatchi & Saatchi in New York, USA.
“After visiting the ’Pixar: 20 Years of Animation’ exhibition at ACMI (Melbourne), it occurred to me that people were creating beautiful, inspiring work every day for a living. I wanted to do that.”
The best moments you experienced at MADA?
I really enjoyed my Honours year. It was intense but the class took on a similar atmosphere to a small design studio where everyone indulged themselves on their own project for the whole year.
What’s unique about your design style?
I had a background in illustration and painting before I started my degree at MADA. As a result, I leant more toward illustrative design solutions. However, I like to think my style evolves over time and with experience.
Who / what is your main source of inspiration during the design process?
I gather a lot of inspiration from design blogs like notcot.org, llgd.net, juxtapoz.com and shockblast.net. However, I admire Stefan Sagmeister’s approach to new ideas. He begins his thought processes in less obvious places. Instead of researching other car companies for a hybrid car identity, for example, he would advise to start by looking at eco friendly tote bag designs.
I also love Jamie Hewlett’s (Gorillaz) work, Milton Glaser, Tomer Hanuka, James Jean and Craig & Karl to name a few. They all fuse illustration and design to create really unique work.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love looking out the window and seeing the New York skyline every day, it’s like a giant postcard. I also love creative problem solving, particularly within a culture I’m still new to. We collaborate with huge clients, I’m still overwhelmed with the work I’m trusted to do. We also have free Cheerios in the kitchen.
What advice would you give a young person starting out in a communication design course?
You don’t have a style yet and even if you do, it’ll evolve. Focus on trying every medium you can think of and challenge the ones you like. Even then, don’t settle on one look that works, keep trying stuff even if it sucks.
Also, you can ask the staff for absolutely anything related to your study or career, that’s what they’re there for.
Any achievements you are most proud of?
I’m really proud of where I’m at now. I arrived in New York with zero connections last April and managed to bug enough people to land a job at a large advertising agency. I’m also really proud of the mural in my living room, not sure how the landlord will feel about it though.
Now that you’ve graduated, what advice would you give to your student self?
Don’t shy away from mediums that look difficult, you’re unlikely to have so much access to silkscreens, laser cutters or 3D printers when you finish.
Borrow more books and DVDs from the library. If your research is limited to the internet, your inspiration will probably come from the same sources as most of your peers.
Any challenging moments you faced along the way?
For a while, it was definitely a challenge not to take harsh feedback personally. It can be difficult to accept a burning critique of something you’ve poured your heart into.
The biggest challenge so far, however, was job hunting in New York. It can be really daunting when you’re starting out and nobody knows who you are. The advantage though is you literally have nothing to lose. Keep bugging your favourite studios, the worst they can do is say they’re too busy to see you. And after that, just keep contacting them.