In her work, Nazli Ercan is interested in challenging the client-based understanding of graphic design and in treating graphic design as a discipline that can be practiced rigorously, driven by individual expression and interests — much more like art. With these interests, her work uses the visual and the verbal language of a graphic designer to expose the current structure and the value of the discipline.
One work of this kind is her website called Under Consideration, which is a collaborative publishing effort she has started with Eric Li. The site functions as a container for an exchange of ideas between the two of them. The authors take turns responding to each other such that each new entry is a response to the previous entry by the other author. In a way, it is the next thought in an infinitely ongoing conversation. Thus, the entries themselves become the medium, which reveal this collaborative process.
The text on Under Consideration is hyperlinked to the various articles, videos, or images that they reference in their responses. Sometimes, the authors include images as figures as well. In those cases, the figure caption numbers remain strictly increasing, no matter which one of them added the image. Under Consideration, thus, becomes a collection of their own thoughts and references. It is an online, ongoing, and constantly evolving library that is shaped by and serves their own thoughts. These thoughts and writings touch on the definition of graphic design while the overall conversation asks what difference the discipline has from art upon the removal of the client figure.
The design of the site resembles the tight old newspaper layouts — the text added by each participant is set in narrow columns. The side and top margins are set to 0px, which forces the reader to be more conscious of the act of reading and the medium the text exists in (window in a web browser). All of these design decisions make Under Consideration heavily guided by and dependent on text, meaning, and thoughts.
Like its contents, the logo is also subject to continuous updating and revisioning. The two curved lines signify each participant. One is solid, which corresponds to the person who last responded, while the other is dotted, waiting for the other to respond. Once a response is added, the lines flip and the solid becomes dotted while the dotted becomes solid.
Using the language and the visual information of the discipline, Ercan and Li question and challenge the conventional understanding of graphic design and leads us to asks “What is contemporary graphic design?”
Nazli Ercan (b. 1994, Istanbul) is graphic designer based in NYC. She received her BA in Art and Archeology from Princeton University in 2017. She has worked as a graphic designer at PIN–UP architecture magazine, Triple Canopy, and Wkshps. Her clients include Carnegie Museum of Art, Sculpture Center, Para Site Hong Kong, David Zwirner, Eaton Workshops and many others. She has participated in the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial. Her work has been shown at Princeton University School of Architecture and Galata Greek Primary School.