NESHAN, The Iranian Graphic Design Magazine

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Neshan 37

Iranian Contemporary Design -1

When there is a Woman Involved! Parisa Tashakori and her Work

Majid Kashani

1. Despite its glamorous name and image, graphic design can be a burdensome profession and literally disastrous at times! Professional graphic design involves dealing with sets of professional challenges, interactions and conflicts, putting up with a range of diverse (and sometimes irrelevant) clients, possessing a series of technological and technical skills, tackling overt and covert competitions with colleagues, coping with trivia, writing, speaking, managing, convincing, working in teams, etc. Thus, successful designers are often the most thick-skinned people I have ever seen!
Many think one can become a professional graphic designer merely through raising the quality and quantity of his/her work. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, it is not that simple. As mentioned above, advancement on this path requires a wide range of communicative, social, and professional knowledge and capability complementary to the work of graphic design. Yet undoubtedly some people manage to disrupt the game, taking shortcuts to undeserved positions without any effort, talent, or creativity. They do this by simply establishing connections, constantly participating in competitions, and playing in the margins. In this chaotic and unequal situation, the presence of a few successful graphic designer women seems to be a real blessing.
2. The low number of female designers has led to the misconception that graphic design is a completely masculine profession! Due to unwanted obligations, unfair conditions, or the foregoing reasons, women designers seem to have moved away from the front lines. My experience in teaching shows that the majority of female students are always more precise, industrious, inquisitive, and serious than most of the male students. However, it is a pity that cultural, familial, and social reasons prevent many of them from entering the professional world of graphic design after graduation, either voluntarily or by force. Some women who start practicing are forced to retreat after facing the difficulties of professional life – difficulties that are multiplied in societies such as ours. This is why eventually there are scarcely any professional female graphic designers who are able to endure and move forward on a career path — despite their talent and seriousness.
3. Parisa Tashakori has remained in the professional world of graphic design for more than two decades thanks to her continuous presence, perseverance, energy, and of course, persistence. Numerous works in different categories such as posters, books, logos, urban media, and packaging design have maintained her status as a designer. Aside from the interest and attention that clients and audiences have paid to her works, there is a long list of local and international competitions and exhibitions she has taken part in; she has won some awards as well. In addition, her activities and works are frequently introduced in local and foreign magazines, websites, and specialty books. Many of her works and activities deal with social and ecological issues. 
Parisa tries to display the hidden facets of graphic design, both consciously and unconsciously. What makes her work unique is mainly the purely feminine view towards the surrounding world. The particular daintiness, fantasy, logic, order, and precision present in most of her works are the outcome of this feminine idea and action. Whenever she and her other colleagues have designed works with the same topic (such as the occasional urban campaigns for Nowruz and Ramadan), the feminine traces have distinguished her work from those of others. Her works do not have the personal language that many try to create by insisting on repeating and fortifying physical elements. She is an empiricist and tests different methods for creating her works. Her extremely feminine viewpoint is the invisible thread running within all her works.
Apart from graphic design, Parisa Tashakori’s sociable and active (or rather proactive!) character has paved the way for her engagement in activities that have increasingly consolidated her professional position. Her name regularly appears in local and foreign events as lecturer, judge, and workshop supervisor by virtue of the broad professional and friendly relationships she always makes with local and foreign peers, and with graphic design institutions and events.
Her other activities in the field of graphic design include curating several graphic design exhibitions and undertaking shared projects with local and foreign colleagues (including organizing the Polish graphic design week in Tehran with Rene Wawrzkiewicz, co-curating the Darkoob poster exhibition with Amir Hossein Ghouchibeik, co-editing the research book Vitrine with Majid Kashani and co-curating its exhibition, organizing the Tehran-Taipei exhibition with Brad Tzuo, etc.). Parisa has formed groups for professional activities, taught and supported younger talented designers, and serves on the board of directors of the Iranian Graphic Designers Society (IGDS).
Those who have experienced such activities are well aware of the significance of perseverance, order, patience, and time invested for achieving the desired outcome; characteristics that are clearly seen in Parisa Tashakori. However, moving forward on this path becomes difficult when the risks and efforts made are met with critics’ jealousies and trivialities rather than praise and approval.
4. While Iranian women are steadily thriving to obtain their true position as influential members of a dynamic society in the face of all discriminations, inequalities, and hardships; while we witness the strong and successful presence of women in university classes, work settings, and virtual environments; a person such as Parsia Tashakori is a model for women who are interested in graphic design as a profession. She has managed to fulfill her important role as wife and mother, and has also become an important, influential member of a bigger family called graphic design.

Majid Kashani

was born in 1978. In 2006 he received his master's degree in graphic design from Tehran University. Besides teaching graphic design in university. He has published several books, articles and commentary in his field. Majid has been a key note speaker in several seminars, jury team member in dozens of festivals, and participated in numerous domestic and international exhibitions. In his studio called 'Daftar', he provides professional design services for cultural centers, publishers and galleries.

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