NESHAN, The Iranian Graphic Design Magazine

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Neshan 39

Iranian Contemporary Design

The Case Of An OCPD Sufferer; Ali Afsarpoor And His Works

Siamak Pourjabbar

“They try to set everything in an exact order to prevent errors, unanticipated consequences, and disorganization. They are untiring when it comes to establishing order and discipline, they attempt to maintain a geometrical symmetry in the world around them, and even half a millimeter of misplacement annoys them.”
    I don’t know whether Ali Afsarpoor suffers from OCPD or not, but he definitely shows the symptoms in his work.
    Ali Afsarpoor was born in 1977 and obtained his BA in Graphic Design from Tehran Azad University. Although he is one of the last survivors of the generation of graphic designers who started their work with printing plates, he is not stubborn and dogmatic. He is familiar with most modern capacities and software, and is constantly discovering and experimenting with new phenomena. He started working while still a student, and chance threw advertisement projects his way. His cooperation with Dayere Studio in 2000 and his acquaintance with young architects provided him with experience working on architectural presentations. Joining Eshare Advertisement Agency and beginning a friendship and collaboration with Alireza Mostafazadeh was a turning point in his professional life. To this day he still struggles with concepts that deeply occupied his mind at that time — such as the principles and science of advertisement, the development of ideas, and creativity.
    He does not rely on any fixed, particular method in his works, and often gets into mischief with the subject matter — from typography with dust (the poster designed for Hormuz cultural week) to manual book cover illustration (Ping: A Frog in Search of a New Pond). Despite his busy schedule running advertising campaigns, he has mounted a personal photography exhibition (Under the Circumstances) and written a book (Graphic Design for Advertisement). Every now and then, he either writes an article for a journal or establishes rules for “setting up a creative design studio.” However, one thing that can be observed in his work through these years is the importance of the idea. Every work is centered on a unique, appropriate idea.

    He has bee present in studios and agencies for seventeen years, with different titles such as graphic designer, art director, creativite director, studio director, etc. One year ago, he set up Studio 56 on Niavaran Street with his old friend and colleague, Pedram Harbi.
    The tough conditions reining design work environments can be draining at times, but things are totally different when collaborating with Ali Afsarpoor. Working with him is enjoyable. To him, no work order is unimportant or banal. The way he tackles a problem, the way he analyzes it, and his attention to detail turn the most ordinary project into the most attractive one. He is an expert in developing ideas with different methods, is a master at teamwork, “assists goals well” (as he puts it himself), and doesn’t care who officially scores the goal. Ali Afsarpour knows the abilities of his colleagues in different fields better than they do. He knows how to encourage the team members to work and how to nurture the talents deeply hidden and sometimes forgotten.
    The aforementioned elements in addition to his idealism make the work process even more appealing than the final outcome. So many times, we have failed to complete the journey and have found ourselves in a café or restaurant near the office. However, when you are with Ali Afsarpoor you will always find something to present to the client and can blithely drink your coffee!
    Attention to detail can be observed not only in his work but also in his lifestyle. It is in the decoration of his house, the way he dresses, the way he parks his car (or leaves it the way it is), in his cooking, restaurant choice, etc. He is dependent on these details — hours of debate over how to turn a screw; let alone his attention to the things the screw must hold! Now he shares all of these obsessions with Pedram Harbi in Studio 56 and uses them (the obsessions and Pedram Harbi) to solve unsolved and open graphic design cases.
    A few days ago I sent him this text. After adjusting the spaces and non-joiners, the orthography, etc. he told me to also mention the weak points. Ok with me, but the pages of the journal do not suffice.

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