“Iam often blurring the lines between architecture and graphic design,” says Purnia Farrukh, a passionate and out of the box designer whose body of work is acclaimed for its abstraction, formal clarity and minimal designs. Purnia obtained her professional educational training from California Polytechnic University, Los Angeles, California; she holds a bachelor in Architectural Design. In addition, she has two years of training in Graphic Design from Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey. Purnia mostly makes design logos, businesses, and brand identities for businesses based on their architectural design and design businesses’ interiors based on their brand identity. Purnia believes in making brands and businesses cohesive between the 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional. This week You! talks to the up and coming graphic designer to give you an inside look at everything from her design process to upcoming projects…
You! Was designing something you always wanted to do?
Purnia Farrukh: My passion comes from consciously curating and following design and studio accounts on social media platforms that are pioneers in the latest design trends internationally. I went to school for architectural design, but ended up gathering a lot of appreciation for graphic design & UI Design through social media and international design competitions I kept participating in throughout university. That got me featured in a few design magazines such as MindSparkle Mag, DAWN, DesignCentral, Designers BookShop etc.
You! Tell us about your company, Itereight:
PF: Based in Karachi, I started Itereight in 2020 as an experiment and it immediately turned into my full-time job. Itereight is a unique domain name derived from the mathematical function, Iterate. It’s my take on design and function and how I approach and design problems.
You! How many brands have you worked with?
PF: I would say close to 40 now, these have ranged from large-scale corporations to small-scale Instagram lifestyle brands such as Google, Xanders, Lals, Moori Drinks, Fusion Teas, Inclusivitee, etc. based in Pakistan and internationally. And the list keeps on growing every week.
You! Tell us about your first-ever project:
PF: The first few projects were mostly my passion projects being an architecture school student in Los Angeles, I was mostly pitching myself to brands and companies and trying to establish that reputation and portfolio. It was worth it. A few projects that I worked on initially were branding, signage’s and menu designs for a few restaurants in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles and being in the centre of all the design-forward niched brands in LA definitely gave me a leg up to explore that world and bring it to Pakistan.
You! Which project has been your favourite to work on?
PF: My favourite project to work on so far was to design the small-scale niched candle company, “ScentsOnFire”; hands down. The reason why, was because the owner of the company allowed me 100 per cent creative freedom and trusted me with her investment, which allowed me to produce a concept and execute what was unlike anything the candle market has seen in Karachi and a lot of candle companies followed suit. I believe when a designer is given creative freedom, that’s when the best work is created.
You! What part of the designing process is most exciting for you?
PF: For me, it’s when I am starting something, and I am researching and setting the initial tone for the brand or company.
You! What areas of product design are often overlooked?
PF: I can speak for the local market in Karachi right now. I feel that brands and companies are not understanding or implementing sustainability into their production and this feels ethically incorrect and unfortunately backward. I always advise my clients to look toward the future and try to bring them all on board to use sustainable packaging and civil materials to make design a conscious and well-educated choice.
You! What’s your typical day like as a product designer?
PF: I can promise you, it’s a mix and match of communications, marketing, accounts, photography and design. With a whole bunch of studio time and sampling, working closely with vendors, deciding on materials, scale, placement, layout, production, proof reading etc. For interiors works, it’s mostly concept boarding, drafting, palletising, working with contractor to decide materials, making sure the BOQ’s (bill of quantities) are aligned and the payments are done.
You! Do you agree that lockdown put more of a microscope onto design?
PF: People are spending more time on their phones and on social media. Brands are making their presence felt online, on social media and now with the current introduction of Amazon in Pakistan, a lot of brands need to move into design-forward branding, Instagram friendly and niched designs to appeal to the home audiences now rather than retail spaces which in turn is making branding and implementation even more important.
You! Which do you enjoy more; product designing or interior designing?
PF: I enjoy both because my expertise is in combining the two under a singular and cohesive brand guideline.
You! When it comes to designing, what would you say is your signature style?
PF: I don’t believe in the client telling me how to design, I take their limitations into consideration and apply my expertise into what they need to solve the design challenge and ultimately make sales. But I am a huge fan of design styles that involve either hipster, edgy, bourgeoisie masculine styles and vintage ’80s pop art style. Nowadays, we see these trends being design forward in conjunction with more typography styled logos and packaging.
You! What progress do you see the designing industry making in Pakistan?
PF: I am quite lucky and blessed to be a part of the design wave in Pakistan. I hope to see more young designers taking initiative and taking power into their hands to create new styles and be more exposed to marketing and design on an international scale. Having that exposure is super important. Following all the best studies, magazines and brands in the world, online and physical makes a mile of difference.
You! What would you say has been your accomplishment to date?
PF: I would say that would be finding something I truly enjoy and making a career out of it, and contributing to the design landscape of Karachi, as a young designer, and making some ripples.
You! How do you achieve work life balance?
PF: If you don’t curate your work schedule and prioritise your mental and physical health, you will not be creating good work and working at your optimum. Learnt it the hard way.
You! Do you think you had to work harder being a woman in this industry?
PF: No. I’ve been very lucky to be in the centre of changing times in Karachi, Pakistan, where there are so many able creative and strong women bringing change, doing good work and starting new businesses that I feel extremely lucky to be a part of the spate. And I am extremely proud of the supportive men in my life who believed in me and offered support when I was starting out, such as my dad.
You! What are your future plans?
PF: I plan to continue this momentum; gain a lot more experience and putting out projects that make people’s head turn and disrupt established design trends and create cool stuff.
You can find Purnia’s work on her Instagram: itereight and her website for more details: https://www.itereight.com/