Building a network of Turkish Creatives
— The context
#ForCreativeMinds started with an honest conversation between Muk and Dilek Altan. We wanted to include more of a human element into our notebooks and express the unique minds behind the creative process that we associate notebooks with. Muk was a young brand at the time, already being stocked in key retailstores and building a name for itself in the design market. Dilek, on the other hand, being a fashion photographer, wanted to challenge herself by working with a lifestyle product brand. She was (and still is) also a young and talented photographer working with big names in the industry. We were connected through a mutual friend and the rest was history.
— The idea
We decided to ask creatives around us, whom we admired, to take part in the series. We managed to reach more than a dozen people, through many many cold calls. (I go into detail explaining how I reached out to the network, and how you can too, on a blog post.) The goal was to photograph each person in their own work space with a notebook of their choice. Other than being a creative tool, collaborating with Dilek also shed a unique angle to the notebook as a fashion accessory. And honestly, most of the job was building trust and comfort with them so that the unique personality of each person would come across.
— Finding the right people
Obviously, the most crucial element of this project was picking the right people. We consciously (or unconsciosly) went for young Turkish creatives –just like Elif and Dilek– working in various fields of art and design –as various as possible. These were important, because a) we wanted to create an organic lateral network. So reaching out to people in our existing outer circles that we were directly or indirectly connected to allowed a very honest and unpretentious look into each person. And b) this variety created a selection of personalities, creative personas, personal styles and a rich visual diversity. This was a representative of the selection of Muk’s products. We also went on to write a short essay about each person as a thank you to the generosity of each person.
— Global locals
Inspired by Muk’s strapline “Notebooks for creative minds, toys for big boys (and girls)”, the series were shared on social media with #forcreativeminds. Of course, Muk had the clear business objective to grow their network, and position itself as a brand creatives went to. However, we also wanted this to be a living, breathing project. The photography series were developed as part of Muk Design’s social media campaign that took place in 2013, meeting our objectives successfully. However, in retrospect, limiting this to a local network also has a sentimental meaning to our expat business. Being connected to our artistic roots, building a network of Turkish creatives has much higher potential than we anticipated at the time.