Behind the Design: Bijan Berahimi of FISK
GIVE US THE BOILER PLATER, WHAT DO YOU TELL YOUR RELATIVES FISK IS AT HOLIDAY FUNCTIONS?
We do a lot of things, so it’s always been tough to answer this question. I am thankful to have started my career at Nike because it’s made it so much easier to explain to parents what I do. Graphic design helps sell products. We help make advertisements, magazines, books, and packaging for any industry—that’s the generic answer. I’ve been looking inwards to my Iranian heritage more and more for projects—like creating a clothing collection for the Iranian new year, Nowruz. Or I am working with Iranian artists and makers on cultural projects.
These types of creative decisions have made it a lot easier to showcase and describe to my larger family the nuances of what I do—and allow them to be much more connected and invested.
SEEING YOUR WORK IN THE WILD IS ALWAYS A TRIP, WHAT’S THE CRAZIEST PLACE YOU’VE SEEN SOMETHING YOU’VE WORKED ON?
It was my first project out of school: I worked in Brand Design at Nike on the creative for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. I helped make a bespoke font for the entire campaign, which at the moment seemed like a tiny piece of it. I had no idea it would be used all around the world. Seeing photos of the font used in Africa to South America to Asia to Europe to my exit to work at Nike in Portland really showed me how accessible graphic design can be and how much of a team effort projects of this scale are.
YOUR TEAM HAS TOUCHED ALBUM COVERS LIKE ALICIA KEYS, CLAIRO, TORO Y MOI, PORCHES, AND MORE. WHAT’S THE PROCESS OF MATCHING VISUALS TO A SOUND?
Making music is such an emotional and personal process. We need to match that energy in a visual and physical experience—from vinyl packaging to lyric videos to a billboard. It’s an abstract process, picking typefaces, layouts, animations, and treatments to match the tone and quality of the music and what’s influential and impactful to the artist at the moment. It’s about their past, present, and future all at once.
CONGRATS ON LAUNCHING JOON MAGAZINE LAST YEAR THAT SEEMS LIKE PART PASSION PROJECT THAT GREW TO BE A FULL-ON PUBLICATION. HOW DID THE IDEA COME TO BE?
The magazine is an artifact of living in Portland for the past eight years. It’s how I experience the city as a generalist—someone who is deeply curious about art, food, fashion, and everything in between. This is what’s inside the magazine: Life, which the word Joon translates to in Farsi. The goal was to make a graphic design magazine that wasn’t about graphic design. A photography magazine that was about photography: as much as I love graphic design and photography, it’s more so about how it provides a unique lens on life for me.
ONE THING THAT STANDS OUT ABOUT FISK’S WORK IMMEDIATELY IS HOW COLORFUL IT IS. HOW DO YOU FIND COLOR INSPIRATION?
Color is such a powerful tool to express emotions. My color inspiration is rooted in my childhood watching Disney movies, cartoons, and basketball. I admired everything from logos to jerseys for broadcasting graphics. I also grew up surrounded by Iranian textiles and ceramics, which are heavily decorated objects. Everything was always super colorful, so I’ve never shied away from using it in our work. Also, rainbows are one of the most remarkable occurrences in the world to me—they make me smile every time I see them, so why not share that beauty with others?
FAVORITE KICKS OF ALL TIME? Nike Air Max 180 Germany Camo
TIE-DYE, HERE TO STAY? Yes.
FAVORITE ALBUM TO DESIGN TO DATE? Toro y Moi – Outer Peace
COFFEE SHOP ORDER? Cortado
MUST HAVES FOR YOUR OFFICE DESK? FISK Artist 01 Mousepad and our studio dog, Charlie.
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