By rizeabove / / We’re back this week with more 32 Under 32 interviews. Next up is Anne Ulku, freelance graphic designer and illustrator. Stay tuned in the next couple of weeks for more. Congrats on being selected for 32 under 32. The judges have reviewed and scored every entry, looking for professionals who really go above and beyond in their work. How do you think you approach your job differently than other people? Thank you! I’m not sure how it differs from how others approach, work but I do have the same questions come up a lot about being a freelancer—and those are questions around how I stay motivated. I approach each project as an opportunity to grow, a chance to make a difference, a way to challenge myself. Sometimes a logo project is just a logo design—but it’s better to think of it as opportunity for growth for both you as a designer/creative, and the client. What is motivating to me is the constant stream of competition with yourself to always make something better than the last and to always keep improving and perfecting. I never like to feel comfortable at a certain level of expertise—it’s important that my career will always be pushing me. What kind of accounts/projects do you currently work on? Currently I’m working on a few personal side projects and collaborations, including: a design/type book about lemons, an animation/videogame/VR experience about an abstract universe, a t-shirt for The Shirt Show, a zine in collaboration with some college workshops I organized. As well as quite a few projects, big and small—branding for a local honey company, illustrations for a healthcare client, a Minneapolis Parks board political campaign logo, an infographic on plant-based diets, a logo for a local massage studio, books for photographers, planning for a couple future murals —and a slew of other random projects and proposals. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? As an independent, working freelance allows you to learn a lot on your own. Which means making a lot of mistakes, but it’s the best way to get through and experience as much as you can. The best advice I think I’ve gotten is to always learn from these mistakes—to not dwell on negativity or mishaps, but to accept it as a way to only go up from there. What gets you excited to come to work every day? The work gets me excited, and so does the mysteriousness of what may or may not come today or tomorrow, or next week. Even though a challenge, having to do all the work on my own is such a reward. I love starting projects, the process, connecting with clients, seeking out new opportunities, or creating my own. The daily hustle, though at times overwhelming, is a constant reminder that I am so lucky to be able to do what I love for a living. What has been some of your proudest work? Naturally I would think to name drop some of the large custom projects I’ve worked on with Target, Porsche, Gerber, HP, Mattel, Nickelodeon, etc. But I actually feel most proud about some of my side projects and collaborations. One of the first collaborations, Six Word Story Every Day, has a special place because it helped me transition, improve and guide me down new avenues. Who is one person who has helped you get where you are? Or, one person you really look up to? There is definitely not just one. First and foremost, my parents who are extremely supportive, encouraging and influential to me as a creative and entrepreneur. Having gone to MCAD, we were blessed to have such amazing faculty and professors—there are a lot of influential memories that have stuck with me throughout the years. There have been many others along the way. Part of being solo is the benefit of encountering a number of influential clients and creatives throughout your career. Anything you want to say to the Minnesota advertising, PR, marketing community? I’m honored to be a part of such an incredible creative community here in Minneapolis. The talent, people, resources and vibe of this city are constantly outdoing themselves. Let’s keep inspiring each other and making things together.
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