Lean Into Criticism
Senior Design Lead at Revolve Impact
by Elizabeth Lavis|
02 Aug 2023
Efe Ozalp, Senior Design Lead at Revolve Impact, embraces something that many people dread and try to avoid; harsh criticism. “I love it,” he says. “Even though it’s sometimes hard to take in, it makes me grow better. I even ask my team to be harsher when the time comes rather than sugarcoating things so as not to hurt my feelings. This is not about me or my feelings.” Ozalp’s portfolio prominently features text that reads “Let’s Create A New Revolution,” and his work is almost certainly that with bold designs that are jarring in the best possible way and deliberately wrought.
It’s a fresh style that fits in well with one of Ozalp’s guiding principles. “Find your own style of doing things,” he says. “Stick to it, and get influenced by people around you that have no ego.” Ozalp started his design career dreaming up gig posters and fliers for local bars. “From there, I realized my passion was to be on the side of visual creation,” he says.
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Although that passion crystallized through his early design work, Ozalp always had the eye and inclination. “I was very attracted to video games, movies, rock ‘n roll music, and playing Legos since early youth,” he says. “The combination of these things and my imagination took me closer to discovering the visual side of the world.” Ozalp hit his stride and started to grow by getting out of his comfort zone. “I moved out of my safe space,” he says. “As a designer, you need to go out, see the world, interact with people, taste new cultures, and find more meaning in life.”
Ozalp, originally from Istanbul, Turkiye, has spent the last nine years in the United States, where he continues to be inspired by some of his childhood loves. “My biggest influences were photography and video games,” he says. “But album covers, and movie posters were another huge influence. They still have a big place in my heart.”
For Ozalp, great design all boils down to a solid plan. “Strategy comes first,” he says. “For me, it’s very important to understand the project and client that I’m working with. Knowing my team and my own capability are key.” Ozalp loves making multiple mood boards so he can come up with innovative solutions. “Don’t be shy about adding alternatives to your designs and solutions,” he says.
He also credits a great team for helping him create some of his best work. “I don’t see my job as a job,” he says. “I see it as a way to communicate with the world I live in. I love what I do with a great passion, and I want to create more. Finding the right environment and team are very important.”
Ozalp also sees AI as something that will create inevitable waves in the design world. “I think that it will be a tool every designer needs to make friends with,” he says. “Virtual reality will change many of the ways we interact and user interface. Are we living in a simulation? I hope not.”
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