Find Your Voice and Keep on Working

Freelance Designer

by Elizabeth Lavis


31 Jul 2023

Gold in Magazine & Newspaper Design for Social Change 2022
“I can’t live without my laptop, the internet, Adobe products and my sketchbook”

The best advice Augusta University Assistant Professor of Design Ghazal Foroutan can give aspiring designers is to find their voices and keep on working. Foroutan, an Iranian designer and educator,  started to hone her voice early and has worked on rising through the field ever since. “In my early teenage years, I thought I wanted to be an actor, but after age 16, I definitely knew I wanted to be a designer.” 

Foroutan is a renowned designer and Indigo Design Award winner with a BFA in Graphic Design from Tehran’s Alzahra University. After a two-year stint at Studio Shizaru, Foroutan got her MFA in Graphic Design from Oklahoma State University, with a thesis on design activism and women’s rights in Iran. In addition to acting as the foundation of her thesis, Foroutan’s home country provides a lot of inspiration for her current design work. “I’m from Tehran, Iran,” she says. “Iran and its history have always been a great source of inspiration to me. I always try to look back and be inspired for future projects.” 

women of tomorrow

In addition to working hard and finding your unique design voice, Foroutan also advocates for newer designers to get involved with competitions and do a lot of networking to build their base and portfolios. “I think design competitions such as Indigo Design Award can help designers get more exposure to the design industry and build their resume to get better jobs or promotions, hopefully,” she says.

Foroutan discovered her love of design when she went to art school at age 16 and decided to go to art school to pursue the field. She strongly believes that design needs to convey a clear message to the end user. “The most important aspect of a design is sending a message to the viewers, whether it is visually pleasing or prompts them to recognize a more serious cause to help change a specific matter in the world,” she says.

Foroutan likes to stay nimble and inspired in her work by focusing on multiple projects at the same time. “I jump from one project to another to stretch my design muscles so I can go back to each one with a fresh mind and make some changes,” she says. Her preferred tools of the trade are simple, standard, and trustworthy. “I can’t live without my laptop, the internet, Adobe products, and my sketchbook,” she says. 

While Foroutan continues to inspire young minds and work with a variety of different clients, she still stays true to her roots and wants to make a real and positive change in the world. The passion for creating a brighter tomorrow propels her in her personal life and through work. “I’m driven by the hope for a better future and creating something that has never been done before or that has a great impact socially,” she says. 

Submit your work for Indigo Design Award competition


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