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$1,437 pledged of $10,000 goal
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By Pouya Jahanshahi / AIGA
$1,437 pledged of $10,000 goal
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About this project

We need your help to raise $10,000 to cover all the expenses for curation, delivery, promotion and the exhibition / cultural exchange featuring the works of contemporary Iranian designers; for the first time in the United States! 

This will be hosted at AIGA's National Design Center Gallery, New York and travel nationally across the United States.

Beyond Geo-Politics: Opportunities for U.S. audiences to view contemporary Iranian art and design are rare - due to unfortunate geo-political issues. Beyond Borders gives American audience chance to experience a culture, people and letter forms that are often misunderstood, but admired throughout the globe. It’s is a great event for designers, educators, and anyone interested in cultural exchange. 

Cultural Gateway: As an event that shares Iranian design culture, we believe this will be one the most important – if not the most important – to hit the United States in the next few years. We believe it will become a gateway for cross cultural communication and collaboration amongst our cultures and design communities, and set a path for the longterm.

Hybrid Language: Highlighting the convergence of digital design tools, new technology, ubiquitous social networks, limitless globalism and age-old cultural traditions, Beyond Borders is a survey of Iranian poster designs that have been completed in the last ten years. The work is an exciting hybrid that is equal parts past, present, and future.

A National Event: The exhibition will be initially hosted in the United States at the American Institute of Graphic Arts’ (AIGA) National Design Center in New York. Opportunities will follow to travel the exhibition nationally to a museum across the nation.

The Beyond Borders exhibit – is NOT a political event – is designed to help promote an open dialogue and exchange of design and cultural ideas. As designers, we understand the value in uncommon interaction and we are structuring this event with several key points in mind:

  • Iranian design and typography have an incredibly rich history of artistic achievement that spans hundreds of years, built on one of the most influential ancient civilizations. 
  • Persian typefaces have only recently been digitized, resulting in a new diversity of typographic treatments across Iranian graphic design, bringing fresh perspectives to letterforms and typography.
  • Emerging technological trends including social media are adding a new layer of interaction in the Iranian design community, building connections and influences between artists and cultures beyond geographic borders.
  • A unique opportunity for designers, educators, and lovers of culture alike. Such an event may not be seen for years to come!

We have a terrific opportunity to be the first design exhibition here in the United States focused on how the rapid adoption of technology in both life and in the design profession is affecting artists and designers in Iran - and create a cultural dialog and bridge, like never before.

Curatorial process:

Our goal is to select between 75 and 100 posters that have been designed within the past ten years for exhibition. We are doing this by reaching out to designers and educators in Iran and encouraging them to personally submit and suggest designers whose work should be submitted to the curatorial committee. Once the work has been selected we will arrange for the original printed posters to be carefully collected, packaged and shipped to New York for exhibition preparation and installation. 

Curatorial committee:

Steven Heller is the co-founder and co-chair of the MFA Designer as Author program at the School of Visual Arts, New York. Heller has been a contributing editor to Print, Eye, Baseline, Neshan and ID magazines and has had written hundreds of articles, critical essays, and columns for many design and culture journals. Heller is author, co-author, and/or editor of over 130 books on design and popular culture. For over 30 years, Heller was an art director at The New York Times and editor of AIGA VOICE: Online Journal of Design. He was the recipient of the AIGA Medal for Lifetime Achievement in 1999.

Mirko Ilić was born in Bosnia, and established himself as an accomplished European-based designer, art directing numerous posters, record covers, and books. In 1991, Mirko Ilic became art director of the international edition of Times magazine. The next year he became art director of the New York Times Op-Ed pages. With Milton Glaser, Ilić has taught advanced design classes at the Cooper Union and currently teaches masters degree classes in illustration at the School of Visual Arts. Ilic has written several books including Genius Moves: 100 Icons of Graphic Design, Handwritten, and The Anatomy of Design. He established Mirko Ilić Corp. in 1995 as a multidisciplinary studio specializing in graphic design, 3D animation, motion picture titles, and illustration and has received recognition from the Art Directors Club, ID Magazine, Print Magazine, HOW magazine, the Society of Newspaper Design, and more. 

Majid Abbasi Award winning Iranian Graphic Designer, he is a Partner & Art director At Did Graphics as well as faculty of Design at local and international Universities. A more recent venture has seen the launch of Neshan, the Iranian graphic design magazine for which Abbasi sits on the editorial board as editor-in-chief, while he is also a founder of The 5th Color, a collective formed by what he describes as “the new generation of Iranian graphic designers”. Abbasi’s work has been published in numerous international magazines, books, and many national and international exhibitions, winning numerous awards across the globe. He is a member of the prestigious Alliance Graphique International (AGI) since 2009.

Nahid Tootoonchi is an Iranian American graphic designer and educator. She received her undergraduate degree in graphic design in England and her MFA in Communication Art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has worked as an senior designer and art director for institutions such as Kaiser Permanente, National Geographic and the Nature Conservancy. She is an Associate professor and coordinator of the graphic design program at Towson University. Tootoonchi’s research focus is the graphic design of Iran, particularly its style and subject matter, and the approach to this technologically fast-moving discipline. Tootoonchi has curated Beneath the Surface : Poster Exhibition from Iran, and has also written and lectured extensively nationally and internationally on this subject. 

Amos Klausner worked with the curator of architecture and design at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art before accepting the position of director of the San Francisco chapter of AIGA. From the high-profile Design Lecture Series and its world-renowned speakers to Compose a modern, a leading conference on sustainability in design, Klausner worked to provide opportunities for inspiration, engagement, and education. After leaving AIGA, Klausner published Heath Ceramics: the Complexity of Simplicity. He also served as editor of Font magazine and has written articles and editorial pieces for Dwell magazine, CMYK magazine, Core 77.com others. In 2011, he curated the graphic design exhibition Getting Upper at the Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA). 

Anne Jackson is an independent designer in Pittsburgh, PA. With over ten years’ experience, Anne’s areas of focus includes information design and content development to create websites that are useful and a delight to use. While holding an MA from Carnegie Mellon University, she earned her BA in French from the University of California at Los Angeles – including one year at Université Paul Valéry in Montpellier, France. She has written for Usability Interface and is a member of AIGA and ACM. Before coming to Pittsburgh, Anne taught  interdisciplinary and information technology courses at Bellevue College, near Seattle, Washington.

Pouya Jahanshahi is a Graduate of CalArts (MFA) in Graphic Design & Integrated Media. and is currently Assistant professor of Graphic design at Oklahoma State University (OSU). An Iranian born Graphic designer, and academician, migrating from Iran to England and then United States, he considers himself a global citizen. He has presented on such related issues internationally including ATypI (Association Typographique Internationale™ ) and IGDS (Iranian Graphic Design Society) amongst others. Under the mentorship of Ed Fella and Lorraine Wild his thesis research focused on the global development of what he has termed "Hybrid Visual Cultures": where cross-pollination of cultures have resulted in the birth of new visual realms and typographic forms.More recently his curatorial debut with fellow CalArtian Maece Seirafi entitled "Local / Not Local" has received acclaimed reviews (Print Mag, Kalimat:Art+Culture, Al Arte ). Mr. Jahanshahi has held the Academic and Cross-Cultural Chairs at AIGA O.C. (Orange County, Calif.) He expresses his passion for the beauty of Calligraphy and Typography in local and international collaborative projects, while serving his professional clientele through his studio, XpatStudio.com.

Andrew Twigg runs an independent design consultancy focused on brand strategy and strategic web design. Prior to running his own business, Andrew lived in Chicago where he worked at startups and in agencies with established brands. He is an adjunct faculty member with the Carnegie Mellon University School of Design, teaching web design. Andrew served for two years as President of AIGA Pittsburgh, and sits on the Board of Directors for DesignInquiry, a conference-alternative design research organization. He has written for AIGA Voice and Under Consideration, and has published international articles in DesignTaxi and AIGA Speaks, China. 

Our funding request 

We're trying to raise $10,000 to cover all of the costs related to coordinating production and hosting the Beyond Borders exhibition. 

Your support will help us cover the following costs:

  • Designing and printing and of the collateral related to the exhibition
  • Poster collection and shipment from Iran to the United States
  • Exhibition invitations to, printed catalog, Website design and hosting
  • Installation and gallery preparation, including painting, implementing a professional exhibition display system for the display of graphic design posters, wall graphics etc.
  • Production and design of Kick-starter rewards, including limited edition screen printed posters, and handbills.
  • Producing an opening reception – people love wine and cheese! Yes, Everyone is invited!
  • A VIP event to thank our top contributors for being part of history! 
  • Promotions for the exhibition to Travel around the United States and educate students and professionals alike.

Our Wish List: We hope that our funding will exceed our goal, and allow us to invite and host one or more world renowned Iranian graphic designers to present a lecture in association with the exhibition, and join the receptions.

Risks and challenges

Every project has its share of risks and challenges. After thorough consultations with AIGA and our curatorial committee, we believe we are ready to move forward with an exhibition that is positioned for success. The biggest concern we have is the safe transit of posters from Iran to the United States. This isn't a concern born out of political tensions (shipments from Iran arrive regularly in the United States via couriers like DHL). We want to make sure that the material is packaged properly and shipped according to our high standards for safe arrival. It's a valid concern and one that we will carefully address as posters start making their way onto our shores.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    EXHIBITION SUPPORTER: Receive Facebook shout-out and thank you. You will have an official permanent presence in the event catalog to record your participation. That's not all! You will receive an official AIGA Sketchbook, as a thank you gift for your support. [ All donations are 100% tax-deductible ]

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    EXHIBITION DEVOTEE: Receive all the benefits of a $10 pledge. Furthermore, we will send you a limited edition, 8"x10" screen printed exhibition handbill to commemorate this landmark event. [ All donations are 100% tax-deductible ]

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    EXHIBITION LIFE-LINE: Receive all the benefits of a $35 pledge, in addition to a presence on the official donors list banner. Also, you will receive a limited edition commemorative screen printed exhibition poster (18" x 24") created by renowned Iranian designer Majid Abbasi to celebrate this Landmark Event!
    [ All donations are 100% tax-deductible ]

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    SILVER PARTNER: Receive all the benefits of a $100 pledge. In addition, you will receive a full color printed exhibition catalog commemorating the artists and posters present in this landmark event! [ All donations are 100% tax-deductible ]

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    GOLD PARTNER: Enjoy all of the benefits of a $250 pledge, in addition you will have a large name or corporate logo recognition on the exhibition wall, all collateral, as well as the exhibition catalog. Furthermore, you will receive invitation to a special "Partner Reception" meeting with artists and curators. [ All donations are 100% tax-deductible ]

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    PLATINUM PARTNER: Receive a prestigious "Platinum Partner Credit" and the largest most prominent presence for you or your company on the main exhibition wall, all collateral, as well as the exhibition catalog. Yes, all this, in addition to all the benefits of a $500 pledge! [ All donations are 100% tax-deductible ]

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Funding period

- (31 days)