Salt Research
Graphic Design Archive

Focusing on the development of resources related to art, architecture, design, city, society, and economy, Salt has explored the connections and intersections between various disciplines since its foundation. The archives developed over the years have paved the way for a collection on graphic design at Salt Research.

Initiated in 2023, the Graphic Design Archive brings together documents from the professional and personal archives of experts who have contributed to the evolution of graphic design in Turkey since the 20th century. This archival work aims to create a basis for research on the actors and diversity of perspectives in the field, in addition to studies that situate the history of graphic design within local and international contexts. It also intends to re-evaluate related sources that are indirectly included in the Salt Research archives.

This comprehensive work begins with digitizing and cataloging the archives of Sadık Karamustafa and Bülent Erkmen. Tracing Erkmen and Karamustafa’s production from the 1960s to the present, as well as the design and cultural environment they are part of, these collections constitute the first phase of Salt’s research projects that will address the course of graphic design in Turkey in light of political, social, and cultural dynamics.

Erkmen and Karamustafa’s archives include resources on the designers’ professional practice, their work within the Association of Graphic Designers in Turkey (GMK), art and design projects that they conceptualized, their correspondence, photographs, ephemeras, sketches, and notebooks, related news and criticism in the press, interviews, and recordings of radio and television programs. The archives will be accessible online via in the fall of 2024, accompanied by an exhibition, public programs, and e-publications.

About Bülent Erkmen
Bülent Erkmen graduated from the Department of Graphic Arts at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul (today Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University) in 1972. He worked as the secretary general of the State Film Archive between 1968-1973. From 1980 to 1995, he continued his professional work at Reklamevi, where he was a founding partner, and in 1995, he founded BEK Design and Consultancy. Between 1975-2015, he was a faculty member at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University. A member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI) and the Association of Graphic Designers in Turkey (GMK), Erkmen has received over a hundred awards in exhibitions and competitions in Turkey and abroad. His works have been included in various publications and museum collections in France, Switzerland, the USA, Germany, Finland, and Poland. He has realized a number of personal projects that foreground an experimental and interdisciplinary approach and featured his works in exhibitions and publications that survey his production since the 1990s. In addition to graphic design, Erkmen continues to work in the fields of brand consultancy, three-dimensional object design, exhibition and set design.

About Sadık Karamustafa
Born in 1946 in Yalıköy, Fatsa, Sadık Karamustafa studied graphic design at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul (today Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University). He completed his master’s and doctorate studies at the same university and worked for publishing houses, advertising agencies, and theatres until establishing his studio in 1979. In 2001, he founded Karamustafa Tasarım with Ayşe Karamustafa. From 1989 to 2013, he was a faculty member at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University. He has realized several projects on exhibition, publication, and institutional identity design in various fields, ranging from archaeology and art to architecture and literature. He has participated in exhibitions in Turkey and abroad and served as a jury member in local and international design competitions. Since 1995, he has been the design consultant for Tüyap Book and Art Fairs. He was the chief curator of the Frankfurt Book Fair Guest of Honour Turkey project in 2008 and a founding member of the Museum of the Princes’ Islands in 2010. He worked in various roles at the Association of Graphic Designers in Turkey (GMK) from 1982 and served as the vice president of the International Council of Design (IcoD) for two terms between 1995-1999. In 1997, Karamustafa became the first graphic designer from Turkey to be elected as a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI). The same year, he launched “Grafist: Istanbul Graphic Design Days,” the first international event on design education in Istanbul. He continues his work in Istanbul, Ayvalık, and Berlin.