Neshan Magazine-8-Winter 2006
Saed Meshki: The topic of focus in this issue of Neshan is about logo design but let's talk about you.
Majid Balouch: I studied sociology and social sciences . But I was really interested in graphic design so I pursued it professionally. I have studied the works of masters, some older works and those of international graphic designers and have learned a lot from them.
SM: How long have you been seriously and professionally pursuing graphic design?
MB: One day professor Momayez made a remark that I have to this day remembered. While introducing me he said: "This man has only been doing graphic design for 40 years and has not evaded to any otherwork." I have only been pursuing graphic
design for the past 45 years. Even when the work situation was interrupted I still went after publishing and books and never left my profession.
SM: At what age did you start your work then?
MB: Since I was 21, immediately after I received my diploma I started working in the international division of fine arts office at ministry of culture. Many present day graphic designer pioneers were young men in their twenties then and worked with the office of fine arts. I was working in a section that was in charge of holding the biennials. A foreign journalist saw my personal works in the fine arts office and encouraged me and offered that we work together. I worked with him in Universal institute for one year. At the same time Mr. Nemati in Ziba studio also offered me to work with him. Ziba at the time was the biggest advertising agency in the country. I continued with my studies while working at Ziba agency.
SM: I have always had a question in mind. Your spirit and manners deems you to be a very cultured character. How did you get in to advertising?
MB: I really liked advertising because of its excitements and dynamics. Plus, many factors were involved in drawing me to that. My father was an ordinary employee but he had a very nice handwriting and he taught me and my siblings the lesson of love. As a result he was not a wealthy man. The situation then required that some pursue cultural works such as book and magazine publishing and some work in the advertising profession. Besides, I have never despised advertising and do not see any contradiction between cultural and advertising work. I am not discontented about having worked in advertising agencies for so long because I gained many experiences and I am gratified that I can convey the aspiration to the next generations that commercial work can complement cultural works. I had hoped that commercial graphic design would some day prevail and the people in the advertising profession would realize that by giving liberty to the graphic designers in their work, great changes would emerge. I still believe that if those in charge of advertising would support such biennials the changes that commercial graphic design is awaiting would actually take place.
SM: Your generation has been through the pre and post computer age. I think it would be good to talk about how you arrived at an idea and its execution at that time. What procedures did it go through? Was it a team work?
MB: I did not work in Ziba's design studio for more than six months. Later, me and a colleague who was a copy writer moved to a separate room and started working together. Sometimes he expressed an idea and I did the execution. Other times I would come up with an idea and he would write a suitable motto based on that. I can say that we had started a serious current in the field of advertising. At the beginning the creative and execution was done within the same group. Whoever did the preliminary creative also executed it but this exercise was changed after a short time and the creative was separated from execution. Perhaps they realized in Ziba that my execution capabilities were not as good as my creative ideas.
SM: Who were Ziba studio's competitors?
MB: A few times groups branched out of Ziba studio. Some of them formed Avazeh and some Gooya agencies. Avazeh asked me to work with them and I went there. Those years the society was rapidly changing and you could sense the speed of change. Avazeh studio was therefore more up to date. I met Hooshang Kazemi. He saw my works and gave me guidance that I have kept in mind to date. Those days I was studying social sciences but that wasn't important to me. I was drenched in graphic design and advertising. Many of my colleagues were in contact with what was going on abroad in terms of graphic design. They brought different graphic design books. Conventions and joint seminars were held with foreign graphic designers. And all of that was causing new change.
SM: What about Bahrami studio? Wasn't that Avazeh's competitor?
MB: When colleagues such as Morteza Momayez were working in Bahrami studio I was in the faculty of fine arts. But Bahrami was an art and cultural studio whereas Avazeh was an advertising agency. Yet colleagues such as Alex worked in both places and were capable of doing both.
SM: I have seen a collection of your works. Many of them although were made according to print quality then but they look pretty modern. How were these made? How did you get along with your clients then?
MB: The party that did the negotiations with clients was the agency owners. The studio
door was closed and entry was prohibited. We were very isolated and work was done behind closed doors. Our liaisons between the agency and the client were people who worked with us and were able to well communicate our opinion to the client and vice versa.