Meet Maryam Mehrabadi, our Graphic Design Intern. An MFA student from Tehran, Maryam is studying Communication Design at Kent State University and will be graduating at the end of this year. Fun fact: In high school, she studied biology and even won a National Prize in Biology. Originally wanting to be a doctor (as her father wanted her to be), at 17 years old she turned from biology and moved to art; a decision that would ultimately bring her here, to TWIST. Here’s more from Maryam, in her own words.
Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer
Tyler: Tell me a little bit about your background.
Maryam: You know, I come from a different culture with a different perspective on life, beauty, art, and just about everything! Persian art has one of the richest art heritages in world history: including architecture, painting, weaving, pottery, calligraphy, metalworking, and sculpture. And when you come from this background, your point of view on design is so different.
Life and design are so colorful and full of amazing patterns, but the contemporary design world is so minimal and different. You have to find a way to make a balance between your background and what you know and grew up with as art — what the U.S. society accepts as design, what this society needs, and what is right! It’s not an easy thing to do and I’m still trying to find that balance.
TWIST is a great opportunity for me because it helps me find out the best way to overcome these challenges. Here, I have to step out of my comfort zone. I have to find a way to design with a Persian mind for American eyes! I haven’t found the best way to mix my Persian art and background with American design yet, but I know whenever I find that way, I will become a much stronger designer.
Tyler: What do you enjoy most about your time at TWIST?
Maryam: I love how Mike thinks and analyzes the brands we are working with. I love how Connie looks at design. I admire Charlene in how she’s managing this agency. I love how Stef is managing things and is like a mom here. And I’m so grateful for the opportunity to learn from everyone. I hope I learn more about brand strategy, how to identify what our clients need, and how to constantly make new ideas and form new concepts. I feel I need to learn these while I’m here so I can have my own agency back home some day.
Tyler: Favorite shape and color?
Maryam: My favorite shapes are the Persian carpet patterns. Those patterns are like heaven to me!
I think this is a symbol color of Persian Art and it always feels like home.
Tyler: Tea or Coffee?
Maryam: Iran is one of the world’s great tea-drinking nations. And it’s interesting because Iranian’s first drink was coffee for centuries before the Chinese brought tea leaves to Iran and addicted us to it! It is served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and throughout the day. But the difference is you drink tea with sugar for breakfast, but you drink tea with sugar cubes during the day. Drinking tea is related to my deepest memories of my home, family, grandparents. And whenever I drink it, or even I smell it I feel like I’m with them. And when Stef (Stefanie D’Angelo, Director of Operations) found out about it she bought tea bags and sugar cubes for me. Since then, all mornings at TWIST have been so special!
Tyler: What do you do during your time off?
Maryam: During my time off I read a lot of books about literature and cultural studies. My aunt, a few friends, and I are reading Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings which is a long epic poem written by the Persian poet Ferdowsi between c. 977 and 1010 CE and is the national epic of Greater Iran. Consisting of some 50,000 “distichs” or couplets, the Shahnameh is one of the world’s longest epic poems.
Tyler: What do you miss most about home?
Maryam: I miss my soul! Sometimes I feel I lost my soul. I miss my mom’s hug, my dad’s laughs, and my brother’s face; I miss the dinners and all of us being together while my mom cooked; I miss the smell of Barbari’s bread in the early morning with a glass of tea and cheese; I miss my grandparent’s house; I miss Tehran’s sunsets; I miss everything. And I miss hearing people talk Persian in the streets – it’s like a piece of music for me.
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