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Educational institutions


The formal graphic design education commenced with the establishment of the Poster Art Studio in connection with the Department of Decorative Arts in 1927 at the Istanbul Fine Arts Academy. The Australian educator Erik Weber was positioned here. In 1957 Turkey’s first design school was opened, the Istanbul School of Applied Arts, in collaboration with a team of educators mostly from Germany. In the 1970s, graphic arts education commenced in some state universities. In Istanbul, The School of Industrial Arts (UESYO) was opened in connection with the Academy. The State Fine Arts Academy was re-named Mimar Sinan University in 1982 and could not really exert its presence in graphic arts education until the late 1980s. After the UESYO was closed down at the end of the ‘80s, its teachers with their backgrounds in professional design practice transferred to the Academy, which as a result caused a raise in the quality of education there. The School of Applied Arts, which was initially established solely to give an education in design [It was later conjoined with Marmara University and renamed The Faculty of Fine Arts), became a forerun institution in the training of good designers.

The Further Education Council, which was established after the military coup in 1980, decreed that all Turkish universities would be centrally administered under one umbrella organization. This caused universities to lose their independent status. After a while, private universities were permitted to operate alongside state universities.

Today graphic design education is offered in many educational institutions, run both by the state and the private sector. The quality of education these schools give or claim to give is seriously flawed or lacking. Some schools consider graphic design education as a simple course in operating various software programs. There are schools that only manifest an interest in digital media and claim that graphic design is no more than that.

The work on graphic design history and theory is still in its very early days in Turkey. There are only a few authors, critics or academics that are professionally involved or at least interested in the research. Aykut Köksal, Esen Karol, Ömer Durmaz, İlhan Bilge, Tevfik Fikret Uçar, Namık Kemal Sarıkavak, Dilek Bektaş, Bülent Erkmen, Sinan Niyazioğlu, Emre Senan and Yurdaer Altıntaş are some of the very few professionals and academics who do research, publish papers and produce work in this field.