Eren came into a bit of fame when he won our much-hyped Community Contest for a redesign of the Charlotte Hornets’ logo this past December, but in fact he has been impressing clients on 99designs with his branding work and beautifully illustrated logos since 2010. And it’s not even his day job.


Name: Eren Gürbüz
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
99designs handle: Eren G.

Your bio already tells something of a story: “Actually, I am a mechanical engineer (who loves finding ideas and turning them into one good-looking design).” How does an engineer come into graphic design?

Actually, I have been keen on designing since an early age. I started drawing at elementary school and, years later, I improved my talent and became an illustrator while I was studying mechanical engineering. So illustration really came first.

I joined 99designs after one of my friends told me that I could easily work with worldwide customers. That idea, that you can work for any client and any brief you like, appealed to me right away. It’s brilliant.

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Are there any moments in your career on 99designs that really stand out?

Yes, the Charlotte Hornets Community Contest. It was a very exciting contest — lots of brilliant designs; a real challenge. When I heard about the contest, I put a pen to paper immediately but my first design didn’t turn out as I had hoped.


Eren’s first entry to the Charlotte Hornets contest

So, I kept pushing myself to create a brand new concept, based on what I observed from the brief and other, existing NBA team logos. I think this exercise helped me take my style to the next level: more simple, more stylized and more compact. Going through this process was an amazing experience for me.

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Eren’s final, winning design of the Charlotte Hornets logo is more compact and stylish

What’s it like being in Istanbul, from a designer’s perspective? Are there many creative things going on to inspire you?

Living in Istanbul is like living in 5 different cities at the same time, a very colorful and dynamic place to live. From designer’s perspective, there are lots of events like concerts, exhibitions, workshops, film festivals almost everyday, so you can always find something creative to feed on.

Our latest generation is proving to be particularly special and creative. You might see a couple of guys playing guitar and drums with their amplifiers on their back in the middle of the night, or some very creative and funny graffiti on the streets. As I said: very colorful, very dynamic place to live.

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Are you still working full-time as an engineer? What are your professional aspirations?

Yes, I am working full-time as an engineer at Mitsubishi Electric Turkey’s sales department. But I see my design work as an emerging alternative profession, like engineering. It is very challenging to deal with both, but I have to say that I love pushing myself to expand my limits. I am learning a lot from both professions and my whole purpose is to merge them in future.

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What do you mean by that?

Well, engineering is a very serious job that requires analytical thinking, management and, for sales, interpersonal skills. You have to be in touch with lots of customers and team mates everyday. Designing, on the other hand, is mostly a one-man-job and requires creative thinking, a unique perspective and talent. So, the working process and requirements of these two jobs are not at all similar, and concentrating on both jobs in a single day is very challenging. I’m proud that I am capable of doing both. That makes me feel well-rounded.

As for “merging” them, what I mean is that both professions require important skills that can be helpful in business. For example, I can imagine the cooperative “engineer” mentality and the individually creative “designer” mentality being fused in certain jobs, like advertising or brand management. Maybe that is where my future lies.