So what were his design discoveries in India? The crowd and the clutter. Not just India’s roads, but magazines, newspapers and advertisements seemed crowded too. “The layouts have a lot going on. I think India has no place for minimalistic design right now.”
His project has exposed him to the nuances of design firms the world over. “In Thailand, I learned that an agency must be as professional as the client. Saying yes to everything that a client says doesn’t bring any success. We would unplug the office phones after 6 pm so that the client respects our working hours. I discovered that there are similarities and common problems in the design industry, no matter where you go,” he says.
Can design change the world then?
“Design can make things user-friendly, easier to understand, and make them better looking, but in the end, it is not going to change the world. But yes, some years ago, a study showed that better signage helped decrease traffic accidents. Redesigned fonts for traffic signs made them more readable from a distance,” says Cankaya.
Having travelled to 15 countries, he infers, “I think there are good and bad designs, and designers everywhere. People often ask which country has the best design environment. I don’t think it’s about countries, it’s about people.” Cankaya is currently in Sao Paulo, Brazil, working in Havas Worldwide, a marketing communications agency, for Citroen.