2 Minutes With ... Esra Gülmen, Head of Design at Heimat Berlin

Her creative favorites, from Hayao Miyazaki to Pentagram's lockdown poems

Esra Gülmen is a visual artist and designer currently working as head of design at Heimat Berlin. 

After studying interior design, she taught basic design at Marmara Faculty of Fine Arts in Istanbul. After two years of working as an academic, she moved to Germany and started a new career as an art director and designer at Ogilvy Frankfurt. Later she switched to Ogilvy Amsterdam.

Esra's artworks revolve around human psychology and the tiny struggles of everyday life. For Esra, practicing art is a form of self-therapy. She has exhibited her art in many group shows and had solo shows in Amsterdam, Hamburg and Berlin.

We spent two minutes with Esra to learn more about her background, her creative inspirations, and recent work she's admired.

Esra, tell us...

Where you were born, and where you live now.

Istanbul. Berlin.

What you wanted to be when you grew up.

Andy Warhol.

How you discovered you were creative.

When I checked the meaning of "melancholy" in the dictionary.

A person you idolized creatively growing up.

William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Creators of Tom & Jerry.

A moment from high school or college that changed your life.

When a design professor in my faculty told us about Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and his aphorism "Less is more."

The first concert you saw, and your favorite band or musician today.

The first concert: The Cranberries. Favorite living musician today: Joe Hisaishi.

Your favorite visual artist.

Hayao Miyazaki.

Your favorite fictional character.

Chihiro from Spirited Away. Isn't it great that Miyazaki always creates strong female protagonists in his anime?

The best book you've read lately.

Conversation with Friends by Sally Rooney.

Your favorite movie.

The Lobster by Yorgos Lanthimos.

Your favorite Instagram follow.


How the Covid-19 crisis has changed your life, personally or professionally.

Big anxiety crisis in the first months. But now I am like: I love you, Covid, you let me work from home. Where have you been before?

Your favorite creative project you've ever worked on.

"Flowers Talking" project for Bloomy Days. The message was simple, bold and beautiful. And surprisingly, I still like it.

Bloomy Days | Flowers Talking
Your favorite creative project from the past year.

Pentagram's lockdown poems project. It reminds us of the simple things from our daily lives in a brilliant way. I love it when a project makes me feel like: Damn, I wish I had done that!

Someone else's creative project that inspired you years ago.

"Banana Wall" by Stefan Sagmeister.

Someone else's creative project that you've been impressed by lately.

Berlin drawings from Christoph Niemann.

Your main strength as a creative person.

My strong emotions.

Your biggest weakness.

My strong emotions.

One thing that always makes you happy.

"Rockstar," a Post Malone song.

One thing that always makes you sad.

"Rockstar," a Post Malone song.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in design.


2 Minutes With is our weekly interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

Ashley Epping
Ashley Epping is art director of Muse by Clio and program lead at the Clio Awards.

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