Erol has been a designer, photographer, and maker for over 15 years. He’s most often find next to a pot of hot tea whether it’s in San Francisco, London, or Istanbul. Life is beautiful, and he hopes to capture and share it. ——— ————— Why I work: I want to be challenged and pushed everyday. I want to be surrounded and work with the best people in my field. I want to work on interesting problems that have a lasting impact on people. Selected work and clients: Smithsonian Institution, Johns Hopkins University, Twice (acquired eBay), University of Michigan, Target, Built Robotics, CIEE,, Sochat Hi Feautres: Passion Passport: "We feature some of the brightest Instagram storytellers in the Passion Passport community through our Instagram Spotlight series. This week, Erol Ahmed ( tells us the stories behind some of his most intriguing shots."

Curriculum Vitæ

Erol has been a designer, creative director, and maker for over 15 years. As Creative Director for startups and agencies, Erol has built and managed branding, design, and product launches from idea to launch. He nurtures a holistic approach to design — customer delight, brand experience, detail, and value — that has helped many brands reinvent and launch themselves into the world.

Creative Director


San Francisco

August 2015 – present
4 years 2 months

My role at Punch was designing, creating, and nurturing the creative ecosystem that companies rely on to engage and delight their customers through product, design, and brand. I managed designers and engineers to launch successful products and services for over 50 clients.

  • Led design and engineering teams ranging in size from 1-8 people on projects ranging from 3 months to 2 years in length.
  • Helped grow agency from 3 people to 55 people in three cities.
  • Responsible for Punch’s design practice and design methods.
  • Worked in a wide field of design: digital, print, consumer, business, tech, software, photography, video, sound, and more.

Creative Director

Twice (acquired eBay)

San Francisco

October 2013 – August 2015
1 year 11 months

I worked with a remarkable team creating a design vocabulary that established Twice as the destination for secondhand fashion online. Under my direction, we in-housed everything creative: photography, UI, product, web, mobile, iOS, Android, and print.

  • Led and designed new interface patterns on ecommerce to help grow sales by up to 15%.
  • Mentored and trained designer in 2-person team.
  • Worked with leadership to involve and grow design on other teams: engineering, customer support, and marketing.
  • Worked to optimize cost for operations by redesigning and redeveloping software features and consumer packaging to increase throughput, reduce errors, and cut costs.

Co-founder, Head of Product


San Francisco

August 2009 – January 2014

I designed the product, hardware, user interface, and identity for Instore, which included iOS, web, marketing, and branding. I managed other designers in illustration, film, and graphics, as well as engineers, to develop our flagship product, Instore, an iPad-based point of sale system for retail and restaurant businesses.

  • Conducted on-site and off-site usability testing and research to perfect product-fit.
  • Worked under tight deadlines and tight budgets to deliver product timelines.
  • Managed investor relations and fundraising to grow the business.
  • Designed and manufactured system and hardware to run the point of sale software.

Graphic Designer and Front-end Developer

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, Michigan

May 2008 – March 2011
2 years 11 months

I worked with multiple departments, professors, and schools as a graphic designer and front-end web developer.

From May 2008 to September 2009, I was an employee of the Art at Michigan, a division of the Office of New Student Programs, and designed, coded, and maintained a standards-compliant website and weekly newsletter. I worked with team of 2 Web masters and 2 designers. Created in-house style guide and standards manual for the production of consistent branding and coding practices for the staff.

In tandem, from July to November 2009, I designed and coded the site for the national Arts Administrators in Higher Education, which advances the use of the arts in higher education.

At the School of Public Health, I was an Undergraduate Student Research Assistant, to Dr. Allison E. Aiello, where I designed websites, clinical trial posters, and research presentation materials.

The School of Literature, Science, and the Arts employed me in their Development, Marketing & Communications division starting in August 2009. I provided technical support for the various schools and colleges in troubleshooting their websites and CMS systems and submitted bug fixes through SVN. I converted website designs from Photoshop files into compliant (x)HTML and CSS sites. I designed various donor and endownment brochures for the 30+ dividions of LS&sA for print production in Adobe InDesign.

Front-end Developer

The Silent Giants


October 2007 – December 2009
2 years 2 months

I worked with designer Brandon Gheen in coding the customized WordPress CMS for the creative studio of The Silent Giants. I converted Photoshop files into HTML, jQuery, and CSS maintaining the highest design fidelity possible.


Research Assistant and Graphic Designer

Prof. Richard Janko

Ann Arbor, Michigan

September 2005 – May 2006
9 months

A favorite project of mine was assistant fo Prof. Janko in helping to assemble the visual plates section of the monograph published by the British School at Athens on the archaeological site of Ayios Stephanos. I created the layout and design of all 60 pages of the plates section, which involved the editing and proper scaling of nearly 350 photographs and figure drawings of the ancient finds at this site. I was allowed some leeway in creativity and based the layout of items similar to how a curator might lay out pieces for museum visitors in a vitrine.

Digital Archivist

Freer and Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution

Washington, DC

September – December 2007
4 months

What a delight it was to archive and persevere works of art, while being immersed in digital workflows. Oftentimes, I would be sitting next to thousand-year-old manuscripts and silver vessels as the photograph prepared each one for photos. It was my task, then, to take these images and attach the correct metadata and inventory information into the digital collections of the Freer and Sackler Galleries and use Photoshop for image preparation. This was during the first time the museum was creating a complete digital collection. I would report to the Head of Photographic Services and Manager of the Rights and Reproductions Division to locate museum pieces for outside client requests.



Turkish-American Cultural Association of Michigan (TACAM)


June 2005 – January 2012
6 years 7 months

The Anatolian Voice is the quarterly print publication of TACAM. As Editor-in-Chief, I expanded the role, quality, articles, and design of the publication. I worked with a number of volunteers sourcing photograph, original articles, and news to create a publication that served dual purposes: a place to archive community news and a place to learn more about Turkish culture both present and past. I worked to engage our community members to contribute pieces to the magazine.

New Media Manager

Turkish-American Cultural Association of Michigan (TACAM)

June 2005 – June 2012
8 years

I managed the online, marketing, print, and media presence for TACAM. Worked closely with TACAM board to prepare, design, and launch membership and donation drive campaigns. Brought together all media production into a consistent style including email newsletters, website, print pieces, mailers, magazines, and branding guidelines. Working under a tight non-profit budget, I provided professional and well-made pieces and maintained the social media presence of TACAM.

Languages: English (fluent, 5/5) Turkish (conversant, 3/5) German (reading, 2/5) Ottoman Turkish (reading, 1/5) Specialties and skills Photography Graphic design Classical music Corporate identity and branding Japanese bookbinding Pottery CSS ** Expert HTML and CSS Intermediate JavaScript and jQuery Beginner php Subversion (SVN) WordPress CMS, Vignette CMS Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, After Effects (CS4) Microsoft Office Suite for Windows and Macintosh Apple Final Cut Studio Google Analytics MailChimp Marketing Software Advanced Turkish Intermediate German Ottoman-Turkish Microsoft Office Suite for Windows and Macintosh Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, After Effects (CS4) Apple Final Cut Studio Apple Widget creation Expert HTML & CSS Beginner PHP & jQuery Facebook Markup Language (FML) Mail Chimp E-mail Marketing Software Wordpress CMS Vignette CMS Reading-knowledge Ottoman-Turkish Education Bachelor of Arts University of Michigan, Ann Arbor History Highest Distinction 2009 ’ve helped