Afsoon: You Are The Tomato to My Kabob

We wanted to do something special for Norooz this year and when we saw Golreezan’s designs, we knew we had to give the designer some eshgh. The talented and creative Afsoon Talai – if you haven’t sent your custom-made Norooz/Tavalod cards yet, then you are clearly missing out. She’s a graphic designer extraordinaire – truly talented and we’re especially digging this Norooz card she made personally for SexandFessenjoon


We are excited to see what’s in store for Golreezan and Afsoon.  We hope you enjoy her interview and beautiful designs! Happy Norooz! 

– Tell me about yourself: Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Norman Oklahoma. I went to school for graphic design at the Rhode Island School of Design for my undergrad. I graduated in 2010 and moved to NYC after that.

– What made you want to study graphic design?

Growing up, I really wanted to go into engineering because I loved math and science. Then in my senior year of high school, I decided I wanted to try something different that I’d never done so I went into art. I thought I was going to do architecture, but then I finally settled on graphic design.  I just loved working with typography, color, paper design – it’s stuff I enjoy doing everyday.

I just thought about what I really love to do and what I would enjoy doing every single day, and I knew art would be the way to go.


– Were your parents supportive of you changing from engineering to graphic design?

My mom is a painter and she was very supportive. My dad was supportive too.

He just warned me that being an artist, you’ll have to work harder to support yourself.

They’re not your typical Iranian parents. They’re very supportive … and I worked very hard.

– What do/did you do in New York?

I came to New York after I graduated and I was living in a small studio just for the summer. Then that year in September, I didn’t have anything to do so I decided to go to Iran for a month. While I was in Iran, I got a job offer for In Style Magazine.  I worked there from October to January, and then in January I left In Style and I began working at an event design company. I worked on all of their event paper products – and I was there for a little over a year.


I left the event design company to pursue my own dreams, work on my own time, and be a freelancer.

Now, I am a freelance designer and I started my Persian stationary store: Golreezan. I’m also a visual arts editor for B|ta’arof Magazine. I keep myself busy.

– Were you scared to go out on your own?

A little scared.  I had a lot of connections since I freelanced on the side already so I wasn’t starting from scratch. This was in 2012, which is also the year that I started Golreezan. So I just worked on expanding that and these couple months, we did a hard launch for Golreezan. We had done a soft launch earlier because I wanted to get the hang of it.

– What challenges have you faced with Golreezan? 

Designing something that appealed to all generations and having a balance with the type of text we used. I didn’t want to use too advanced Farsi because it’s more for the Iranian diaspora. Then the second was just getting the world out – introducing ourselves to the Iranian community has been difficult, but they’ve been great so far. The feedback has just been great.

Our biggest curse is why would someone send paper when they can do it online and end an email?

I think there’s a difference in having a handwritten letter as oppose to getting emails because we get emails all the time. You create a different experience for that person with a handwritten letter because they’re either your friends or family.

– What has been your most rewarding experience with Golreezan?

Everyone seems to love our Norouz cards! I’m really glad to be a part of that – it’s nice to see people’s facial expressions. I’ve been getting emails from people about how excited they are about our cards. That’s the most rewarding part of this.

– Who runs Golreezan? 

I do most of the work. I fill all the orders, I make all the cards, I do all the designs. My brother helps me with the business side – marketing, etc.

– What was your inspiration for Golreezan?

When I was working at the event design company, all I did was invitations, custom greeting cards, paper designs, etc. Then my mom said to me once (before Norooz) I want to send Norooz cards for my friends and I can’t find anything online that’s modern and cool. So I started designing for her and then from that, the idea came. Iranians don’t have cool Tavalod (birthday) or love cards to send. I started working from there, and adding different cards and designs.


All the designs are me. I read and write Farsi.

– When was the last time you were in Iran?

I was just there in the fall and the previous time was when I had graduated in 2010.

My favorite memory of Iran: my whole family is from Isfahan and I usually go to Iran with my mom. In the mornings, my mom and I would sit on the bench near Si-Oh-Seh Pol before the sun comes up and have breakfast. The city is quiet, it’s really nice, it’s my favorite.  


– Have you ever felt a cultural conflict as an Iranian American? 

Growing up in Oklahoma, there wre a couple remarks made to the Iranian community. My parents mostly received them. I remember once I was gardening with my mom, and this guy in a sports car drove by and said, “Go back to your country.” My mom looked at me and said, “Chi goft?” (Translation: What’d he say?).

I just said, “Hichi hichi.” (Translation: nothing nothing).

I didn’t experience as much trouble as a lot of other people did.  I had a lot of Iranian friends growing up so I was always around people in our culture – going to mehmoonis (parties), etc. but I never thought about the Iranian American community in general until I joined IAAB during my senior year of college. I was IAAB’s graphic designer so I joined then I joined B|Taroof and now Golreezan.

– Did your parents ever give you the sex talk? 

They didn’t.

When it came to boys, it was basically no boys.

My parents weren’t strict about where we went or curfew. But boys were completely different – they didn’t want us to get distracted. By we, I mean me and my twin sister.


I think my mom was the only one who let us fix our eyebrows in middle school. She was fine with shaving our legs. 

– What are three things you value most in life?

Family. Friends. Being positive.

– What advice do you give the younger generation of Iranian Americans?

Do what you want, but work really hard at it. Always work hard at what you want to do.

– How do you like your Fessenjoon?

With little meatballs! I grew up with the little meatballs.








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  1. Yayyyyy an OKLAHOMAN!!! :D

  2. عيد همگيتون مبارك

  3. Afsoon, you make me proud :) dooset daram <3

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