Witty souvenirs of Istanbul on sale .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} ISTANBUL - The brand Takeaway Istanbul offers witty items promoting Istanbul, much different than souvenirs at the Grand Bazaar. Specially designed everyday items appeal to Istanbul lovers.

For years whenever people wanted to buy souvenirs they went to the Grand Bazaar, the large historic covered market in Istanbul and the shops around it. Tourists and locals haggled for traditional Turkish goods, such as Turkish tea and coffee cups, ceramics and accessories.

As particular items, mostly the uniquely designed ones, gained importance, brands have tried to change their selling tactics. There is one brand, however, that offers souvenirs from Istanbul that have a sense of humor. "Takeaway Istanbul," aims to reflect today’s Istanbul with its specially designed items. It began as a project in May 2007, initially with talks over the concept and potential products.

The brand’s creator, Seda Ertem, said she thought a city could not be promoted without souvenirs, "It is not just Istanbul, this is true for many tourist cities around the world."

Ertem said at the end of a five-month preparation period the project evolved into a brand. The first sales point opened in the Kanyon shopping center in October 2007 at the same time as its online shop. "Because of a disagreement we had to close the kiosk in Kanyon, but we will soon open another kiosk at different shopping mall," she said. Turkish coffee cups with an Istanbul silhouette, tablemats in the shape of Istanbul’s manholes and Istanbul’s dolmuş maps are among the objects the souvenir brand Takeaway Istanbul offers. Promoting Istanbul with different items to those sold in Kapalıçarşı, the brand works alongside many designers. "My aim was for customers to enjoy souvenirs that have designer touch. Many people are involved in the project, I work with designers and architecture firms," said Ertem, who basically is a communication link between designers and production firms.

Ertem describes her brand as a new souvenir concept that sells items people can find, afford and carry easily. "Take Away Istanbul is a brand for foreign tourists, local tourists, expats living in Istanbul, those who have left Istanbul to work or study abroad and for inhabitants who wish to have a piece of Istanbul of their own, or to give as a gift," Ertem said. "People who live in Istanbul appreciate the humor in the items and they like the designs."

The brand does not produce all items created by designers. Choosing the most interesting ones, Ertem prefers those that reflect Istanbul’s character. Cartoonist Cem Dinlenmiş is one of the designers, who has caricaturized Istanbul’s superheroes, local people who have become famous. The prints of the cartoons can be seen on tea glasses and pillows. Kunter Şekercioğlu, a famous industrial designer, designed small interior items for houses. The owners of Superpool design office, Selva Gürdoğan and Gregers Tang Thomsen, designed a minibus and a dolmuş (the yellow vans that operate as communal taxis) map for foreigners to see other methods of transport in Istanbul other than the subway and buses.

There are also Beyoğlu nightlamps and rings, "I love çay and simit" t-shirts and fortune teller cups among the other goods. Take Away Istanbul has aroused as much interest in international design fairs and the press, having been featured in the New York Times a few months ago, as among Istanbul lovers generally.