“Becoming a great designer requires high aptitude and an attention to detail that’s hard for others to match”
Tell us a bit about the beginning of your career as an artist. How did you start? Have you always known this is what you wanted to do?
I think I’m more of a curious person than anything else. Being creative gives meaning to my life and I love the fact that I can convey emotions using design. The struggle to come up with new ideas all the time really fascinates me. I love the entire process of ideation.
Even as an 8 year old I was drawn towards art. I have always felt a great desire to explore art in its purest forms. As a student I did what most students do – I took up a subject that I thought would help me shape my career. In my case, I chose Biology. However, what really caught my fancy were the two other subjects that I was trained in during school years. These were Calligraphy and Visual Arts.
Once I finished school I knew I wanted to do something that would help me satiate my desire for art exploration. That’s when I first delved into graphics design.
I grew up in a community of artists. I am trained in classical dance forms as well. I have always loved being an artist, though I was never sure if that would translate into a successful career. I have always pictured myself sitting at a big desk with pots of colorful sketch pens and a camera while I design something beautiful.
I started as a Design Intern with Disney Game Studio and Rhythm and Hues Studio. I was able to land a few interviews and eventually got my very first job as Visual Designer at the Indian Heritage Foundation. With the passage of time, I acquired new skills and worked harder. Later I switched to a new job as an Art Director at Innovo agency.
What kind of formal training did you undergo to become a designer and what role has it played in your growth?
I have a first class diploma certificate in Visual Communications from the Image Institute of Art, Design & Technology in Bangalore. I also hold a specialization in VFX from Framebox Institute.
Design is dynamic. As a designer I was always eager to learn and understand new techniques and principles in design.I wanted to try out everything from illustrations to UX design, VFX, Advertising et al.
Becoming a great designer requires high aptitude and an attention to detail that’s hard for others to match. I am glad I spent time on aptitude and my attitude towards life in general has helped me become a very detail oriented person.
What is your workflow pattern right from planning to execution for any assignment?
Though I work on multiple projects at a time, I try to spend a good amount of time in reading and understanding the requirements. This solves half the problems. I then start making notes and occasional sketches. I collect references.
Then the brainstorming on the various mediums of solutions for the same problem begins. Often the medium is known. Eventually, I start working with my designers to manifest the ideas into kickass designs.I believe in agile designs. As a creative director I am always adapting to new trends and innovative thought processes to meet the ever evolving design challenges.
Your work involves being creative. Where does the inspiration come from?
I get inspiration from a variety of sources; graphics/typography/art/photography books (especially legacy editions), fashion magazines, game interfaces, film titles, and the web. But sometimes inspiration finds me.
I used to have a really long list of RSS feeds (The Fox is Black, Change the thoughts, Graphic-exchange, Behance, Adsoftheworld, Creative Wall etc…)
Apart from this I love travelling and that’s something that makes my life more interesting. Sometime it’s important to travel far away from familial settings to discover your creative side. It helps that my boss is cool with the travelling and encourages me to go out and explore.
As an art director, what does your day look like?
There is no typical day. Each day has a surprise in store for us and that’s why I love it. It always varies, depending on the project or a specific phase of the project we are in. Though, I spend most of the time reviewing designs, I also spend time with my designers to brainstorm about new projects and design mediums. I also get involved with my writers and technical team during project execution.
I make sure that I am always exploring the latest trends in design.
Which has been your most memorable project and why?
Satliva is a project that I had worked on recently.
Satliva is a cosmetics brand with a luxury range that is made from Hemp seed oil and is completely chemical-free. The product itself is so awesome that it had me super excited from the day I started discussing the details with our client.
I worked through branding to packaging phases of their products. The most wonderful part was that the client gave us the freedom to exercise design trends identified by us. This is something that inspired designers to come up with more creative ideas. I travelled to Hyderabad to meet an expert team for print execution for the packaging phase. This was a brilliant experience as I got to know the creative new trends in print technology.
The products gained traction amongst youngsters at various shows and malls. I recently met the client. He is super happy with the packaging. And that is what makes it so special for the designer.
What is the most challenging task you face in your job?
I would have to say it is providing feedback to designers. As an Art Director I have a responsibility to bring out the very best from my colleagues and also keep them motivated enough to experiment and improve at all times. This is important because in our industry if one is not experimenting constantly stagnation can kick in pretty soon.
Sometimes clients may have very specific requirements. They may not want to experiment with the latest and greatest trends in design and may want to stick to a more traditional approach. Maintaining this balance is a real challenge and this is where my diverse experience comes into play. I have worked with start-ups and with large organizations. This experience comes in handy when such challenges arise.
Creativity and challenge go hand-in-hand. One has to know when to up the ante and when to dig into years of experience. In my opinion a truly creative person knows no bounds to his or her creativity and must be willing to take challenges head-on instead of finding ways to avoid them.
Any final words of wisdom for the artists to bring their creative best in their work?
a. This sounds rather cliché but you have got to explore new ideas and embrace change. Don’t be afraid of change.
b. Don’t be that person who creates something but doesn’t submit it to the right audience for fear of being rejected. People may not like your work but at least you will find out what works and what doesn’t.
c. Travel. Ibn Battuta was so right when he quipped that traveling leaves you speechless and then turns you into a storyteller. Traveling broadens our thinking as we have new experiences that we would otherwise not have and this in turn helps creativity flourish.
d. Work hard and stay awesome.