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The young partners of Design Studio Hawraf, shut down their studio with grace and dignity, and let the world into the inner workings of their business.

When you dream of establishing your own design studio, you’ve got your entry into the industry all planned out. Careful thought is put into the business model, marketing strategy, and everything else required to begin. Right till the boat is sailing, the blue print is in place.

But you would never meticulously plan the ‘shutting down’ of your design studio, right? It just seems so bizarre, especially since the goal always is to expand and soar higher. But the death of design firms and companies is a reality. We see far more businesses disappearing than actually making it big. In such a scenario, wouldn’t it make sense to plan the end of your studio as well, instead of simply fading into the background?

As outlandish as that may sound, the New York-based design studio, Hawraf, did just that.

 

Hawraf was the result of a collaborative relationship between Andrew Herzog, Carly Ayres and Nicky Tesla, who worked together at Google Creative Lab. They founded Hawraf in 2016, and within a short period made quite an impact on the design industry. Hawraf is particularly infamous for its bold and interactive work, and pushing boundaries through lateral design approaches. Hawraf began on the ethos of transparency and increased engagement with users. They believed in being an open book, allowing the whole world to watch as they experimented, failed, learnt, and finally found radical solutions to design problems. An important principle that drove them is questioning conventional solutions and looking for ideas that are most relevant to the problem.

Here is an example of their out-of-the-box ideas. Andrew Herzorg once went around his neighbourhood glueing moss onto fire hydrants and subway stops. It’s a known adage that moss grows on the north side of a wall. As an experiment with wayfinding, Andrew put this idea to practice and pushed the boundaries of traditional design practice.

Design Studio Hawraf

Within no time their design work was recognized and greatly appreciated globally. Andrew was named as one of Print Magazine’s 15 under 30 New Visual Artists, and Carly was named one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company, apart from the very many accolades they received.

Design Studio Hawraf

Yet, early this year the partners announced the end of Hawraf. What is interesting is that their decision to shut down had little to do with the studio success and more to do with their personal goals. After working together and watching the studio unfold and evolve, the partners soon realized that their personal ambitions were misaligned. With this awareness, they took the bold decision to shut down now and go with a bang, instead of struggling to make it work till the business turned sour.

Design Studio Hawraf

But what made this decision truly amazing, is the way they executed their exit. Hawraf was built on the principle of transparency and interaction. Keeping this in mind, they published their internal documents in a public google drive folder, for anyone to refer to.

The public folder serves as a guide to anyone looking to start on their own. Right from proposal decks, to pricing strategy spreadsheets, to do’s and don’ts of company culture, press tips, profits and losses, founders’ values; everything that an entrepreneur would encounter at the start of the venture is addressed in the folder.

In 2016, Hawraf entered the design industry and took the world by storm. And now as they shut down, they leave with equal style.

Design Studio Hawraf
CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 54

 

The journey to a successful career in the animation can be thrilling and overwhelming. Renowned animation film maker, Vaibhav Kumaresh, tells us about the story behind his success and the establishment of Vaibhav Studios.

Lamput TV Series

Vaibhav Kumaresh has a unique unmatched style to his work. But Vaibhav traveled a long way before he met his success.

Animation
Lamput TV Series

Vaibhav completed his 10th grade, and then went on to pursue a 5-year graduation course in Fine Arts. In 1990 it was common to skip the 12th grade, and his parents were very supportive. Here he was introduced to drawing, sculpting, painting, printmaking, and photography; and specialised in Applied Arts. Later, Vaibhav joined NID where he explored and learned about the beautiful medium of animation.

Animation
Simpoo for channel V

After NID, he joined Famous House of Animation in 1998. Animation legend, E. Suresh, was Vaibhav’s senior here and was assigned the task of setting up an animation studio at Famous. Together they produced several animation films. It was an exciting phase for Vaibhav.

In 2003 a lovely children’s film came Vaibhav’s way. He chose to take it, which meant he had to leave his job. Vaibhav confesses that it was the scariest yet happiest decision of his life. He joined forces with his wife, Suranjana, a product designer from NID, and Vaibhav Studios was formed. As projects kept flowing in, there was no looking back.

Animation - Indian Content
Nick Ident, Idli Song.

Vaibhav Studios broadly takes up two types of projects. First is commissioned work, primarily TV commercials where an advertising agency approaches them with a ready script. The Studio then interprets it in their own way, followed by direction and production. Second is when they build their own original IP and pitch those ideas and concepts to different clients. In the past 4 years, they have primarily worked on creating many original IP.

Animation
Buladi Horny Lovers

Vaibhav uses a variety of techniques and mediums to create films. He uses stop motion which is all physical materials – clay, wire, cloth, paper. For the traditional hand-drawn animation techniques, he uses paper, pencil, markers, erasers, correction pens, paints, and charcoal. Sometimes digital tools like Adobe Photoshop, Flash (now called Animate) to draw and animate are also used. For the digital 3D animation films Vaibhav uses Autodesk Maya and After Effects. At times his studio also shoots live action and mixes them with animated footage. Vaibhav believes the open source software, Blender, is soon emerging as an immensely powerful and artist-friendly tool for animation.

But Vaibhav adds that software is merely a tool. Using it does not guarantee one a good end product. The magic lies in the hands of the user of the tool.

Nick Ident. Mom And Brat.

Vaibhav recommends ‘Kampung Boy’ by Lat, as a great book with a beautifully illustrated story to read. He also recommends a few inspiring animation short film recommendations, namely, Madagascar – Carnet de Voyage by Bastien Dubois, Chick by Michal Socha, Father & Daughter by Michael Dudok de Wit

Creative Gaga - Issue 46 - Cover

Published in Issue 46

This issue is focused on, how to design for kids, bundled with articles full of inspirations, advice and unique point-of-views from the veterans of the animation industry, illustrators, photographers, artists and many more. So, order your copy or subscribe, before print copies run out and enjoy reading this issue!

 

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CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 54

 

Omkar Shinde

With a dream, desire and determination to establish his own identity and to be recognised as an illustrator, Omkar Shinde has let the creativity packed in his mind take shape and evolve as tangible forms of art-work, only and only to reach a step closer to achieving his vision.


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This issue is focused on, how to design for kids, bundled with articles full of inspirations, advice and unique point-of-views from the veterans of the animation industry, illustrators, photographers, artists and many more. So, order your copy or subscribe, before print copies run out and enjoy reading this issue!

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Vijaya Laxmi

A fruit of the liberal school education from the small town of Akola, Vijaya Laxmi never faced any interference from her friends, family or teachers when attempting to create art. Realising that art could be pursued as a career along with the help of professional degrees, she is now an established independent artist exhibiting her works in famous galleries across India.


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This issue is focused on, how to design for kids, bundled with articles full of inspirations, advice and unique point-of-views from the veterans of the animation industry, illustrators, photographers, artists and many more. So, order your copy or subscribe, before print copies run out and enjoy reading this issue!

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Ashwini Bharadwaj

An illustrator and graphic designer Ashwini Bharadwaj graduated from L.S. Raheja School of Art. After working for four years in the design industry, she moved on to take freelance projects across various verticals. Through her work she looks to expand her design knowledge and explore a range of design styles. Ashwini’s interest lies in minimalistic design or art forms.


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This issue is focused on, how to design for kids, bundled with articles full of inspirations, advice and unique point-of-views from the veterans of the animation industry, illustrators, photographers, artists and many more. So, order your copy or subscribe, before print copies run out and enjoy reading this issue!

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Vineesh Viswanath

A senior art director with DDB Mudra Group, Bangalore. Vineesh Viswanath graduated at College of Fine Arts, Trivandrum, after which he went on his journey of over four years in the creative field.


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This issue is focused on, how to design for kids, bundled with articles full of inspirations, advice and unique point-of-views from the veterans of the animation industry, illustrators, photographers, artists and many more. So, order your copy or subscribe, before print copies run out and enjoy reading this issue!

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Vaibhav Kumaresh
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Vaibhav Kumaresh is the driving force of his company Vaibhav studios. He, along with his battalion of talented people work towards creating animated content for Indian audiences, with all their heart.


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This issue is focused on, how to design for kids, bundled with articles full of inspirations, advice and unique point-of-views from the veterans of the animation industry, illustrators, photographers, artists and many more. So, order your copy or subscribe, before print copies run out and enjoy reading this issue!

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Creative Gaga - Issue 54

 

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Dhimant Vyas
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The veteran artist and animation film designer, Dhimant Vyas, an alumnus of the National Institute of Design (NID), has recently worked with Zynga games India. Also, worked on famous Shaun the sheep series with the leading academy award winning animation studio, Aardaman Animation Ltd., U.K.


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This issue is focused on, how to design for kids, bundled with articles full of inspirations, advice and unique point-of-views from the veterans of the animation industry, illustrators, photographers, artists and many more. So, order your copy or subscribe, before print copies run out and enjoy reading this issue!

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