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Ishan Trivedi
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Illustrator – Storyteller Ishan Trivedi completed his master’s degree in fine art to work as a freelance illustrator. He combines raw thoughts from imagination with digital software. He is the co-founder of Illustrator Today and based out of New Delhi.


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Indian Design Special. With some of the best illustrators to political cartoonists, this issue covered independent Indian Design language…

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The real world is rich in experiences. But the one created by our imagination has greater possibilities. Inspired by the latter, Ishan Trivedi lets his brush loose when he goes on a fantasy drive to create captivating and surprising works.

Imagination
Happy New Year 2020
The Witch

At times, things that don’t exist inspire you the most.

Artists inspired by fantasy usually create a world of their own through their work. It is like the window to the soul and mind. If one wants to create realistic art then photography is the best manifestation of the real world. But beauty lies in showing people what they have never seen before, or rather something they have never even imagined.

Imagination
A pop-up book of adbenture of Hindu's blue God Krishna
Imagination
A pop-up book of adbenture of Hindu's blue God Krishna

It’s about crossing the horizons of imagination each time to discover something untouched and unseen. Artists are lucky today, in that, they don’t belong to the Renaissance, Realism, Romanticism or Classicism era. Now is the era of experimentation.

Ganesha and Mooshak
Ganesha and Mooshak
Ganesha and Mooshak

Imagination has no rules.

Ever wonder why most of us are amazed at a child’s imagination? That’s because it is unrestricted and free, because it follows no rules. In other words, it doesn’t go through a reality check. Same works for a true artist. Because imagination takes you where no one has gone before, it is a strong base that an artist can use to take his work beyond the ordinary.

Imagination
Imagination
Imagination

Imagination has no rules.

Ever wonder why most of us are amazed at a child’s imagination? That’s because it is unrestricted and free, because it follows no rules. In other words, it doesn’t go through a reality check. Same works for a true artist. Because imagination takes you where no one has gone before, it is a strong base that an artist can use to take his work beyond the ordinary.

Imagination
Imagination
Raja & Maharaja's Character Designs

Imagination is something very personal and one can’t design according to the point of view of the audience. Successful art works the other way around. The art must be such that it gives the audience a totally new perspective.

Illustration for a book about Krishna from Scholastic
Illustration for a book about Krishna from Scholastic
Illustration for a book about Krishna from Scholastic

Where there is a character, there is a story.

When you imagine a character, you imagine it in a particular setting and context. Knowing the concept is important as it brings out the right characterisation. How else will you know who is the villain or the hero? Hence, story and character are never mutually exclusive; they are both present to complete each other .

Nimboda (A Magical Tale of India) - A Picture Book
Nimboda (A Magical Tale of India) - A Picture Book
Nimboda (A Magical Tale of India) - A Picture Book

Colours have a language of their own.

We may not realize it too often, but colours have been communicating with us for a long time. The ‘Tiranga’, for example, where each colour stands for something to make the flag meaningful. Colours have natural associations and psychological symbolism. The fact is that people feel comfortable when colours remind them of similar things. Like a shade of blue triggers associations with the sky and a psychological sense of calm and tranquility.

Illustration for 'The Enchanted Prince'
Illustration for 'The Enchanted Prince'

Owing to such importance that colours have for people, successful design requires an awareness of how and why colours communicate meanings. The point is, colours have acquired the ability to define any mood or contrast. Hence, a good sense of colour is important because it helps to define art physically in terms of shade, saturation, hue, tint etc. by giving it a deeper setting.

Illustration for 'The Enchanted Prince'

Light defines form and texture.

Otherwise, how do we know the difference between metal and glass? That’s why, lighting and shading is an important tool for artists to give definition to objects and bring the differences out. Sometimes, the colours of light and shade help create an illusion too. Such a treatment also gives an overall mystical appeal to the work, making it look dreamy and fantasy-like.

Illustration for 'The Enchanted Prince'

Beauty is the best experience for the senses.

No doubt, an idea is very important for making any painting, sculpture or illustration. However, aesthetics is also as important. Because it is the perfect kind of knowledge that senses can experience. It is what people first take notice of. In order to captivate the audience, an artist must beautifully present its final work. For that, an artist must ensure a lot many things. There must be a sense of balance, keeping in mind the proportions, colour combinations and arrangement of elements that give art its final aesthetic appeal.

Imagination

Published in Issue 05

With some of the best illustrators to political cartoonists, this issue covered independent Indian Design language.

 

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Product design has evolved from simply taking into consideration the physical dimension and form. It’s now all about using technology and design to give it an intangible appeal that converts into a memorable experience for the user. Studio ABD has mastered this through their designs and here they give us some tips that can enhance this very experience.

Product Design
Wet grinder for the Indian market

Tip #1: Experience Wins Over the Physical Form

In today’s world, what sets similar things apart is the experience it promises and gives to its end user. It’s mesmerising to see how a lamp of one type can be preferred over another simply because of the way it is designed. Hence, product designers all over the globe are focusing on taking the extra step to incorporate solutions in simple and every day things to bring about a sense of wonder when it is being used. As technology and the internet merge, so is the tangible and intangible world. Thoughtful details, user empathy, appropriate application of technology and good execution is key to good design.

Product Design
Titan Nebula Palace Collection - For Rambagh Queen
Product Design
BPL - Studylite- LED lamp design for kids

Tip #2: Bring Back Culture of Aesthetics in Your Designs.

Good design creates culture of aesthetics that can inspire everyday life by sharing the joy of creativity with society.

Product Design
Pure It water purifier

Tip #3: Awesome is Just the Tip of the Iceberg Beneath Which Lies Great Effort and Engineering.

With solid design, intelligent use of material and process knowledge and quick prototyping, comes innovative, cost sensitive and manufacturing friendly engineering solutions while enhancing designs to the very core.

Money Plant - Indian dream of growing money on tree
Product Design

Tip #4: Love the Unknown.

Follow this tip like a religion to make your design journey exciting and refreshing. The trick is to remain positive and optimistic in any given situation and never give up. Always say ‘let’s explore’; make that your mantra.

Valli - celebrating spade used in construction

Tip #5: Respect Natural Resources.

It’s not just designers but people as well these days that are turning to respect recycling and the use of renewable sources and materials. Design has also tapped into this great way of life. Use materials carefully and wisely. Ensure material you use in your designs come from natural sources and that they belong to everybody.

Mum’s Care - expressive baby cereal packaging
Paper Boat - Gift box made of reusable tin

Tip #6: Treat Your Products Like Stories.

It’s key to not treat your product designs like objects. The idea is to tell stories through them; stories of people’s lives, their culture, beliefs, dreams, past and future.

Product Design
Bat installation celebrating Sachin Tendulkar
Bat installation celebrating Sachin Tendulkar

Tip #7: Motivate Yourself With Indian Inspirations.

The whole world looks at India for inspiration, be it Yoga, Ayurveda, our culture or traditions. As designers, it works to include Indian characters in designs to make them appeal to a wider audience.

Product Design
Pupa

Published in Issue 27

This issue explores one of the widely discussed product design and automobile #design which is very close to our heart. We spoke to few leading names to find out the future of product design and understand the Indian designer sensibilities and practices. Everyone believe that it’s not just functionality but also the visual appeal of the product which plays a crucial in the success of a product. This issue is a bundle of inspirations and insights from the well know product and automobile designers. A must read which you will enjoy for sure.

 

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Digital and Ball-point artist, Shital Verma, tells us about his process and idea behind creating portraits of renowned individuals from various fields and what exactly it takes to bring out what they symbolise or stand for as personalities. In other words, highlighting their unique stories which make them a recognizable face.

Stories
John Hurt
Wolverine
Amitabh Bachchan

CG. How do you conceptualise the use of lines and textures in your works and how do you execute them?

Shital. To begin with any drawing or artwork, I look at the character first and what kind of lines or textures justify the artwork; whether it’s a ballpoint pen drawing or digital drawing, and such other aspects. Lines and strokes, in particular, are my priority. All this helps me gain a clear picture of how I want to further proceed with the conceptualisation and execution.

Capturing the Stories Behind Every Face!
Clint Eastwood
Bob Marley
Shahrukh Khan

CG. What fascinates you most about the stories behind every face while creating portraits?

Shital. I choose some distinguished characters for portrait paintings, such as Salvador DALI, Zohra Sehgal, John Hurt, Ranbeer and many more. Their expressions with which they get naturally or symbolically associated with over a period of time are what tell their on-screen and real-life stories to the audience. I mostly try to represent and portray their charisma in my works, in the best possible way. In Virat Kohli’s portrait (on page 38), for example, I tried to bring out his toughness and determination through lines.

Haruki Murakami
Stories
Tiger Shroff
Ecstatic
Stories
Lata Mangeshkar

CG. Which software and tools do you mainly use and how do you apply them to achieve the desired effects?

Shital. I mostly use a digital pen tablet (Wacom Cintiq), as well as pencil and ballpoint pen, as my favourite tools. For digital artworks, in particular, I use Photoshop and Painter. Today, there are a great number and variety of tools with diverse functions that are easily accessible and available, so it all depends on what needs to be executed and in which manner.

Virat Kohli
Zohra Sehgal
Stories
Joaquin Phonix
Stories
Old Lady

CG. What is the main intention you wish to achieve through your work?

Shital. Being an artist, I mostly do it for my own satisfaction, while sometimes I get the opportunity to create something for the newspaper or for a friend request. Subjectivity is what essentially lies at the crux of any form of art, which is why there is no ‘right’ or standard answer to why we do it. The process itself is as gratifying as the result, if not more. So, in my case, the idea is to attain fulfilment within myself through my work.

Portrait of Ranveer Singh
Portrait for Rajnikanth
For Geet Chaturvedi's book

CG. What according to you are the most essential elements of creating portraits and how can one master them?

Shital. In my opinion, the eyes are the most essential part of the portrait and 70% to 80% of a portrait’s character comes out right when the eyes are drawn accurately. Yet, it does not mean that mastering the skill of drawing the eyes allows one to compromise on the other aspects as they too are equally important to add to and complete the character.

Deepika Padukone
Tom Alter

CG. What would you advice others young designers who practice a similar line of work?

Shital. My advice to young artists is to do more and more sketching and life study, structures, nature study apart from your digital work. Sketching is like ‘Riyaaz’ – the more you sketch, the finer the artist you become. The scope to create is wide open, much like the horizon; all one needs to do is stretch and deepen their vision, for the sky is the limit.

Birthday Gift
Jeff Bridges

Published in Issue 43

With the changing weather comes the season of Interns, with fresh new energy everywhere. With this comes dilemmas like where to intern and how to get selected in your favourite studio. So to bring little more clarity on current market trends of selecting the right interns, we interview some of the well-known studios to find their ‘Secret Process’ of selection.

 

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It’s not just the design, the elements or the colours in an artwork that blow us away. It’s the concept; a force that resonates from the designer to the audience. Edmundo Moi-Thuk Shung, a graphic designer from The Netherlands, believes cracking a creative concept is the most important step in branding design. He speaks to us to throw more light on his approach.

Branding Design
What are u Doodling

CG: Branding and packaging is a very competitive sphere of design to be working in. What are the principles that dictate your designs?

Edmundo: There are three things that I constantly make sure I am aware of while designing – they have to be unique, meaningful and easy to understand.

Branding Design
Poppy Red Stickerpack

CG: Designs need to be creative and at the same time practical. How do your designs balance both the requirements? What are the challenges you face in day-to-day work? What do you enjoy the most about what you do?

Edmundo: Well, the most important part is to make sure the concept is clear and useful to others. This, for most of the time, also covers the creative part of the whole process. Concentrating on the job is the hardest part for me as I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder that hinders the thought and concentration process of the mind. I overcome this by doing exercises to clear my mind. You’ve got to figure out your own tricks to overcome whatever it is that distracts you from the job.

Branding Design
Poppy Red Stickerpack

I get the most enjoyment out of concept designing, like doodling in my moleskin and working them out digitally. It’s also refreshing to put your thoughts on paper and work these out.

DIY-HMZ. Some self-branding on various mediums and accessories can help gain exposure in the outside world
MOKKACCINO. These business cards in the shape of coffee cups that can be left behind on the train for travelers to pick up

CG: Branding requires a good understanding of the product/client. How do you then take it forward? Can you take us through your design process?

Edmundo: Once I’ve accepted the assignment, I make sure to gauge the client’s vision by asking them questions to rule out what they expect from me. From then on, I usually make a “plan of approach” that describes the needs, planning and requirements for the assignment. This helps put everything before me so that I can connect the dots through creative ideas and concepts. Afterwards I pitch my ideas to the clients and decide what direction I should take.

MIXWELL. A mix of street and graffiti art, this hiphop styled design uses audio and design supplies to infuse life into a concept
KOFI & AYU. A character getting ready to head a soccer ball, while Ayu the female character wants to check her camera lenses

CG: In your experience, how receptive are brands/clients and audiences to something new? Are people willing to take risks or do you feel they still prefer to play it safe?

Edmundo: The demand in today’s time is to create something that is ‘unusual yet affective’. I guess that means people are willing to take risks as long as the concepts are effective and don’t differ too much from already existing products.

Branding Design
SMOOTHIE POSTER. Designed for The Pepin Press Company the design uses relevant elements to bring together a concept
LOGOS. These logos designed for clients and the artist himself communicate and symbolise unique character for each

CG: You use the Indian symbol of a Yogi in your branding design for Mellow. Can you tell us more about the project and how you arrived at that idea? How do international elements feature in your designs? How do the local audience adapt to something foreign?

Edmundo: It all started with an old sketch of a Yogi which I stumbled upon while going through all of my drawings. The project was a mother’s day gift and I related the element to the fact that she does yoga. That’s when I came up with the idea to make something by myself using an old duffle bag and other stuff lying around my house and created several products out of it. Since Yoga originates from Ancient India, the logo was apt. The project was received well by people with different backgrounds perhaps because our world is getting more multi-cultural.

MELLOW. Symbolism in a logo makes it memorable as this yoga branding suggests
MELLOW. Symbolism in a logo makes it memorable as this yoga branding suggests

CG: Brandings can’t be static. How do you create designs that can be worked upon and taken forward as the brand evolves? How do you give it that flexibility?

Edmundo: I make sure the logo I design isn’t too complicated. Ofcourse a lot depends on the kind of brand and the brief, but I usually give it a visual reference for what the company stands for. It gives it the advantage to become memorable and the ability to evolve easily as the time passes on.

MELLOW BASIC YOGA POSTER. Displaying basic yoga poses, this design also translates onto a scroll that can be used as a handy guide for some yoga practice

Published in Issue 21

They say not to judge a book by its cover. But they also say that exceptions are always there. There’s no doubt, branding and packaging are the faces of any business and product. They decide the way people will receive the brand; whether they will accept it or reject it. To understand and gain more perspective on this much-unsolved mystery, we invited many branding and packaging experts who throw light on the topic.

 

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Edmundo Moi-Thuk Shung
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Based in the Netherlands, Edmundo Moi-Thuk-Shung is a graphic designer that chooses to work with vectors. He has worked for various brands in his design journey like Colgate, Palmolive, Douwe Egberts, Ziggo Zakelijk, and Hansens  Naturals.


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They say not to judge a book by its cover. But they also say that exceptions are always there. There’s no doubt, branding and packaging are the faces of any business and product. They decide the way people will receive the brand; whether they will accept it or reject it. To understand and gain more perspective on this much-unsolved mystery, we invited many branding and packaging experts who throw light on the topic.

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A visual artist in the form of a cartoonist and animator, Manoj Sinha shares his process and details of his work one bit at a time, in order to achieve the right balance across aspects such as the tone of colours, the shades of lighting.

Depth in Details.

Manoj Sinha likes to play with simple elements in a rather detailed and no-nonsense way to create a portrait that is very much life-like if not larger than life. He starts out with the basics and rough works, turning basic aspects of the persona more and more real with each step as he progress towards the final outcome. The result is a sharp artwork with lively qualities.

Step 1

Started with a simple, rough sketch. Since this involved a pretty basic shading-like technique in order to give the portrait an outline and overall context. This is good enough to start with and build upon.

Step 2

This step involved applying the base colours on the face alongside some light shading. The rest of the elements i.e. the hair, the dress and the earrings were kept the same as in the rough sketch that was the starting point.

Step 3

Further details were added to the lips and teeth. The smile brings out the core of the personality’s expression and so it was highlighted.

Step 4

Just one ear of the subject has been made visible in the portrait and so it was important to provide it the right amount of attention. So, more detailing was done on the ear.

Step 5

Dark textures and sharp lines were added around the eyes to give the persona a practical look. Similarly, the eyeballs were also given details highlighting the reflection of light in the eyes.

Step 6

Shadow of the hair falling over the right eye was done. Which enhanced the lighting effect that was given to the image in the previous steps, thus bringing about an actual feel of the subject by making the portrait more realistic.

Step 7

Details were added to the earrings, hair and face in the form of greater definition, colour and texturing.

Step 8

The final details to hair and skin colour were then added with fine lines and rough stroke smoothing. Reached the final desired result, bringing out the real personality of the subject.

Published in Issue 41

Every year brings many opportunities and hopes along with celebrations. For this issue, we reached many visual artists and designers to know their expectations from the year 2018. This issue’s cover designer, Shreya Gulati is exceptionally impressed by the advancement of technology in design, especially how VR & AR has impacted new ways of creating. Whereas Seerow Unni, a digital artist sees the simple and minimal design is here to stay for long. So, whether you have many or none expectations for the year, this issue is a must-read. Go ahead and order your copy here or subscribe to not miss any future issues!

 

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In today’s world where problems are evolving, so are the needs and desires. “As a product designer, you need to incorporate a solution in your design. And how refreshingly and creatively you can do that determines how well it will relate to the user.” says product designer Aman Sadana. More on what every product design must have and should do.

A Design Process is Like a DNA; it Forms the Crux of Variety 

Irrespective of the product, the process remains the same. A design process is the DNA which infuses the style or approach of the designer in his work. Plunge. This is the time to get inspired and get passionate about the project. Try to develop a thorough understanding of the product, its user and its context. Next, plan.

Take all the learnings and insights from the first phase and transform these into an actionable plan. Define your goals, timeline, deliverables, constraints etc. Then play. Get wild with ideas. Scribble. Ideas are never judged nor evaluated. This is the time to test the limits of your imagination. Finally, precision. Scrutinize all your ideas with the parameters listed in the brief. Mix and match ideas to make individual concepts stronger. Detail out the final concepts, keeping all stakeholders (marketing, engineering etc.) on board. After all the tinkering, testing and evaluation, one gets selected and goes forth.

Form and Function are Two Sides of the Same Coin

As architect Frank Lloyd Wright says “Form follows function – has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.” While working on a project, try not to consciously work on the two separately. It is imperative that the form be honest to the product’s underlying purpose and not a false facade to hide it with. Like every designer, walk the tight rope between functionality and aesthetics on a daily basis. It’s a skill that comes with practice.

“A design process is the DNA which infuses the style or approach of the designer in his work.”

Make Non-Living Things Move the Living

Great products not only fulfill their function and look great, but are also able to evoke an emotional response. Be it the petal shaped medicine, the bee shaped vehicle, or the ball-shaped cart, they are all intended to evoke joy and play in the heart of the user. The key word here is ‘surprise’. Give the viewer what they do not expect. Give them an experience through your product. Make your product do something no one ever thought it could do or be. Like the chair and slide furniture design; it’s bound to make even adults feel like a kid again.

Often, What Seems Non-Relatable fits Perfectly Together

How you assimilate what you see at a particular moment of time, dictates the fate of your design. That’s what sparks an idea in the mind, and a design on paper. Just like the jug design that was inspired by the Devnagri alphabet ‘Ja’ from the word ‘Jal’ (water). Typography is a visual manifestation of the culture it is rooted in. Hence, it was perfect to design a product that looked intrinsically Indian. So always look out for visual cues to contextualize your designs.

Don’t Let Your Best Ideas be the Ones That are Forgotten

One never knows when inspiration strikes. It might be on the drive back home, in the washroom or at the library. But when it does, make sure you have a sketchbook handy. Doodle, write and even keep paper cuttings. As a rule, keep hard copies rather than put them in soon forgotten compute folders. You won’t realize, but over time you are slowly inching towards having your personal ‘Black Book’ of ideas! Refer to this idea almanac constantly.

Eureka moments happen to us all, but most of us just let them slip out of our minds. At the same time, try to keep yourself updated about new trends, materials and technologies. This ‘homework’ not only enriches your work but also vastly improves the chances of ‘connecting the dots’ while working on a design problem.

LG Ceiling Fan
LG Ceiling Fan

Published in Issue 19

A typography special, made up of not only Indian type designers or designers whose first love is type, but also few very talented international designers who open a totally new playground with sharing their insights and inspirations. This issue has exclusive interviews with Lucky Dubz Trifonas from Netherlands, Indian UI & type designer Sabareesh Ravi and Shiva Nallaperumal, who believes, type designers are the material providers to all the creative professionals. Also, includes a special making of Nirlep rebranding done by Elephant Design and an interaction with the ace product designer Aman Sadana.

 

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Aman Sadana
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Aman Sadana is a Senior Manager (Design & Research) at Atomberg Technologies, who did his M.Des from IIT Delhi and B.Arch from Sushant School of Art & Architecture. Having lived in Sweden, France and Japan, his unique cultural influences have worked for brands like LG, PepsiCo, Videocon, Orient etc.


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A typography special, made up of not only Indian type designers or designers whose first love types, but also few very talented international designers who open a totally new playground with sharing their insights and inspirations. This issue has exclusive interviews with Lucky Dubz Trifonas from the Netherlands, Indian UI & type designer Sabareesh Ravi and Shiva Nallaperumal, who believes, type designers are the material providers to all the creative professionals. Also, includes a special making-of Nirlep rebranding done by Elephant Design and interaction with the ace product designer Aman Sadana.

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Illustrations with a human touch are what people look for and designer Ashwani Nagar understands that concept very well. His illustrations maintain the feel and emotion that resonate with people which in turn help them connect to the artwork at first sight.

 

Inspired by mundane events and interesting everyday people, one of his projects called Life in a Metro, Airport Swag depicts his acute sense of observation of how people behave and react while undergoing their daily journey to and from work to home. Collaborating with art partner Manish Minglani, the series of 12 posters offer a microscopic view on peoples’ everyday actions and behaviour. Made using sketchbook, Photoshop and Illustrator, this artwork symbolises how humour can help educate and create positive change in society.

 

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Illustrations
Airport Swag
Illustrations
Airport Swag
Illustrations
Airport Swag
Illustrations
Airport Swag
Illustrations
Alien Attack, Life in Metro
Illustrations
Taak Jhaak, Life in Metro
Illustrations
Loot Sako toe Loot lo, Life in Metro
Illustrations
Khaao aur khaane do, Life in Metro
Mast Malang, Life in Metro
Laila Majnu, Life in Metro
Hum Saath Saath Hain, Life in Metro
Dharna Pradarshan, Life in Metro
Asiye na mujhe tum dekho, Life in Metro
Show Stopper, Life in Metro
Super Power, Life in Metro