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Leaf Design Studio shares their secrets, tips and tricks on the field of brand stories and designing, thus providing invaluable inputs while also sharing the woes, challenges and hurdles which aroused due to the global pandemic.

Brand

Q.
Could you kindly share the story of your studio’s origin and its growth to its current heights?

Leaf Design. We are a brand and digital design company that collaborates with entrepreneurs and businesses to create integrated experiences developed through radical insights and strategies. Since 2002, we have been using design to empower companies to successfully respond to change and we have worked across several industries including finance, travel, media among numerous others. Our core competencies lie in strategic thinking, branding and user-centred design to help organisations establish their brand presence and grow.

Brand

Q.
As a firm who has worked with various sectors and industries, what is the one crucial element of branding/designing, which we must remember regardless of sector/industry?

Leaf Design. Success isn’t an experiment born out of a lab. It’s created repeatedly in the living environment with constantly changing dynamics. This is why we listen deeply, design meaningfully and adapt rapidly, all at the same time. We blur the boundaries of the physical and the digital world and stay invested in the change to keep ourselves ahead of the curve.

Brand

Q.
What is the role played by colours in branding? Could you highlight its importance with regards to your colourful branding for Empyrean school?

Leaf Design. A brand’s aesthetics is an essential part of its storytelling since the design and colour combination of a brand’s logo, website, product and packaging, form a visual representation of its identity. Colour plays a significant role that gives insight into a brand’s personality. The colourful branding system integrates with the Empyrean way of learning. The visual branding system plays with simple shapes, varied forms, and vibrant colours in a child’s life – in a different size, combinations and dimensions, symbolising new perspectives. The style extends to add collaterals illustrating the Empyrean method of learning.

Brand

Q.
Providing a sense of trust, ease and security are crucial when it comes to financial firms. How can design provide these to the customers? How did you help manifest Waterfield’s vision for their clients in terms of design?

Leaf Design. Waterfield is a Multi-Family Office & Boutique Advisory Firm. Following up on the findings from our research, a new brand platform emerged were one of the key driving elements became the new mission: “Insights with integrity”. A mission that was built from the insight that Waterfield’s clients benefit from treating their customers respectfully and fairly.

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Brand

Q.
How can you capture the dynamic energy and spirit of a company through branding? Could you shed some light on this subject with relevance to the financial firm Avendus?

Leaf Design. Avendus is a firm providing financial services with an emphasis on customised solutions in Investment Banking. To mirror the progressive and dynamic spirit of Avendus, our approach was to match the fearless and open attitude of the company with a forthright and powerful visual language. We depicted a metaphor for risk, action, and the act of rising to the
the occasion, reinforcing the brand essence “Next is the only level”.

Brand
Brand

Q.
How did you incorporate India’s multiculturalism and appeal to the Indian audience when you designed for Spotify India?

Leaf Design. Spotify is the world’s largest music streaming service which was set to expand to the Indian market. It was highly anticipated among the millennials, and hence it is pertinent to appeal to them. We partnered with them to build the frameworks for an intuitive digital editorial design and design a culturally relevant strategy.

 

We focused on behavioural similarities of music lovers across genres and geographies; and then localised the experience for the Indian audience. We layered the regional/cultural themes and colours with that of the varied playlist moods. This blend was more focussed on visual narratives that evoked emotions. We desired to showcase real situations, expressions and emotions. ‘Real people living in the moment’ became the benchmark to connect with Spotify’s real audience. We wanted to be regional but not stereotypical.

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Brand

Q.
Translating care and assurance is an especially critical necessity in the healthcare sector. How did you achieve this when you designed the brand for Lifecare Health?

Leaf Design. Lifecare Health is a subscription-based pharmacy that provides effortless and cost-effective management of a patients’ healthcare needs. Our approach was to elevate the perception of Lifecare Health from just a pharmacy to be a partner in one’s wellness journey. We redefined the word ‘care’ from a noun to a verb. The highlighted letter ‘C’ in ‘care’ is a symbol of continuous action.

Brand
Brand

Q.
How has your studio been handling the pandemic?

Leaf Design. If we look back on the pandemic, one of the first decisions we took was to retain and support our team. To facilitate it further, we collectively planned to address the challenges, from the financial stability concerns to the creative stimulation boost. For the same reasons, we welcomed our new initiative of entrepreneurial collaboration –– the percentage share module on the new business development and conversion. While it works as an incentive program, it also gave each one of us the opportunity to learn the business side of design. Education is one of our common interests, and we took upon the opportunities to reconnect with academic institutes to teach and conduct few workshops.

Brand

Q.
Government of India announced a lockdown on 25 March 2020. What were some of the steps taken by your studio to facilitate work from home for your employees?

Leaf Design. Since we were already using the cloud, the transit to a remote working environment did not take long from our central data access to the software. All that was needed was our personal computer that we arranged to take home. What came into practice was the new set of web tools and collaborative processes that we adopted as quickly as possible.

Q.
Could you kindly share the concerns you’ve been hearing from the clients regarding on-going projects? What are the steps taken on your behalf to address these concerns?

Leaf Design. We were working on a couple of global assignments when the lockdown was announced. Since we were already corresponding with them through online meetings and video conferencing, there was not much change in our functioning or daily interactions. We were able to complete and launch the brand during this time successfully, and we are now their long-term partner for brand governance, assisting them in improving and evolving continually.

Q.
Did you witness any impact on new project inquiries and billings due to this pandemic?

Leaf Design. If we view through a pie chart, the biggest pie during this time has been taken writing new business proposals and now that the economy has resumed, more pitches than ever before. Unfortunately, not necessarily equally proportionate to business conversion or even billings.

Brand

Q.
If you could list a few positive outcomes of this pandemic, what would they be?

Leaf Design. We have a short answer here –– stay positive, no matter what!

Brand

Q.
Any parting words of wisdom to those in this industry?

Leaf Design. It is necessary to look beyond ourselves, understand and see how we could make a difference for others. We applied this principle to everything we did, including the new work opportunities. Possessing empathy is important; remember the famous quote from the film Dr Strange “It is not about you!”

Brand
Creative Gaga - Issue 51

Published in Issue 51

Business, studios, agencies, freelancer all have different perspectives to handle the pandemic and hurdle it brings. While some find pandemic an obstacle which will soon fade away and on the other hand, few saw opportunities in the same. Many creatives used the past few months to reflect on their styles and horn their art. Many utilized it for collaboration opportunities with national and international creatives. This issue is a must-read if you are looking for insights, inspirations and ways to bounce back in this unlocking phase.

 

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Designing a room can be a fun experience but at the same time it can be tricky too. You can experiment with textures, colours, style, furniture and the feel. You can fulfil your dream décor in your study room because this room belongs to you solely. Perhaps, use classic, contemporary or new combinations for your study room.

Nowadays, there are several software and apps, which helps you to select the right place for each furniture and equipments in a room. You can try different layouts without physically moving the furniture and create different sample layouts.

 

These layouts help you to choose an appropriate look for your room. Every room has certain specific requirements based on its utility. Similarly, your study room too has certain specifics and it is very important to consider them while designing your study.

 

Enlisted below are some of the essentials, which you must look forward to if you wish to design a perfect study at your home:

Choose the Right Room

Every room requires a certain specific amount of space based on its functions. For instance, you cannot design a bedroom in a tiny space because you will end up having a congested room.

 

Therefore, your very first step should be to choose the right room for your study. One needs to consider the dimensions of a particular area before converting it into a bedroom, utility room or a dining area.

 

If you are fortunate enough of having multiple rooms you get the chance to select the room, which receives a lot of natural light and is spacious enough for you to enjoy your privacy.

Space to Move Around

Would you like to enter into a room, which does not have space wherein you can move about freely? Definitely, not and this is why you should make it a point to place limited stuff in your study.

 

Placing unnecessary furniture will increase your task of cleaning it on a regular basis and additionally it gives you a cluttered feeling. You feel the vibe of an unorganised room within that particular space. A de-cluttered room minimises the chance of you colliding with any furniture placed in the room.

 

You need a comfortable space to sit around and move especially while working. If your room is not especially spacious make it a point to place furniture that consumes less space. Comfortable space and layout allow you to carry out your task swiftly.



Decent Desk and Comfortable Seating

Purchasing a big desk might sound like a good idea at first, but it might not be particularly conducive if you intend to work on it for long hours. This is why you should search for options well before you actually buy one. There are several varieties of sturdy desks, which give you ample leg space and while at the same time offering a brilliantly finished look. Possibly, choose one such type of desk as they last longer and make your room look just perfect!

 

Apart from the desk, you also need comfortable chairs to sit in. Make sure that you choose a colour, design and style of chair that blends well with your new desk. Opting for two contrasts can be a challenging task as they may or may not look good together.

Shelves! Shelves!

It is important to combine the right types of storage together. For instance, in some spaces, you need a good amount of shelves which allow you to keep your favourite books. There might be other space where you need strong and secured cabinets to store your personal
belongings.

 

You need space of a particular dimension to place your printer/scanner and the same goes for your file cabinet. This means that you cannot design same sized cabinets all through your study. You need a combination of storage types to store your belongings in an organised manner.

Space for Meeting

The study is a space where you think about all your crucial decisions and thereupon come to a solution. There is a high possibility that someone may drop-in or you may call somebody for a specific important discussion at your study.

 

For this purpose, you need an appropriate seating arrangement. Some individuals prefer an L-shaped seating arrangement. Others may choose a simple soft couch wherein 2-3 individuals can sit comfortably.

 

You can also opt for a seating arrangement, which allows two individuals to sit face-to-face with each other so that they can have a comfortable conversation. If you do not have space to place a couch or for any other kind of seating arrangement you can simply have your discussions at the coffee table in your house.

Lights! Lights!

Lights play a key role in any room. If you have sunlight pouring in through the window in the study, it will have a completely different look. The room will be more lively and vibrant which spreads a positive vibe.

 

On the other hand, a dark and shady environment with minimum lights will give your study an intense look. Make it a point to install the right lights so that you have sufficient light during the night as well.

 

It is suggested that you should allow natural light to flow in your study as it offers an optimistic feeling to you. You can choose to maximise the light effects by installing mirrors and light wall colours.

Temperature

Extremely hot or cold temperature can be a huge distraction during your work. One needs a comfortable temperature to work in and one way to do this by installing designer radiators. Possibly, seek advice from a reputed firm that offers you a wide array of choices so that you can pick the best model available in your budget.

 

With the right temperature in your study, you can work unperturbed irrespective of the weather outside.

Pick a Corner

Loud noise and constant chattering can be a major cause of distraction. If you prefer to work in your own personal space and don’t like to be disturbed while working, make sure that you pick a quiet spot.

 

Perhaps, build your study towards the extreme corner of your house so that no pet, kid or visitor bothers you when you are working.



Personalise Touché

Although there are several guidelines to be followed while designing your study, you should not overlook your preferences. Your personal choices hold huge accountability while designing your study.

 

Mainly, your study should match your comfort level. It can consist of a piece of art that grabs your attention and an element that motivates you. For example, you can affix a painting that inspires to work hard.

 

You can opt for your favourite colour for the wall right in front of you and blend it with artistic texture.

 

Lastly, it is your choice which holds more significance because ultimately you are the one to work there and spend most of your time in that particular room.

Cleanliness

It is important to keep your study neat and clean as it allows free flow of work and minimises your hurdle. Keeping your study clean and tidy means that you have kept all your important files, books, documents and confidential data at their secured spots.

 

Additionally, you do not have to search the entire study when you need them. Instead, you can simply grab them from their précise spot. You can probably clean your study once a month just to check that all your documents are kept properly. You can update the files with the
latest documents in due time.

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Illustrator, Parvati Pillai, tells us how trying out new styles and forms of illustration are key for a designer to grow at one’s craft and expand one’s scope of work in current context.

Illustration by Parvati Pillai
Nordic Rebels
Nordic Rebels
Nordic Rebels
Nordic Rebels
Illustration by Parvati Pillai
Kamaladevi 115th Birthday Doodle

Various Styles Takes Conscious Effort

The art and Illustration style and colour palette are very important to Parvati in storytelling, especially if designing for a particular target audience in mind. She tries to use colours and intricate patterns to incorporate various illustration styles. Like most artists, she has a natural inclination to a particular colour and illustration style. As a result of such tendencies, it takes a lot of effort to move away from it and consciously make choices to choose something new and work on something out of the box.

SilverKris Magazine
Illustration by Parvati Pillai
Poster. Designed for Spring Demoday at Medialab, Aalto University
Illustration by Parvati Pillai
Designs created for a wide range of products in the Chumbak’s Gold Collection

This challenge is what makes illustrating through various styles exciting and motivating. Also, this way ensures that one keeps coming up with new stuff from time to time without getting entangled in the same kind of work. One can only unearth their potential by discovering new forms, mediums, styles and so on in the process of trying to create fresh designs or illustration.

Illustration by Parvati Pillai
Egg Skillet. Sunny spring recipe for 36 Days of Food
Illustration by Parvati Pillai
Flying Dreams. Collaboration with Taxi Fabric was celebrating the concept of Mumbai as India’s 'City of Dreams'
Illustration by Parvati Pillai
Flying Dreams. Collaboration with Taxi Fabric was celebrating the concept of Mumbai as India’s 'City of Dreams'
Illustration by Parvati Pillai
Spain. Tried to capture the magic and the essence of some fascinating countries

It is a lot like Science

It is all about experimentation. Parvati constantly tries to explore new subjects and experiment with new techniques. She aims to keep herself motivated and to keep practising different illustration styles in her free time. Her MacBook Pro and Wacom graphics tablet are her apparatus in this process, thereby – the two things she cannot work without. Likewise, she also enjoys working with inks and clay while she is currently exploring knitting and embroidery. This serves as a strong and healthy way to work with different mediums and see the potential that lies in them.

Illustration by Parvati Pillai
Dream Machine. Collaboration with Taxi Fabric, celebrating the concept of Mumbai as India’ 'City of Dreams'
Illustration by Parvati Pillai
Dream Machine. Collaboration with Taxi Fabric, celebrating the concept of Mumbai as India’ 'City of Dreams'
Print for Food Mat

Parvati spends a major portion of a project’s time on ideation and iteration. She likes to take her time with the composition of the illustration and carefully choose her colour palettes. She also tries to evoke feelings of joy and bring out the intricacies of everyday life in my work. For her, illustration is a form of reflection & storytelling and is inspired by life.

Print for Coaster. Design created for Chumbak's dinning range
A social media Illustration for Chumbak, celebrating spirit of Onam with Chumbak

For Money, Planning ahead always Helps

It is important to always have enough savings for emergencies, feels Parvati, as they may arise at any point of time without any indication. Likewise, she always tries to take up some projects for paying clients so that she has sufficient money to explore her creative and artistic endeavours. For some people, this may be a compromise but it is essential to her so that she may be able to sustain her creativity. Each one has their own style and approach to doing things, and whatever works for one is what one must do as the same size does not really fit all. Finally, practice and hard work are the most important things.

Lebanon. Celebrating the different cultures found around the world
Moving to Helsinki. Personal Illustration capturing the magic of my first autumn

One must be tenacious and maintain a positive attitude. Even if luck does not favour, persistence can take one more than just quite far; it can make all the difference. Even luck favours those who are persistent in their journey and don’t back down in spite of any odds they might face along the way.

Illustration
Finland. Celebrating the different cultures found around the world
Illustration
Print for Food Mat. Design created for Chumbak's dinning range
Issue-42-Cover

Published in Issue 42

Every designer wish to be independent and willing to jump into the word of freelance but most of them unaware of the fundamental challenges of the initial phase. So, we dedicated this issue to freelancers and interviewed some established and talented designers to dig deep for the expert advice. Kevin Roodhorst an experienced freelancer from Amsterdam, has recently shifted to be a full-timer with an Agency says “Freelancing is not all roses!” and shared the best way to survive as a freelancer. So, whether you are a freelancer or planning to be one, 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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The brand identity was done by Elephant Design to ensure ancient Indian millets could make a comeback into the market in its raw, authentic and unprocessed form. The millets were highlighted as healthier alternatives that could be used with extreme versatility and fit into the contemporary Indian person’s diet.

The Clients’ Ethos

A venture of Fountainhead Foods, Health Sutra was launched in 2013 to create packaged food with the goodness of millets that can easily be incorporated into the contemporary Indian lifestyle.

Brand Identity by Elephant Design

Launching Health Sutra

As a relatively new player hopping on the healthy food bandwagon, Health Sutra aimed to enter into retail with their range of millet products. The aim was to create awareness on how millets – an Ancient superfood – can be eaten at every meal and customised to suit today’s lifestyle.

Brand Identity by Elephant Design

The Prehistoric Goodness

The humble millet – an ancient superfood, is packed with fibre, keeps us full and is loaded with nutrients beneficial to the human body. Health Sutra saw a market for millets in the health-conscious shopper that would be aware of the benefits of the millets and choose this over the heavily processed grains available in the market.

Unbeatable Versatility

The modern Indian mother, when it comes to breakfast, likes relying on less-processed options. She is also familiar with Jowar, ragi, and Bajra, but doesn’t always connect them to basic food preparations like Poha, idlis and so on. This proved to be a challenge as even though most Indians are aware of millets and its benefits, but are unable to incorporate them as a part of regular meals. The team at Health Sutra had to come up with a wide variety of options that could be used for breakfast, lunch or dinner and even snacking. Another thing to be kept in mind was that it had to be tailored to fit into the contemporary Indian diet with ease.

Enabling Pickup Potential

Different colours were used to code different types of millets for establishing a brand identity and enabling easy identification. The pickup potential of the product was crucial due to its nature which led to the creation of innovative products such as Jowar idly mix and Ragi flakes/Jowar flakes to be consumed as breakfast cereal instead of its sugary, processed counterparts available in the market. This outlined both, the versatility of millets and the variety of ways in which millets could be prepared by the consumer to suit the modern Indian diet on an everyday basis.

Brand Identity by Elephant Design

Mixing the Tradition with Modern

The role of branding was to highlight the edge of the product which it has over its counterparts and also establishing a brand identity that showed a blend of traditional goodness on the modern breakfast table. Several purpose-driven design elements were added to depict farm freshness and authenticity.

 

Custom illustrations with different colour palettes were added to signify and personalise each variant. For example, the breakfast bowl and the sun were used to convey the purpose of the product in a simple non-textual manner. And to highlight the raw and unprocessed nature of the product, a transparent window was created to show customers what exactly they were getting. Additionally, the tagline ‘Millets of India’ was added to highlight its authentic source.

Brand Identity by Elephant Design

Every year many exceptional design briefs are being answered with brilliant solutions by many talented designers. Some manage to reach the limelight through awards and other recognitions, but not all. And that is where the ‘DCS-01’ comes into the picture with detailed case studies highlighting the challenges, research, and the unique solutions to each obstacle faced in reaching these final design solutions. An inspiration and a collection of quality design projects created in India recently.

 

So, if you are creative freelancer, agency, studio, corporate or a design student, who needs inspiration and want to know the process of making great designs, then this is a must-have book for your collection. Order it today to reserve a copy of this limited stock book.

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Divyam Kaushik
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After completing my MBA, I joined an advertising agency where I fell in love with the whole concept of designing communication. For two months, I used to sit next to my graphic designer friends and play around with colors, fonts, and copy; it was so much fun. After a few months, I noticed a pattern; the creative team created five options for one poster and multiple feedback every day. It wasn’t fun anymore.

Being client-facing, I felt responsible for my friends in the creative team, creating multiple options, and spending drunken nights in the office (Working!). It came to the point that I learned how to make the ‘logo bigger’ myself, export PDF, and send it to the client myself. (Kidding!)

I thought it’s not me; it’s the client. They are indecisive and cribbed about them with the creative team to gain sympathy and get the work done. But I knew I was in trouble when it happened to us again.

That’s when I decided to seek help and gathered my creative team to brainstorm ways to increase efficiency and get the design right in the first go. We discovered the problem wasn’t that the client was indecisive, but we didn’t know the client and the business much.

Why was that happening? Every meeting with the client, we tried to please the client by filling the awkward silences with something while we should have heard the client instead. We were not asking the right questions to solve the business problem with the design.

When you start talking, you have taken away your client’s chance to think about what you have said. You stop them from digesting the design you carefully created, and you start sounding like that annoying pushy salesperson that no one likes. Instead, you can get inside your client’s head, so you know what they really want — and let them do the talking.

You can become a trusted advisor in the business process, and you use your client’s own words to give them what they want.

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” ― Voltaire

Listing down the questions that we decided to ask every client before getting onto a design phase, use these questions for your next campaign brief or freelance project to save time and become that trusted advisor to your clients.

1. What are your long-term and short-term business goals?

This question does two things. First, it gives you a roadmap to follow to help you provide for your customer’s immediate needs. When you can help make your customer’s short-term goals a reality, you become a partner in their success. Second, beginning to understand their long-term goals establishes you as a partner for the long haul. You stop being just a person trying to achieve a one-time sale, and you build a relationship that helps you to become a trusted confidant.


2. What’s your single most significant challenge/ problem when it comes to your product/ service?

People don’t buy products/ designs; they buy a solution to their problem. Asking these questions pushes your client’s to think and tell you exactly where the problem is.


3. How did you discover that this is the biggest challenge?

Humans tend to assume things, this question will help you identify the hypothesis and finding the root cause.


4. Major challenges that you have faced in the last 6 months or a year?

This is an extension of the previous questions and brings recency to the conversation. Every client wants to first address the immediate problem, and once the solution works, they will look for a long term relation with you.


5. What have we done already to solve this challenge?

This will help you understand all the ways the client has tried solving the issue and if you think it was the right approach, dig down deeper into understanding the execution. You will know which ideas to work on and which ones to discard right-away.


6. How do you define success? What are the KPIs?

This will help you track success, and if you are in digital, this will help you course-correct if the design needs any iteration.


7. What are the no go areas?

I remember working for a client that hated typography and loved quirky wordplay.

The Key to Your Success

The best way to know your client is to ask! For that matter, anyone. If you do it right, you’ll identify countless options to solve problems, become an asset, and help your clients succeed.

I still won’t guarantee that client won’t ask you to make the logo bigger.

And finally, don’t ask them how much budget do they have. If you have a great design/idea, they will be open to extending the budget. Trust me when I say this, I have been on both sides of the tables.

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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 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
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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The human brain is a fantastic library of images. The more you watch the world around you, the more it gets enriched. All one needs to do is to observe every detail around very closely, suggests animation filmmaker-illustrator Vajra Pancharia. He discusses pointers that help him create engaging visuals.

Visuals
Cave birdy
Visuals
Dojo Training Centre
Visuals
Concept illustration for a game
Visuals
28 days later after infection

How you see is what you draw.

You derive your mood and emotions from your surroundings. That’s how each element works for you. For instance, nature, for almost all of us is always beautiful and serene. So while painting landscapes and environments you tend to bring out spatial and ethereal feel in them. Of course, the concept plays a great part in determining the details. Similarly, many a times, the surroundings push your emotions to an extreme. That’s when your characters become dark and edgy.

Tomcruise
Visuals
Environment

The story decides the character.

The heart of the story should be the soul of the character. While the story acts like a container, the character is the content. They both work hand in hand to drive the narrative. Above all, aesthetics and clarity matters a lot. They complement each other if you feel the core of the story and bring the small nuances from it visually to the characters. A small gesture, which is appealing, can tell the entire story effectively.

Interior Sketch
MONSTREOPUS
Wolverine

Perspective is your camera on paper.

The world around us is in a 3D space. But we tell our stories through a 2D medium, like paper. That’s why one needs to use few tools to aid the narrative. The most important of them is perspective. It makes viewers’ attention focus towards a certain area in an artwork. Visually, perspective can be used to enhance storytelling, adding more dynamism to some parts. It can also mellow down certain areas to give importance to others. If used wisely, perspective can surely do a good job of conveying an idea.

Naseerudin Shah
Happy holi
Visuals
Hangout

Colours make your stories move.

Colours are the most dynamic part of an artwork. In the real world, they change so quickly that capturing the mood becomes quite challenging for an artist. One needs to learn colour behaviour and understand how it affects the viewer. The best way to go about understanding it is to paint from real life with traditional mediums. This increases your visual sense and helps you choose the right colours which can be later applied on the digital medium.

Relate to exaggerate.

You get best ideas for your character from the surroundings. First identify who, your neighbour, maid, postman, bus conductor, or people in a mall, resembles your character best. Then spot the characteristics, both in behaviour and appearance, which make them what they are. These are the qualities that can bring out the emotions. A good way to understand these features is to enact them out in front of the mirror. That way, you are able to absorb these qualities and translate them into your designs.

Visual development for a game level
Visuals
Environment Concept
Visuals
Creature Design

Be open and observant.

There is a storehouse of positive energy that surrounds us. It manifests itself through characters, images, stories and every element of nature. You need to keep your eyes and mind open to grab all of it. Ideas, imagination, aesthetics, colours, forms and everything else that make your visuals are born out of this energy. It is the key factor that gets translated into your visuals. Everything else is incidental.

Visual development for a game level
Visuals
Crow
Visuals
Forest Design

Published in Issue 15

In this issue, we invited leading Gaming professionals to share their inspirations along with their suggestions to improve the Gaming Art in India. Featuring some of the big names of Gaming Art likeVinay Vikram Singh, Sandeep Menon and Neeraj Menon along with International renowned Russian studio, ‘Grafit Studio‘ and many more talented creatives.

 

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Creative Gaga - Issue 51

 

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Encouraging us to make the best out the situation, Febin Raj cheers us to turn our obstacles into opportunities as the world ghts this deadly pandemic.

Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
What inspired you to take up art as your profession?

Febin. I loved drawing even as a child, and it has only grown stronger over the years. Hence, when it came to choosing a profession, there was no second choice. I consider myself blessed to be living my passion and for making a career out of it.

Pandemic - Febin raj
Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
Though your art journey began in watercolours, your current works are extensively digital. What is it about digital painting that draws you to it?

Febin. It is necessary to stay updated in this fast-paced world. Digital art provides us with a wide range of opportunities to challenge ourselves and to explore new dimensions of art, while also making our work a lot easier compared to conventional methods. But nothing can replace the satisfaction of painting with watercolours on a piece of paper.

Q.
Your current digital artworks possess a specific style and geometric flair. Kindly share the artistic process with us.

Febin. My style has evolved over the years, and it is not done consciously or with any plan. I execute my ideas rather spontaneously and draw inspiration from what I see around me.

Q.
Your art pieces seem to possess a strict colour palette. How do you select the colour scheme for each piece?

Febin. My works are inspired by nature, and hence, the colours are a reflection of what we can observe around us. The colour palette goes in sync with the intricate hues of nature, and I try my best to do justice to this beautiful swirl of colours around us and keep my works natural.

Q.
Your artworks reflect your love for travel and nature. How did this pandemic challenge your creativity and artwork, especially since we were required to stay at home?

Febin. This pandemic did not challenge my creativity. I tried to see this as an opportunity to explore my limitations and push my boundaries. It is indeed true that we were all confined within the four walls, but our creativity and ideas were never confined. Even with these limited resources, I tried to bring out the best in me.

Pandemic - Febin raj
Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
What are the effects of the pandemic on the art industry? Were there any unexpected hurdles?

Febin. The art industry, just as all the other industries, faced certain setbacks due to this pandemic, but it is slowly picking up the pace. If we convert every hurdle we face into an opportunity, I’m sure we’ll thrive. That is what I’m trying to do right now.

Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
Freelancers are some of the most affected in this pandemic. What is the market like for the freelancers now?

Febin. Just as all the other professions, freelancers have faced some difficulties too. The market is not as commendable at this point in time, but the situation is undoubtedly improving. Personally, the pandemic has only brought new opportunities and fabulous projects for me.

Pandemic - Febin raj
Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
How are the art agencies and studios coping with the pandemic? How are they supporting the freelancers through this crisis?

Febin. Art agencies and studios are indeed going through a difficult situation due to this crisis, but I believe that they are extending every possible support to the freelancers. During the pandemic, I got the chance to collaborate with a few international studios.

Q.
When ‘Work From Home’ is the new norm, do you see any long-term changes in the way freelancers work?

Febin. The profession of freelancing, as we see it today, has been evolved over the years. Any and every change is gradual. Hence, it is tough to predict how the concept of freelancing would be perceived in the future. But as of now, freelancing is linked to freedom and that would remain the same, regardless of any change.

Pandemic - Febin raj
Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
Has the working style of art agencies and studios changed? Do you think this change will last post-pandemic?

Febin. The working style has definitely changed into a whole new dimension since the resources are limited. This pandemic proved to us that whatever the situation may be, there is always a way out. Perhaps some of the positive aspects of this new working style might stick with us post-pandemic.

Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
Would you like to say a few words to your fellow artists and freelance who are fighting their way through this pandemic?

Febin. Make every obstacle your opportunity. Remember that these struggles, this crisis is not here to stay; this too shall pass. So, make the best out of the time you’ve been given, as creativity knows no bounds.

Pandemic - Febin raj

Published in Issue 51

TBusiness, studios, agencies, freelancer all have different perspectives to handle the pandemic and hurdle it brings. While some find pandemic an obstacle which will soon fade away and on the other hand, few saw opportunities in the same. Many creatives used the past few months to reflect on their styles and horn their art. Many utilized it for collaboration opportunities with national and international creatives. This issue is a must-read if you are looking for insights, inspirations and ways to bounce back in this unlocking phase.

 

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