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As a part of their biggest rebranding in years, Meta-owned Instagram has revealed a new visual identity consisting of a new typeface and a slightly tweaked app icon.

We can see a much more comprehensive look at the new brand identity. ‘Instagram Sans’ is a fun new typeface based around what Instagram calls the “squircle”. With the handwritten style that’s been around for a while, the new wordmark is a much more contemporary affair.

The company mentioned that its new typeface is designed with heritage in mind and includes multiple global scripts.

Instagram Unveiled Some Upgrades in Their Visual Identity!

“We are bringing new energy and purpose to our colours, typeface, logo and other brand elements with a refreshed visual identity. Our new system is designed to embrace continued evolution to help us create more immersive and inclusive experiences for our community,” Instagram said in a statement.

This refreshed design would apparently help Instagram as a social platform “create more immersive and inclusive experiences.”

CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 55

 

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Usually, the idea of working on the creative front for a Government project is not welcomed by many studios. But Lopez Design has accepted the challenges that come along with these big scale projects and have been successful in carrying out the same.

Branding for National Impact

India is a globe in itself with a population of almost 1.4 billion, it is important to create experiences that belong to us. Design is about people and the Government is the largest client in context to the impact it creates – it is an opportunity to design for millions. Taking on a Government project replaces the notion that design is for an elitist audience with the idea of design being for the masses.

A Rigorous Process

Government projects involve tedious processes – right from extensive documentation to verification of credentials and adherence to formal guidelines. Nevertheless, this struggle needs to be done to get recognition from the Government – that good design is important and can make a difference.

Design

Studio Lopez Designs’ first major project was identity and branding, communication collaterals, website design, social media and signage for Bihar Museum, with biggest challenges being dealing with the bureaucracy at the administrative level and getting payments and approvals sanctioned. Patience and persistence are the secrets to move forward in such kinds of projects.

Design

A Measured Gamble that Pays Off

A client picks Lopez Design recognising the potential and brand value. Equally, we take the initiative to bid for Government projects as the prospect of designing for a larger audience outweighs the tedium of administrative processes and other risks. Because of our rigorous and thorough design process, we usually get it right the first time, rarely facing opposition, in spite of going through the many levels of authority.

 

Under the umbrella of UNICEF, we were commissioned to do the branding of the Health and Wellness Centers of the Ayushman Bharat program.

Design

Indian Designers can be Catalysts

We have garnered achievements largely by pushing boundaries and rising against the stereotypical application of design. Making the design, region, and nation-specific and addressing the character, language, and behaviour, imparting an authentic feel to the design.

Design

In Ayushman Bharat, the branding program was about painting the walls of 1.5 lakh local primary health care centres. Creating a national brand and yet a local brand was an achievement by which each HWC has its own unique character. By allowing people the creative power in execution, they became catalysts in the design process.

Simplicity and Creativity in Implementation

Sometimes following standard design practice and providing all specifications falls flat. In the Ayushman Bharat project, created a system with an element of creativity: a simple brand manual with 3 to 4 steps to bring a level of consistency and giving ownership to people at the ground level. This worked wonders and yielded beautiful results. People took responsibility and delivered within the time period. Leaving implementation to the people was a bold and necessary step, but was successful.

 

These projects outshine many corporate projects because of their scale and reach. It was a moment to take pride in our design process as it is making a difference to the nation.

Published in Issue 44

Behind every successful studio, artist or designer there are stories of challenges, struggles and their unique solutions to these. With this issue, we interviewed many well-known names from the creative industry and found their different learnings and experiences behind making their own self as a brand. Though they all have a different take on this topic, still they all unanimously emphasise on focusing on their skills and quality delivery of the final outcome. So, if you are looking to establish yourself as a brand in the creative market or already in the process of it, this issue is a must read. Full of insights and inspirations from the best of the talents, this issue is waiting to reach your desks.

 

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Creative Gaga - Issue 55

 

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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
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Dojo Training Centre
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Concept illustration for a game
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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
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
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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

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
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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 55

 

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Environment designer, Ayan Nag, shares insights about the nature of working in this arena and related learnings gained through the work process.

CG. To start with, could you please tell us about Environment Design as a genre and elaborate on the intricate aspects it involves?

Ayan: Environment Design is an umbrella term just like Concept Art. In general, this is a process where we plan and execute the surroundings of a given scene. From designing the colour, mood, shape and language to designing the props, everything falls under this category.

Discovery

A lot of the time, these individual aspects would be undertaken by different artists and teams. Early into a project, just a handful of artists might be handling multiple aspects of the process. For example, a team of 2-3 artists could be undertaking the whole design process. As the visual language gets clearer, work would be split up amongst bigger teams and artists.

Daybreak Valley

CG. What’s your own story as an artist or illustrator? Please run us through its course, as to how it all began and progressed until this point?

Ayan: I started digital painting during my early college days in 2009-10. I got a bit serious about it after I was done with college. I looked for jobs during that phase and was greatly disappointed by the overall quality and work culture. So I went with the freelance route. I am quite happy that I did that. I have been a full-time freelancer till date.

Food Truck
Food Truck Interior

I have been quite lazy throughout most of my career. I was barely getting sufficient gigs to support myself. I think, from 2015 onwards I started taking things really seriously and actively learning more about art from whatever sources I could find. As the quality of my work improved, so did the projects. This has been an exciting journey so far and I am hoping it will stay that way in the future as well.

The gate of Dourbarrah!

CG. As a freelancer, how do you approach client expectations and balance it with your own perspective as an artist?

Ayan: That’s a bit tricky. However, I feel that a good amount of communication is very important to bridge that gap. I am very open about delivering expectations and good clients are generally very understanding of that as well. My approach to this has always been to under-promise and to over-deliver.

Apex Legends | “Legacy of a Thief”
Apex Legends | “Legacy of a Thief”

CG. What is the “Apex Legends” series all about? What was the brief and the execution process to arrive at the final result?

Ayan: I was hired by passion pictures to do the illustrations for “Apex Legends – Legacy of Thief” official trailer. They were looking for a different style for the project and my style matched the requirements. The brief involved animatics (storyboards with basic camera movements) and I had to design and paint all the environments. I worked on the project for close to two months. Since I was the sole artist illustrating all the backgrounds, the pressure I felt was immense. But I am glad to have pulled through the whole thing.

Apex Legends | “Legacy of a Thief”

CG. Also, what got you started with tutorials and what’s your aim behind it?

Ayan: I have been meaning to put out tutorials for a very long time. I always learn something new while trying to teach something and some passive income on the side is a huge relief for freelancers such as myself. During an ArtStation challenge, I finally decided to jump in and get it done. I had a lot of trouble during the whole process but ended up enjoying it at the end of it all. I am planning on releasing a few more tutorials this quarter. Let’s see how that goes.

Hawk's Nest

CG. How do you technically achieve an effective blend of contrast, hues, lighting and shadow effects?

Ayan: Understanding the fundamentals of art like value, lighting, colour theory, perspective, etc. is a must to achieve these qualities. Doing individual studies on these and being observant during my free time has helped me a lot with them. Once you have a basic understanding of the fundamentals, studying real-life starts benefitting you.

CG. Please tell us about your experience working on paintings involving a 3D base. Also, what distinguishes the process applied therein?

Ayan: Having a 3D base to start with is very time-efficient. I already have the perspective, lighting and the basic composition figured out. It’s just a matter of painting/bashing in the textures and working on it till I finish. There are a lot of different ways to go about the process but I mostly just start painting on top of the layer and produce something presentable as soon as I can. I can always separate the layers later on when the painting gets approved or I like where it’s heading.

Plein Air April 21-30

CG. Please throw light on the “Grand Space Opera: Light Age – Keyframe Design” Challenge. How was it different from working on earth landscapes?

Ayan: I always loved working on space-themed paintings and especially rendering spheres, so much so that I always put a sphere on my paintings just for the sake of it. When I saw the ArtStation challenge, I could not resist. I kept building the story and the world around it slowly. It was so much fun.

CG. What kind of assignments are you looking for currently and how do you wish to evolve your works and yourself as an artist hereon?

Ayan: As of now, I am mostly taking on visual development and colour design-related projects since I have the most amount of freedom when working on them. I plan on moving around a lot; experiencing a lot of new things and bettering myself as a human being. Hopefully, my art will evolve with me as well!

Plein Air April 2022

CG. Kindly point out one or two of your tutorials you’re most proud of and wish for growing environment designers to watch?

Ayan: As of now, I only have one tutorial which shows how I correlate the art fundamentals and design principles together to create compositions. It is a bit long and you may find it a bit boring, yet it’s overloaded with information and will definitely help if you are at a beginner to intermediate level.

Plein Air April 2022

CG. Finally, where do you think the future of Environment Design is headed and where would you like to direct it?

Ayan: Environment Design is a huge industry filled with amazing people from all around the world. I am just a passerby trying to paint what I enjoy; share them with the world and hopefully make a living out of it.

Moonlit Shrine

Unfurl the many works, styles and involvements of Environment Designer Ayan Nag through his webpage and Instagram

 

And for more exciting behind-the-scenes coverage of other artists & illustrators from around the world, be sure to follow Creative Gaga on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

Midnight Gleam
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Creative Gaga - Issue 55

 

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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 fights 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 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 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.

Pandemic - Febin raj

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.

Pandemic - Febin raj
Pandemic - Febin raj

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.

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.

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

Febin. Just as in 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 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 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

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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Preeti Vyas
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Acclaimed Chairwoman and Founder at leading design and communication consultancy, VGC, Preeti Vyas deploys her experience and knowledge gained through the years to share with us the nature of competing in the design circuit, and the factors that influence winning and losing a pitch.

There are, essentially, three types of competitive scenarios:

1. Already existing clients, with the potential to give more business.

2. Potential clients who approach us.

3. Approaching and addressing businesses out there.

The task is, hence, multifarious. It ranges from the micro to the macro, and all are symbiotically connected. Having said that, at the core of it is to understand your own DNA and staying true to it. The passion for business must first start with the passion for one’s work. This is important because it will reflect in the body of your work. And, when all the marketing dust settles, that will always remain as the moment of truth and become your brand aura.

With that, it is important to service existing clients excellently with good work; timely deliveries; proactive thinking, and sustaining a mutually respectful and comfortable relationship across all levels.

This golden formula, is to almost always keeps them away from going elsewhere, no matter what the temptations. In case any one element falters, you are risking losing a client to your competition.

Potential clients are influenced by your reputation; your presence in the media (digital or otherwise), and the preliminary research on your work. They might even ask for a multi-agency pitch, and if they have absolutely fallen in love with the combined aura of your work, the threshold to give in or walk away is yours to decide, with room to have the negotiations sway in your favour.

And lastly, the world is filled with potential clients and potential competition. It would serve you well to study both, and to work hard to keep polishing your aura, so as to maintain your brand differentiator and communicate it across available platforms, such as social media, website, direct marketing, events, publications, etc. It is important to be seen as a brand that stands for a vibrant, intelligent and creative solution provider that stays relevant by constantly exploring, innovating and expressing.

Published in Issue 37

The issue includes interactions with Preeti Vyas from VGC on ‘How to pitch for clients or retain the existing one’ and Ashish Deshpande from Elephant on ‘Challenges of working with a startup’, along with some best freelancers like Archan Nair, Shreya Shetty and Paul Sandip, sharing their knowledge of working with various clients. Also, Sachin Puthran from Thatzit.com gave a 10-point no-nonsense guide for studios to handle their finances. A must read, if you are planning for the financial year ahead or worried about your handling your money matter.

 

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Creative Gaga - Issue 55