How does a studio grow?

When unexpected ideas take shape, businesses are born. Such is the case of multi-disciplinary creative studio Inchwork, co-founded by Anant Ahuja based out of New Delhi. Transforming from a team of 2 to 8, the journey has been a roller coaster ride for the past two years and now it can only get better!

Child Essentials. Creating a verbal brand ethos, visual language, illustration sets and photography guidelines alongside the static signup page and social media templates for the brand Little On, aimed at a target audience of kids ranging from ages 0 to7 years.

Co-founding his own company at the young age of 23, Anant Ahuja did not have it easy! Having his own practice was a way of proving himself and he did so with Gulab Saggu and Bharath Varma. Learning at work for the first few months after starting out paralleled with designing for big brands. They’ve seen hard times but they made it through the storm and haven’t since looked back!

Maneuvering Chicanes. Branding a professional F3 karting for their client Phoenix Live was an exciting experience for the team at Inchwork. Dubbed the Chicane Circuit, this track has 16 of the most difficult to maneuver sharp double bends.

CG: How do you choose the style for any specific brands? And how minimal style of branding can make or break the marketing strategy?
IW: Well we specialise not just in design but also in brand strategy. We at Inchwork believe in giving brands a very holistic approach. While creating a brand, we start off with a brand-print/manifesto that forms the building blocks of most businesses. Post our market research for the brand, we come up with visual alternatives and solutions for it, while at it we do put out guidelines for the brand that will help build it’s marketing strategy, factoring in trend forecasts. Our sole vision is to make a brand powerful, through visual imagery, not just
beautify it.

Maneuvering Chicanes. Branding a professional F3 karting for their client Phoenix Live was an exciting experience for the team at Inchwork. Dubbed the Chicane Circuit, this track has 16 of the most difficult to maneuver sharp double bends.

CG: Where branding or re-branding is trending in the business world and everywhere else too. How you justify the uniqueness of your services?
IW: I guess that would be our individual approaches within in a team, we like bouncing ideas, doing drawing jams together and not pretend that we know everything. We’re not that a big team, and all of us are multi-faceted, we like to experiment and challenge our own ways of working. We are basically open to adaptation. We always look at the bigger picture and the learning curve with it.

Fun With Type! This involved working with huge scale sets. The aim was to strategically place the word 'Limeroad' in various fonts at numerous locations.

CG: How do the market research, product identity and reputation is aligned with the branding over the client’s need? Does that change the way you design for a brand?
IW: Your biggest job as a design entity is to learn about your client’s business first and then apply your due diligence by educating them about what could work for them, and by that, I don’t mean blatantly putting them down, but advising them while being a sounding board at the same time. It’s very important for us to be fit for the job that we’re being assigned. And if the clients think that we can, then we better be doing that right.

So just to sum it up, it’s very important to understand the client’s perspective but at the same time be proactive enough to make them understand your take on the whole approach. You’re the professional here and it’s your job to get your market research, product identity and reputation in sync with the client’s needs.

Fun With Type! This involved working with huge scale sets. The aim was to strategically place the word 'Limeroad' in various fonts at numerous locations.

CG: Does the choice of typography and colours influence the impact of the brand? How do you steer clear of commonly made errors of mismatch?
IW: Definitely does, typography and the colours are the most crucial component of the visual part of branding. The whole brand perception from the first look defines your market approach. That’s why research is essential for any design project. When back at school, research was just a pain to get a decent grade, now it’s the pain you have to go through to get your brand right. As they say, “no pain, no gain.”

Fun With Type! This involved working with huge scale sets. The aim was to strategically place the word 'Limeroad' in various fonts at numerous locations.

CG: What leads the final outcome of any branding exercise, business needs or what client wants?
IW: We try and steer away from taking up what could end up being a difficult client, well that being said, a client is always difficult, you just have to ease them out with your approach to strategise their brand. We deal with marketing realities every day and as I said we make the adaptation easier. We’re here to educate and learn.

A mammoth task. The digital annual report (2014-15) for Oxfam India involved producing more than 400 info-graphics and spread them over a 54 paged website.

CG: What are the challenges of re-branding projects and how do you handle them?
IW: Re-branding projects are the most difficult ones to tackle. A brand over a period becomes an entity with a notion, and its perception is hard to let go off. And at the same time, it’s very important to understand that it’s not a baby, it’s a grown up adult, which is ready for a fresh lease of life. How you groom a baby and an adult is completely different and that’s where most of the people miserably fail. We’ve just recently finished branding an infrastructure giant and their properties and it has taken us almost over a year. I think patience is the biggest virtue and just be focused onto what you love doing. For us that’s branding.

Published in Issue 34

This is a rebranding special issue focused on finding the answers to some of the basic questions like what is the right time for re-branding? or what all needs changing and how exactly? We interviewed some of the best branding studios like Landor Mumbai, Elephant, VGC, Inchwork, and many more. If you are considering rebranding or want to learn more about the art of doing it then this issue is a must read. So, go ahead

 

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