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Starting from scratch isn’t that big a deal. Putting in your hundred percent, grabbing the right opportunities and administering patience go a long way in the evolutionary development of an idea. Gopika Chowfla shares her insight about the same.

After her graduation, choosing to work between 2 design studios and an ad agency to practice her learnings, Gopika joined the ad industry to do what she loved- illustration, logos, typography, poster making, packaging design and photography and was mentored by amazingly creative people at work like Frank Simoes and Mohammed Khan.

Gopika Chowfla Design
Brand Identity for Veeba

The Genesis

In 1996 when the market was changing, print media took a back seat and film was reigning supreme. Being driven by the desire to be innovative and creative, she was not inspired by what she was doing and wanted to get into the realm of design. This gave birth to Gopika Chowfla Design. Gopika Chowfla Design has evolved organically without much of a business plan or charting of a growth curve. The two driving forces for Gopika were enjoying the work she does and working with people who have the same motivation.

Gopika Chowfla Design
Gopika Chowfla Design
Logo and Packaging Design for Organica

The Work-Culture

A studio with the approach of making the clients’ job as owner and this has helped establish long-term relationships with clients. Believing in a work ethic that is cooperative and in creating an environment that enables people to work and create in an engaging and supportive way, Gopika has always treated the workspace as a place of learning design as well as life skills.

Gopika Chowfla Design
Gopika Chowfla Design
Brand Identity for Spicejet Airlines

Her workspace is her life with her own children growing up around here and her colleague’s kids as well. Here, personal issues become shared events and everyone is welcome to bring their lives into this work space. Gopika is proud of having created a space that has welcomed and nurtured as well as been enriched by some of the most talented and wonderful people. The result of this is evident in the output of the studio and the fact that people who have worked here never really leave.

Gopika Chowfla Design
Gopika Chowfla Design
Brand Identity for Spicejet Airlines

Growth and Expansion

Gopika Chowfla Design was started as a dominantly print design studio but soon branding was their core strength. Getting into the digital space became essential and started extending their design services to web interfaces, primarily as an integral part of developing the total brand architecture as they like to approach brand development in as holistic a manner that they can.

Gopika Chowfla Design
Gopika Chowfla Design
Brand graphics and complete retail experience for Oxford Bookstore and Cha bar

Finding something exciting that challenges creatively, works as a starting point and is then executed in a manner that is fresh, logically thought out and beautifully designed. When Gopika Chowfla Design was setup, clients typically engaged their advertising agencies for their brand and design-related jobs and these were done at very low fees by the agencies. So convincing a client to actually pay a proper fee to an independent design studio came with its own challenges. But soon enough a client recognized the value of engaging a designer for design specific projects as they got better, more specialized inputs. Seek clients who respect your work and give room to do what you do well.

Gopika Chowfla Design
Coaster design for Apsara

A Positive Outlook

Taking the challenges in a positive light as something new to tackle has never been a struggle to move forward. It rather is an enjoyable journey with plenty of interesting co-travellers and many important milestones. With a young and agile team, we try and keep pace with changes that happen around us and respond accordingly. With social media being such an important part of communication and marketing, are into that area too.

Gopika Chowfla Design
Anya Hotels branding and design

Hidden Treasures

Loving what we do and letting the designers at Gopika Chowfla Design take charge of the assignments they are working on is Gopika Chowfla Design’s secret to achieve everything that they wish for. Making tow of her designers as partners. Gopika wishes to transform it into a cooperative where everyone is an owner, contributes to the earnings and takes a share of the profits.

Brand Identity for Biotique

Clients respect your work only if you respect it yourself. Figure out what you want your brand to stand for, be true to it. Don’t chase the money, go after the ideas and do great work and the money chases you! Surround yourself with talent and feed off it, so that it keeps you going when you feel like you’re drying up. Enjoy yourself, there couldn’t be a more fun job in the world – than as a designer.

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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Everything around us is the result of a design thought, conscious or unconscious. Diving deep into the story behind its creation inspires original creativity. Ruminates the young and promising illustration & design studio, LOCOPOPO, founded by Lokesh Karekar.

Illustration for Royal Stag Whisky packaging Design

Illustration for Royal Stag Whisky packaging Design

Illustration for Royal Stag Whisky packaging Design

We Live in a Designed World

There is design in every object or thing around us. From a bus ticket to apparels, from roads to an entire city, and every single thing around us is designed. Good or bad, it has been “designed” by somebody. The environment that we grow up in defines our choices of colours, patterns, purposes and forms. As consumers we prefer for a certain kind of design. And as creators, we subconsciously play the role of a designer, conceptualizing a product according to our choices. This is the most fascinating fact about the world around us.

Illustration for Taj Vivanta

Identity design for Myoho - a fashion apparel brand

Identity and label design for SIX FIELDS wheat beer

Creating is the best way to get Inspired

Inspiration can come from anywhere. That’s the most heard statement in the life of a designer. What we do with it shape up our creativity. Travelling is just a beginning to imbibe ideas. Scribbling, doodling, clicking photographs, recording incidents is the next step. As creative minds, we need to keep dabbling with the triggers so as to come up with our own ideas. This is what keeps the mind of an artist fresh, original and prolific.

Identity design for Mango Pickle

Collateral design for Mango Pickle

Collateral design for Mango Pickle

Coaster design for Mango Pickle

Collateral design for Mango Pickle

Our Roots Define our Identity

Our culture has a rich reservoir of forms and content. As designers we should search within and dig out references that are related to our roots. But the quest doesn’t stop there. Being part of the larger global family, our job is to merge our design sensibilities with the international one. Keeping the composition and colour preference modern and the choice of figures and patterns Indian, or vice versa, we are actually contributing our bit to make our own art socially appreciable. It’s time we simplify, modify, create shapes and motifs inspired from Indian traditional styles and implement them correctly with proper use of colours.

Brand illustration language created for festival mailers for Aditya Birla Capital

Brand illustration language created for festival mailers for Aditya Birla Capital

Brand illustration language created for festival mailers for Aditya Birla Capital

Illustration is an Illusion

And of course, a beautiful one. It’s wonderful to observe how it seamlessly integrates into the central thought of the project at hand. Ranging from minimal and form based work, where the whole charm is concentrated in one form to very detailed, sometimes bright and vibrant imagery, illustrations are carriers of ideas and have no existence of their own. Trying to define style through one’s illustration abilities is a wrong approach. Rather, one should focus on one’s communication abilities and explore the preferred design tools.

Illustration for Jack Daniels

Packaging Design for Jack Daniels



Play card Design for Jack Daniels

Play card Design for Jack Daniels

Every Medium has an Inherent Wit

As designers our job is to give a contextual twist and make the humour relevant to the design. There is fun around us. We don’t even have to search for it. If our process of getting inspired is right, it automatically transforms into our works. Be it illustration, collage, clay modeling or even product design, the medium inherits this wit and automatically gets translated through the specific language of the medium. The human figures in my work often follow a feeling of caricature as that is what I imbibe from the human faces around me.

How the stability of the Indian Rupee affects industries like infrastructure, automobile and banking. Created for Moneycontrol.com

How the stability of the Indian Rupee affects industries like infrastructure, automobile and banking. Created for Moneycontrol.com

Be Original

Look around and you’ll find your voice resonating in one of the elements of your root, your own culture. Get inspired from it, and embark on the journey of finding your own language.

Illustration created for LAKME - Absolute Salon advertising campaign

Lifestyle Illustration created for Lodha Bellissimo

Published in Issue 04

This is a Inspiration Special. The issue with the best insights from some of the top space designers and advertising tips from Happy Creatives with some exclusive mix of media experiments in type and digital art.

 

 


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In a world where technology is emerging as the winner, Aditi Dash, a young visual artist, takes on a massive challenge to create organised designs where concepts and innovative ideas are the first thing that meet the eye. The cheerful colours, the organised layout, all variables merge together to only highlight the fact that software is simply a tool of the trade and is dictated by the designer.

Aditi Dash tells us more about how she tames technology to create memorable designs.

Taming Technology to Create Memorable Designs by Aditi Dash - Creative Gaga

Never Dwell in a Comfort Zone and Work within Boundaries

Design should be functional while having visual appeal. And that’s why it’s important that a designer’s design sensibilities seem organized. The messaging in an artwork needs to be easy to grasp and understand, otherwise one loses interest. Designers can most definitely incorporate elements that inspire them like organized, and that does not mean it becomes their style. A designer must be able to continually challenge abilities and traverse through the vast possibilities this field of expression has to offer.

Mutton Munch - Taming Technology to Create Memorable Designs - Creative Gaga

Read about Graphic Designing in Designing with Clarity of Purpose


Mediums Change and so do Techniques

Print design is gradually losing traction and digital seems to be the new platform where designer chose to master their work. Although digital platforms miss out on the tangible appeal of print media, it is more versatile and can be explored as an experimental medium. Designing for a digital space has a whole universe of RGB colours at one’s disposal and requires being pixel perfect. Print on the other hand requires a good understanding of all the materials involved, like the kind of paper, inks, printing techniques etc.

Technology is Simply Tools of the Trade

Technology is not a choice in today’s world, and it’s something that design is incomplete without in most cases. And that is the challenge.

Magazine - Taming Technology to Create Memorable Designs - Creative Gaga

Anybody can learn how to use software and start designing but that’s not the point. It’s important to understand that we are the masters and not these tools. And hence a design sense and prowess is what one must work on before anything else. As a creative thinker, it’s important to make technology work as a catalyst for innovative ideas and concepts that should emerge as the hero of a design.

Mutton Munch -Taming Technology to Create Memorable Designs - Creative Gaga

Approach Challenges with Confidence

The goal of every design should be to serve a purpose and contribute to society. Once you plunge into the world of design, challenges will be thrown your way and the trick to overcome them is to face them with confidence, even if your mind is thinking twice. This attitude means half the battle won. There is no fear in design, because no one loses; there is nothing to lose. All there is to gain. Gain inspiration, knowledge and skill.

Jazila - Taming Technology to Create Memorable Designs - Creative Gaga
Nocturnal - Taming Technology to Create Memorable Designs - Creative Gaga

Published in Issue 29

As the growth of a tree can be determined by the strength of its roots, in the same way, we can try to presume the growth of design by the quality of fresh talent. So we dedicated this issue to all the Design Graduates of 2015. It includes all the young talent from last year graduates to recent graduates and students who will be graduating in the next few years. We also tried to understand the impact of digital medium on our design education. We have featured design graduates from varied fields of design from most of the top colleges and institutes.

 


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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.

Brand
Brand
Brand
Brand
Brand
Brand
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.

Brand
Brand
Brand
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

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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People are not too fond of throwing things away, and in the recycle-reuse world of today, people find ways to use small little things for their own unique purposes. Whether it’s a tin tea leaves box converted into a pen stand or gift basket used as home decor, designer Anoop Chalil believes it’s all about thinking one step ahead. Below, he outlines key points to help create innovative packaging that helps the product and its consumers.

Packaging for I am Pure

Packaging for I am Pure

Packaging for I am Pure

Experience comes with an Experience

It can be said that packaging design is more about the journey than the final creation from a designer’s point of view. It’s not just interacting with a product, but also with the people and culture behind it. These when combined enhance one as a packaging designer, giving you more insights and in depth knowledge of the skill.

Stationery for Club W

Stationery for Club W

Packaging for Club W

It’s not about doing different things, it’s about doing things differently

Every designer explores their own niche; their own style. And even though at first look, some designs by various designers might look similar, where it may look like identical tools or techniques have been used, a closer look reveals the small differences that make a difference. For instance, it’s easy for many to simply use the align tool in design software to arrange and organize objects. However, a difference can be made by using a grid system and zooming into each object to manually arrange them. Such detailed working style goes on to make a huge impact on the final outcome.

Stationery for Terrace

Packaging for Terrace

What you keep in mind should be kept in your design

The look and feel of the packaging are predominantly dominated by the product. However, simple and minimal designs stand out in a cluttered shelf. Before creating innovative solutions, it is important to keep in mind some simple points to make the journey smooth and obstacle-free. Staying simple and honest is key and so is researching consumers, markets and competition before getting onto designing. Also, packaging designs significantly depend on the type of material being used and hence a good understanding in such areas is crucial as well. Apart from that, product extension and legible typography are some more aspects that must be included in every design.

Packaging for Terrace

It’s not about who’s in the driver’s seat, but what car you’re driving

In the design world, everyone would agree that the clients have the ultimate say. But that does not stop any designer or design from coming through. It’s not easy of course and is a skill that comes with experience and confidence. As a packaging designer, it’s just not enough to simply create packaging that looks good; one needs to always have concrete reasons as to why that is so. Tell the client’s why using well-researched reasons and they will agree with your concept.

Packaging for Aura Cinema

For example, coming up with Tin packaging that could be used as keepsakes by consumers instead of using plastic bottles that the client initially demanded works a lot better to not only add to the designer’s portfolio but to work for the brand as well. Effectiveness is key and this way, designers can have the last word. But this by no means is disregarding opinions of clients. Designers must also be aware that companies spend two to three years researching a product before launching it in the market. Hence, it doesn’t hurt sometimes to try and understand where they’re coming from.

Published in Issue 26

Packaging is the first vital step towards enchanting the audience. Who doesn’t like a cute box or a trendy bottle? With this issue, Creative Gaga lets the cat out of the box to reveal the world of packaging design. Featuring various local and international designers like Petar Pavlov from Macedonia and Brandziac from Russia, Elephant Design and Impprintz from Pune, the issue promises to be a keepsake for many.

 


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At times, we get stuck playing the tug of war between a client and designer so much so that we often forget about the product or brand in focus. Branding and packaging design expert, Petar Pavlov from Macedonia makes the product the epicentre of his thoughts and designs to create ideal protection and cover for them-just like our skin.

CG. You seem to have grasped the true essence of packaging, infusing a brand’s personality and flavour. What has changed in packaging design over the years? How do you make your designs look modern and cutting-edge?

Petar Pavlov. This is a hard one because the goal is not guided by finding modern and cutting-edge solutions, but rather employ what best fits the brand and product. There have been numerous times when I have tried to apply a certain trend and midway have had to return to exploring new solutions because the initial thought didn’t complement the product.

CG. How has being a packaging designer in Macedonia influenced you as a designer? What local traits do your designs possess? What traits make your designs competitive for the international world?

Petar Pavlov. I have been working in Macedonia and Serbia too, but it’s important to note that location nowadays has nothing to do with the influence. The situation in Macedonia design-wise is not really up there. However, it’s good to see more and more designers pushing boundaries.

Packaging Design - Box
Packaging Design - Domaine Lepovo Cork Screw

CG. What is your design process? And how much does the initial idea resemble the end design that the client accept? Do you dictate your designs or is it dictated by the brand and/or client?

Petar Pavlov. I always start with research and the results of such are what dictate the final design. The journey from the first proposal to the end solution is a complicated one and varies from project to project.

 

At times, clients can make critical decisions that result in a final outcome nowhere resembling the initial concept at all. And at times, there are instances where clients agree with your notions and understanding. But ultimately, in this business, it’s the brand that controls everyone, be it the client or the designer.

Packaging Design - Tga Packshot
Packaging Design - Tga Collage

CG. If you could pick any one brand/product in the world to design some packaging for, what would it be? How do you use your designs to enhance the product experience for the consumer?

Petar Pavlov. I love chocolate, so I guess I would pick Lindt. And to answer the second part of your question, I usually try to find small details that would surprise the consumer and allows them to connect more intimately with the product.

Packaging for The Pure Food Co.

Packaging for The Pure Food Co.

Packaging for Nasa Kuca

Published in Issue 26

Packaging is the first vital step towards enchanting the audience. Who doesn’t like a cute box or a trendy bottle? With this issue, Creative Gaga lets the cat out of the box to reveal the world of packaging design. Featuring various local and international designers like Petar Pavlov from Macedonia and Brandziac from Russia, Elephant Design and Impprintz from Pune, the issue promises to be a keepsake for many.

 


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