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Gopika Chowfla
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It’s not about your portfolio or projects all the time, even what you read, watch or think and discuss can land you a dream position in one of the most reputed design studio. Gopika Chowfla, founder of GCD Studio (earlier Gopika Chowfla Design) highlights some of the key ingredients of her perfect intern!

What do I look for in a ‘perfect intern’? Aha! I am tempted to say ‘slave’! Someone who will toil unconditionally and uncomplainingly 24×7 on whatever is given to her (or him) to do (usually a task no one else wants to do). But of course that is not what happens in reality. The intern’s tenure in our studio is treated as a learning capsule and we try to make sure that they are given the opportunity to get the most rounded experience of a real project. In turn, what we look for (or at least hope to find) when we take on a young designer or an intern, is…

…Someone who is truly excited by and passionate about the whole process of designing, is curious and questions everything. Someone who reads, watches play, talks politics, sings, cooks, travels, knits and is interested in things which are not just about design. Someone, whose only window to the world is not Google.

Someone who is proficient in all the fundamental skills and software required to be a designer! Who has knowledge of history of art and design. Someone who goes beyond the prescribed boundaries and likes learning new skills. Someone who thinks design and can articulate his or her ideas. Someone who enjoys proactively expanding the scope of her assignment. Someone who never stops at the first idea. Someone who wants to get as much out of the studio for own personal growth, as he or she gives back in terms of talent, time and commitment. Someone who wants to become someone!

Published in Issue 32

If you are a recent graduate or about to finish your college then this issue may have answers to many of your questions. Like, how to get the best placement or the internship? How to present best in front of the interviewer? Which studio or agency to choose to start your career? How to work in a team or choose to be a freelancer? This issue has advice from many experts such as Ashwini Deshpande and Gopika Chowfla who gave the secrets of choosing the right intern for their well-known design teams. And on another hand, Rajaram Rajendran and Ranganath Krishnamani advise young designer to gain multiple skills and be the best at them.

 

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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.

Gopika Chowfla Design
Gopika Chowfla Design
Brand Identity for Veeba

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 amazing creative people at work like Frank Simoes and Mohammed Khan.

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

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
Packaging Design for Chelsea Teas

The Work-Culture 

A studio with the approach of making the clients’ job as own 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, it has never been a struggle to move forward. It rather is an enjoyable journey with plenty of interesting co-travelers 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.

Gopika Chowfla Design
Gopika Chowfla Design
Anya Hotels branding and design

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.

Gopika Chowfla Design
Gopika Chowfla Design
Brand development for Apeejay Arts
Issue 44 - Creative Gaga

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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