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Sushant Ajnikar, who draws inspiration from the vivid display of India’s art and colours, a designer in his office, but a parent to homeless little pups on the road, a caring husband to a worried wife, and a rider on the road enjoying the journey, the beauty that is riding. He rides to connect to the reality and more to meet his four-legged friends on the road, who are forgotten and ignored. Hop on to enjoy the ride further!

The design is an amalgamation of myriad things born out of the million thoughts crammed in our gray cells, where inspiration takes form in different shapes and colours. You feed your brain with all kinds of stimuli and when you sit down to churn out something, you never know what may actually trigger a thought. Riding gives me every stimulus I may ever need and hones my creativity. And that’s just one thing.

1. Riding Teaches To Be Disciplined

Both on and off the road. Discipline doesn’t curb creativity but it makes sure that what you intend to do, actually sees fruition. Learn to have discipline in doing my research. Discipline in following a plan and going about it or atleast try to.


2. To Be Brave

Be brave enough to ditch routine, and take on a new route. Try something new. Learn something different.



3. To Be Flexible

I cannot ride with the assumption that my life’s going to be sorted with all the facilities I want. I have to be flexible enough to adjust to any kind of adversity or scenario or surprises. Bingo for design (a designer). Flexibility is creativity’s best friend and a creative person should always be ready to adapt.


4. To Get Hands Dirty and Be Humble

I cannot do 16,000 km without getting some elbow grease, without sitting in the mud on a hot summer’s day, drinking water from a tap. Similarly, I will never succeed as a designer if I don’t do the groundwork. I need to start at the bottom, to get to the very top. No shortcuts here.

5. To Accept Fears

I am human and being scared of the unknown is only natural. But I need to accept it so that I can resolve it. In design, if something is challenging enough to scare me, I should be able to address it, instead of sitting on it, pretending to be cool and making unnecessary mistakes, as no one likes a smartass who knows nothing.


6. Makes You A Keen Observer

I observe everything. I now notice things that I wouldn’t have earlier and there is such joy in observing. The more I observe, the better I am able to sketch my memories out, the more I am able to adapt them to the design, if at all.



7. Teaches To Embrace Failure

When you are on the road, you may have these goals that you set out to achieve. However, you may not see its fulfillment, and the reasons cannot be controlled. And that’s completely okay. The best part of failure is that you get a second chance to do it all over again. You know what to expect then, what to do or not do. The same applies to design rejection and failure is as much a part of this industry as glory is. I need to be able to accept, learn and move on. You almost always end up doing better.


8. Riding Teaches To Keep it Simple

Don’t complicate stuff. Ask any self-respecting designer what they think is the best design and simple will almost always being one of the words that will crop up. Simple isn’t boring, simple can be adventurous, simple can be fancy, simple can be exciting, simple can be anything, it’s just how simply you are able to convey or do what you want to do

Published in Issue 33

We all face it! But everyone has their own unique way to come out of it, in this issue we try to explore different ideas of handling the ‘Creative Burnout’. The most common of all was #travelling, through everyone do it in their own unique style. Like Luke Ritchie from South Africa finds the nature and mountains as the best source of inspiration while Sushant Ajnikar says riding his bike and meeting four-legged loyal friends, dogs, on the way is the best way to learn. So, pack your bags and don’t forget to subscribe your copy before you leave!

 

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This century belongs to creativity and innovation. In everything we do. The way we live is a lot different from what it used to be earlier. Our engagement to shape our future has become intense and pervasive. Design is omnipresent. It is so naturally embedded all around us that sometimes we don’t even notice it. Be it in architecture, product, textile, fashion or graphic design. In the past few years however sensitivity towards design has taken a turn for the better. People today are more aware and are slowly but surely appreciating the impact good design can have in their lives.

Associate Creative Director and Partner of GCD StudioShahana Jain is going to specifically talk about graphic design as an industry and how it has built a standing for itself as a fast growing discipline. Communication design has seen exponential growth in recent years following the surge in consumerism and media. Branding, packaging and advertising are crucial to the success of a product or service in this fiercely competitive environment where presentation is as important as quality. More so with the explosion of digital media, graphic design has found a new area of expansion.

A new brand is created every day. With the new generation rearing to go, the startup ecosystem is fearlessly growing and new players are constantly aspiring to become big names. In such a scenario each one is trying to create their unique space and identity. Branding has therefore become an obvious starting point for those who want to make their presence felt.

For instance many design firms in India is constantly working with start-ups in the technology, FMCG and hospitality space to help them create a distinct identity that then interfaces with the world. Designers are contributing to the entire visual world around us. There is immense scope for designers in almost every industry.

More and more industrial companies are utilising the services of product designers as their inputs often lead to added values in terms of improved usability, lowered production costs and more appealing products. The design is, therefore, emerging as a much sought after career option. If you have a flair for design, the industry offers you wonderful opportunities to prove your mettle. We, as designers, therefore play a vital role in giving expression to an idea and have the power to influence the success of a brand.

With retail moving into self-service formats, the shelf appeal of packaging has become more important than ever. The market is flooded with products vying for consumer attention. Packaging design has become critical, as it is the initial point of purchase: the point of decision making for the buyer.

Attractive and relevant graphics, appropriate balance of colours and typography, as well as attention to forms and material make a significant difference in the aesthetic appeal of a product. Large corporates and businesses have realized the importance of packaging design and are continuously investing in revamping their product packaging so as to make it more in line with current trends and to counter competition.

Advertising has also evolved in last decade. With the advent of the digital media and people consuming information all the time, short, simple and impactful advertising has become the order of the day. You have to be instantly noticed to make an impression in a cluttered marketing environment.

The consumer should feel excited and compelled to ‘follow’ you, ‘like’ you or ‘tweet’ about you. Divided consumer attention can be channelized using the tools of good design. Given the changing fabric of advertising, more time and energy is being spent by big and small corporates on brand strategy including the use of effective marketing and social media tools to get the message out.

Digital, web and app development is an area there maximum expansion has happened. And it will only increase in the future. If you do not have web presence you’re not in the running. Meaningful content development, both visual and copy is essential to maintain brand presence. Smart UI and UX design including easy layout and navigation determines whether an app/website is user friendly and hence functionally viable. Therefore role of graphic design becomes critical in finding appropriate solutions for the task at hand.

From a global standpoint, design is no longer contained within the boundaries of any country, as the world wide net is really one holistic platform. It forces design to find some sort of universal language and designers to be aware of trends around the world. Every new brand is present on the net and the net is accessible to people in virtually every corner of the world.

While this was always the mantra for ‘global’ brands and MNCs – today even if you are a boutique coffee roaster in Coorg, you will have presence on the net and your brand and product will be accessible to people all over the world! So designers sitting in New Delhi or Beguserai, could be creating brands for a consumer in Tokyo or Chicago! And therefore designers need to be up to speed with developments and expectations not just in their local area or country but also on a global platform.

The design industry in India is adapting itself to deal with increasing demand for good, discerning design, both locally and globally. Design schools are equipping themselves with the best teaching tools and updated software knowledge to keep pace with industry requirements. Design companies on the other hand are beefing up their service portfolios and bandwidth by adding to their skillsets and expertise.

Freelancers have found new ground, as there is work for everybody. This is in turn is enabling the availability of talent to large and small organizations who are setting up their independent design departments to accommodate the gamut of work.

To sum up, the design industry is booming and is in a very promising space today. The future is getting brighter, every aspect of life demands a new approach, a new solution, a new way of looking at it.

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Character designer, illustrator and storyboard artist, Ritaban Das, takes s through his own style of telling stories through illustrations in a single frame style of designing. He introduces his perspective that guides his ideas and also shares his process.

Single Frame
Mummy ka Scratcher
Single Frame
Team Dank. Personal work depicting a rather artistic team spirit.
Single Frame
Sketching with friends. Personal work showing aliens as company while sketching.
Single Frame
Kung Fu Singh
Single Frame
Together. Just a piece of commissioned work for my friend, depicting the funny side of companionship.

CG. What are the particular advantages and challenges of telling stories in a single frame?

Ritaban. Illustration or design is a visual communication medium. It is important to challenge yourself with a different perspective, scale and how your subjects interact with one another. When sketching, I produce numerous roughs or loose drawings which later make into more developed sketches. I then decide on a final composition. The most critical element is really an activity of the subject. The figure is usually doing something and caught before it happens or just after. The other elements are supporting artefacts. Whatever I draw, I think of it as a clue or a breadcrumb that helps understand the complete story and message. It’s up to the reader to put it all together and solve the riddle

Single Frame
Indian Warrior. For a monthly Facebook character design challenge. The topic was "Warrior".
Soccer Dad

Single Frame
Clown. Personal work, inspired by Eli Roth's film of same name.
Single Frame
Two Detectives cover artwork. For the unfinished graphic novel I was working upon with my brother.

CG. What are the essential designing tools and software you use for such an approach and how do you decide on what kind of a role they play in your work?

Ritaban. I usually make the design part in Photoshop, from scratch to end, and I work in Storyboard pro for storyboard. Tools can make your work easy or even open the avenues to do it faster, but it’s based on how good your design sense, storytelling abilities and drawings are. These are the most basic fundamentals to create anything.

Merry Christmas. Old commissioned work created during the Christmas season.
Two Detectives. A promotional poster for the unfinished graphic novel I was creating with my brother.

Komorebi Poster
Single Frame
YUWA. For Art Exhibition last year, collaborating with the NGO Yuwa that empowers young girls,.

CG. What aspects do you particularly give attention to in your work to ensure effective communication through your illustrations?

Ritaban. I start by trying to understand the character, his/her background, history as well as his/her place in the story. Research helps at this stage since it’s so important to understand the world you’re creating before jumping into it Next, I’ll do a series of drawings where I figure out the characters shapes and attitude; I try to just draw the first thing that comes to mind, knowing that I’ll be changing it later. All the while, I’m searching for a new or interesting take on the character. After I’ve done a few rough thumbnails, I decide on the one that has the most appealing silhouette, shape proportions and that best describes the character. I then start to flesh out the character and begin to add details, keeping in mind any specific traits described in the script or story.

Single Frame
A promotional fan poster for the most anticipated boxing match in the history between McGregor and Mayweather.
Heavy Dudes

Single Frame
Odd Socialites # 1. The first installment of a small comic strip project with my writer friend.
Single Frame
Red Necks. Personal work showing the not so friendly folk in town.

CG. How do you describe your process and goal of designing?

Ritaban. Being a Character Designer and Illustrator, most of my work is very much character driven, blended with humour and very graphical too. I always try to convey some sort of stories through each and every character or Illustration I make I like to play with various shapes and silhouettes and usually keep things simple. The character design process is, in a way, a combination of different things. I ask myself ‘Who am I drawing?’ What is his/her personality?’ I look at the work of influential artist sometimes to get some ideas or even start from a drawing I like and translate it into my style. Then, trying to forget those influences, I often start from scratch with a basic shape such as the face as it determines the rest of the character for me, then the body (this can be a circle, oval or even a pear shape – it all depends on the personality of the character I want to draw)

Single Frame
Battle of the Beasts. UFC 223 fan poster for the main fight between Ferguson and Khabib.
Single Frame
Inked! Personal work depicting a tattoo artist working his craft on the devil.
The Anarchist
Scary guy with skill
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 on the other hand, 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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In such complicated times, it’s all about being simple. Simple is effective when it comes to design, believes Lundgren+Lindqvist, a Swedish design studio. It’s all about saying a lot more with a lot less. Engaging in a conversation, they tell us more on how they create effective and memorable design.

Design
Varvet - Visual Identity, Stationary and Sinages
Varvet - Visual Identity, Stationary and Sinages
Design
Varvet - Visual Identity, Stationary and Sinages

CG: Describe your journey as Lundgren+Lindqvist. What have been your accomplishments?

LL: When we started Lundgren+Lindqvist in 2007, our primary goal was to do what we love and stay afloat doing so. Now our ambition has grown along with our team, but we still want to do the best possible work. Over the years, we have had the opportunity to work with a great number of amazing clients, creating work that we can all be very proud of.



O/O-Brewing Baltic Porter-Packaging Design

CG: Your designs appear simple, effortless and smooth; however that is probably not the case behind the scenes. What all do you have to go through to arrive at the final design outcome?

LL: Simple is hard. Every project starts with a coconut. We use fine grain sandpaper to peel off layer by layer until we expose the core. That’s because we believe in honesty. Achieving that means removing the make-up to expose the bare, naked truth.

Design
Akademi valand photography next to the ocean exhibition catalogue covers

CG: What inspirations are included in your design? How does your background reflected in your designs?

LL: Like most in our line of business, we take an active interest in neighbouring creative fields; such as the arts and architecture. It is hard to judge as to what extent our Scandinavian background has influenced us. Of course, the legacy of great designers and thinkers such as Paul Kjaerholm, Olle Eksell and Alvar Aalto continue to inspire.

O/O - Brewing - Carismatico - Packaging and Visual Identity


O/O-Brewing Bangatan

CG: You work across various mediums. How working on paper differ from working for the digital space?

LL: Paper is definite, in that a printed piece is final. On the other hand, the digital space is an indefinite, organic medium. Both mediums offer unique possibilities. While conscious of this, we try to build each project around a concept and an idea rather than on the media of choice.

Maria Sole - Ferragamo, Visual identity and packaging
Design
Maria Sole - Ferragamo, Visual identity and packaging

CG: Designs have to look amazing and at the same time solve a problem and fulfil a greater purpose. How do you balance your and your client’s views?

LL: A good designer-client relationship is, like any relationship, based on trust. When there is a lack of trust from either side, the outcome will suffer.

Design
Critical Mass Studio Document Holder
Design
Critical Mass Studio Document Holder


Critical Mass Studio Pencils
Critical Mass Studio Poster
Critical Mass Studio The Totebags

CG: The world of design is constantly evolving. How do you keep up with the change?

LL: Although times are indeed changing, certain truths will remain. Our inherent curiosity and thirst for knowledge allows us to stay updated in a very natural, organic way. We visit exhibitions, read and travel a lot. Staying updated is nurturing our interests, which is the fuel we use for our daily (and sometimes nightly) design and development work.

A Sense of Place, Refugees welcome poster book
Design
Recto Verso Mirror


Design
Recto Verso Spread

CG: What other countries would you say are very prominent when it comes to design? What are your views on Indian design? Anything Indian that has caught your eye?

LL: In terms of graphic design, our neighbours Norway and Finland are definitely countries to watch out for as they are challenging those with a traditionally strong graphic design output such as Switzerland, England and the Netherlands. In terms of India, we are shamefully aware of the fact that we know very little about the country’s design scene. Perhaps Creative Gaga Magazine can put an end to our ignorance.

O/O - Brewing - Packaging and Visual Identity
O/O-Brewing-AW-2016-Packaging and Art Direction

Published in Issue 21

Branding With Packaging! They say not to judge a book by its cover. But they also say that exceptions are always there. There’s no doubt, branding and packaging are the faces of any business and product. They decide the way people will receive the brand; whether they will accept it or reject it. To understand and gain more perspective on this much-unsolved mystery, we invited many branding and packaging experts who throw light on the topic.

 

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Every designer develops a style, which can be seen through his or her work. No matter which medium you choose to work in, it is this unique point of view that gives an identity to the artwork. Shreya Gulati gives an insight about her bold and quirky work and delves deep into the process that helps her achieve this style.

Versatility
Versatility
Upstox Branding.

Deconstructing The Subject.

Shreya enjoys in fragmenting the illustration and having fun with each part as it allows her the freedom to create something different each time. Working on individual parts rather than the whole gives her the bold, clean and quirky style that is clearly visible in her illustrations. Bright colours, striking graphics and playful characteristics are synonymous with her style. She loves creating characters and building stories around them. Designing contains many permutations and combinations of applying art and problem solving methodologies. The vastness and the limitless possibilities fascinate her and this lends very unconventional and experimental expressions in her designs.

Versatility
Versatility
Still from the Video ‘Financial Management’.

Versatility is the Key.

She does not believe in any one particular style but likes to experiment with different palettes, treatments and line work according to the subject matter. Not being bound by any precondition and taking the flexibility to explore different mediums and have fun with it makes her each piece unique. Moving effortlessly through mediums her versatile style of work has taken her through illustrating a children’s book to designing an app for stock trading.

Versatility
Pseudo Sapera.
Versatility
Future is Female

Versatility
Pride

Inspiration from the Subconscious.

Inspiration is not something that is acquired but it is the objects, visuals, words or anything that influences you and seeps into your memory. She draws inspiration from memory, sometimes by referring to her Tumblr dashboard which is constantly evolving as she travels and records the inspiring things that she sees around her. Sometimes she also refers to the artworks of the artists she adores. She loves drawing human forms, especially female, mostly not clothed. Human anatomy and sex are the two subjects she enjoys exploring the most.

Versatility
Pop Stickers.
Musings

Design is Therapeutic.

She doesn’t have a defined design process but lays emphasis on research and scavenges for information. Whether it is watching a movie, reading an article or a book everything influences her in some way or the other. At times, the trigger is found right away if not then she analyses the data thoroughly and doesn’t stop till the cue is found. Solution lies in understanding the problem in depth and drawing a clear brief. It is sheer joy when your target consumer is happy with the product and you see your designs being accepted and becoming a part of your users. She enjoys designing thoroughly and finds it very healing and therapeutic.

Versatility
Obot Character.
Anamolies

Asia Map

Seeing Excellent Work Pushes.

In case of a creative burnout or when she feels creatively exhausted, she loves to surf the Internet to see some brilliant work. At times, images, visuals or powerful words that might not be directly connected but seem to have an impact, infuse great ideas. Being exposed to the great work being produced inspires and influences to push the bar further. Seeing good work inspires her but when she finds some extraordinary work it motivates her to push harder and work to achieve greater heights. The amazing and boundless world of design keeps unfolding in mysterious ways inspiring to work more and more.

Genesis
Imperator
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Water will evaporate to become steam or freeze to become ice. Certain formulas and physical and chemical characteristics never change, even during the experiment of design. Change however is controlled by the elements in play, whether its colours and shapes or lines and patterns, the end-result is dependent on various external factors as well. A Brand, Strategy and Experience designer Sourajit Sengupta takes us through some of his design principles. Have you got your design goggles on?

Design
Branding for Travosh
Design
Packaging for Travosh
Design
UI for Travosh

Be the Solvent to Create a Solution.

Design is not just about creating an artwork. It’s a solution that varies from brand to brand and person to person. For a designer, it’s like dressing up according to a particular occasion. Is it going to be fun and funky or formal and sleek?

 

It’s not about what you feel like or what you want, but what the situation demands from you. The key is to understand the brand and dissolve yourself in it enough to be able to think from the clients perspective. Consider it like a science experiment, where the process and procedure must rigorously be followed in order to get the desired results.

Design
Sandoitchi Logo
Design
Sandoitchi Branding
Branding for Lokmat
Branding for Avendus

Don’t Force it.

Force might facilitate everything in the scientific world, but when it comes to design, forcing it has never worked. Firstly, one must be in the field for their love and passion for design and not because of external pressures. As long as you love what you do, the journey will appear effortless and smooth, making you a perfectionist sooner or later.

 

And that’s when it will translate in your work. Design has to be invisible and basic. It does not have to be forced. It’s not about simple colour palettes or minimalism, it’s about what is relative for that project. If it relates, it becomes memorable and recallable.

Branding for Empyrean School
Branding for Empyrean School
Forum Mall Book Design
Signage Design for Forum Mall

Give your Design Dreams Milestones.

Development is a series of chain reactions, where thinkers took what existed even beyond. For example, a light bulb couldn’t have been invented if electricity hadn’t been discovered. And the later wouldn’t have been so if a kite wasn’t flown. The concept is same for design. Start off every project with the caliber of making it a dream project.

 

Creating a difference in the design world is a huge consideration and can be best achieved by creating smaller milestones that may someday combine together to make a difference altogether. The key is to be open to all types of knowledge and methods. Put your hands on different styles and projects, especially the ones that are out of your comfort zone

Design
Space Design for Reliance HQ
Design
Space Design for Reliance HQ
Design
Space Design for Reliance HQ

Published in Issue 23

The issue explores a topic which is close to every designer, the Business of Design. We try to understand from the experienced ones that when is the right time to open own studio and what more you should get in your toolbox before taking the plunge! We had interactions with many talented studio founders like Rajesh Dahiya, Archan Nair, Ishan Khosla, Prasun Mazumdar and Anupam Tomer. Also featuring some of the best talents around the world such as Martin Grohs from Germany and Avi Sehmi from Canada along with Sourajit Sengupta from New Delhi. This issue not only provide answers to many questions but also initiate many new ones to explore further! We hope you will enjoy exploring the possibility of your studio with this issue.

 

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The brand name, list of ingredients and description as well. How do you fit all this into a limited space and still make it all look organised and appealing? Well, that’s why we have packaging designers. Akim Melnik, a Packaging Designer from Belarus believes it’s important to keep certain key things in mind to help fulfil the purpose. In a conversation with Creative Gaga, he tells us about his design dogma.

Packaging
NOORBEST HIBISCUS DRINKS
Packaging
NOORBEST HIBISCUS DRINKS

CG: Your designs are mostly focused on branding and packaging. What is your design philosophy that makes you as a brand, stand out?

Akin. To describe the philosophy in words is difficult. It’s like a dream that you’ve had, you remember it, but just cannot describe it. However, there are some things that are always important to be aware of when designing for a product or brand. First is to meet the expectations and preferences of the target audience. Secondly, ergonomics and making sure information on a pack is correctly presented is crucial too. And lastly, you cannot create without knowing what’s already out there. Hence, competent analysis and research of competitive product packaging is a necessary step. Remember, that a good design can sell a bad product, just like a bad design can worsen the selling a good product.

Packaging
Silver Probe Vodka Decor Design
Packaging
Silver Probe Vodka Decor Design

CG: You have designed across a range of products, providing packaging in a variety of shapes. How do put yourself in the brand’s shoes? How do you know a juice bottle should look like a juice bottle and not like an oil bottle?

Akin. Sometimes you have to comply with existing stereotypes, and sometimes deliberately go against them. Much depends on the marketing objectives of our client. The client, brand and brief determine where you must draw the line.

Tea Package Design
Tea Package Design
Helsy Granulated Coffee

CG: Packaging and logo design have to be practical because they serve a purpose that has to be truthful and genuine. How do you balance practicality with creativity?

Akin. The primary function of packaging design is to appeal emotionally. Practicality comes second. Any task can be perceived either as a routine or as an opportunity to show their creativity. Good packaging design is a harmony of creativity and practicality, all done in a contained manner.

Packaging
Indian Instant Coffee Package Design
Packaging
Indian Instant Coffee Package Design

CG: When you started as a design studio, what was the most difficult part? How did you overcome challenges to become so successful? How do you reach out to the world?

Akin. The most difficult part when you’re just beginning is the inexperience and lack of knowledge about principles and techniques of creating high-quality packaging. Like in any other part of life, all these difficulties are overcome by everyday work done with full dedication. Experience is the best teacher and this process of improvement is endless and amazing.

ABC Juices Package Design