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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.

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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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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We go through many interesting design projects each day and find them inspiring enough to be shared further. Projects which have the potential to inspire and spark multiple ideas. So, here are few selected one for this week’s design inspiration, enjoy!

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Sydlexia — Unbreaking broken type project by Mohamed Samir, Rijin Kunnath, Chirag Doshi, Prasad Shetty and Steve de Lange

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Numerical – Architecture by Muhammed Sajid

McWill Branding by John Dias

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Lettering Series by Rafael Serra

Corporate Website by Joydeep Chowdhury

Branding for Oort by Brand Archetype and Choi Hwanie



A-Z of Mythical Creatures and Monsters by Chaaya Prabhat

Unlock project by Konstantin Lobanov and .collective two

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Branding for Go Mechanic by NH1 Design

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Calligraphy Art by Pokras Lampas

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Design Engineering Handbook by Ranganath Krishnamani

If you have any of your project or someone else’s, which is equally inspiring for fellow creatives, then share it with us on contribute@creativegaga.com

CURRENT ISSUE

 




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The founder of ICD, Itu Chaudhuri, lets out his experience and insight in the field of branding. He expresses what goes into creating effective brands, and the various aspects or elements that play a role in the process.

Brand Identity for Taggd

CG. What is the relationship between the product and the branding? How does the former shape or inspire the latter?

ICD. For some brands, the product’s properties are the heart of the brand. For example, we know Mercedes by their cars, which are a model of stability and Germanic engineered perfection; not by their advertising or showrooms or their F1 Cars (which they do very well). For those brands, branding needs to reflect what’s special about the product, but rarely reflects the product itself. The ‘what’s special’ part, in turn, depends on the category. For more functional products, it’s about a clear benefit from using it (e.g. relieving pain).

Brand identity for thebo

For less functional brands, the benefit may be more in the mind i.e. how it makes people feel, or its ‘values’ (what it encourages its customers to believe in). This is also true for brands, which we know by their advertising more than by the special qualities of the product (e.g. a mobile service like Vodafone or Airtel). But, rarely does the branding show the product itself. If the product is a packaged product that’s never unpacked (think deodorants, or insect repellents, or a fizzy drink), then the branding and the product are practically fused (even when large advertising budgets support the brands).

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Eicher Live.

CG. According to you, How and to what extent, does branding impact an audience?

ICD. Every customer knows that they are being manipulated. So, branding works best when it slips under the radar of the customers or escapes their ‘crap detector’. Yet, if the brand seems to admit this while managing to charm the customers, it works. The audience is then willingly helpless to resist. This means that the branding is, in some sense, invisible when it appears to belong or be inevitable as if there was no other way it could have appeared. This requires honesty on the owner’s part and linking the brand to what is true. Despite this, it’s carefully orchestrated. Simply appearing artless won’t do it. Done right, it can succeed in disarming the customer.

Branding
The Almirah.



Branding
The Almirah.

CG. What do you do to ensure that the brand character comes across fully in the final design?

ICD. Personality is the key, and thus cannot be overlooked or sidelined at any stage. It’s a mental model of the brand that describes the brand’s character and attitude, more like a representative, and thus implies its appearance.

Branding
The Wild Stone Code Range.

Brand applications
for ‘Hired’.

CG. What do you feel should be proportion, or how much is the need for balance, between minimalism and complexities in a design?

ICD. The point isn’t a balance: it’s more a purposeful imbalance. Different brands need different treatments, so that one may do best in a minimal style, and another with a busy, or even chaotic style. This is a necessary facet that one needs to recognise and remember throughout the process.

Annual Report Design
for IDFC.

Branding

CG. What do you feel is an essential part of branding?

ICD. Deep understanding of the client’s truth is fundamental and most essential, but making sure that it’s attractive to their customers is of value, at the same time. If you succeed on the first count and fail on the second, you touch no one. The other way around and the attraction will be skin deep. It very clearly is a case of both or nothing.

Branding
Publication design for
Breakthrough.

Branding
The Real Tea Range.

Published in Issue 38

This issue, we try to explore different views from many well-known studio owners and senior designers. While Anthony Lopez of Lopez Design shared tips on what a studio looks for in a designer, Mohar Ray from Codesign highlights the key aspects that play a significant role and make the difference in whether you are hired or not as a promising designer. Also, this issue has an insightful article on ‘Branding with reason and love’ from Itu Chaudhuri, founder ICD (Itu Chaudhuri Design) along with Siddhi Ranade, explaining his tools of story telling through his unique style of illustrations. This issue is a must read for a talented graduate to a branding expert. Order you copy and enjoy reading it!

 


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We go through many interesting design projects each day and find them inspiring enough to be shared further. Projects which have the potential to inspire and spark multiple ideas. So, here are few selected one for this week’s poster design inspiration, enjoy!

Posters Design by Syddharth Mate

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Poster Collection for Retro Brands by Xavier Esclusa Trias

Indian digital Artists

Posters for Bollywood movies by Raj Khatri

Inspiration

Branding & Posters for George Brown College by Underline Studio

Poster Design for Designit by Supernova Design

GIG Posters by Posters BluMoo



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Minimalist posters by Vinay Gowtham M

Google Fonts Posters by Abhishek Garg

Motion Posters by Kickin

Posters by Jeremy Rieger

Posters by Shiva Nallaperumal

If you have designed posters or someone else’s, which is equally inspiring for fellow creatives, then share it with us on contribute@creativegaga.com

CURRENT ISSUE

 




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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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