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Itu Chaudhuri

Many of us look for upcoming trends to be ready for future demands of customers or clients. You already must have read many articles on predicting trends at the beginning of each year. Here read on for a very unique view on design trends by Itu Chaudhuri, founder and principal at Itu Chaudhuri Design.

It’s a modern, seasonal disease. The new year brings with it a thick flow of trend forecasts, cheery and sweeping, and we read them with the forgiving spirit that the holiday season demands. For Deep Design, it seems foolhardy to indulge, yet churlish to desist, so here’s a holiday smoothie on trends themselves.

Some trends forecast, such as those in fashion, are meant to be self-fulfilling. The great and big among the fashion industry make them. Thus buyers know what colours and styles to buy, and retailers know what to stock. The media is in it at the start, happy to report what the well-dressed citizen will be wearing. The consumer, she of the clued-in, independent mind, is eager to confirm: it’s only fitting. Paris/Milan/Mumbai know best; empty shelves help no one.

Trends

The communications industry, unlike those that stock things, doesn’t face the risk of empty shelves. Yet trends there surely are. The dozen or so portfolios and the artfully designed CVs that our office reviews monthly give a clear view into what the bottom of the food chain has been eating. A set of colour palettes, a certain taste in typefaces, and a tendency to gratuitously quantify, in order to contrive a graph to replace text (give yourself a 75% hardworking score, or three and a half stars).

But unlike fashion, there’s no Big Design, no dominant source heavily invested in the forecast. Pantone, a widely used colour communication system, comes closest to announcing trends, along with paint manufacturers who try to drum up interest in their new shades, a hue and cry, if you will. For the most part, these graphic trends result from simple imitative impulses. This may account for the relative stability of these design trends.

DESIGNERS (WHICH INCLUDES COMMUNICATORS, MARKETERS AND POLICY MAKERS) SHOULD CONTINUE TO TAKE THE TRENDS THEMSELVES WITH A GRAIN OF ETHICALLY-PRODUCED, IODIDE-RICH, ROCK OR SEA SALT.

But common to all trends forecast, and trend commentating, is the theorising that identifies and proposes the driving currents. Inevitably, large, global turns of politics and their economic, social and cultural facets are called out as driving forces: Brexit, Trump and unless you are observing news fast (another micro-trend) you know the rest. Deep Design, too, has indulged early and often, such as linking the discontents behind the rise of the US prez to those boosting the rise of Patanjali long before the final elections, not to imply direct link but to speculate on a similar mood driving both.

Trends

Anti-globalisation and nationalism are the most familiar labels applied to this phenomenon. Commentators hear the voices of groups who feel ‘disenfranchised’, speaking with eerie simultaneity across continents. These voices have exhausted their patience with the ruling intelligentsia, and abhor its factual (or specious, or false), well-articulated utterances: better a mis-spelled, ‘feeling’ untruth that promises action, than an unproductive, pedantic truth. Going further: a suspicion of democracy, technocracy, complexity and balance, and the citified, corporate or university culture that spawns them; a yearning for viscerally inspired gestures. (Other strands omitted for brevity).

The trends forecast that respond to these may be summarised (in a post-truth kind of way!) as a return to roots and basics; a preference for imperfection; the recycled; rough and natural finishes (call them unfinished). The broad theme: authenticity.

Pantone’s Colour of the Year is Greenery 15-0343, to represent ‘fresh beginnings’ complemented by earth and mineral tones, and upcycled materials. Primary colours (from flags, and nationalism) remain in force. Expect packaging to be literally and otherwise transparent, to convey the authenticity of provenance (add: bucolic-ness and humanity). Photography, it says, will be more ‘real’ in terms of the human subjects, with emotion (add: imperfect skin) getting extra marks. The trend towards active, sports-inspired wear continues (cementing the general trend towards informality)

Despite the smell of truth about the causes that drive these trends, designers (which includes communicators, marketers and policy makers) should continue to take the trends themselves with a grain of ethically-produced, iodide-rich, rock or sea salt.

For one thing, many of these trends are old and long-running. Look at restaurants that have opened in the last ten years in your metropolis, and note how similar many of the trends you spot in the concept and the design of the space. Exposed air conditioning ducts, cocktails in jam jars (Deep Design’s pet peeve), rope, rough-hewn wood, local produce and food fusion. And watch for authentically brush drawn lettering on menus, coming soon to a grubhouse near you.

Further, trends forecast are popular because they feed our confirmation biases; many may well have other less (or more) obvious causes, preventing a proper understanding. Several trends run concurrently and play out differently depending on cultures (defined by geography and age).

LONG-TERM TRENDS MAY EXERT A MORE STRATEGIC FORCE WITH WHATEVER YOU ARE DESIGNING. BUT IT’S BEST TO BE ALIVE TO THE BABEL OF THE CONVERSATIONS WITHOUT BEING IN A HURRY TO ISOLATE ANY ONE SIGNAL, IS THE GOLDEN PATH.

This means paying attention to the invisible drivers behind the trends. For example, the most valuable lesson from post-truth is an ancient one: that the tendencies of people to think through the filter of their identities, anxieties, and pride trump all others. In this state, they will ignore ‘good design’ as a source of meaning. That’s what Trump’s diabolically plain election identity conveyed—nothing—which may have resonated with his voters as authentic, much better than the professionally designed, pointing-ahead, promise-laden ‘H’ from a Capitol-ist they didn’t trust.

Issue 45

Published in Issue 45

When celebrations are all around for the new year, everyone is curious about what this new year will bring. So, the rounds of looking back to the past year and trying to predict the new one starts. We started the same exploration through this issue by reaching various experts for their take on the trends for their respective fields. And with many expert interviews, we got various unique viewpoints, as Elephant Design shared the importance of having a well-thought packaging design for products. And on another hand, VGC gave an insight into, how a brand should be created for the Millennials. But to top it all, with very deep logical design thought, Itu Chaudhuri says that the trends are a modern seasonal disease, and we designers should continue taking it with a grain of ethically-produced, iodide-rich rock or sea salt. All-in-all this issue is a very interesting and a must-read, if you’re looking for greater clarity and want to start your year with a lot of deep design knowledge about the brand development to packaging design, user experience design, to storyboarding and more.

 

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CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 47

 

In an exclusive interview with Creative Gaga, storyboard artist Sachin Tiwari has given tips and shared his insights about creating a storyboard.

Storyboarding
Storyboarding

CG. What was your inspiration to choose the field of animation as your career?

Sachin. Growing up watching animated series like He-man, Barba-papa and many others. Seeing the characters perform various actions like talk, laugh move and dance always fascinated me. I wondered how it all works. Loving to draw, I would copy those characters in my sketchbook or even on any surface where I could draw, and eventually it took-up as a profession by undergoing a formal training from a reputed animation production house. This marked the start of my professional journey as an Animation artist.

Storyboarding
Storyboarding
Storyboarding

CG. What is a storyboard and what is it’s importance in a project? What are the different fields where story boards are essential?

Sachin. Storyboard is a shot by shot sequence of any written script represented visually using graphics or illustrations. It explains how the video will unfold shot by shot or look like on screen just like a comic book. It is very important for a video/visual-based project to have a proper storyboard of the script being produced.

Storyboarding
Storyboarding

In our everyday lives, sometime we have to draw a rough sketch to explain our point of view to make it easy to understand. Similarly storybord is like a road-map to visualise something which otherwise is not easily understood only through written words of the script.

Visuals make people understand the whole thing better. Thus, a storyboard undoubtedly plays a significant role in video production when a director needs to make the production staff understand his vision and show how exactly the product is going to be mapped out.

Storyboarding

These days many industries, apart from the animation sector, such as advertisement, live-action films, business explainers, television production etc., use storyboarding for their productions. The art of storyboarding is a powerful tool to help communicate ideas, and when used properly it helps to avoid common mistakes like a broken storyline, mis-matched dialogue and playback timing issues and keeps the whole team aware of what is to be done.

CG. As stories are integral part of storyboarding. But how critical are the characters of the story?

Sachin. Our sense of curiosity engages us to see what will happen next. Stories capture attention and we are hardwired to respond to that. An artist while drawing the storyboard, aims at creating visuals that convey the right message and the storyline and are relatable too, by the people. For this, a character is must to imbue the emotions. A story/plot is always designed or said to give a message, but without a character or protagonist, it is not possible to create any storyboard.

CG. What are the different kinds of projects that you take up and how do you decide upon the concept of creating a storyline for your projects?

Sachin. Majority of the projects I work on are story-driven cartoon film productions which are either episodic or full-length films. To start a project, one needs to understand about a few things like references, layout, framing, layering and lastly finishing. Although boarding is a team-based activity and anyone can contribute, but in today’s scenario storyboarding artists have to create and complete a storyboard, more or less, individually and have it approved by the directors.

CG. What are the different mediums that you use for creating story-boards?

Sachin. I personally don’t find myself dependent on any particular medium to create a storyboard. Choosing the medium should be result oriented, whether you use pencil paper, or any kind of computer-based software. In general, I use a paper and a pencil to create rough basic thumbnails. They’re pretty much scribbled for my reference. When satisfied with my scribbled drawings, I start creating them digitally with Adobe Flash. After translating the thumbnails into fine drawings, I then add the sound to set the storyline and timings for the final output.

CG. Time frames are an essential requirement for any creative project. How does time framing make a difference to the final outcome? And how do you balance?

Sachin. Yes, time frames are always there, and I try to adhere to them as much as possible but not at the cost of compromising the quality of work. I pass on the final work to the client only after being satisfied with the desired quality. I don’t prefer taking up projects with unrealistic time frames or where it is difficult to provide satisfactory results.

CG. What are the important factors to be kept in mind while storyboarding for a project?

Sachin. I work as a freelance boarding artist. Freelance means that you don’t always have work but the upside of working freelance is that no two projects are the same. There is ample variety and it is exciting to work on animation projects of different styles.

But still there are some important factors or a checklist, which remain same for every project and should be kept in mind, like:

 

+ Have I read the whole script?


+ Do I know the storyline?


+ How am I going to execute the scene?


+ Do I know the essence of the scene?


+ Do I have the proper material such as character sheets, prop sheets, backgrounds, audio etc.?


+ Do I have proper references?


+ Is my scene in-sync with the style of the animation required and flow of the episode?


+ Are characters matching with the layouts’ perspective?


+ Do I know where to minimize my efforts without affecting the quality?


+ Am I doing something to make the simple scenes better?


+ Am I planning according to the time deadline?

Issue 45

Published in Issue 45

When celebrations are all around for the new year, everyone is curious about what this new year will bring. So, the rounds of looking back to the past year and trying to predict the new one starts. We started the same exploration through this issue by reaching various experts for their take on the trends for their respective fields. So, go ahead.

 

Order Your Copy!
CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 47

 

Story-boarding is not just creating beautiful pieces of art. Instead it is presenting ideas and content in a strategical & comprehensible style. Saumin Patel tells us more.

Story-boarding

An illustrator at heart, Saumin started out professionally by joining an animation studio creating online cards. Eventually realizing his plus points, he decided to manage the backstage of animation, which is designing and illustrating for the animated projects, also known as story-boarding.

Story-boarding

What is story-boarding?

As the name suggests, it is a story told through multiple frames in a visual manner, defining an entire process in detail. Used for animated films or even shooting a scene in a movie, story-boards help the director in streamlining his vision and allow the team to align themselves with this vision to achieve the desired result.

Story-boarding

Story-boards are not just pretty pictures, they are the shots which supposed to evoke certain emotions and enhance the story, conveying an overall mood but could be subjective to each individuals’ interpretation.

Story-boarding
Story-boarding

Every element used in here becomes a character, be it fire, wind, trees, water or rocks, thus becoming a definitive source of information about what the scene is going to be like. In short, it is a manifestation of the creators’ thoughts through tangible elements.

Story-boarding
Story-boarding

Story-boarding puts forth the anticipated difficulties and helps in deriving solutions for the scene’s smooth-sailing.

 

The beauty of a story is that it can be expressed by different directors in their own unique style. So as a storyboard artist, it is essential to convey the essence of the director’s idea and vision in a clear-cut manner through these frames.

Story-boarding
Story-boarding

Story-boarding for advertisements is a bit different from that of films. Advertising is all about presenting to the client, hence the story-board needs to be completely finished and aesthetically appealing. Whereas for a film, it is about clear communication of ideas from the director to the entire team, showcasing the flow of the sequence to build the expressions and the mood. Beauty and aesthetics take a bit of a backseat in this case.

Story-boarding
Story-boarding

An Artist’s Individual Style

Saumin’s style is mostly comic, giving a lot of details about layouts and backgrounds, thus making it simple and easy for the entire team to execute the shoot. For him, the excitement is more about brainstorming and presenting ideas and options to the directors rather than drawing the boards out. His style and work culture helped him carve a niche for himself in this sector and got him working for some of the reputed names in the film industry like Ashutosh Gowariker and Sriram Raghavan to name a few.

Story-boarding
Story-boarding

Work-life

A big fan of director Sriram Raghavan, Saumin along with his friend created an original graphic novel for the promotion of Agent Vinod, published by Westland Publications Ltd.

Story-boarding
Story-boarding

For Raghavan’s Andhadhun, Saumin has worked on a few key sequences, creating boards in his own style to function as inspirations and concepts for the sequences. He has also created promo images for the Bollywood blockbuster Stree and has had the opportunity to storyboard a song and the climax sequence for Vikas Bahl’s Super 30.

Story-boarding

Words of Wisdom

There is learning at every stage.
Before story-boarding, it is necessary to study and understand films, television shows, comics, performing arts or any other subject that needs to explore. Reading fiction and non-fiction adds up to the knowledge base of an artist, thus helping him in expressing his work better.

Story-boarding
Story-boarding
Issue 45

Published in Issue 45

When celebrations are all around for the new year, everyone is curious about what this new year will bring. So, the rounds of looking back to the past year and trying to predict the new one starts. We started the same exploration through this issue by reaching various experts for their take on the trends for their respective fields. So, go ahead.

 

Order Your Copy!
CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 47

 

Users are aware of trends, demanding trendy products. Brands succumb to these demands to have a stronger say and a longer stay in the market. Studio Elephant Design has elaborated on this cycle explaining the need of packaging design.

Trends are a reflection of how people behave, how they live and vice versa.

 

One may believe tech-based products like smartphones & AI assistants are changing the way people live. But there is as much change happening in their lives through humble packaging design. In times of extreme actions and judgments, it is believed that design becomes prettier. This actually is happening.

 

There are certain things individuals look for before buying foods, beverages, personal & home care products nowadays:

Packaging Design

1. Tell me a Story?

Story of origin, granny’s recipe, kind of music played to cows… Is it a superfood rediscovered? Was it made the exact same way people made stuff when the world was perfect? They want to know more, not just about the ingredients or the company behind it, but also the hands that made it. They are hungrier for stories than the food they are buying.

2. Small for me Please

Because of longer commutes and increased working hours that blur into socializing, people are looking for things that will help them stretch their days outside of homes. Small portions of handbag-insertables are a rage in colour cosmetics, face masks, wipes, hand sanitizers, and other personal care products for on-the-go use. Spoilt for choice and highly aware of what they consume, people prefer single serves in snacks, meals & beverages.

3. Be Direct

Farm to Face. Grass to Glass. Park to Plate. Yes. That is how people like stuff to reach them. They want it fresh, preferably hand-made, with least processing. Demanding honesty of intent and transparency on the label about what goes in, they like small batches made with care. Lesser the machine intervention, the better it is.

4. Give me an Eye Candy

Packaging is not just for protecting the goods, it needs to give the product a flaunt value, making it Instagram-worthy. Packaging can be an object of desire itself. So the “look” of packaging is as important as what it carries inside.

5. Sustainability Counts

Over engineered packaging is a big no-no. The simple, the better. Is the plastic used easily to recycle? Reduced packaging layers, lesser staple pins, alternative chemical inks & glues, these are things that the sustainability-aware users look for

• Game Changers 

Technology-based enablers are bringing some change too. The biggest change is in the way packaging can enable customization of every consumption experience. Technology & insightful design makes it possible to have small batches, personalized messaging or even controlled release of ingredients. Eg Kolibri (Japan) beverage bottle allows consumers to control the amount of sugar they want in their drink.

Recent advancements in automated packaging lines are not only more efficient, but also adaptive & flexible. They enable personalized packaging with individual names like the Coke cans & bottles from “Share a Coke” campaign.

Packaging Design

• Studio Sampler

Elephant helped develop a brand of Indian ethnic drinks that was based on nostalgia, aptly named “Paper boat”, taking one back to the good old days of childhood when life was simple and full of optimism.

 

Doy packs seemed a more sustainable choice against bottles, cans or cartons. The shape was designed to feel like squeezing a fruit and easy to open cap was inspired by paper boat itself. Graphics were simple and represented an uncomplicated, delightful world.

Packaging Design

The incredible part was that the brand refrained from using mass media for a couple of years. ON-the-shelf packaging did all the talking. And in less than five years, the brand made it to the top position in single-serve beverages, won many awards and also made it to the list of buzziest, most promising brands from India.

 

This is an interesting example because it aligned with all the five reasons for engaging with a brand and was created well in time to be able to ride the wave successfully.

 

For designers & consumers who don’t like to be cookie cutters, personalization and customization possibilities are like a boon. The only limitation would be ideas, which one is hopefully never short of.

Issue 45

Published in Issue 45

When celebrations are all around for the new year, everyone is curious about what this new year will bring. So, the rounds of looking back to the past year and trying to predict the new one starts. We started the same exploration through this issue by reaching various experts for their take on the trends for their respective fields. So, go ahead.

 

Order Your Copy!
CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 47

 

Fashion can be presented in various ways but understood by an individuals the way they wish to see it. Richa Maheshwari has explored the digital lens to create still imagery, conveying an artist’s thoughts to the public.

Photography

Avocation to Vocation.

Not really sure of which field to specialize in her final year at design school, Richa had luck by her side to be guided by a professor in choosing photography as her major. It did not stop there. She very easily transformed her passion of photography into her flourishing profession.

Photography

She started freelancing while pursuing college. Having no godfather in the industry or having assisted no photographer, she learned everything by hit and trial, watching tutorials and self-practicing. Taking on various projects boosted her confidence and helped her establish her own style and techniques.

Photography

On the Job.

Richa uses photography for translating her vision into reality. She feels communicating the idea of a fashion designer to a commoner in a comprehensible style while retaining its essence is the job of a fashion photographer.

Photography

She defines fashion and lifestyle as her main subjects for photography and provides the entire shoot production from conceptualization of an idea to final print or digital realization. Her client list spans from ad agencies and fashion houses to individual artists and designers.

Photography

An Artist’s Ideology.

I want to give something back to the society, Richa used her skill-set to make documentaries and done photography on various social issues, many of which have been used as fund-raisers by different organizations. According to Richa, an artist is fully satisfied when he utilizes his creative best with full liberties. But sometimes, commissioned and client works come with a restriction on the imagination. She overcomes these restrictions in creativity while working on personal and social projects.

Photography

Stumbling Blocks.

Photography being a very strong medium of communication comes with its own set of limitations.
The content portrayed to the masses should be crisp, clear and innovative, devoid of complexities and philosophical connotations. Producing work in a multi-cultural country like ours, one needs to respect the sentiments and emotions related to various beliefs and ideologies that are followed.

Photography

Motion-graphics today constitutes the peak of communication systems. But Richa is of the opinion that the still medium of photography is of much more explanatory worth than a motion-graphic.

Photography

Garnering professional experience while studying absorbed the survival pressure for Richa, which would have otherwise existed. Hence, she had the cushion to work upon all the technical and professional mistakes and keep growing in her field to become the success she is today.

Photography

Words of Advice 

For the budding professionals of the field, she has some quick tips to keep in mind:

 

1. Be original with your ideas or even if you are drawing inspiration, do not replicate.


2. Develop your style and stick to it.


3. Don’t blindly follow rules. Be creative and as experimental as possible.


4. Be open to learning and keep researching about the latest happening in the industry and technology.


5. Never be satisfied or you will stagnate your growth.


6. Take calculative risks.


7. Give something back to the society.

Photography

Published in Issue 45

When celebrations are all around for the new year, everyone is curious about what this new year will bring. So, the rounds of looking back to the past year and trying to predict the new one starts. We started the same exploration through this issue by reaching various experts for their take on the trends for their respective fields. So, go ahead.

 

Order Your Copy!
CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 47

 

Establishing a connection with their users is a smart game that brands need to play. By sharpening their intelligence and making good use of their wits, some brands have successfully made a mark and left a strong impact on the millennials.

Millennials or Generation Y are the demographic cohorts that directly follow Generation X. Often credited with coining the term Millennials, Neil Howe and William Strauss define the millennial generation as those individuals born between the years 1982 and 2004. This generation has seen their fair share of ups and downs, from being directly impacted by the 2007-08 economic slowdown to being the only generation in history to actively participate in the global shift from analog to digital systems, and of course, the growth and popularity of the internet and everything else that came with it.

Arguably the largest demographic right now, a Brooking’s data study shows that by 2025, almost 75% of the workforce will be millennials. Therefore, as they make up a large part of today’s (and the future) consumer audience, brands have started changing the way they speak, to effectively connect with this generation.

 

Let’s take a look at a few trends in design, communication & marketing for the millennial generation by VGC:

Millennial
Millennial
Millennial

1. Shorter Attention Spans, Shorter Content

With the inception of internet ads and social media, content (especially video content) has constantly been getting shorter. And with the introduction of Vine in 2013 (Vine allowed users to upload and share six-second long video loops), Snapchat and more recently Instagram stories, brands have found creative ways to connect with millennials in a very short time span.


Millennial
Millennial

2. Spending with a Purpose

If there is one thing that millennials support, it is a purpose or causes that they can get behind.

 

Brands with social responsibilities/purposes like Toms shoes (where for every pair of shoes sold, they gift a pair of shoes to an underprivileged child) or WeWOOD (that plants a tree for every watch they sell) connect very well with millennials as they feel that they’ve actively participated in an effort to make the world a better place.


Millennial
Millennial

3. Hype, Collaborations and Limited Period Drops

The Millennial generation can also be called the ‘Hype’ generation. Anything (from art to a product or service) that is able to generate enough hype becomes very attractive to millennials.

 

Take the Adidas x Dragonball collection (which was unique because an iconic Anime Saga collaborated with a leading sneaker brand) or the entire line of Supreme collaborations (originally a skate company, Supreme has collaborated with the who’s who of luxury brands), some a of which are downright weird, including a crowbar priced upwards of $250, which goes to show that any product can be a success if it is able to generate enough hype and perhaps, also drops for a limited period of time.


Millennial
Millennial

4. Bold Typography and Colourful Minimalism

How do you get a brand communication to stand out from amongst the tons of other content there is out there?

 

Simple, make it unique, creative, colourful and bold.

 

Millennials love minimalism, but the benchmark is much higher than what it used to be. Flat design, paired with bold typography and vibrant, contrasting colours make for an attention-grabbing website or creative piece.


Millennial

5. Personalized Experiences and Creative Participation 

Brands today have become more inclusive by getting consumers to participate in various aspects of the brand experience.

 

Take for instance Absolut Vodka, a brand known for its creative collaboration and promoting art & creativity, allowing young designers to take a crack at designing a bottle for the Indian market or Coca-Cola with its game changing ‘Share a coke with’ campaign, that made (nearly) everyone feel like they were special when Coke put their name on their cans.

When a consumer gets to participate in or co-create a brand experience, it really helps create a lasting impression of the brand in their mind.

 

As the millennial generation continues to be the largest consumer segment and as everything else around changes, there sure will be a rise in the number of exciting new trends, techniques, and mechanisms by which brands and consumers will interact.

Millennial
Millennial
Issue 45

Published in Issue 45

When celebrations are all around for the new year, everyone is curious about what this new year will bring. So, the rounds of looking back to the past year and trying to predict the new one starts. We started the same exploration through this issue by reaching various experts for their take on the trends for their respective fields. And with many expert interviews, we got various unique viewpoints, as Elephant Design shared the importance of having a well-thought packaging design for products. And on another hand, VGC gave an insight into, how a brand should be created for the Millennials. But to top it all, with very deep logical design thought, Itu Chaudhuri says that the trends are a modern seasonal disease, and we designers should continue taking it with a grain of ethically-produced, iodide-rich rock or sea salt. All-in-all this issue is a very interesting and a must-read, if you’re looking for greater clarity and want to start your year with a lot of deep design knowledge about the brand development to packaging design, user experience design, to storyboarding and more.

 

Order Your Copy!