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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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Creative Gaga - Issue 54


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Fun. It’s what everyone wants. So why not give it to them? Incorporating this very insight in branding and packaging transforms a non-living object into a fun-filled experience, believes self-taught visual designer Sajid Wajid. More on how adding ‘fun’ can make for memorable and lasting designs.

Branding for Poise
NH7 Weekender 2018
NH7 Weekender 2018
For Adidas Originals to launch the Pharrell Williams Pink Beach Collection

It’s all About Adding Value.

Things that look good are important for the environment; they define a particular space. Good packaging or branding can add a great deal of value to a product. It’s not just about improving the appearance but the overall product itself. Good packaging is easy to recall. That can be done by adding humour or a fun element to your design. Packaging and branding can also make a difference in the sale of the product. And that’s where the feel-good factor lies for packaging and branding designers!

Branding for The Cuckoo Club
Branding and Packaging
Album Cover for Eternal December
Branding and Packaging
Lala Hardoul, The Prince of Orchha
Branding and Packaging
Knowmad Sounds, Gig Poster

The Trick is to be Practical and Impractical at the Same Time.

If you’re just going to play it safe, chances are you will become predictable and boring. Today, products should be fun rather than being somber. That’s what people expect. In today’s times, the audience is open to being surprised by being offered something different. Everyone wants to own something totally new. And the only way you can give them that smile on their face is by taking your designs beyond your comfort zone.

KURLA. Everyone remembers a good laugh don’t they?
Branding and Packaging
Popsplatter, Coverpage Illustration
Branding and Packaging

Branding for The Granfaloon
DELHI BELLY. Illustrations for adlabs imagicas ride wrath of God.

No One Wants a Car in a Car Company’s Logo.

Branding is a symbol that speaks for the company it’s made for. It’s a lot more than just a group of elements that relate to the brand. The concept of branding has evolved, where a logo is meaningful only after it’s used. Branding needs to have a story to it, an idea. It’s like problem-solving through design. Brand recall is imperative and many people miss out on that these days. It’s all about being different and standing out. How well you can tell the story and portray it in the most interesting manner makes all the difference. Absorb the brand’s personality and play a little game of Pictionary with yourself. Simply keep in mind, the person looking at the logo should be able to identify with it.

Branding and Packaging
antiSOCIAL, Gig Calendar for May 2017
DELHI BELLY. Humor and fun is the best way to ensure branding will relate to the target audience as demonstrated here.
MERA DIL LE GAI OYE. For all those who own a Royal Enfield would know that their heart beat lies in this bike.
Branding for Turning Heads Production

No Matter What, There is Always a Limit.

Unfortunately, when it comes to design, a line needs to be drawn at some point. You cannot ignore the client or work without understanding the target audience. Imagine a Venn diagram, where one circle is you, the other is the client and the third circle is that of the target audience. The region of overlap between all three, that little area is where you work. That’s how much room you have to show your skills and creativity. That’s the challenge, but that’s the fun too.

CHEF CUPI D. This mascot for Kitchen Treasures tells the story of falling in love with your food.
Branding and Packaging
Sofar Bombay, Gig Poster
LEO (SUNSIGN). These eye-catchy hand drawn zodiac characters definitely work for merchandising.
GET CARRIED AWAY. Ratability can’t get better than using symbols of what people use every day in their life - public transport in Mumbai.

Published in Issue 21

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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Creative Gaga - Issue 54


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As designers, ordinary events shouldn’t be ignored, for in them lie inspirations and insights that everyone saw but never noticed. How good you are with tuning your eyes to your mind is what counts, believes Karthik M. He makes some interesting points that translate into how to notice things so that people can take notice of your work.

First Coffee
Poster for Easy Cabs
Vichar (thoughts)

Beauty Lies in The Eyes of the Observer

Any creative journey starts with observation; the ability to see beyond what is visible and read between the lines. Different designers will have different tones in which they try and communicate what they perceive, whether it’s through mockery, humour or abstract routes. What’s important is to find a unique connection inside what you observe and bring that to life in a personal way.

Road Ritual
Government Job

One will realise that over the course of time, doing justice to yourself will help bring recognition, as your designs make way into websites, blogs and so on. Create work that instigates discussion. And advertising is a good place to learn how to do that because it always keeps you curious and makes you dig for insights.

Life. An everyday situation, shown with a unique connotation; one that instigates the viewer to think beyond what they see.
Apocalypse. An everyday situation, shown with a unique connotation; one that instigates the viewer to think beyond what they see.
Grope Spot. An everyday situation, shown with a unique connotation; one that instigates the viewer to think beyond what they see.

As Every Sight has an Insight

Pretty much so. Inspirations are many and they are hiding everywhere. It could be in a fight you’ve had with your partner that might trigger a chain of thought or sometimes as simple as how your pet curls up and sleeps It’s funny how something so small are like blips on a radar screen and which actually have the potential to manifest into great ideas. The underlying element is of course to constantly look for inspirations to invent and create.

Connect. A series of illustrations exploring grey areas of life in black and white.

For Illustrators, Advertising is the Best School

There are probably millions of people out there who can draw, who can illustrate. They love to tell stories, share concepts via striking visual form. For them, and their audience, it’s something that never gets dull. And that’s why, advertising is the perfect launch pad for great talent. It not only allows you to do what you do best, but also teaches you other key traits that are vital for someone in a creative profession.

Cover for Helter Skelter Book
Editorial Design for Helter Skelter Book, Hands
Editorial Design for Helter Skelter Book, SpeakingTongues

Advertising, helps designers see a bigger picture; one beyond the edges of their canvas. It not only lets you make things but also teaches you how to present your idea to the world. It makes you a thinker, a creator, most importantly, it makes you a doer.

Sorry State
Silent Killer
Smirking Salary. Sometimes, words can be great visuals as well, demonstrates this tongue-in-cheek design.

Published in Issue 24

Illustration For Advertising Special! Gone are the days when Illustrations would take a back seat. Now, they are becoming more proactive and are evolving the way we communicate. This time, Creative Gaga focuses on how the advertising world is opening its doors to this exciting form of design. Featuring renowned Illustrators like Chris Beatrice, Nasheet Shadani, Vijay Kumar, Gabriel Mareno and much more, this issue promises to leave no page unturned!


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Freelance illustrator, Pratima Unde, takes us on a journey of depicting human emotions on canvas. She thereby describes and provides insight on how it requires one to dive into the depths of the subject’s personality, so as to be able to aptly and accurately represent it.


CG. What fascinates you most about human expressions that you seem to choose them as your prime subjects?

PU. Even if you don’t know an individual personally, you can decipher a lot about that person just by looking at his or her face. Every day in our lives, we see hundreds of faces; each person wears a mask. But, if we get out of our own little selfish world and look carefully, the mask will disappear, and we’ll see a range of emotions on the person’s face – right from pain to happiness. I like taking off those masks through my illustrations.

The Couple.

CG. What is your main intention that you wish to achieve or convey through your work?

PU. I try to bring out the emotions people go through; ones they subconsciously engage in, and which do not easily or readily show on their faces and in their expressions. The subjects I approach are very shy and prefer to keep everything to themselves, much like a secret or personal indulgence. I speak for them through my illustrations, bringing out what lays unsaid or unexpressed.


CG. What are the most challenging aspects of portraying human emotions?

PU. People go through umpteen numbers of emotions, not only through the course of the whole day but also at single points of time. To select the one emotion that dominates or overshadows the others is a little tricky. I sometimes spend days observing the subjects, before I start to illustrate. It requires one to look beneath the surface and gauge at what lies underneath – just like an iceberg. That is the beauty and challenge of it – or, you can say, the beauty lies in the challenge.

The Couple.

CG. How do you achieve representing your subjects wholly on the canvas?

PU. I usually sit face-to-face with my subjects and spend days with them. There’s always something new that I see in them each and every day – it’s like diving into the depth of the sea, inching deeper and deeper. A wrinkle, tear or smile can say a lot. So, I usually start with a rough sketch, using different mediums. I then keep making changes, until I’m completely confident and satisfied with what I’ve manifested on the canvas, is a true representation of the person.


CG. What is the idea behind the textures you choose in your illustrations?

PU. ‘Giggling’ is the technique I use to highlight the facial expressions. I start with a simple dot that turns into a line which never ends. By going in a circular motion, I never actually realise where the line started, and where it ended. This style helps me provide a great amount of detailing to the illustration. It also helps me go in-depth to bring out their personalities precisely.

The Villager.

CG. What do you enjoy most, in your work process?

PU. The final result is what I enjoy most about my work! I love it when people understand and relate or connect to my work. Conveying a lot about a person just through a glance is what I want to achieve through all my illustrations. When that happens, I feel happiness.


CG. What would be your advice to others who wish to involve in a similar style of work as yours?

PU. Don’t try to emulate someone else, but choose a style that is solely yours, instead. That way, the work you create through it will be your personal best and most satisfying. Only you can create and execute your own trademark style. Trust me!

Joyous Rajasthani.

Published in Issue 39

As the festivity is all around, every brand or business is trying to impress the Indian audience. But what really works for us Indians? What is an Indian design? And how we can make designs for India? To understand it, we interviewed some Indian creatives who are successfully creating designs for the Indian audience. Neha Tulisan, the founder of NH1 design, highlights to understand how we Indians live; how we grew up; and what moves us emotionally. Whereas Mira Malhotra, founder of Studio Khol, emphasises on the difference of Western and Indian Sensibilities. Also, we support keeping ourselves connected with Indian cultures, languages, history, aspirations and more, will help find the Indian context in everything we create. This issue of Creative Gaga is a light read for someone looking for inspirations or insights on Indian design and how the Indian audience can be enticed. So go ahead and order your copy or subscribe if you want to keep receiving a regular dose of inspirations!


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Creative Gaga - Issue 54


In an attempt to connect the sport enthusiasts to their very own city on an emotional level, Nike collaborated with Gautam Gajbar to create an in-store mural for their flagship store in Mumbai.


A Nike store is not just where the brand lives, it is where the brand comes to life. Nike is a runner’s company, build by runners for runners. Then, Now, Always.


For its flagship store in Mumbai, Nike appointed Gautam Gajbar to create an in-store mural.


The project brief demanded certain pointers to be taken care of while designing this mural.


To top this list of challenges, the biggest of them all was to get this mural in place with the store being completely operational!

Firstly, the mural must make Mumbai city, its heritage and Nike, its heritage and brand moment statements as a part of it.


Secondly, the mural should tell stories that open conversation and connect with runners on an emotional level. They should feel inspired and rewarded for coming in.


And lastly, the material and finishes of this mural should be inspired by the environment of running.



Considering himself lucky enough to have bagged a second opportunity from Nike to work at their creative front, Gautam Gajbar collaborated with Sachin Kondalkar, Ryan D’Costa, Rohit Bhanushali and Tushar Agawne to achieve the project brief of creating an in-store mural in a short span of time.


The process started with the objective of creating an inspiring experience for consumers as soon as they set foot into the store and go like – “This is ma hood and I belong here”.


Going one step at a time, the first phase was about creating the design followed by the process of approval. The provision of a detailed on-point design brief facilitated the creation of a quick and apt illustration for the mural, which were closed in a few interactions with the brand.


The next phase, post the approval of the design, was its execution in terms of recreating the design on a one is to one scale. The approved design had to be hand painted with the desired effects and texture of a canvas in the same proportion as the store wall that spanned as wide as 22 feet and rose as high as 19 feet.


Once the art piece was completed to scale, then came in the last and final phase of the project: its installation on site. For this, the art piece was divided into 3 parts. Using a special water-based adhesive, these parts were pasted onto the wall. The pasting took about 8-9 hours followed by final touch-ups on the spot. Being in-tandem with the design brief, the installation was done post the operational hours of the store.


Using a new medium and ensuring that it has the desired final effect, and the onsite execution given the constraint of a fully operational store was quite a challenging task!


However, working within the brand guidelines of Nike and at the same time being as creative as one can be to do justice to Nike, the brand, Gautam did his job perfectly.

Client: Nike
Illustrator: Gautam Gajbar

Creative Gaga - Issue 54


Personifying consumer, content and commerce relationships through panel discussions and interactive discussions, The Economic Times is going to launch its mega-confluence Emerging Media Summit on the 6th and 7thDecember, 2018 at Mumbai.

In the technology-driven digital age of today, media is the soul of awareness. It keeps people updated with the latest happenings and developments from across the world about various fields and serves as a platform for businesses of all sizes to thrive. Having its roots in almost every sector today, it soon will be the eco-system of the world of communication.


The ever-evolving media industry is breaking through barriers of technology, content and consumer preferences, only to result in a shift in a communication of the brand message from informative to interactive.


A small device has been unsettling the conventional concepts ranging from online shopping, making payments, seeking services and watching movies – all of this is just a click away on a smartphone.


Digital media’s explosion through the growth & expansion of social networking, blogs, forums, mobile marketing and other ways only implies the extensive future demands and consumption of the consumers, in turn indicating the requirement of innovative content by media platforms.

Keeping up with the present is not enough. It is time to think forward. Futurising in the present is what is needed.


To understand the in-depth functioning of creation and consumption patterns, The Economic Times is launching its “Emerging Media Summit” on the 6th and 7th December, bringing together the key stakeholders, marketers, content providers, content delivery platforms, production houses, advertising agencies, policymakers, satellite service providers and a universe of media industry together to discuss and deliberate some underlying challenges and roadmap for this emerging ecosystem.

This summit aims at helping the media industry grow in a way to meet the required demands by creating scenarios which engage the service provider directly with the consumer to know what really is wanted.


Networking with industry players, benchmarking digital strategies and being informed about emerging trends and technologies through a series of panel discussions and interactive sessions between the creators, providers and users are the take-aways from this summit.

Creative Gaga - Issue 54