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Art is once again gaining its momentum among the public thanks to the influence of social media. Hence, we at Creative Gaga wished to understand and shed some light on the role and importance of illustrations and its place among the Indian Brands.

As the world grows increasingly mechanical and societies turn grey, our innate desire to find colour guides us towards the world of art. This ardent need for creative expression, coupled with technologies, can be stated as some of the many reasons for the increasing solidarity for art witnessed in recent years. Illustrations, in particular, are obtaining a singularly strong foothold on the Indian Brands.

“An illustration is an art of crafting an image to convey a message for a particular reason,” explains Sajid Wajid Shaikh, a self-taught visual artist specialising in illustration and design. Sajid’s artworks speak for themselves through their severe lines and abstract forms. Having partnered with companies such as Google, Facebook, and Adidas to name a few, Sajid possesses tremendous knowledge upon the use of visual languages, such as shape, form, line and colour to convey the necessary message. His artworks are often a departure from the reality, portraying the everyday subjects in an abstract style and often coloured vividly. “An illustration is engaging and independent of the boundaries set by the physical world, as they are a fraction of an artist’s imagination, which provides the room for artistic liberty,” said Sajid.

The artist attributed the growing popularity of illustration to its ease and accessibility. “With the advent of technology and internet, illustrations are relatively easy to produce and are quite flexible in terms of the time it takes to make the changes and get the desired image,” explained Sajid. He supported his statement with a series of his projects and commissions.

Illustrations for Granfalloon
Branding for The Granfalloon

“For example, The Granfalloon project. The Granfalloon is a production house based in Mumbai. The idea is to show a state of mind and location that brings people together who may otherwise have nothing in common. And so, we made the two partners fly on a Carousel, one is trying to catch a fish in the sky, and the other is trying to fry it,” explains the artist. “Moreover, illustrations can effortlessly give the brand its character, as they crafted to fit the brands’ needs, and are comparatively easy to make, change, modify and scale. Hence, with all things said, illustrations are taking a seminal place in the marketing and communication department of major corporations,” noted Sajid.

Stationery for The Granfflloon
Poster for The Granfalloon

Agreeing with Sajid, illustrator and graphic designer, Pavan D. Rajurkar believes that the growth of the illustration field can be attributed to three primary reasons: New Tools, Growing Modern Media and Less Manpower & Minimum Resources. “From my experience, I would say that the medium of illustration isn’t as demanding as other mediums like films or photography, which would require certain resources and manpower. One can communicate the same thing through illustration with limited resources and in less time,” explains Pavan.

Illustration for Vinay Electrical

Pavan D. Rajurkar has been working in the advertising and design industry for the past seven years, upon completing his Masters in Animation Film Design from National Institute of Design. Having worked for numerous advertising agencies such as JWT, Interface, and Radio Mirchi, among several others, Pavan draws his inspiration from colours, culture, mythological stories, and is especially inclined towards Indian art forms. It is this penchant for something Indian and local that has helped him find his style and visual language. Hence, what better authority to further explicate on the role of illustration?

Illustration for Vinay Electrical

Having attributed the growth of the field to three reasons, Pavan further elaborates on his points. “Firstly, the access and ease of digital tools allow creation and publication with much more ease. New tools including, digital devices, software, print & colour technologies have reduced barriers and opened new avenues. Secondly, today social media is a chosen hub to cater to a wide range of target groups, which contributes to the ever-changing styles of the artist. Since they are always on their toes, learning from different styles and techniques from around the world. On the other hand, brand requirements have also evolved with time in terms of frequency, promotional activities, design language and such. Moreover, their primary need is to maintain a regular social media presence which can be easily fulfilled by illustrations,” elucidates the artist.

Illustration for Vinay Electrical

Illustration in terms of brand designing is nothing new in our country. “The art of illustration has its share of history with brand designs in India. The industry is vast as many consumers, industrial products and services have been using this medium to build their brands and promote their stories, since time immemorial. Therefore, I believe that illustration is not forging a new place in the industry because it already has a place of its own. But it is evolving, as the brands reuse this traditional form of communication in a modern system,” elaborated Pavan.

Illustration for Natural Ice Cream

Thinking in similar terms, Satish Gangaiah provides us with a unique insight into the field. Possessing over seventeen years of experience as an illustrator, visual artist and graphic designer, Satish has worked with numerous national and international companies such as Bosch. “The field of illustration in India has evolved tremendously and have started to cater to a broader audience now. In my 17 years of experience, I have witnessed a lot of change in the way art used in creative representations. There used to be a time when there was a heavy reliance on the use of stock images. And now, we can witness this trend gradually fading. At present, there is more thought given about the ‘end-user’. Everyone seems to think of the prospective audience before the design process begins. That, in my opinion, is more professional and also renders the design or the artwork more relatable with its target audience,” Satish explains.

Illustration for Bosch
Illustration for Education App

Furthermore, the artist believes that present-day art and design are evolving to cater to the end-user or the target audience by reflecting the local trends and colloquial flavour. Hence, shaping foreign brands to be more appealing and approachable. “I have worked with multinational companies such as Bosch, where they wanted to represent themselves with a local context. They wanted to portray how their expertise in the automotive sector can help build local economies and create local jobs, specifically catering to an Indian market. And, they wanted to portray it to a vast audience in the simplest of mediums. Illustration connected them to their target group, and the project portrays this,” states the artist.

Illustration for Killer Launch

Approaching the subject from a different perspective, Nithin Rao Kumblekar feels that the market has been changing in different directions for the last few years. He attributes this restlessness in the industry to the ever-growing and ever-evolving development in the available platforms. “Maybe all were confused and didn’t know what medium works best for the brand. As we all know, print media has been diminishing for the last few years. And most of us had no clue what true digital marketing is, many creative ideas got rejected because the client was unsure where to put the money,” said Nithin. This disquiet in the industry reflects in the briefs the artists receive.

Illustration for REVV

The story-based illustrations no longer desired due to time constraints. In its stead, a plethora of creative methods got developed for the illustrations. These works of art are no longer confined to print media they are also being used in digital and television commercials. “Grey Worldwide, Delhi approached me to illustrate characters from their television commercial for car rental brand Revv. Initially, it was for the online ads, but later they decided to have these illustrations to be part of the commercial as well,” explained Nithin.

Illustration for REVV
Illustration for REVV

Just as print media, illustrators for online advertisements also have various format and size specifications. “In some cases, it is difficult to have one single layout which will adapt to different sizes. McCann Bangalore was designing creatives for promoting an event for TVS called MotoSoul. The event had many activities; clubbing all these activities together and then designing the ads would be a nightmare. So, the creative team asked me to create the illustration in a way that all the characters should be different layers so that they can move the required activities and characters from the illustration to fit different sizes and executions,” said Nithin, illuminating his personal experience.

Illustration for Moto Soul TVS

Nithin has also observed a rise in demand for illustrations in small, local brands. He attributes this to the increasing exposure due to digital medium, filling him with hope for a brighter future for design. “I have no clue how the market will change in the coming days. But I’m sure illustration will never go out of fashion. It certainly evolves with every step.”

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Sanket Wagh

“Life should never get you down whether there’s a lockdown or not. Now, maintain safe social distancing, together we can be all-conquering. Let’s stay together by being apart. This one is straight from the heart” says, my friend Mr Karl Mascarenhas who heads DIVA Pageant Studio in Pune.

Sanket Wagh
Director & Business Head of Cub Design

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Being overwhelmed with the Pandemic wave, Everybody is worried about their survival. And yes, it’s very normal to feel anxious with what, how, and when questions, which are bombarding our minds. But, there is always a brighter side which many of us don’t see. I believe that every negative phase brings us new opportunities.

Time is costly, let’s not waste the precious by watching Netflix or other TV Shows which don’t enhance our future. Instead, plan to positively impact our income. Imagine (for a moment) there is no end to the lockdown and you have to sit at home for your lifetime! Scary, isn’t it?



 

This is relationship-building time, not sales time. Being a director & business head of an advertising firm, I dream of grabbing more business every day, but now, most of our clients are shut. We do not have any scope for sales-oriented campaigns and activities on digital platforms.

‘Now’ is the prime time to build personal relationships with your clients. “Hello, I hope You are your family is healthy and taking good care in this lockdown” is a good conversation starter. I developed a rapport with my clients by educating them about how I can enhance their business. Online meetings can initiate spark on how to invest in marketing activities.

Nowadays, you see floods of ‘Free Webinars’ and 90% discount on education courses for working-class. But, is it worth attending these? Yes, educate yourself by listening to established speakers as much as possible in this lockdown. My Corona theory of communication, as I mentioned earlier, that bad chapter in life brings possibilities and, there is a lot to learn from this virus. Like Corona, which starts from the mouth and spreads like a fire, develop the campaigns which are based on mouth publicity. In the current situation, WhatsApp is the biggest mouth publicity tool. And you should be focusing on how your content & communication can be made viral (Do not hesitate to use memes mode for your client).

Social distancing can be seen as an interval of messages and follow-ups with your clients & customers. There has to be a pattern in follow-ups and sending personalised messages to your audience. This should not be too often nor too late. As this virus targets every new individual you should also be focusing on prospects every day. Good work and good relationships act as Referrals Platforms for you. Spread like Corona but for a better future!

To conclude, the future of your business is in your hands. We cannot stop the calamities but, we can evolve living with them. The future is never bright until you make it so!

Stay at home, stay safe and be prepared & stay motivated!

Published in Issue 50

The Creatives Under Lockdown Special! We all started this year anticipating many things, but nobody thought of life coming to a complete halt. The Coronavirus pandemic has forced every human to re-evaluate their attitude towards nature and life. We also have been forced to lock down in our houses. Though we are no more in the lockdown, still many unfortunate ones continue to lose their lives and livelihoods. This isolation has given many of us the time we needed to finish our long pending tasks. Some have turned to art and craft for peace and solace. While most got relaxed and enjoyed their time with family, others used the focussed time to prepare themselves for the life post lockdown. On the other hand, creative freelancers found it helpful for them to focus and produce more as their work setup usually is within their homes. So, to understand how all the creatives have handled the lockdown, we reached many who have been creating and sharing inspirational artworks during this time. So order your copy if you are looking for inspirational COVID lockdown artworks and some advice on how to handle the current slowdown more creatively!

 

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Ranganath Krishnamani
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You must have tried your hands on many different projects to harness different skill sets but it can be a problem when it comes to choosing between skill specialist or try hands on everything possible. Experience Designer and Illustrator Ranganath Krishnamani shares his view to bring more clarity on the topic.

Creativity is like a continuous journey and change is constant in the digital world. The key to success is to understand that one needs to be flexible and become a specialist generalist—what I mean is of having an understanding and working knowledge of key areas that relate to your core skills.

Personally, I characterise myself as a specialist generalist. I get bored doing the same thing all the time and enjoy the challenge of being thrown into something totally new. I like seeing how seemingly disparate things relate to one another. Dipping my toes into various media and skillsets that affect how I bring the idea to life. This could mean going from UX work-flows to putting together an animation of the experience to bring it to life, or it could be coming up with a communication campaign.

“Design is an intricate process. In order to create the best possible solution, it helps to have a more conceptual understanding of all facets of the industry and how they fit together. If you’re a UI designer, then knowing how a user interacts with a touch device compared to a pointing device and what that means to your design is a relatable skill.”

The good part about the creative industry is that it offers so many learning opportunities every time you start on a new project. You could go from being somebody who is specialised in working on graphic icons to becoming involved in conceptualising, storyboarding, animating as soon as you start collaborating with others.

For me being creative is not a job of 9 to 5, you don’t stop doing it when you go home. It’s a career that’s a bit obsessive. It’s with you all the time and you start to make these connections when you are at the shower, waiting at a traf c signal or watching a wonderful sunset from your window.

Anything and everything can inspire you, and that creative restlessness in you pushes you to learn to make things out of nothingness. It’s the absolute joy of the job that you can start your day staring at a blank page and by the end of the day end up with an idea made up of words, visuals and code. Core skills combined with a generalised approach will be the way forward.

Published in Issue 32

Graduate Career Special! If you are a recent graduate or about to finish your college then this issue may have answers to many of your questions. Like, how to get the best placement or the internship? How to present best in front of the interviewer? Which studio or agency to choose to start your career? How to work in a team or choose to be a freelancer? This issue has advice from many experts such as Ashwini Deshpande and Gopika Chowfla who gave the secrets of choosing the right intern for their well-known design teams. And on another hand, Rajaram Rajendran and Ranganath Krishnamani advise young designer to gain multiple skills and be the best at them. Also, recent MIT Post Graduate Vinta Jakkal shares her secret with which she grabbed the great opportunity of joining the Elephant Design, Pune team to start her career.

 

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Usually, the idea of working on the creative front for a Government project is not welcomed by many studios. But Lopez Design has accepted the challenges that come along with these big scale projects and have been successful in carrying out the same.

Branding For National Impact

India a globe in itself with a population of almost 1.4 billion, it is important to create experiences that belong to us. Design is about people and the Government is the largest client in context to the impact it creates – it is an opportunity to design for millions. Taking on a Government project replaces the notion that design is for an elitist audience with the idea of design being for the masses.

A Rigorous Process

Government projects involve tedious processes – right from extensive documentation to verification of credentials and adherence to formal guidelines. Nevertheless, this struggle needs to be done to get recognition from the Government – that good design is important and can make a difference.

Design

Studio Lopez Designs’ first major project was identity and branding, communication collaterals, website design, social media and signage for Bihar Museum, with biggest challenges being dealing with the bureaucracy at the administrative level and getting payments and approvals sanctioned. Patience and persistence are the secrets to move forward in such kinds of projects.

Design

A Measured Gamble that Pays Off

A client picks Lopez Design recognising the potential and brand value. Equally, we take the initiative to bid for Government projects as the prospect of designing for a larger audience outweighs the tedium of administrative processes and other risks. Because of our rigorous and thorough design process, we usually get it right the first time, rarely facing opposition, in spite of going through the many levels of authority.

 

Under the umbrella of UNICEF, we were commissioned to do the branding of the Health and Wellness Centers of the Ayushman Bharat program.

Design

Indian Designers Can be Catalysts

We have garnered achievements largely by pushing boundaries and rising against the stereotypical application of design. Making the design, region and nation-specific and addressing the character, language and behaviour, imparting an authentic feel to the design.

Design

In Ayushman Bharat, the branding program was about painting the walls of 1.5 lakh local primary health care centres. Creating a national brand and yet a local brand was an achievement by which each HWC has its own unique character. By allowing people the creative power in execution, they became catalysts in the design process.

Simplicity and Creativity in Implementation

Sometimes following standard design practice and providing all specifications falls flat. In the Ayushman Bharat project, created a system with an element of creativity: a simple brand manual with 3 to 4 steps to bring a level of consistency and giving ownership to people at the ground level. This worked wonders and yielded beautiful results. People took responsibility and delivered within the time period. Leaving implementation to the people was a bold and necessary step, but was successful.

 

These projects outshine many corporate projects because of their scale and reach. It was a moment to take pride in our design process as it is making a difference to the nation.

Published in Issue 44

Behind every successful studio, artist or designer there are stories of challenges, struggles and their unique solutions to these. With this issue, we interviewed many well-known names from the creative industry and found their different learnings and experiences behind making their own self as a brand. Though they all have a different take on this topic, still they all unanimously emphasise on focusing on their skills and quality delivery of the final outcome. So, if you are looking to establish yourself as a brand in the creative market or already in the process of it, this issue is a must read. Full of insights and inspirations from the best of the talents, this issue is waiting to reach your desks. 

 

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Pavan Rajurkar - Illustrator
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The illustrator Pavan Rajurkar advocates how the internet has made this a great time to be an illustrator and from here on where every artist should focus to constantly evolve.

In the Internet age, where sophisticated tools and techniques are at every fingertip, functioning for most industries and especially for design and illustrations has evolved greatly. But more essentially, I believe exposure and opportunities have reached beyond the doorstep, which helps people to understand better about their interests and their career paths. For me, the Internet (including social media) also acts as a major source of inspiration and following are the areas where every illustrator ought to heed in 2020.

1. Modern Tools

Even if one’s style of working is through traditional tools, it is imperative to stay updated with the know-how of new software & devices, to keep up with the pace and taste of the contemporary demands. Say, if you are good at drawing, don’t hesitate to take it a step further and translate those skills into animation or motion media. Likewise, if you are an animator, you should be keeping an eye out on VR technology. So be open to improve, expand and upgrade your skills.


2. Storytelling

As an illustrator, you have the power and responsibility of bringing the story alive through your art. So, it’s really important that we, as visual artists, develop the skill of storytelling. Start with writing your own stories (those can even be silly anecdotes or simple incidents). Then draw them, just in the flow and way you’d like that story to be depicted.


3. Know Your Roots

For any and every artist, at least some part of his/her creation is a reflection of who he/she is. Although we use our physical and logical prowess to create art, most of it comes from within. This inner self is always influenced and developed by aspects like culture, life views, social circle, beliefs etc. Explore your surroundings, because inspiration can pop out just from anywhere but still stay in touch with your roots as that is where you will get your uniqueness from. Also, as in every field ‘practice’ is essential, but it’s equally important to understand and involve yourself in your work for it to stand out.

4. Use the reach of Social Media

Now that Social media has become a way of life, we’d rather use it to our benefit. It’s a very convenient medium to get in touch with artists who inspire you and with whom you’d want to communicate/discuss your queries. Have a sorted digital presence which showcases your talent as it helps you in getting instant feedback from experts and professionals.

Published in Issue 49

The Design in 2020! Each year starts with many predictions, anticipations and a lot of hope for bad things to go out and good things to come in our life. The year 2020 has already started with eventful initial months and may hold more surprises in coming times. To understand what’s coming from the design perspective, we featured some of the best design projects from last year. Also discussed a few broad questions like how minimalism will affect our designs or what all an illustrator to keep in mind to be successful and much more.

 

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Lokesh Karekar
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Re-branding is a delicate matter, and can easily turn into a calamity if not handled with care and awareness. It can either provide a new form to years of hard work or break it altogether. Here, Lokesh Karekar enunciates the niceties and very essentials of what it takes to provide a brand a renewed form and voice without losing its audience.

The biggest challenge when trying to re-establish a well-known brand is to give it a unique look and fresh feel without losing its essence or core idea. Managing to introduce that newness, which not only sustains but also enhances its foundational qualities without compromising on the brand’s integrity, would prove to be a valuable effort and achievement.

According to me, identifying the exact reason behind re-branding can be the way to not only avoiding hurdles but also solving many problems that may come in the way or hinder the process of re-branding itself. Understanding the aspects such as what the brand previously conveyed, and why it wishes to bring about a change in its representation is essential to understand the roots or base. This can, in turn, provide the designer with the much-needed understanding and insight to guide the designing process and provide shape to the new avatar and its features.

Changing the existing perception which brand has created over a considerable period of time is surely not an easy task. It requires quite a lot of nerve to go out and assert such a move. Having said that, good design has the power to bring about a transformation effectively, so that it may work positively for the brand, and have a healthy and impactful outcome – a variety of brands that have chosen to give themselves a makeover after a long time of having an established identity or personality have been able to successfully execute the tricky task.

This is primarily because they did it with finesse and grace while safeguarding the trust of their audience, even when taking on a new form or face. This is key, as trust is hard to gain and easy to lose. The brand’s credibility is something the design must find a way to showcase, and not sacrifice on it instead.

Another significant aspect while re-branding is to maintain a strong level of consistency in the design language across various print collaterals, environment design or signage system and digital platforms. For example, on many occasions, we find the website of the brand to be looking completely different from the look and feel of the brand.

When such a discrepancy arises in the design communication, there is a huge chance of the audience getting confused, distracted and even disappointed, and it can result in losing interest in the product or services. It is, hence, of prime importance for any brand to be capable of keeping the person involved and engaged, and design can do that only when it is able to draw and hold the viewer or reader’s attention. Without that, it will only be just another brick in the wall.

Published in Issue 34

This is a rebranding special issue focused on finding the answers to some of the basic questions like what is the right time for re-branding? or what all needs changing and how exactly? We interviewed some of the best branding studios like Landor Mumbai, Elephant, VGC, Inchwork, and many more. Also highlighted some of the best recent rebranding projects with understanding the concept behind them.

 

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Vaibhav Kumaresh
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Vaibhav Kumaresh explains, how relying on your own unique inner voice and trusting your gut feeling could help you to create great stories or content for every audience.

Frankly, I have never given a very serious thought to who my audiences are, and what exactly they may want out of a film I’m making or a story I’m telling through my films. The only person I have taken very seriously is, myself. Over the years of making films, I have learned that I’m my first audience. If I am impressed with a thought or an idea, I will try my best to transfer that impression into my films as truthfully as I (along with our team) can. And I’ll hope that my audiences – be it young or old – will like that impression too.

Animation - Indian Content
Nick Ident, Idli Song.

But yes, there are many a times when I am required by my clients to create content specifically for a certain audience/ age group (indian content). At that point its easy to step back a bit, fall back on your past experience of that audience, reset your view point and then channelise your thoughts and stories through that ‘filter’. At times when our past experience is not sufficient, we do resort to research and homework to refresh ourselves. My prime intention would still be to extract from my head what I’d want to give them, and then work hard at realising that idea.

Indian Content
Return of the Jungle

Growing up in this country, interacting with the world around us, absorbing from it and making films all these years we tend to develop a basic gut feel about various audiences and of what we want to share with which age group. When I pitched an animated character called ‘Simpoo’ to Channel [V] in 1999 (indian content), all I knew was I had a damn funny character with a bunch of fun situations in my head. I only ensured that the fun translated unadulterated into every film we made.

Animation
Simpoo for channel V

The Simpoo shorts successfully ran on TV for a decade and a half and continue to be an online hit with the young and old audiences even today. The more films you make, the more you get to test your gut feel!

Animation
Simpu for channel V

I believe the young audiences today – right from age 5 to 30! are exposed to a variety of content in different formats. Stories and experiences reach them through many of sources. As a storyteller/ content creator that’s trying to reach out to them, the best way is to tap your inner uniqueness and pour it out in your work. That’s the only strength you have. Show it off!

Lamput TV Series
Animation
Lamput TV Series

Published in Issue 46

This issue is focused on, how to design for kids, bundled with articles full of inspirations, advice and unique point-of-views from the veterans of the animation industry, illustrators, photographers, artists and many more. So, order your copy or subscribe, before print copies run out and enjoy reading this issue!

 

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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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Chaaya Prabhat
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Chaaya Prabhat highlighting some of the challenges and advantages she feel are there for an independent illustrator working with Indian clients.

There are a lot of advantages and disadvantages of working independently as an illustrator in the creative field in India.

The advantages are plenty – In India, the need for illustration work has increased over the years so there’s definitely a lot of scope and demand for the work, and when you work independently you can work on multiple projects with various companies simultaneously, so it’s always creatively challenging.

illustrator

You also have a lot of the advantages that come with freelancing – flexible schedule, not being tied down to a 9-5 schedule, being your own boss etc. What I like about working independently as opposed to working in-house or as a part of a company is that I can be very hands-on with the work that I do, and be very involved from the start of the project to the end – whereas in a studio setting the work is usually split between multiple people or compartmentalised.

However the same independence can also work as a disadvantage – you often have to take care of everything on your own and wear multiple hats, which can be quite taxing. In addition to all the creative work that has to be carried out, you also have to have at least a basic knowledge of contract writing and reading, invoicing, accounting, etc.

In India, especially, companies and clients that hire illustrators are just starting to understand the amount of work that goes into illustration and the value that it adds to projects.

Published in Issue 48

A Freelancer’s Life in India! Every day, with a dream of ‘Being Your Boss,’ many creative professionals jump into the pool of freelancing. But many are not well prepared for the life of the freelancer, which brings many challenges along with benefits. So to explore further, we interviewed many freelance illustrators and designers to get answers to the question you should ask before taking the final call of becoming your boss! So, if you are planning to or have already become a freelancer then this issue is a must-read for you.

 

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Why not templates - Visakh Viswambharan

Since Visakh Viswambharan started working on the web and the mobile industry a common question, which he came across, is “Should I go ahead with a template design?” His immediate answer would be “NO, I would be jobless then” 🙂 Since it’s a common question, it’s better to answer in a comprehensively, why he think so. Below are few points, which you need to consider while making a decision on custom verses templates.

Uniqueness and Originality

Obviously the templates are popular, that’s what the providers claim on their websites too. It would be true, but in this case, your website will lose its uniqueness. How would your design stand out, If every second website your customer browses looks similar? How will you cut through the clutter, if you lack originality/uniqueness? A unique website is always judged by its layout. If the layout is common, it doesn’t attract the visitors.

Limited Customisation

The templates are rigid, you can’t do too much of customisation on a template. The options are limited, what best you can do is to change text or image. Not to mention, majority of the templates look more or less the same.

SEO challenges

I have seen many issues in terms of SEO, somehow Google doesn’t like the template sites. For instance, the most popular WordPress sites are hard to optimize for the Search Engines. How many times have you landed in a templated website while you were searching for some information on Google?

Performance

Be ready to take the beating in terms of loading speed. As it is a template, you are bound to have many lines of unwanted codes, which will affect the performance of the site. Many people ignore performance, no user likes waiting. It’s high time you realise, performance is equally important as look and feel.

Adaptability

Would you like to stick to your brand guidelines and build a website which depicts what your company stands for or make adjustments based on some plug and play template, which was built for thousands of lazy customers? Do you really want to compromise?

Scalability

As I mentioned earlier, this medium is ever evolving. You might want to add more features at a later stage or move to a powerful server. Data migration can get quite tough. Many template server providers don’t support this. So choose wisely, better safe than sorry.

Cheap

Here comes the biggest trap. Do you really think you can customise the theme without coding knowledge? Not really, you have to invest time or money to learn how to code a webpage or hire someone to help you. The moment you start adding your own graphics and content, the template is likely to break. Sometimes you will realise that you want to scale or add a new feature and you might have to put the entire template site into the trash and build from the scratch. Is it really cheap? It is really not when you think long term. And yes templates are cheap because they look cheap 🙂

Everybody wants freedom and fights for it. If you are ready to be caged then you can go ahead with a predefined template. You may feel suffocated at times. Today, all the products are evolving; you might like to add a new feature to the site. What if the templates are not providing the option? Would you go ahead and rebuild a new site?

If you have limited budget and are looking for a quick rollout, you might consider templates. But again, would you want a site that is not easily findable on Google?

Simply put; if you have a business that can make money, find a good developer. The cost will be negligible compared to the return. If you don’t have a serious product or your living does not depend on it then go ahead with a template.

Web & App Special - Creative Gaga

Published in Issue 31

This Web and App special issue brings forward some very talented digital and web designers along with experts from top few digital/ UI & UX studios of India. Also, Visakh Viswambharan, founder of AppinessInteractive answered a very common client question, ‘ Why not templates?’ in our Vantage View article.

 

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Creative Gaga - Issue 49