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LA-based freelance concept artist and illustrator, Shreya Shetty, shares her insights about handling and organising finances as a freelancer, so that it no longer feels a daunting task.

Working as a freelancer means you have a wear a lot of hats. Being smart about your finances will allow you to continue to operate smoothly. Here are some ways to help you through the ups and downs of the freelance life.

1. Know Your Worth

Charging a below par rate is going to hurt you, over time. Talk to your peers and know the general rates. Sources like ArtPact, Glassdoor, etc. help find out the hourly and per piece rates for illustrations and such.


2. Budget for Taxes for Freelancers

Freelancers pay at a higher tax rate. Consider this when you quote your prices, and budget for this when you have expenses. Virtually, all work related expenses can be written-off as business expenses. Find out all possible allowed business expenses that you can claim as a freelancer. Be sure to keep your personal and professional spending separate.


3. Consistent Clients

Try to have consistent clients so you know that you will be making a certain amount per month. Also, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Try to have a couple of different clients, so even if one stops commissioning work, you won’t be out of work.

4. Invoicing

Be prompt about sending in your invoices as soon as the job is done. Most of the bigger companies have fixed billing cycles so if you are late and don’t send your invoices in by a certain time, it might take up to the next cycle to get paid.

5. Passive Income

It’s always great to supplement your commissions with passive income. This means that you can generate revenue with minimal effort, based on the work that you have already done. Examples of this would be Print on Demand (POD) services for prints, licensing; selling content like tutorial videos, brushes, and so on.


6. Plan Downtime

Plan for the downtime and try to save up at least 3-6 months of your basic living expenses. When you start out keep your overheads low, embrace the frugality till you know you have saved up enough to not panic if the work dries up for a while.

Published in Issue 37

The issue includes interactions with Preeti Vyas from VGC on ‘How to pitch for clients or retain the existing one’ and Ashish Deshpande from Elephant on ‘Challenges of working with a startup’, along with some best freelancers like Archan Nair, Shreya Shetty and Paul Sandip, sharing their knowledge of working with various clients. Also, Sachin Puthran from Thatzit.com gave a 10-point no-nonsense guide for studios to handle their finances. A must read, if you are planning for the financial year ahead or worried about your handling your money matter.

 

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To give custom solutions to the client one must understand their requirements and expectations. Though every client has its own uniques needs but to better understand the rapidly changing client’s demands during the COVID pandemic, we asked Priyanka Bhasin, co-founder of Design Stack, for her recent experiences and learnings.

Q.
Client’s Demands, Have you witnessed any changes in the projects you receive now than from the projects from pre-pandemic days?

Priyanka. Yes, we most definitely have. The projects we have been approached for in the past few months have been far more focused and defined in terms of business objectives and timelines. Also, they seem to be largely based on immediate and visible client’s demands, which is in stark contrast to how things were earlier. Where people were willing to take more risks, today there is a lower scope for indulgence.

Another interesting new development includes work coming our way from large scale public sector companies that speak to the wider demographic, demonstrating a surprising yet encouraging the savvy understanding for strategic branding and appreciation for good design.

Q.
Apart from COVID impact, is there any other recurring theme that you can observe in the current commissions?

Priyanka. Some businesses have been hit very visibly in the past few months because of the way that COVID has impacted consumer spending patterns. It has led to a visible shift from ‘want’ to ‘need’ and once again, there seems to be little or no scope for indulgence. Businesses seem to be now investing in more holistic and purpose-driven brands.

‘Survive to thrive’ is also a recurring theme we are witnessing. The inability for businesses to differentiate between branding, advertising and digital agencies is possibly the industry’s biggest challenge which is further burdened with the need for agencies to stay afloat. Survival is dictating decisions and if we as a collective are not cautious, it could even impact creative standards.

Q.
Has there been any difference in project deadlines before and during the lockdown?

Priyanka. More than just deadlines becoming tighter, it is the intensity of engagement that is crazier; heavy spurts in short times. Often, there’s just about enough time left in a day to schedule the next set of calls. The lines between personal and professional are fast fading and balance has become critical to stability. We are at a whole new level of multitasking!

Q.
Has work from home impacted the projects/commissions that you receive?

Priyanka. Not really. The industry at large has been hit more by the economic downturn rather than WFH. And since we saw a similar downturn play out in 2008, our decision to build a diverse portfolio spanning most industries across both public and private sectors, has worked wonders and helped us ride this wave.

As far as WFH is concerned, our clients have been happy to have more access to us; and we think they secretly prefer it as well!

Q.
Has there been a general increase or decrease in the projects since the lockdown began? What would you attribute this change too?

Priyanka. Besides the initial few weeks of the lockdown where we saw not just clients but the entire country go into silent shock, it has been an extremely busy year for us. We did lose a few clients along the way which hit hard because the associations were long term and well established. On the other hand, we have a surge of meaningful enquiries coming from across emerging business categories, as expected, and completely new geographies which have been quite unexpected.

We would like to end on what has ironically been our most gratifying work this year. Pro bono work has become our creative investment towards that holistic purpose and hence closer to our hearts. It may probably be our only indulgence through these COVID times!

Creative Gaga - Issue 51

Published in Issue 51

Business, studios, agencies, freelancer all have different perspectives to handle the pandemic and hurdle it brings. While some find pandemic an obstacle which will soon fade away and on the other hand, few saw opportunities in the same. Many creatives used the past few months to reflect on their styles and horn their art. Many utilized it for collaboration opportunities with national and international creatives. This issue is a must-read if you are looking for insights, inspirations and ways to bounce back in this unlocking phase. Grab your copy and enjoy it on a sunny day!

 

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Divyam Kaushik
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After completing my MBA, I joined an advertising agency where I fell in love with the whole concept of designing communication. For two months, I used to sit next to my graphic designer friends and play around with colors, fonts, and copy; it was so much fun. After a few months, I noticed a pattern; the creative team created five options for one poster and multiple feedback every day. It wasn’t fun anymore.

Being client-facing, I felt responsible for my friends in the creative team, creating multiple options, and spending drunken nights in the office (Working!). It came to the point that I learned how to make the ‘logo bigger’ myself, export PDF, and send it to the client myself. (Kidding!)

I thought it’s not me; it’s the client. They are indecisive and cribbed about them with the creative team to gain sympathy and get the work done. But I knew I was in trouble when it happened to us again.

That’s when I decided to seek help and gathered my creative team to brainstorm ways to increase efficiency and get the design right in the first go. We discovered the problem wasn’t that the client was indecisive, but we didn’t know the client and the business much.

Why was that happening? Every meeting with the client, we tried to please the client by filling the awkward silences with something while we should have heard the client instead. We were not asking the right questions to solve the business problem with the design.

When you start talking, you have taken away your client’s chance to think about what you have said. You stop them from digesting the design you carefully created, and you start sounding like that annoying pushy salesperson that no one likes. Instead, you can get inside your client’s head, so you know what they really want — and let them do the talking.

You can become a trusted advisor in the business process, and you use your client’s own words to give them what they want.

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” ― Voltaire

Listing down the questions that we decided to ask every client before getting onto a design phase, use these questions for your next campaign brief or freelance project to save time and become that trusted advisor to your clients.

1. What are your long-term and short-term business goals?

This question does two things. First, it gives you a roadmap to follow to help you provide for your customer’s immediate needs. When you can help make your customer’s short-term goals a reality, you become a partner in their success. Second, beginning to understand their long-term goals establishes you as a partner for the long haul. You stop being just a person trying to achieve a one-time sale, and you build a relationship that helps you to become a trusted confidant.


2. What’s your single most significant challenge/ problem when it comes to your product/ service?

People don’t buy products/ designs; they buy a solution to their problem. Asking these questions pushes your client’s to think and tell you exactly where the problem is.


3. How did you discover that this is the biggest challenge?

Humans tend to assume things, this question will help you identify the hypothesis and finding the root cause.


4. Major challenges that you have faced in the last 6 months or a year?

This is an extension of the previous questions and brings recency to the conversation. Every client wants to first address the immediate problem, and once the solution works, they will look for a long term relation with you.


5. What have we done already to solve this challenge?

This will help you understand all the ways the client has tried solving the issue and if you think it was the right approach, dig down deeper into understanding the execution. You will know which ideas to work on and which ones to discard right-away.


6. How do you define success? What are the KPIs?

This will help you track success, and if you are in digital, this will help you course-correct if the design needs any iteration.


7. What are the no go areas?

I remember working for a client that hated typography and loved quirky wordplay.

The Key to Your Success

The best way to know your client is to ask! For that matter, anyone. If you do it right, you’ll identify countless options to solve problems, become an asset, and help your clients succeed.

I still won’t guarantee that client won’t ask you to make the logo bigger.

And finally, don’t ask them how much budget do they have. If you have a great design/idea, they will be open to extending the budget. Trust me when I say this, I have been on both sides of the tables.

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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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Harshvardhan Kadam
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Harshvardhan Kadam faces multi-fold burnout; it can be creative, physical, mental and also sometimes emotional. He maintains, that burnout means you need an urgent break!

But a break from exactly what? Are you tired of working back to back? Or just low on enthusiasm? Or have nothing left to express? Or just a self-projected burnout? All these reasons are okay long as you know how to deal with it. Harshvardhan shares his ways to tackle the burnout.

I was really young when my father told me that whenever you get bored of academic assignments, which were very narrow for exploration and didn’t cater to your complete potential, then just switch to some other medium of expression.

This made me look at films, photography, adventure sports, biking and even cooking. And that simple advice makes me explore everything I find exciting. Which does not just enhance my personal work but also the kind of creative individuals I got connected with, the friendships and collaborations I’ve done so far, which are worth cherishing for rest of my life.


Nowadays, the Internet is as constructive as destructive it is,

One’s focus plays a vital role in increasing their powers of expression. But you lose your focus and you feel the burnout; it literally means to empty your learning and restarting afresh.

To keep up with the new interactive world, self-assessment of individual potential, self-critiquing and analysing old work, are some of the important steps in any artistic processes. These can be done alone or even with your trusted companion who can tell you that what you’ve made is a shit when it is, and you do not feel taken aback. As accepting your weakness is also a part of climbing the ladder of growth.


Burnout has taught me, to be honest, to be grounded and appreciate all the beautiful things in life.

For me, this phase is as good as the one in which I create. The universe of possibilities otherwise will remain less explored. I do not bind myself to a term of an artist known for just one thing. For me, achievement has never been an ambition. That has made me accept moments as they come.


So, whenever I’m done with murals I get back to my cave and illustrate digitally or sketch on paper and that’s how I keep my energy levels high.

I have a Jaw Harp that I play, to switch with some old and new tools like iPad, sketchbook, a few empty walls, canvases, a couple of apps and gadgets I have invested in and that is how the life goes on

Published in Issue 33

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

 

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Saurabh Chandekar
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Illustrator Saurabh Chandekar explains how kept himself open to every brief throughout his journey of being an artist/ illustrator and how his style has evolved with him.

I grow into my illustration style with time and experience. It’s a beautiful journey to try new things, always being open to new experiences and keep evolving. I never made any conscious effort at establishing my own style as an illustrator, but I always keep myself open to new briefs, a new point of views which help me explore the things differently.

Illustartion by Illustrator Saurabh Chandekar
Sati

For me this everlasting journey is more important than establishing my own style. But yes, a dominant hallmark of my character might stamp itself upon my work and that becomes my ‘style’. But with me, not confining myself to any set style is my style.

Illustartion by Illustrator Saurabh Chandekar
BLURRD

So for me, it’s a life process, I live, I experience, I observe and I express. My inspirations come from day to day lives, with time I think, I have succeeded in placing my own process to grasp them. Contrary to popular belief, inspiration does not necessarily have to come from only the extraordinary. My inspiration comes from ‘the ordinary’. From the many things that come to us by default. In the course of my interplay with society, as a professional and as a private citizen; normal events, ‘day-to-day’ happenings tend to take on a different and unexpected form. Forms that you never would or could imagine. My art, my inspiration is not alien to my society. In fact, it stems from it. My art is the manifestation of my life experiences.

Illustartion by Illustrator Saurabh Chandekar

I am thankful to my dad Late Mr Sadanand Chandekar who was a very well known one-man stand-up comedian; he gave me that eye of detailing. He used to narrate diverse human characters, his storytelling used to always fascinate me about how beautifully one can convey unique characteristics of the personalities. I think that fascination has always been my inspiration; to pick that beauty and to narrate it through my art forms i.e. drawing.

Old Statue

Music always inspires me a lot. For me, good music is the most important part of my work ambience. I hear music in any language, instrumentals, abstract music, I play, I sing all these are styles of expressions. I read up on all kinds of subjects which help me do my research.

TIRONA

The creation in itself is blissful. The professions where creative activities go on to enrich your life quality, it becomes a pleasure journey than mere money earning, as I have to state that when you know that the money is not everything the creative profession brings, you heaven to live with.

WRINKLE

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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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
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
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.

Indian digital Artists
Illustration for REVV
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.