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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.

reativity 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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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.

n 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.

he 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.

rankly, 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.

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!

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

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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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?


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.


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?


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.


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.

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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Itu Chaudhuri

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

t’s a modern, seasonal disease. The new year brings with it a thick flow of trend forecasts, cheery and sweeping, and we read them with the forgiving spirit that the holiday season demands. For Deep Design, it seems foolhardy to indulge, yet churlish to desist, so here’s a holiday smoothie on trends themselves.

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


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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Published in Issue 45

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


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Freelance business is all about clients and your services to make their work easier. Clients have different requirements but dealing with their temperament can be tough at times. Freelance business can be compared to a double-edged sword where on one side your clients are indispensable and on the other hand, can make you frustrated if you haven’t chosen and managed them correctly.

Some clients can be quite needy while some turn up as a nightmare. Your clients are your assets, make them happy is all that is expected from you without compromising on your time, work or professionalism.

Selection of the client is also significant as you can’t please everyone, so try to know more about their history in your first meeting itself before signing the contract. Client’s management is essential as your living depends upon them. So, devise practical methods for them to come up with the best of the options and make working smooth for both the parties.

How to Manage Your Clients?

Retaining clients is as essential as onboarding them and holds a real test of your abilities for managing your clients and creating lasting relationships for many freelance businesses.

1. Agree on Timelines, Strategy, and Scope.

To know and manage client expectation is quite remarkable and it is advisable for the freelancer to take them seriously. Misunderstanding the project, decrease the chances of successfully reaching the goals of your assignment. Whether you are interested in picking up small or a massive project do remember to prepare scope-of-work document adequately. Try to use the report for communicating your client about the budget, scope, timeline and ensure that both the parties agree for the same before you start working on it.

Suppose if you have a freelance business like website designing, your clients can expect the stock imagery, and website hosting included in the pricing agreed before starting the project. Make sure of the services you will source to your clients and explain to him everything in black and white.


Because you can risk your reputation in the market if you tell your client about various out of scope things after starting the project and he might think that you are swindling his expectations and have poor management. While preparing the outlining of the project try to feel like the client and know what the things that should include in the plan and while the client can manage the others on its own. One golden rule for managing the clients are under promise and over deliver.


2. Communicate Regularly.

The cause for a majority of problems is directly related to the lack of communication or miscommunication at times. However, there are many ways to improve communication skills to resolve such issues. For example, providing a regular status update to the client about on-going projects will help you to adjust the relationship and better your perception in the eyes of the client.

Following up with your past clients’ on a regular basis and initiating regular meetings with your existing and potential clients will ensure your business continues to flourish in the long term.


3. Use Tools to Make Your Work Easy.

For managing your clients effectively and efficiently try using some tools for managing your relationships with them. There are various low cost and high-cost options to maintain your customers by keeping the contacts, documenting project status, tracking your interactions and prompting to schedule or following up for a meeting.


How to Strengthen Your Relationships?

Pursuing a good relationship with your client is considered to be a lucrative trait. As strong relationships can generate repeat businesses, referrals, and also create opportunities for promising work.


Humanely approach is the secret of handling the relationships and treat them as they have always wanted to get treated. Caring and nourishing is essential for the links in your life.

Initiate your relationships with listening. Try to hear more than you speak as this act of your will help you to know your client and identify their requirement that has got unnoticed by the previous freelancer or employees. And above all everyone loves for being heard give your client the privilege and allow them ample amount of time to express themselves to you.

Ask many questions to know your client well on a personal level. Try to find their hobbies, children’s, favourite pets, or they love to travel around. Identifying them in their capacity will help you in understanding their personality and the kind of work they like you to perform for them.


By being transparent and trustworthy, you can ensure that your client will come back to you again. But nothing can leave the strong impact other than your high-quality work and be delivered within budget and on time.



Always ask your clients about the feedback. Another golden rule is never argued with them. If your client points out something in your work never show his fault and try to be as humble as possible. If you hone these traits, it will help in being calm and composed, and you handle secure and robust going clients simultaneously.

Never be afraid to walk away from your clients who are draining your time and resources. If you have already reached a point with your client relationship where he is causing you way more headaches as compared to their worth, be honest, specific and upfront and look forward to getting rid of him as soon as possible.

Freelance business is quite easy to start but taking it to another height can be tough if you don’t have regular clients. In your initial as well as advanced stage do know that your client is your asset and you should decide what he wants you to deliver at any given point in time. Try out different strategies to generate great outcomes for yourself and your client and make it worthwhile for your budding business.