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“The idea is getting lost.” “How about a bigger logo?” “I can’t shorten the headline.” These are the often repeated lines in an advertising agency. For an art director, the challenge is to meet all such expectations in a single design. Senior Creative Director Denzil Machado explains how keeping designs minimalist and simple can meet all of these to satisfy both creativity and the brand objective.

Advertising
Cat Paws. When the idea is the visual itself, nothing else is needed.
Advertising
Doggy Paws. Print and Poster Campaign for Sanitol Hand Sanitizers

Leave it to the Audience

Advertising is different from other design areas like graphic designing and illustration. That’s because it’s an integrated communication that involves a union of the idea, visual and words. The idea, no doubt, plays the most important role. And then the art form must compliment it, which is where the challenge lies. The best way is to let the audience decode an idea, helped by a design. That’s when an artwork is able to achieve the objective for the brand, the client and the agency.

Advertising
Bhole Bhandari
Advertising
Bulbul Pandey
Advertising
Komal Kanya

Make Your Visuals Talk

The objective is to do more with less. It’s a great challenge to try and solve a problem visually, without saying much. Especially when you have to say it all, integrating the product, idea, logo, copy, etc., all in one communication. Unlike a film which has the support of a narrative or dialogue, along with music and moving images, visual communication in advertising has to be made powerful on its own. Making intelligent use of colours, motifs and patterns help in doing so keeping it simple and minimalistic is the key. As a great mind once put it, “Simple is beautiful, but it is also most difficult to do something simple.” This is definitely tough, yet the most exciting part of the business.

Slipping Rooster
Slipping Pig
Slipping Goat

Protect the Child Inside You

Usually, during the initial phase of an advertising career, people prefer to be spontaneous. At that raw time, they are primarily driven by instinct. And they just use elements because ‘they felt like it.’ However, after one reaches a certain stage and the game is played on a bigger level, it’s important to get a lot more calculative. It becomes necessary to carefully think through ideas again and maybe once again. It becomes important to ask ‘why am I using this font and not that? Why this colour and texture?’ You need to justify and reason out with everything you use. But the source remains instinct. The trick is to keep the child in you alive.

Reebok Gear
Reebok Gear

Find out the “Aha” Moment

Well, there is no one way to go about design in advertising. Every brief, every page is something different. The variations in the nature of the ideas, clients, brands and target audience enable an art director to experiment with a myriad style of visual expressions. Ranging from traditional Indian to contemporary, the page is all yours. However, the objective is always the same – to make decoding the visual communication an interesting experience for the target audience. Right when your audience connects to your communication and exclaims “aha”, your design meets success.

Tarantula
Lizard. Print and Poster campaign for Hanes Tagless Innerwear

Stop Aping the West

It’s common to spot an art director flipping through the archive or referring to books like One Show, DnAD, etc, for that little push when one is stuck. No doubt, international advertising is inspiring and is doing rather well on the global level, but there is a lot of untapped potential in India, especially when it comes to design. Look locally. Look around. Extract from our incredibly rich and diverse art and culture. There are so many simple yet striking elements that can say so much on their own. There is a high possibility that designs, created using traditional inputs, might not even have crossed the mind of any artist sitting in an agency anywhere in the world. And that’s what makes it unique, utterly Indian.

Poster for India International Jewellery Show, IIJS
Poster for India International Jewellery Show, IIJS

Published in Issue 11

This issue also explored the Jewellery Design & Wedding Photography with some cool techniques to learn from experts in Gyaan section.

 

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Creative Gaga - Issue 47

 

Visual Communications specialist, Lisa Rath tells us what are the key qualities she looks for when hiring a young communication designer.

In a young designer, hunger for knowledge and performance are vital. An understanding of why they have chosen design discipline, and why they wish to pursue it as a career option, is a rather important factor in gauging a candidate’s potential. It provides an overview of their perspective, and approach, thus offering an insight into their temperament at a broader level.

 

In the current academic scenario, design education is often an option for school leaving students without superlative academic performance. Therefore, it’s important to know how much they are genuinely invested in design as a study and vocation. The willingness to absorb and learn is often an offshoot of their hunger and drive.

In the current academic scenario, design education is often an option for school leaving students without superlative academic performance. Therefore, it’s important to know how much they are genuinely invested in design as a study and vocation. The willingness to absorb and learn is often an offshoot of their hunger and drive.

Next, in line are drawing skills. Though computers are used for every design discipline today, the basic ability to express an idea via drawing is paramount. Skilled, communicative and disciplined use of sketching always leads to good, well thought out design solutions. The better we draw our ideas, the better we communicate with clients.

Good drawing always translates into a better-finished design solution.

One must remember this at all points of time – not only at the conceptual stage of a design process but as the work progresses through many phases.

An awareness of the socio-economic realities of our country and the rest of the world is desirable.

Understanding, sympathising and contextualising a design problem is essential for all designers pursuing any discipline. Without a good understanding of India or the world’s socio-political-economical landscape, young designers can be at a loss when exploring solutions for a potential project. It’s advocated that sociology and psychology should be part of design education.

 

On the same lines, it is not only an added advantage but to quite a large extent necessary and important, for a young designer to be interested in politics, books, films are it mainstream cinema, art films or absolutely anything under the sun.

Lastly, as a communication designer, it is very important to be communicative. Therefore, writing ability, debating ability and a great sense of humour is a must to survive in the studio.

Published in Issue 38

This issue, we try to explore different views from many well-known studio owners and senior designers. While Anthony Lopez of Lopez Design shared tips on what a studio looks for in a designer, Mohar Ray from Codesign highlights the key aspects that play a significant role and make the difference in whether you are hired or not as a promising designer. Also, this issue has an insightful article on ‘Branding with reason and love’ from Itu Chaudhuri, founder ICD (Itu Chaudhuri Design) along with Siddhi Ranade, explaining his tools of story telling through his unique style of illustrations. This issue is a must read for a talented graduate to a branding expert. Order you copy and enjoy reading it!

 

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Creative Gaga - Issue 47

 

Character designer, illustrator and storyboard artist, Ritaban Das, takes s through his own style of telling stories through illustrations in a single frame style of designing. He introduces his perspective that guides his ideas and also shares his process.

Single Frame
Sketching with friends. Personal work showing aliens as company while sketching.
Single Frame
Team Dank. Personal work depicting a rather artistic team spirit.
Single Frame
Together. Just a piece of commissioned work for my friend, depicting the funny side of companionship.

CG. What are the particular advantages and challenges of telling stories in a single frame?

Ritaban. Illustration or design is a visual communication medium. It is important to challenge yourself with a different perspective, scale and how your subjects interact with one another. When sketching, I produce numerous roughs or loose drawings which later make into more developed sketches. I then decide on a final composition. The most critical element is really an activity of the subject. The figure is usually doing something and caught before it happens or just after. The other elements are supporting artefacts. Whatever I draw, I think of it as a clue or a breadcrumb that helps understand the complete story and message. It’s up to the reader to put it all together and solve the riddle

Single Frame
Indian Warrior. For a monthly Facebook character design challenge. The topic was "Warrior".
Single Frame
Clown. Personal work, inspired by Eli Roth's film of same name.
Single Frame
Two Detectives cover artwork. For the unfinished graphic novel I was working upon with my brother.

CG. What are the essential designing tools and software you use for such an approach and how do you decide on what kind of a role they play in your work?

Ritaban. I usually make the design part in Photoshop, from scratch to end, and I work in Storyboard pro for storyboard. Tools can make your work easy or even open the avenues to do it faster, but it’s based on how good your design sense, storytelling abilities and drawings are. These are the most basic fundamentals to create anything.

Merry Christmas. Old commissioned work created during the Christmas season.
Two Detectives. A promotional poster for the unfinished graphic novel I was creating with my brother.
Single Frame
YUWA. For Art Exhibition last year, collaborating with the NGO Yuwa that empowers young girls,.

CG. What aspects do you particularly give attention to in your work to ensure effective communication through your illustrations?

Ritaban. I start by trying to understand the character, his/her background, history as well as his/her place in the story. Research helps at this stage since it’s so important to understand the world you’re creating before jumping into it Next, I’ll do a series of drawings where I figure out the characters shapes and attitude; I try to just draw the first thing that comes to mind, knowing that I’ll be changing it later. All the while, I’m searching for a new or interesting take on the character. After I’ve done a few rough thumbnails, I decide on the one that has the most appealing silhouette, shape proportions and that best describes the character. I then start to flesh out the character and begin to add details, keeping in mind any specific traits described in the script or story.

Single Frame
A promotional fan poster for the most anticipated boxing match in the history between McGregor and Mayweather.
Single Frame
Odd Socialites # 1. The first installment of a small comic strip project with my writer friend.
Single Frame
Red Necks. Personal work showing the not so friendly folk in town.

CG. How do you describe your process and goal of designing?

Ritaban. Being a Character Designer and Illustrator, most of my work is very much character driven, blended with humour and very graphical too. I always try to convey some sort of stories through each and every character or Illustration I make I like to play with various shapes and silhouettes and usually keep things simple. The character design process is, in a way, a combination of different things. I ask myself ‘Who am I drawing?’ What is his/her personality?’ I look at the work of influential artist sometimes to get some ideas or even start from a drawing I like and translate it into my style. Then, trying to forget those influences, I often start from scratch with a basic shape such as the face as it determines the rest of the character for me, then the body (this can be a circle, oval or even a pear shape – it all depends on the personality of the character I want to draw)

Single Frame
Battle of the Beasts. UFC 223 fan poster for the main fight between Ferguson and Khabib.
Single Frame
Inked! Personal work depicting a tattoo artist working his craft on the devil.
Issue-42-Cover

Published in Issue 42

Every designer wish to be independent and willing to jump into the word of freelance but most of them unaware of the fundamental challenges of the initial phase. So, we dedicated this issue to freelancers and interviewed some established and talented designers to dig deep for the expert advice. Kevin Roodhorst on the other hand, an experienced freelancer from Amsterdam, has recently shifted to be a full-timer with an Agency says “Freelancing is not all roses!” and shared the best way to survive as a freelancer! So, whether you are a freelancer or planning to be one, this issue is a must-read. Go ahead and order your copy here or subscribe to not miss any future issues!

 

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Creative Gaga - Issue 47