On the Design! of Character

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I recently found this paper amongst some others which I must have saved since over twenty years. It was around 1994, one in the series of advertisements by a company called Nexus Equity for JK Cements. The typographical treatment of the text is particularly interesting how the size diminishes as it catches your attention and you are tempted to read on. The font is an unassuming Times New Roman.

Design. Lost in translation?

A few days back I visited a blog which had the conscious effort of being “made”. While the intent of the developer was clear, which was to create a design community, one particular fastidious designer had commented below why the blog wasn’t serving its purpose. While the creator of the blog was positive in taking the criticism, I’m sure too many of such comments would not have served as discouragement and criticism. By the way, this blog was Indian and that context is important.

In India, there are many factions of design community.

There are those who practice pure “design”, which means everything that is done, should be evaluated on basis of some ten point agenda that they seem to have worked out in tandem. They live by their rule and methodology; creating something that only this community can understand. It has absolutely no relation with the general mass understanding of design, if there may even be so, in India. I’d had once “shamelessly” called it the “Bauhaus” effect, which somehow felt offensive to the professor who was preaching design to our group. I couldn’t help it. Circle, triangle and simplifications of that nature, are rather alien to the evolved Indian sensibilities. We left using such symbols in the 3000 BC. Identification: they are still arguing “form vs function” debates in classrooms.

The Aesthetic or trend keepers

“It has to be Art deco”, screamed the designer, “That is the trend.”

This designer would read the latest trend reports on twitter through a built in trend identifying sensor, attend the important colour (international) conferences and maybe sleep with a few pantone colour chips under the pillow. Ok, I’m exaggerating, but it would be close to that. This faction of designers (In India) would embrace the international trends (and classics) and try to vigorously add doses of the same into the Indian market. Whether the “little black dress” has any relevance in Indian society would be lost in the translation to rapidly imitate the sensibility of foreign glossies. (I’ve been guilty of this for years too!)

The Realists

Then there is the group of realists or pragmatics. Their only agenda is cost control. Would it be cheaper to produce if the ornamentation would be done away with? Or would it be cheaper to produce if the ornamentation was there? Would it be cheaper to product if we employed a designer? Or would it be cheaper if we did away with the design process? You get what I mean…?

The Eco warrior

Eco warriors represent that class of Indian designers who have been molded to think that to design anything non biodegradable is a waste of their time on earth. Most of us are eco sensitive, but the difference is the manner in which anything that is created is deliberated as being threat to nature. This is a section, we could actually do with some more . Identification: They are generally dressed in khadi from FabIndia and paper is their favorite medium.

The Businessman-Marketeer

Here is the faction which has captivated their audience by offering “design” through a big marketing trick. Just like the over used word “innovation”, they would use “design” or “designer” as a differentiator, non-withstanding the fact that they hardly employ a design sensibility nor a designer, or their pure design methodology that the purists were so proud of.They use the term “design” or “innovation” without understanding or believing in it because it brings good business. Identification: Glossy misleading advertisements claiming design, not corroborating with the product in hand. Widespread.

Next time you buy or use something, try to evaluate what could the designer have in the mind.Then, maybe you can decide if the product you are using has been designed well or it is echoing any of the thoughts above. Maybe some, maybe all. What about the product, which just sits there silently, helping you about without making “statements”? Maybe that is the ultimately made product and kudos to its designer.

My first design which is actually not my Design

The Wanderer

There is no creation without originality. A strong statement and maybe it is true. But what if I work upon someone’s idea. Is that design? Is that creativity? Opinion could be divided on that subject. Take example of a person who retouches images and makes them into something beautiful and different from what they were. Doesn’t this person need lots of creativity? Or take example of a CAD artist who uses someone else’s creative thought (Read 2D sketch) to make it into a real life like example. I would call the second one”translators”. But they are all called “designers”. At least in this part of the world. Maybe they are part of a larger design process, cogs in the wheel to the process.Below is my cog-to wheel “design”. I call it design because it is a “drafted drawing”, #D produced. But it is not mine. It gets its identity from…

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BMW contest archive 2010

The Wanderer

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Amongst a lot of movement of the last few years, there have been a lot of computer crashes and data loss at my end. So I was surprised to see that my previous idea entry in BMW contest was still intact on the featured home page. I tried clicking on it, but the link was now gone. This was a great concept story I wrote a couple of years back for them which they had featured. It was about a parking concept for urban mobility. Wish I could recover my data back and put the rest of it online. but till then this is one reminder.

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Choosing the Right Colour

The Wanderer

Product focused advertisement created for Festive season 2011Advertisements can sometimes be a  visual treat or sometimes an annoying disturbance.

A visual treat, when all our senses are involved and focused and the end result looks as good as it sounds and feels. An annoying disturbance, when something seems out of place or is too rigid and doesn’t let our imagination flow.

Is your message luxury? Touch that paper.. does it communicate luxury? Read the message . Will it create a desire to buy?

A great advertisement is not just the one which seeks attention and creates desire.. it is the one which propels to buy.

Why is color so important? We live in a world where color has shaped our experiences. Imagine a print full of the same color or simply devoid of color. Both extremities affect how we react to the message. Some colors evoke nostalgia of another era ( like the retro advertisements).. others are…

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