Growing up, there were some kids who knew exactly what they wanted to do, and some who had a vague idea. I wasn’t one of them. I hadn’t found something that truly resonated with me.
I entered by early adulthood, completely clueless about my future. Choosing design as a profession had never crossed my mind. I equated it to fine-art, and my ‘stick-figures’ weren’t compelling enough to pull me in that direction.
My love affair with design started only in my early 20s. After a short-term course in Graphic Design, I felt like something within me had shifted. I would sit for hours, conceptualising, experimenting, and designing. I experienced the stillness of time in the fluidity of my thoughts. I remember thinking, I finally get it! This is what passion and drive feels like.
While it felt like I finally had it all figured out, and now I can finally make my debut in the design industry… this wasn’t the case. At the time, design was still a niche in India. My academic parents were concerned that it was not a lucrative career option. The outside chatter diluted my inner voice and I decided to let my passion take a backseat; I went on to pursue my Master’s in Marketing.
Graduating from my Master’s program meant the culmination of my academic journey and the commencement of my career path. Little did I know, there was much more in store for me.
Despite the various Marketing internships that I took, I kept gravitating back to design. I finally decided to trust my gut and take the plunge. I applied to Parsons in New York for Graphic Design, and that completely changed the course of my life.
So, to answer your question briefly, my journey wasn’t in accordance with my base-plan. I started my career extremely late in comparison to the norm. I crushed my father’s dreams of becoming an Engineer. I am not working for my family business. I chose a winding route, but each of the pit-stops I made, added to the kind of person and designer I am today.
Working for myself signifies that I not only constitute the Design department, but I’m also the Accounts, Finance, HR, and Client-Servicing department. Switching between these roles can be slightly challenging because it breaks my flow while designing. Also, working on my own can get a little lonely. I miss brainstorming and bouncing ideas off of people.
Another part of my job that really overwhelms is having the tough conversations mid-project; when clients ask for much more than what was initially promised, and at the same rate.
The best part about my job is having complete creative freedom and communicating with clients directly. I’ve now reached a space where I want to invest time and effort in kind people, and projects that speak to me. Also, working on different projects from myriad fields allows me to broaden my knowledge about so many industries.
I create intentional brands that tell a story. What excites me about branding, is the ability to find clever visual solutions to a much deeper problem. It’s thrilling when you have a strong concept that stems from in-depth research, and it moves from your mind to something tangible.
Design, when done well, can be used as a powerful tool to make communication easy, solve a bigger problem, evoke emotion, or even start a movement. It’s not here just to look pretty.
There might be times you feel ‘not good enough’ or compare your work with other creatives. During those times, believe in yourself and find comfort in knowing that almost everyone goes through this at some capacity. People usually just share the final result, not the process.
Also, remember to play, to be curious and excited about your own work.
To go beyond yourself when you design. In my opinion, the best kind of design is when you highlight an issue of social relevance and use design as a tool to communicate, touch, and inspire.
An example comes to mind: To stand in solidarity with Jacob Blake, who was shot 7 times in the back by a cop, basketball players wore T-shirts designed with similar bullet marks to represent Blake’s injuries. The onlookers were deeply impassioned by the sight. This is the impact of design. It can wield power.