Featured Creatives

Shrenik

October 2017

Shiny new grad Shrenik Ganatra is totally killing it! He graduated in May 2017 and has since settled into an internship with the karlssonwilker team. Here we chat about his love for trains and cricket; developing and designing the Grotesk 'Bird'; and trading limbs for dream jobs (and then retiring peacefully ‘cause he won’t have any arms left).

Tell us a bit about yourself and the studio that you work for.

I’m a designer/musician living in Brooklyn, New York. Originally from Mumbai, India, I moved to Baltimore, Maryland in 2015 after being accepted into the MFA Graphic Design program at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). MICA was my playground to explore and deepen my understanding of typography and typeface design, familiarize myself with design history and develop my penchant for designing art books, theater and writing rock music.

I graduated in May 2017 and moved to New York soon after to begin my apprenticeship at karlssonwilker inc. Founded by Hjalti Karlsson from Iceland and Jan Wilker from Germany, karlssonwilker is a multi-disciplinary design studio that works with a broad clientele, ranging from local cultural institutions to global commercial enterprises. The studio is located in Ridgewood, a neighbourhood in Queens. We are a small but highly-skilled team of designers, creative directors and a project manager who work closely on every project. The variety of responsibilities assigned to an intern enables them to learn firsthand what it takes to successfully operate a design studio.

What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design?

As a kid, I loved trains (I still do). My grandfather took me to the train station several times a week and we observed all kinds of trains. I then doodled them on whatever surface I found handy—paper, fabric, walls of the house, etc. Train drawings were a recurring theme in my primary school sketchbooks as well. Growing up, one of my friends was a brilliant comic book artist. He drew excellent renditions of the Spider-man and The Mask comics. I borrowed his sketchbooks regularly and tried to replicate his sketches.

The sport of cricket was a huge part of my childhood, just like most Indian kids who grew up in the 90s. We played cricket every day! Sponsorship and advertisement graphics were making their way into cricket in that decade. Cricketers were sponsored by brands which was reflected in the brand logos appearing on their cricket bats. Legendary Indian cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly endorsed the iconic “MRF” and “Britannia” bats respectively. I used to hand draw one of these logos on the bats I had depending on who was performing well in a given season.

Fast-forward to 2006 when PCs were ubiquitous and EA Sports released Cricket 07, the acclaimed cricket simulation game. The game was excellent. However, due to licensing restrictions and given how quickly sponsorship evolves in cricket, there was a tendency for the visuals in the game to be generic and outdated. Therefore, a bunch of cricket lovers from around the world (myself included) made it a point to ensure the in-game graphics stayed current. We figured out a way to design accurate uniforms for all teams, stadium advertisements, bat sponsors, equipment graphics, UI, etc. and import them into the game. We then shared these for free with the cricketing community via a forum called PlanetCricket. This is actually how I learned Photoshop as well. It was my introduction to design and its applications.

Tell us about any collaborations you have been working on.

Currently, I’m working on a Grotesk typeface called Bird with my former MICA classmates and typeface designers Potch Auacherdkul and Ninad Kale. Earlier this summer, Potch and I were eyeing several Grotesk typefaces for our design projects. The ones we ended up liking were super-expensive. We, therefore, decided to design one ourselves. We picked a handful of characteristics we liked across several existing Grotesk families and mixed them into our skeleton. We showed the early sketches to Ninad. He loved the idea and was inspired to create the Devanagari character set for the Bird Grotesk family.

Any passion projects you would like to share?

Several pieces in my recent body of work are related to the music I listen to. Upon discovering my ability to write and arrange music, I began working on design that was inspired by my music. For my graduate thesis at MICA, I created this idea of a rock band called Mountains And You and wrote and recorded a bunch of songs. Patrick Hunt, a good friend of mine and MICA’s Graduate Lab Coordinator, helped record, track, engineer and mix the music. Ben Jones, another good friend of mine, played drums on the record. Once the songs were done, I designed an exhibition that showcased a thorough branding for the band and its music. I have written and released new material and worked on additional music-related design thereupon.

Who would be the “dream client” that you would do anything to work for?

I have thought about this and there are actually a few dream clients that I would be honored to work with in the future. I would first trade my left arm* to collaborate with Billy Corgan/The Smashing Pumpkins and Foo Fighters/Roswell Records. I would then trade my right arm* to work with the International Cricket Council on the graphics for the 2019 Cricket World Cup. I would then retire peacefully ‘cause I won’t have any arms left after working on these projects.

*Terms and Conditions apply.

Whats the big goal in the next five years?

To have a successful design practice of my own and work on a full-length album.

Website:

shrenikganatra.com

Instagram:

@shrenik18

Twitter:

@shrenik18

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