Featured Pentagram Intern

Simoul Alva

September 2018

We chat with Simoul Alva, currently Graphic Design intern at Pentagram, about her studies and past internships in India, how to deal with the fear of trying new things, and that time she was selected to represent her country in Graphic Design at the 44th Worldskills in 2017. She's absolutely making the most of every opportunity that comes her way!

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

My earliest creative memory is scribbling on our freshly wallpapered drawing room walls when I was 3 or 4. I also remember walking to art class with my mother. She’d wait for me outside the class and take me back home. My parents were extremely supportive of having extra curricular interests. I tried a couple of classes before I decided I rather draw than anything else. I made cards and did crafts at any chance I had. I think my mother has a binder of my greatest hits from when I made mother’s day cards, father’s day cards, anniversary and birthday cards.

When I was in middle school, I found about a design school in Ahmedabad, India because of a senior who was currently studying there. I started preparing for the exam and was accepted at the National Institute of Design, India, in 2014. We had a foundation course that lets you dabble in different aspects of design. That really helped develop my understanding of design and subsequently lead to my choice to study Graphic Design in my second year.

Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?

I am currently a final year Graphic Design student at the National Institute of Design, India. My first internship was after my second year at Echostream, Sikkim, India. Going there helped me develop the ability to adapt and design for contexts and cultures different from what I was used to. My second internship was at Codesign Brand Consultants, Gurgaon, India. I was introduced to the branding process for the first time during my time there.

Right after that I was selected by the National Skill Development Council of India to represent my country for Graphic Design at the 44th Worldskills 2017. I was trained at Lopez Design by its founder and principal, Anthony Lopez and designer, Shivani Prakash. It was a vigorous training program that called to use everything I had learned so far. It changed how I planned a workflow and made me realise how much I could push myself. It also lead to me competing amongst talent from all over the world in Russia and Abu Dhabi.

I am currently finishing an internship at Pentagram, New York, under Michael Bierut’s team.

How did you develop your style as an designer and what tips would you have for others?

As a design student, allowing yourself to try everything you can is important. Whether this is different mediums, processes, styles, tools, anything you can get your hands on. I would turn to the wood and metal workshop to build a prototype for some of my interactive explorations all the time. I believe that took away my fear of trying out new things, whether that is a new design tool or a different sector of design.

I also think reaching out to people you look up to is important. And this is doesn’t have to be only about how beautiful their work is. It could be because of how long they’ve been around, their work ethic or just anything you think you’d want to embody eventually.

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The need to be more than someone who’s great with execution will be more pressing than ever.

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Who are your top five design crushes right now?

Noemie Le Coz, Leland Maschmeyer, Richard Turley, Justin Richburg and Bryan Rivera

What advice would you give students starting out?

Work hard, keep at it, learn to take feedback, read a lot, ask questions and grow from it.

Where do you think design is heading in the next five years and how will you adapt?

As the way we communicate with each other changes, the role of a designer is changing too. In the future, I believe skills will become easier to pick up and easier to shirk off when things evolve. The need to be more than someone who’s great with execution will be more pressing than ever. It is an interesting time because we currently designing systems that accommodate for both print and web. I feel in the future, solutions will have to be more multi-pronged and agile than ever. In order to adapt, I think paying attention to what is happening outside the world of design is extremely crucial. I imagine a world where information or content is not confined to a device or a medium anymore.

2018 for you in a sentence.

Everything I could ask for, super grateful!

Website: simoulalva.com

Instagram: @simoulalva

Behance: behance.net/SimoulAlva

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