Issuu on Google+

Foreword Designers, ­the new messiah? The designer as a messiah — I’ve heard this argument too many times now to stay silent on the subject. The trigger came from attending the recent “What Design Can Do” conference in the Netherlands where this statement came up for discussion, namely that “Designers can save the world.” It reminded me of a moment at a design conference where Wally Olins, responding to a remark which held the view that “brand consultants are bad for the environment because of the incredible and sometimes ridiculous amount of throw-aways after a branding exercise”, angrily retorted, “You think God sent designers to save the world? Goddamn it, ­you all are just designers”. Clearly Wally was fuming but after a bit of thought, he responded by saying, “If companies were more efficient in everything they actually did, more trees and natural resources would be saved and as a result so would what is thrown away during a branding exercise”. My view on the subject? Get real guys, forget about saving the world —­we function because we are paid to function. Everything we do has a function, sometimes it’s a function of sustenance and sometimes of emotion and such. Ironically of the designers that attended the conference, just a handful were young or from a non-­ design background. Ideally such a conference should have had a relevant audience. If a designer, at the age of 50, is still attempting to figure out what design can do, then for me, there is an inherent contradiction in the works. Designers can make a huge difference and we need to accept that and move beyond that argument. Alan Fletcher once said, “Design is not a thing you do, it’s a

way of life.” A designer looks at the world around with a keen eye and considers possibilities for improvement. It’s NOT JUST about changing the package, it’s about changing the system. And designers are not part of one homogenized breed or from one institution — design is about a mindset. It’s a part of the way we think, it’s not limited by skill. A designer’s function is to create impact, make things easier and more intuitive. I have always believed; and I doubt many will oppose this ­view — nature is the most influential and inspirational mechanism for designers. We need to exploit what we see in nature —­the beauty and effectiveness of function to create an impact ­and design for effectiveness. After 3.8 billion years, nature has most of the answers to design solutions and designers just need to look around and ensure that nature inspires them. Trust me, it’s what is around you not just what’s on your screen. Stop trying to save the world. Look around you,­change the world. Rajesh Kejriwal rajesh@kyoorius.com

Editorial

contributors

SUPPORT

Chief Editor & Publisher Rajesh Kejriwal rajesh@kyoorius.com

Peter Biľak Satya Rajpurohit Kristyan Sarkis Pooja Shah Sasha Mahajan Arvind Agrawal Michael Wolff

Paper Cover: James Cropper Colorscope Hemp Tabriz Blue 270gsm Text: Renoir Extra White 127gsm

Editor Bindu Nair Maitra bindu@kyoorius.com Editorial Submissions editor@kyoorius.com

Creative Creative Director Kay H Khoo kkhoo@kyoorius.com Design SuehLi Tan Faye Phua

Typography Principal typefaces Fedra Sans Alt Std Fedra Sans Display Greta Text www.typotheque.com www.indiantypefoundry.com Additional Typeface Callie Display, page 74–96 SuehLi Tan, www.suehlitan.com

Printer Silverpoint Press Pvt Ltd www.silverpointindia.com Publishing

main co-ordinator Sameeya Murad sameeya@kyoorius.com Advertising & Marketing Vaibhav Kapur vaibhav@kyoorius.com Phone +91 96194 72555

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed or implied in Kyoorius Magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Kyoorius Exchange. Unsolicited articles and transparencies are sent at owner’s risk and the publisher accepts no liability for loss or damage. Materials in this publication may not be reproduced, whether in part or in whole, without the consent of Kyoorius Exchange.

published by Kyoorius Exchange Kohinoor Estate, 2nd Floor, No 165 Tulsi Pipe Road, Lower Parel, Mumbai 400 013, India Phone +91 22 4236 3636 www.kyoorius.com

Issue 8 Special Report Annual report: Featuring works from Cahan & Associates, Curran & Connors, Addison, Black Sun, VSA Partners, Design Army, Bruketa & Žinić, Epigram, Atherstone, Trisys, Itu Chaudhuri Design

— P57

Unit Editions + Adrian Shaugnessy

—p48

Studio Profiles

typography

4 10 16

98 Typography column 100 Arabic Calligraphy and Type design

Spirit Designs Red Lion Idea Spice

New Work — Advertising

Illustrator

22 Happy Creative Services 26 Leo Burnett 32 Rickshaw

104 Sunil Garud

SPOTLIGHT

110 Symbiosis Institute of Design: “They say every funda has a mental side”

40 48 52

Big Active Unit Editions India Future of Change Poster Competition

—p52

112 MIT Institute of Design: Quasar

SPecial report

EVENT

57

115 Unbox

Annual reports: Are your numbers really talking?

The Cabinet of curiosities

India Future of Change Poster Competition

Education

76 78 80 82 84 86 88 90 92 94

Aakash Nihalani Meera Sethi Nina Paley Swati Khurana Ankur Gupta Arti Sandhu Kaali Arulprgasam Nilofer Suleman Priya Sebastian Brijesh Dahiya & Kuldeep Singh

Columnists

118 Michael Wolff

The paper for the new masterpiece

Kyoorius Magazine is printed on Renoir Extra White 127gsm.

Renoir

4

studio profiles

SPIRIT DESIGNS Spirit Designs is a boutique graphic design studio based in New Delhi. The studio specializes in producing content-focused work. Led by its founder Rajeev, the team is invariably involved in generating content instead of merely addressing the visual aspect of most projects undertaken by the studio. Its unique approach to work has made every project an immensely satisfying and fulfilling endeavor despite lower output of work. The captain of the team himself has taken a unique journey before establishing Spirit Design. Rajeev, who is also a balloon pilot, began his design career as a hot air balloon designer. He has previously designed protective covers for military tanks, as well as lamps

and lights with his wife, Ranjana who now serves as the copywriter for most projects handled by Spirit. He taught Basic Art in an architectural college in Delhi for a year before setting up his own graphic design practice. Today, Spirit is a full-fledged design studio with a strong hold in print design and brand development. It has undertaken works commissioned by international and local organisations, including the World Health Organisation, The Leela Hotels, The 3C Company and Groz Engineering Tools. Spirit’s award-winning works include a book for artist Satish Gupta and two calendars for Pragati Offset.

01

contact Rajeev Gupta address Gurgaon: E-31, South City - I, Gurgaon 122001, Haryana, India Delhi: 8B, Bahadurshah Zafar Marg, 3rd Floor New Delhi 110002 phone +91 98100 22323 email rajeev@ spiritdesigns.com

02

03

studio profiles

07

08

09

04

05

01–04 Centering Awareness Centering Awareness is a book about the life of artist Satish Gupta. His journey in life, right from his childhood days, is detailed in a series of autobiographical articles, critiques and images of his work. Through a collaborative effort that spanned 18 months, Spirit planned, designed and successfully brought forth the multi-dimensional aspect of Satish’s work in the book – his unique style of printmaking and his special technique in copper sculpting, all of which carry a strong Zen influence. Encased in a box that contains a limited edition copper tile made by the artist, the last section of the book features short stories written and illustrated by Satish and silkscreened on Lokta paper. This book won the Best of Show for Print and Design Excellence (Books) awards in the Kyoorius Verdict Design Awards.

 5

07–09 Earth | Water initiative When called in by the environmentally conscious real estate developer 3C Company, to plan and design a campaign for their CSR initiative for the environment, Spirit answered with a straightforward name and mark – Earth | Water. The counters of the letter ‘a’ in both words within the mark have been cleverly manipulated to sit upon the word ‘earth’ like a leaf and below ‘water’ like a droplet. The campaign ran on billboards, newspaper advertisements, pole signage and giveaway bags. Made of organic canvas, the bags were made by Spirit at their lamp manufacturing facility and given away in a Kraftboard tube that could be reused as a container for small items at home.

06

6

studio profiles

10

11

10–11 ITC Hotels E Brochure The interface for the ITC Grand Central Mumbai.

12–14 Groz: booth and poster Groz Engineering Tools is a market leader in manufacturing and exporting precision tools and equipment. The redesign of their visual identity by Spirit took place over several years. A strong brand identity was successfully developed for Groz and was launched at the international tools exhibition in Koln, Germany. The collaboration with Space-Design Consultants resulted in a booth designed to mimic a toolbox. A poster was also designed to showcase Groz’s unique range of footoperated, portable lubrication pumps.

12 13

14

studio profiles

15

16

15–19 Organic India Booth Organic India, a renowned brand for herbal supplements and Tulsi Teas engaged Spirit to design their booth for a show in Germany (BioFach). Spirit collaborated with Design Habit and created a uniquely Indian experience for the Organic India booth. Featuring amritbans, jute bags, straw stools and Indian folk art-inspired graphics, the booth was a showstopper and drew large crowds. It was also featured on a Polish and several European TV networks. 17

18

19

 7

8

studio profiles

21

20

23

20–26 Pragati Calendar – Futurewise 2010 | 2100 The fact that 2010 and 2100 have the same dates inspired Spirit to project what life would be like in 2100 on Pragati’s 2010 calendar. It was awarded an Honourable Mention at the prestigious 40th International Creativity Awards recently in the US.

24

25

26

studio profiles

27

 9

27 Experimental Book Cover A favourite work that has not been published. Tentatively titled ‘Johny, Johny, Yes Papa’, this book is a collection of naughty short stories. The cover features an illustration of two bunny heads in conversation, cheekily portraying the theme of the stories within the book.

28–32 MAD Identity and Poster Series. When TDI India launched their mobile advertising services, Spirit was called in to suggest a name and create their visual identity. Spirit arrived at the simplest name, MAD, which expresses the nature of the medium and is an acronym for Mobile Advertising. The series of posters developed for the launch exhibition illustrates the benefits of the mobile medium – faster, richer, louder and deeper.

29

30

31

32

28

10

studio profiles

RED LION A division of Publicis Communication, Red Lion was established in April 2007. Led by partners Elsie Nanji and Punit Jagasia, the agency has grown in size and reputation to carve a distinct identity for itself within the design fraternity. Today, Red Lion offers clients as diverse as Bisleri, Unilever, The Taj Chambers, and Conde Nast India a bouquet of Services that include Corporate Identity, Packaging and Environmental Design.

Red Lion’s approach to business is simple; build enduring relationship with brands through work that defines the category. So far, the results have been encouraging. In 2011, Red Lion was ranked No. 5 In the Brand Equity List of Top 10 Design Agencies in India. The agency has also won metals at the Cannes Lions, Spikes Asia and Goafest Awards in the last three years. For more about the agency please visit www.redlion.co.in

Red Lion Publicis contact Punit Jagasia address Viva Centre, 126, Mathuradas Mills Compound, N.M. Joshi Marg, Opp Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel (West), Mumbai 400013 phone +91 22 2482 9481 email punit.jagasia@publicisindia.com web www.redlion.co.in

01 01 Knorr Soups We meshed the Knorr international brand guidelines along with our “Living Green” concept to create new pack-architecture for the Chinese, Classic and Indian Soup ranges. These packs had new sub-category nomenclature, a fresh ingredient window and a strong skew towards desire for consumption. 02 02 Knorr Soupy Noodles To introduce a new category called ‘Soupy-Noodles’ we created a fun new packaging, which would appeal to kids and mothers alike. We used speech blurbs to showcase communication and engagement with the product and pack.

studio profiles

03

 11

04 03 Eternity Lifestyles Office Graphics and wallpaper for the Eternity Lifestyle office, to reflect their new brand ethos.

04 Eternity Lifestyles New identity for a niche eyewear distributor based on the attitude and philosophy of the company and its promoters. Their style of doing business was our inspiration for the brand story.

05

05 Opium Eyewear The Opium sunglasses imagery was concieved to present a new way of looking at life. The logo moves from a heavier to lighter type to show how things can get easier while wearing the product and we’ve been using visual metaphors to demonstrate this belief.

12

studio profiles

06

07

09 Remedia Our concept for the identity and packaging, for this pharmaceutical company, based in Russia, was inspired by the popular “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” quotation and the ‘Patch Adams’ story. 08 06–08 Lakme Fruit Facewash Range/ Lakme Perfect Radiance Range/ Lakme Sun Expert Range We designed the brand architecture for the Lakme packaging to reflect the values of the product while playing the fruit-ingredient story. Our thought of “Bold and Beautiful” in the new packaging, was to make the consumer feel like they’re using natural, fresh, fruity and fun products. We’ve used colours to distinguish the range architecture while remaining faithful to the category and product cues.

09

studio profiles

 13

10 10 Pallate Our idea for this interior solutions provider store was to convey the concept of a window into new worlds. The concept of ‘windows’ is used to illustrate sections, new collections, product ranges or even reflecting the purpose of where the logo appears.

11 Ranjit Barot We used motion control photography to create alphabets out of hand patterns, for one of India’s premiere percussionists. This unique typeface has become a part of his identity and it was brought alive through Ranjit’s website, stationery, studio décor and visual projections during his shows.

11

14

studio profiles 12

12 Bisleri Cricket Labels We created limited edition packs for the “Bisleri Celebrates Cricket� concept and took the idea forward in POS material and outdoor. Also, we kept the packs restricted to the 250 and 500 ml packs for promotion of these packs.

13

13 Sulakshan Kulkarni Cricket Academy Broken windowpanes are not only an everyday occurrence in India, they are also the symbol for a budding street cricketer. We decided to use the broken windowpanes as graphic elements in our identity for Sulakshan Kulkarni, a retired national-level cricketer who runs a cricket-coaching academy in Mumbai.

studio profiles

14–15 The Mathuradas Mills Exhibition The road that takes one from Lower Parel railway station to Mathuradas Mills compound is narrow, over crowded, a little dirty and perhaps even a touch unpleasant. Hundreds of people hustle by all day on this busy little stretch made busier by the market that lines it. In all of this, we found a wealth of inspiration and a way to appreciate the chaotic culture in the form of an exhibition at The Loft, within the same compound, where we displayed our work. 15

14

 15

16

studio profiles

IDEA SPICE Idea Spice is an international brand consultancy which focusses on identifying opportunities for brands and offering integrated solutions to harness those opportunities. Our name reflects our approach – a unique blend of business strategy and creative insight. Our scope of services range from brand identity programs to space design to new media development. Over the past 9 years we have worked across diverse industries – from retail to real estate, healthcare to hospitality. While our clients have ranged from multi nationals to start-ups – they all share a common vision – to create brands, products and businesses that are extraordinary. It is this vision that drives our work everyday. We are located in 6 countries across the globe – India, UAE, USA, Uganda, Bahrain and Australia. All our offices function as a single global team – creating a lean multi-disciplinary talent pool.

Idea Spice today has grown into a larger holding company – Spice Holdings – comprising of diverse businesses across the globe – each with design as a focus. • spicelab – a new media firm that helps brands harness the web and social media. • spiceworks – a turnkey interior and fit-out firm that allows us to build high quality interiors and spaces. • idea space – an exhibition solutions company that provides complete turnkey solutions from design to logistics. • oww! – a retail venture which showcases an eclectic range of designer lifestyle products from design houses across Japan, Germany, US, UK, Thailand, Hong Kong and India. • dian – a complete furniture and accessories retail channel for designers and interior firms.

01

02

03

04

contact Saurav Roy (Director) address Bungalow 56, RSC-4, S.No.-120, MHADA, S.V.P.Nagar, Andheri (W), Mumbai 400 053 email roy@ideaspice.com web www.ideaspice.com contact Sajith Ansar (CEO) address PO Box 83485 Dubai UAE email sajith@ ideaspice.com

01–04 360° — All-Day Dining Designed as an all-day multi cuisine chain — 360° was built in close consultation with the hospitality team managing the space. The restaurant chain has been positioned to offer 360° dining, cuisine and choice. Idea Spice delivered every aspect of the brand — from the identity and communication to the restaurant environment. The brand has been built so that it is both scalable and customizable as per locations across the country.

studio profiles

 17

05

Star & Sitara before rebranding

05–09 Star & Sitara Star & Sitara is part of Future Group’s wellness division. Idea Spice was given the task of reinventing the brand and creating a more vibrant customer experience. Idea Spice helped the Star & Sitara team to refine their positioning and build a new brand identity. The “&” in star & sitara became the focus of the identity to communicate an inclusive experience — one that provides value and delivers high quality. The brand reinvention program allowed the team to energize every aspect of the brand — from the store design to marketing communication. The new brand has registered positive responses from existing customers and is now being implemented across all their outlets over India.

06

07

08

09

10

10–11 KNB KNB is a niche PR firm focussing on the healthcare industry in the US. Idea Spice worked with KNB to create a clear positioning around the idea of creating effective conversations. The identity allowed us to develop a distinct visual language for the firm that allowed their communication to stand out from the crowd.

11

18

studio profiles

12

14

15

13

16

17

18 19 12–19 HSBC Idea Spice has been working with HSBC Middle East to design their retail and corporate information design. Retail environments have been designed to optimize efficiency, and allow the space to upsell products and services to existing customers. Internal corporate environments have been designed to create a space that is bright, vibrant and inspiring. Building on the theme of The World’s Local bank — the office environment system is a tribute to the multicultural work environment in HSBC.

studio profiles

 19

20 20–23 Dubai Tourism Idea Spice has worked with The Dubai Tourism Department to develop the new positioning for Dubai – Definitely Dubai. Working across a range of communication programs, we developed a comprehensive identity manual that provides consistency and a distinctive look across the tourism department’s communication.

21

22 23

20

studio profiles

26 24 24–26 KIMS KIMS is one of the largest healthcare groups in South India and has a rapidly expanding footprint across the Middle East. Idea Spice worked with KIMS to redesign the group identity. We also worked with the KIMS team to design the identity and environment design for their first super speciality hospital in the Middle East. 25

27–31 Korum Korum is the first retail venture for Kalptaru Developers — one of Mumbai’s largest property development groups. Idea Spice worked with the mall management team to design and build an extensive identity program. We worked with the management team for over a year to put in place detailed guidelines for all forms of mall business and marketing communication. Korum today is one of the most successful malls in its cachement area.

28

27

29

30

31

studio profiles

32

32–35 ZOOMIN Offering photo sharing services as well high quality products — Zoomin is rated as India’s number one photo site. Idea Spice worked with Zoomin to build their brand identity and extend their identity across all aspects of their business — from marketing communication, product development to packaging design. As part of their business evolution, we worked with the Zoomin team to develop their retail presence.

 21

33

34

35

36–38 Jasmine Gardens Jasmine Gardens is a luxury resort themed development built on the “island” of Thailand in Dubai World. Positioned as a Thai spa you can purchase a home in, Idea Spice worked with the developers to develop the identity and communication for this project.

36

37

38

22

New Work

New work— Advertising

Happy Creative Services, Bangalore, India DIESEL Title: Kneej Creative Directors Praveen Das Kartik Iyer Art Directors Pradeep Kumar Praveen Das designer Praveen Das CopyWriters Sanaa Abdussamad Athul CT Illustrator Rishidev RK

New Work

 23

DIESEL Title: Moolah Creative Directors Praveen Das Kartik Iyer Art Directors Viduthalai Raj M Rishidev RK designers Viduthalai Raj M Rishidev RK CopyWriters Sanaa Abdussamad Athul CT Illustrator Rishidev RK

KNEE J Challenge: An in-store idea to run along with the “Sex sells. Unfortunately we sell jeans” campaign, to boost sales. Implementation: We created the Knee J, a spoof sex toy to give away to every customer who ran a bill above $150. The product was displayed and people were informed through posters and e-mailers. Results: Sales picked up by 40% in the first week. Customers loved the idea and were spotted posing for funny pictures which were later found on blogs and other social networking sites. Client remanufactured and displayed them across all stores. Some even made it to the headquarters in Italy.

24

New Work

DIESEL Title: Palm Grease Creative Directors Praveen Das Kartik Iyer Art Director Viduthalai Raj M designer Viduthalai Raj M CopyWriters Sanaa Abdussamad Athul CT Illustrator Vinayachandran T

New Work

 25

LEE Title: Never Wasted Creative Directors Praveen Das Kartik Iyer Art Director Viduthalai Raj M designer Viduthalai Raj M CopyWriter Athul CT Illustrator Vinayachandran T

26

New Work

Leo Burnett TIDE Title: Fold a Stain natiOnal Creative Director KV Sridhar Creative Director Amod Dani Art Directors Ganesh Nayak Sadanand Narvekar CopyWriter Anirban Sanyal illustrators Nishikant Palande Priyanka Chavan Pranali Bhogale Ganesh Nayak client servicing Nitin Sharma Schelizia Cazo Photographer Shivkumar Dhale Vice President Gaurav Lalwani Brand Partner Sharan Sabhachandani Brand Associate Pooja Motwani

FOLD A STAIN Tide detergent cleans with such proficiency that just a little bit does the trick. Therefore we created an innovative campaign strategically placed in centerspreads of widely read magazines. Through illustrations we depicted common colourful characters with big stains on their clothes.

These large stains were specially fabricated by paper and prompted the reader to fold them. On step-by-step folding, it magically transformed into a small One- Rupee sachet of Tide. The One-Rupee Tide sachet carries only 20 gms of Tide, aptly showing how a little bit of Tide, does a lot.

New Work

HEINZ Title: Let’s Sketchup national Creative Director KV Sridhar Creative Director Amod Dani Art Directors Ganesh Nayak Nilesh Anjarlekar Sadanand Narvekar CopyWriter Amod Dani Illustrators Nilesh Anjarlekar Ganesh Nayak photographer Shivkumar Dhale vice president Nitesh Thattasery Brand Partner Vivek Duggal Brand Associate Ravi Baliga

 27

28

New Work

New Work

GANDHIJI FONT natiOnal Creative Director KV Sridhar Creative Director Payal Juthani Art Directors Payal Juthani Nadine Pereira Zainab Karachiwala CopyWriter Sachin Kamath Typographers Payal Juthani Nadine Pereira client servicing Seema Sood Ankur Mitra

BAJAJ MAJESTY IRONS PACKAGING Title: Fold Aide Box natiOnal Creative Director KV Sridhar Creative Director Payal Juthani Art Directors Nadine Pereira Zainab Karachiwala CopyWriter Anirban Sanyal client servicing Nitin Sharma Schelizia Cazo

FINIT Title: Home Delivery natiOnal Creative Director KV Sridhar Creative Directors Sujit Sawant Ujjwal Kabra Art Director Sujit Sawant CopyWriter Ujjwal Kabra illustrator Mandar Shetye Retouching illustrator Bhushan Patil client servicing Mahesh Balkrishnan

 29

30

New Work

RELIANCE BIG TV Title: Pause, Play Rewind national Creative Director KV Sridhar Creative Directors Sujit Sawant Ujjwal Kabra Art Director Ambadas Wadisherla CopyWriter Juneston Mathana retouching Illustrator Bhushan Patil photographers Abhijit Kalan Bhagwan Dagre client servicing Sushma Singh

New Work

RELIANCE BIG TV “PAUSE, PLAY REWIND” Background: When Reliance Big TV DTH service decided to give its users up to 200 hours of Digital TV recording, it also enabled them to take control of their viewing experience. So now they could pause, play and rewind their favourite programmes at their own convenience. But how do we demonstrate this benefit through magazine ads? Idea: Images were created through a painstaking process such that when placed below

a transparent sheet, it actually animates itself and comes to life. These images were inserted in magazines and interaction with them allowed the readers to experience firsthand, pausing, rewinding, and playing of recorded content; and all of this, in a print ad. Results: The innovation didn’t just get Reliance Big TV over 4600 additional inquiry calls a day, but also helped generate immense word-of-mouth publicity, leading to widespread awareness of Reliance Big TV DTH Service.

 31

32

New Work

Rickshaw

And the first thing you think? Those scoundrels who have no respect for rules. Perfect. Sounds just like us. So does everything else about the Rickshaw. Vehicle of the people. Trend setter. Uber cool or very mass, depending on how you look at it. Goes places others can’t. Agile. Flexible. And of course, when you’re in a jam, much better than anything bigger or fancier. So that’s us. Small and furious communication and design agency. Who believe that we are here to use our creative and strategic skills to solve a problem. To create conversations. To connect with consumers. To build a brand. TEAM RICKSHAW Suhas Parab Shormistha Mukherjee Mahua Hazarika Anurag Shukla Gowthalai Muthu Shoorveer Singh Muthu Ganesan Hiren Masharu Uday Talpade Bidisha Roy Raman Iyer

New Work

 33

KANGAROO KIDS India’s leading preschool, where kids learn to fall in love with the lessons of life. We wanted to create work that reflects the joyous, fun approach to education that Kangaroo Kids offers.

BHIS (Billabong High International School) A school that believes that every child’s brain has a lot of potential. And that it’s BHIS’s responsibility to help the children realize and tap that potential. Along with a curriculum that’s thoughtfully designed by the dedicated research team at Billabong High, and a pool of experienced teachers, BHIS focuses not only on the academics but also in other areas of overall development of a child. So that children who study at BHIS do not become just scholars but smart scholars. Our job was to spread this new outlook towards education. And tell people that it takes much more than just education to make a child be successful in life.

34

New Work

KOH The Intercontinental Marine Drive, brought India’s first signature Thai restaurant to Mumbai. Helmed by Ian Kittichai, who’s created the sensational Kittichai in New York; Restaurant Murmuri in Barcelona and Bangkok’s first gastro bar – Hyde and Seek, Koh was all about the food. And specially all about Ian’s signature Thai cuisine cooked using traditional methods blended with contemporary international styling. All the while remaining true to the flavours and ingredients that are unique to Thai cuisine. Our job was simply to celebrate his cooking. And the celebration of the senses that it resulted in.

SCHOOL EQUALS LUNCH Hunger. And education. Part of a vicious cycle. When an impoverished family sends a child out to earn a living, it’s his education that is sacrificed first. How do you break that chain? Simple, by providing a child one hot meal a day, at school. This meal very often becomes the only way to convince his parents to let him come to school. And most times, becomes the only nutritious meal he has in a day. School Equals Lunch, an NGO who provided that one free meal, was doing their bit. Our job was to urge others to do the same.

l Marine s first urant by Ian ted the in New urmuri ngkok’s de and out the ll about cuisine onal th nawhile e ents hai simply king. of the ed in.

New Work

 35

36

New Work

FACES COSMETICS Faces Cosmetics is a Canadian company, with a global foot-print. They were setting up their first independent stores across India, and our mandate was to create a look, feel and language that would reflect the glamorous transformation every woman is capable of.

New Work

TEACHNEXT Next Education is a fast-growing e-Learning company which creates innovative and student friendly computer based learning products.They’re changing the way kids across the country will receive education with TeachNext. TeachNext contains 100% syllabus based content in an interactive 2D and 3D format. Operated with a set top box and simple remote control, it brings alive every subject. Our job was to help schools educate parents about TeachNext and show them how every kid could learn to fall in love with even his most feared subject.

 37

38

New Work

HIGH STREET PHOENIX Mumbai’s destination mall, where there’s always something happening. Our mandate for Palladium, the luxury mall at High Street Phoenix is to do work that reflects the luxury and sense of style inherent to the place.

New Work

 39

40

spotlight

Big Active

Big Active is a D&AD award winning creative consultancy based in London specialising in art direction, graphic design and the select management of leading illustrators. Big Active believes in creative networks — it’s aim is to produce creative design and commercial art based upon ideas with an accessible common touch. Big Active’s art direction and design team is headed by creative director (and founder member) Gerard Saint, and the design studio is driven by the work of art directors Mat Maitland and Markus Karlsson. Big Active’s graphic approach is particularly focused on creating integrated image based design solutions for the specialised areas of music, editorial and book design. Recent music clients include Beck, Goldfrapp, Marina And The Diamonds, Kate Nash, Basement Jaxx, Keane, Mark Ronson, The Enemy, The Pierces and Noah And The Whale. Big Active are also brand identity consultants for Defected Records and Ibiza Rocks. Recent book designs have included ‘Destroy’ for the internationally acclaimed photographer Rankin, and ‘Couture In The 21st Century’ for Harrods. In May 2011 Big Active won a Gold at the European Design Awards for their work on Mark Ronson’s ‘Record Collection’ album.

These highly collaborative areas of art direction have led Big Active to form close working relationships with many like minded visual conspirators. And it is this association of interest which inspired the formation of Big Active’s creative management department headed by Greg Burne. The current line up of commercial artists includes Sanna Annukka, Jesse Auersalo, Jody Barton, Siggi Eggertsson, David Foldvari, Matt Furie, Genevieve Gauckler, Kate Gibb, Jasper Goodall, Klaus Haapaniemi, Filipe Jardim, Adrian Johnson, Letman, Mimi Leung, Mat Maitland, Parra, Will Sweeney, Kam Tang and Vania Zouravliov. Big Active have a straight up attitude towards visual communication — if an idea can’t be articulated simply and successfully over the phone — it ain’t worth a fuck. Our philosophy has always been to produce work that is bold, spirited and direct — design that makes you look. Life’s too short to get side tracked... www.bigactive.com / www.productofgod.net ‘Head, Heart & Hips - The Seductive World of Big Active’ is published by Die Gestalten Verlaag.

spotlight

MARK RONSON ‘The Record Collection’ (Integrated packaging including iTunes Digital album) Sony Music / 2010 Art Director: Mat Maitland, Gerard Saint Designer: Mat Maitland Illustrations: Japer Goodall, Will Sweeny, Jesse Auersalo, Parra, Mat Maitland, Markus Karlsson Photographer: Alexie Hay ** Winner / Gold European Design Award 2011

 41

42

spotlight

01

01 KATE NASH My Best Friend Is You Fiction / 2010 Art Direction & Design: Mat Maitland Silkscreen Art: Kate Gibb 02 DAS POP The Game Das Pop / NEWS / 2011 Art Direction & Design: Mat Maitland Cover Imagery: Mat Maitland

02

03 NOAH AND THE WHALE Last Night On Earth Mercury Records / 2011 Art Direction & Design: Markus Karlsson & Mat Maitland Montages: Markus Karlsson Photography: Autumn De Wilde

03

spotlight

 43

04 KEANE Under the Iron Sea Island / 2006 Art Direction: Richard Andrews & Gerard Saint Design: Richard Andrews Illustrations: Sanna Annukka 04

05 BASEMENT JAXX Scars XL / 2009 Art Direction & Design: Mat Maitland

05

05 BASEMEN ‘Scars’ (A XL / 2009 Art Direct Mat Mait

44

spotlight

spotlight

BECK ‘The Information’ Interscope / 2006 Art Direction: Mat Maitland & Gerard Saint, with Beck. Design: Mat Maitland Sticker Images: Jody Barton, Juliette Cezzar, Estelle & Simon, David Foldvari, Genevieve Gauckler, Michael Gillette, Jasper Goodall, Mercedes Helnwein, Han Lee, Mat Maitland, Ari Michelson, Parra, Melanie Pullen, Gay Ribisi, Aleksey Shirokov, Will Sweeney, Kam Tang, Adam Tullie, Kensei Yabuno and Vania Zouravliov. Artist Co-ordination: Greg Burne & Richard Newton ** Awarded YELLOW PENCIL at D&AD GLOBAL AWARDS 2007

 45

46

spotlight

DESTROY / RANKIN Book Cover and Misc Spreads Youth Music / 2010 Art Direction & Design: Gerard Saint Photography: Rankin

spotlight

 47

COUTURE IN THE 21ST CENTURY Book Harrods Publishing / A&C Black / 2010 Design Director: Gerard Saint Book Design: Gerard Saint & Valerio Oliveri Portraits: Rankin Cover Graphics: Siggi Eggertsson Author: Deborah Bee

48

SPOTLIGHT

Hot on the Press Having successfully produced and launched four books, three newsprint editions and a series of posters to great response from the design community in merely two years of operation, Unit Editions is making waves in the world of design publishing. Kyoorius catches up with Adrian Shaughnessy, co-founder of Unit Editions, for an insider’s story of this new kid on the publishing block.

Shaughnessy’s full-time venture in publishing seems like a natural transition in his career. A self-taught designer, he has had a remarkable career in the design industry. Shaughnessy co-founded design studio, Intro, in 1989 and went on to helm This Is Real Art as Creative Director during the design collective’s early days of operations. He has written for leading design publications such as Design Week, Eye, Design Observer and The Wire. He has also produced several other books with Laurence King, covering a wide range of subjects in design – from music (the Sampler series) and brochures, to a book on Intro’s works. His growing appetite for writing and discussions with Tony Brook (of Spin design studio) who had begun getting products into bookshops and selling books online, brought Unit Editions into being in 2009. Unit Editions is a publisher in its own league. It produces books for graphic designers by graphic designers. The crucial decision on what to or not to publish is usually a result of long discussions between Shaughnessy and Brook. Shedding some light on the process, Shaughnessy explains, “We look for compelling reasons why a book should be published. Does it fill a gap? Is it a subject – or individual – that has been neglected? Is it a book we would like to own? There are no rules, but we would only ever publish a book that we were proud of, and which added to the list of worthwhile design books.” Despite not adhering to a standard formula when deciding on what to publish, the books produced so far seems to point out Unit Editions’ inclination towards publishing and documenting subjects that are forgotten or neglected aspects of design history. Its bestselling title so far, TD 63-73 – a book on Ben Bos and Total Design – is not something you’d find amidst mainstream and popular titles such as 1000 Best Brochures or 1000 Handmade

TD 63-73 (Unit 03)

SPOTLIGHT

 49

Patterns. Unit Editions also publishes low-cost newsprint editions called Unit Research Papers, which feature materials widely available on the Internet but typically posted without insightful commentary. Shaugnessy remarks, “Our aim with Research Papers is to collate all this stuff, present them coherently and provide interesting commentaries.” The book on Total Design also provides another perspective on current book publishing practices. Having collaborated successfully with respectable art books publishers such as Laurence King in the past, Shaughnessy could have continued the relationship — focus on writing and content editing while Laurence King works out the worldwide marketing and distribution. His book, How to be a Designer Without Losing Your Soul, has sold over 80,000 copies, and is available in Spanish, Dutch, Japanese, Chinese, and Brazillian. The author adds, “I am anxiously waiting to see if an Indian version appears! I live in hope.” All these, achieved under Laurence King’s marketing and promotion initiatives, testify to the fruitfulness of the collaboration. So why go it alone? “Our decision to go ‘solo’ had nothing to do with Laurence King who is an excellent publisher, and was very helpful to us in our early days. It had more to do with the changing face of publishing and – more importantly – the changing face of media,” answers Shaughnessy. “When you work within the established, traditional publishing framework – no matter who it is with – you have countless interferences and numerous fences to jump. Books have to be ready at least nine months ahead of publication date; you have interference from sales people who want covers – and subject matter – that appeals to the buyers in bookshops; most of all, you have the problem of buyers and sales people not understanding the books you publish. No book buyer has ever heard of Total Design – so persuading them to stock a book on TD will always be difficult,” adds Shaughnessy. Unit Editions leverages a combination of skills needed as a book publisher – content writing, design and production, knowledge of established designers – and the fact that it is a linear, more accessible world online. Publishing ideas can be tested for response on various social media. Progress can be publicised from time to time to build up hype and promote pre-launch purchases, which provides important insights in estimating first print runs. Ultimately, when the book is produced, information is instantly disseminated via the Internet through announcements on social media, newsletters sent through email, and finally, on-ground promotions carried out via events, talks and lectures. “So, our biggest incentive to go it alone was the fact that the gatekeepers have

50

SPOTLIGHT

less power now. It is possible – for the first time in history – to speak directly to your audience without intermediaries,” concludes Shaughnessy. A quick check with an art books distributor reveals that the graphic books segment is shrinking. “Everything can be found online now. Young designers no longer find the need to buy books.” While popular ‘Best of’ titles on logo design or packaging design still sell, they no longer command sales numbers comparable to the past. Their online equals – websites such as FFFFound, Behance, Manystuff and TheDieLine have established themselves as some of the more popular design reference sites at the moment. Is this a worrying trend for Unit Editions? Apparently not. “I meet a great many tutors and studio heads who complain about young designers endlessly browsing visual blogs. To me, this is not a problem. It’s a good place to start building up a body of knowledge about graphic design. My view is that for many people, these blogs provide a springboard to a deeper interest in the subject. The problem is, they are not getting much – if any – information, context or perspective from these blogs, so they have to go elsewhere. The Wim Crouwel exhibition in London is a good example of this. It has been hugely popular with young designers – and I’m sure most of them came after encountering Crouwel on the blogs,” says Shaughnessy, reaffirming

Book: Studio Culture

Paper: Space and Structure (U:D/R 02)

Book: Wim Crouwel — Catalogue

Poster: Space and Structure Poster (U:D/R 02)

nd re 02)

SPOTLIGHT

Book Supergraphics

Limited edition set of posters inspired by Wim Crouwel Paper: ThreeSix (U:D/R 03)

Poster: Folkways Poster (U:D/R 01)

 51

Poster: Studio Culture Poster

Unit Editions’ desire to provide context and information on the origins of interesting images that can be randomly found online. Asked about profitability, Shaughnessy reveals that Unit Editions has managed to cover the costs of everything they have produced so far. He adds that the three founders – Tony Brook, Patricia Finegan and himself – are still not taking a regular salary from the venture but investing the funds on the next project. Albeit rapidly building a solid reputation as a book publisher, Shaughnessy does not see Unit Editions stopping there. First in the pipeline is the idea of exploring iPad apps and second, to move on to other channels. “We don’t see Unit Editions as just a book publisher. Books and posters will probably be our main emphasis for the foreseeable future, but we have plans to branch out into summer schools, events, exhibitions, conferences and consultancy. Early days, but watch this space,” hints Shaughnessy. We know we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for what comes next from these guys. Adrian Shaugnessy will be speaking at Kyoorius Designyatra 2011, Sept 9 & 10 in Goa, India. For details on other speakers at Designyatra 2011, log on to www.designyatra.com. Unit Editions books can be purchased online at www.uniteditions.com.

52

spotlight

India Future of Change Poster Competition 2010 – 11 India Future of Change, a publicprivate initiative that provides a platform for youth around the world to engage with India, has successfully completed its first round of contests launched in 2010. Winners have been announced for the first Poster Design contest organized by India Future of Change under the theme “Your Impression of India” – offering participants a wide canvas to articulate their thoughts and experiences pertaining to India, while also becoming a good measure of the different ways in which India is perceived at home and abroad.

Grand Prize International Category FREDERIC DIARD Ecole Bleue Paris, France “I chose to express the future of India with an explicit and simple image. My poster draws upon the famous method of predicting the future from a coffee cup reading to convey India as tomorrow’s global leader.”

spotlight

 53

Grand Jury

The contest was open to students under the age of 32 years and secured participation from over 40 countries. Two Grand Prize winners who get cash rewards of us $15,000 have each been selected from the overseas and Indian categories, while winners who made it to the top twenty get a trip around India on the Tata Jagriti Yatra. As India Future of Change’s Knowledge Partner, Industrial Design Centre (idc) iit Bombay carried out the preliminary evaluation of entries. Final assessment of short listed entries was done by a Grand Jury, comprising international leaders in the domain of visual arts and design. The second edition of India Future of Change, which gets underway in July, will be open to both students and

professionals under the age of 35 years. Contests this year will be held in areas of Business Plan, Product Design, Essay, Poster Design, Photography, Architecture & Urban Design, Type Design, Mobile Applications and Transport Design.In the Grand Prize — National category, Milan Jain from Delhi’s College of Art won for his entry depicting India as the lifeline that runs across our palms. In the Grand Prize — International category, Frederic Diard from Ecole Bleue, Paris was the winner for his idea of using the method of reading the future through coffee bean as a metaphor for India’s future potential. The India Future of Change initiative is managed by Delhi based agency theIdeaWorks and supported by the Public Diplomacy Division within the Ministry of External Affairs. For more information, log on to www.indiafutureofchange.com

Grand Prize National Category MILAN JAIN College of Art New Delhi, India “I have drawn on the concept of India as the “lifeline” that runs across our palm. Red symbolizes love, honour, prosperity, power, victory and fertility. The red dot has great meaning with respect to women in India and to me it is the basis of creation itself.”

Erik Spiekermann Creative Director & Managing Partner EdenSpiekermann Berlin Germany Felipe Taborda Graphic Designer Author & Curator Brazil Jehangir Jani Contemporary Artist India Ken Cato Chairman, Cato Purnell Partners Australia Sudharshan Dheer Graphic Communication Concepts India Tom Geismar, Ivan Chermayeff & Sagi Haviv Principals Chermayeff & Geismar USA Sujata Keshavan Managing Director, Ray and Keshavan The Brand Union, India

54

spotlight

international winners

VIRGINIE TOSO Ecole Bleue, Paris, France “This poster is my interpretation of the change India is undergoing, especially as a leader in information technology. I specifically ascribed the “Enter” key to India as it is the most important one on the keyboard symbolizing validation or a decision taken.”

SEBASTIAN GNAEDIG AVILA Universidad Nacional Autonoma De Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico “For me, India is a beautiful chaos that moves, streams and intersects like the lines of a Kolam. And in the centre of everything, blended with everyday life, but completely recognizable, is the spiritual, the unworldly.”

THOMAS ROUXEVILLE Ecole Bleue, Paris, France “This poster is intended to represent the exponential growth in India since 2007. This growth is represented creatively through the growth of a beard. I have attempted to use vibrant local Indian colours.”

national winners

AKASH KAMTHAN Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology Gujarat, Gujarat “My poster illustrates gender inequality in India through digital fonts. I believe the bias against women is a major hurdle in India’s road to progress.”

TANVI SINGH MICA Ahmedabad, Ahmedabad “My poster is a juxtaposition of two existing perceptions of India. My illustration encourages imaginations of India on the basis of what it is now and what it promises to become in the future along with exploring and not stereotyping what it was in the past. Re-imagine India!”

NAVNEET KAUR National Institute of Design Ahmedabad, Ahmedabad “My poster draws inspiration from India’s folk Warli paintings depicting people celebrating life together. The circular form showing people holding hands symbolizes motion, continuity and the wheel of time leading India towards growth.”

spotlight

CHRIS GUYOT Bowling Green State University Bowling Green, USA “I decided to use the central idea of contrast in various aspects of Indian life – Transportation, Language, Occupation,Religion, Food, Architecture and Entertainment. I used warm colours to convey the hospitality that I received, and to literally symbolize the characteristically hot climate of India.”

RAMPRASAD SEDOURAM National Institute of Technology Tiruchirapalli “Facts, aspects, contributions and wonders of India that make the country stand out from the crowd have been presented in the poster in the form of symbolic 3d models and composed in such a way that they look like floating objects on water.”

VALERIA VIZUETE Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador “India is for me, something very much like a kaleidoscope, the coming together of thousands of different elements all of which are equally fascinating. Just as the kaleidoscope invokes a feeling of being lost in a magical world, I wanted to use elements found in Indian culture to depict the country as a magical place.”

ANISH DAS GUPTA National Institute of Design Ahmedabad, Ahmedabad “My poster shows the merging of different realities and identities in India, its cultures and traditions as one singular face. I have attempted to portray the interweaving of male and female, as also the overlapping of culture and dress to put forth the idea of India as all-inclusive.”

ANNE LAURA ACLOQUE Ecole Bleue, Paris, France “My poster represents India as a phone card circuit symbolizing the interconnectedness of the country and its people. Within this, I have incorporated technological symbols to convey the idea that India is at the forefront in the field of technology.”

SOUMYA DHAM Symbiosis Institute of Design Pune, Pune “Diverse cultures, colourful lives and exceptionally hospitable people give India a unique brilliance. Maintaining a careful balance between tradition and modernity, I interpret India as a country that is advancing in every field at the speed of light.”

 55

56

spotlight

DAVID FLECK Scott Sutherland School Robert Gordon University Aberdeen, United Kingdom “This is a “through the keyhole” glimpse of an Indian street. I believe that no matter what great developments the country makes, India’s true essence will always lie in her people and secret places like these.”

LATIKA NEHRA National Institute of Design Ahmedabad, Ahmedabad “I have drawn upon the Rorschach Ink Blot Psychological Test used to read the subconscious mind by recording a person’s perception of an inkblot. I have put forth the idea that people can have different impressions of India – much the same as people seeing and feeling many things in an inkblot.”

LUCIE THOMAS Ecole Bleue, Paris, France “I chose the loading bar as a symbol of progress and decided to merge it with India’s most recognized monument, the Taj Mahal, to illustrate an India in progress. I used the loading bar repetitively to convey that India is growing in more ways than one.”

KETA SHAH School of Architecture, Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology Ahmedabad, Ahmedabad “Indian mythology gave powers to women as Goddesses, the multiple hands signifying the multitude of power they possess. Challenging the stereotype of a typical Indian woman, the new woman of substance breaks all barriers and takes the best of both worlds, giving a new identity to an emerging nation.”

HUAN MIAO KHOO University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia “I used colourful threads, representing the unified movement of tradition and technology, to remould the Taj Mahal which, in my illustration, stands for all that India has potential for and aspires to be.”

GANESAN DHANARAJ Arena Animation Chennai, Chennai “Every individual’s finger prints are unique, just as India is unique in its own glorious way. Through the use of a finger print, I have tried to convey that India has a unique character and identity which are inimitable and eternal.”

123 456 789 Special Report

ANNUAL REPORTS: ARE YOUR NUMBERS REALLY TALKING? text: sasha mahajan

guest editor: arvind agrawal

 57

58

Special Report

It’s that time of the year again. When companies put together a comprehensive account of their activities and financial performance of the preceding year in a document that you know as the Annual Report. Conventional wisdom would tell you that Annual Reports are, by definition, boring reams of figures, pie charts, bar graphs and the occasional false corporate bravado put together in an ungainly document. Not true if you were looking at the work of, say, Bill Cahan or VSA Partners or Addison or Black Sun or Epigram or Samata Mason or any of the other award winning agencies which have produced category defining work in this area. Google Bill Cahan, and you begin to get an idea of the impact that the San Fransiscobased graphic designer had on the industry’s expectation of what an Annual Report could be transformed into. Among some of the more well known stories that have become a part of popular lore is the one where Cahan’s firm created a report for Coulter Pharmaceutical featuring a black and white photograph of a woman with the title – “June 22. I was supposed to die today.” Inside the report, were stories about patients who were helped by one of Coulter’s cancer treatment drug. The story goes that the company’s lawyers, worried that the idea was too radical, tried to convince the management to drop it. Cahan reportedly called up the company chief executive late in the night and convinced him to stay with the original idea.

to produce generic work to offset years of hype that got companies into trouble in the first place. I found that uninspiring, as I believed the annual report was still relevant as a strategic document, employee recruitment vehicle and public relations and media piece — but printing one no longer is seen as prudent — that is why we stopped producing them years ago, and moved more deeply into the branding space, as we were doing strategic work with the C suite and this seemed like a natural progression for us.” annual reports: consistency is key And that’s why consistency is key. The annual report has to be consistent in its messaging with all the other communication tools that a brand employs. A well-known Annual Report design agency in the U.S. is Curran & Connors and this is what one of its spokespersons had to say, “If one of your goals is to instill confidence in your company within the investment community, one of the best ways to do this is to send a message that is consistent with what you have been saying in your other communications. The confidence in your strategy and message when repeated in different platforms will ease the minds of investors and reflect a well-run company.”

Cahan & Associates Coulter Pharmaceutical Annual Report 1997

That anecdote aside, Cahan’s firm does not do annual reports anymore. In an email conversation with Kyoorius, Cahan says it’s been four years since his firm worked on one. At their peak, they did 25 to 30 reports in a year. Explaining why he moved away from the Annual Reports business, Cahan says, “For me, it was a perfect storm for the annual report business — the dot com implosion, 9/11, Sarbanes Oxley, the driving need for financial transparency and fiscal reform, and of course the emergence of the internet being the primary vehicle for how people garnered information — suddenly printed annual reports had far less relevance. You could go to the company’s investor relations website and get up to the minute information, so printing an expensive annual report didn’t make as much sense for companies to invest in.” Cahan says it was also a time when clients were nervous to produce anything that wasn’t watered down, and adds, “Companies wanted

Curran & Connors Infinity Property and Casualty Corporation Annual Report 2009

So what does an Annual Report really say about its company? Does it reflect the dynamism, the innovation and the complex forces that come together seamlessly to create a successful business? Or does it mumble apologetically in a thick volume full of unfathomable information? Or worse, whisper incoherently in a barely-legible point size that hopefully no one will bother to decipher? The Atlanta-based Critt Graham Group’s spokesperson makes a good point when he says that the most important question the Annual Report needs to answer is one of impact. He adds, “The question your company’s stakeholders ask when presented with a piece of investor communications, whether online or off, is “How does this affect me?” While approaching a typical brief, what are the basic questions that a design firm needs to ask? Responds Cahan, “Every client has

Special Report

Selected works from Cahan & Associates

Adaptec Annual Report 1996 Siebel Annual Report 1999 Valentis Annual Report 2000 Adaptec Annual Report 1995

Collateral Therapeutics Annual Report 1999 Linear Technology Corporation Annual Report 2000

 59

60

Special Report

different needs and concerns, of course — but fundamentally, I was always interested in why anyone would care about the company and how that company could make a difference in people’s lives… I often found that the C suite would talk about their company in a way that was too granular and inward focused, and naturally assumed investors to both understand and care about their company — but this was never the case. Why that can be a problem is when a company is performing poorly, you want investors to stick with the company — especially large institutional investors. If they completely understand the strategic imperatives of the company, understand where the company is headed and clearly has a plan on how to execute on that plan — and if that can be conveyed in a compelling way that makes people not only care about the company but truly understand it — that builds loyalty, especially in hard times.”

Bill Cahan

He adds, “So the kind of questions that I asked were backward focused, from the viewpoint of the end user — be it the shareholder, consumer, employee, media etc — any touch point the company had I wanted to understand from the end user point of view how they would perceive the company — once I got that information, I tackled it from the other end — wanting to know how management viewed each line of business etc.” A long-term investor Vinay Somani, whose family has been involved with many industries and philanthropic activities, says he doesn’t “look at visual aspects for a good report — I look at clarity. I would like to see more data in an Annual Report by which one can understand the company better.” But that thinking belies the understanding that good design isn’t about pretty looking typefaces and good presentation but about its ability to help investors navigate through the data and help in driving better clarity about a company’s annual performance. Mudar Patherya, founder of one of India’s dedicated annual report consultancies — Trysis couldn’t agree more, and adds, “The annual report — considering that it is mandatory — is probably the only document that can provide a certain picture of a company’s body language. A badly designed annual report signals a sloppy company; a well-designed report does the reverse. It must be remembered that design does not stand by itself; it needs to complement the roles of research and writing to enhance corporate image.” Patherya, in fact, dislikes the term ‘annual report design’ and insists that one must

refer to the practice as ‘annual report research, writing and design’ as the former does not do justice to the specialized knowledge and skill required in this space. Trysis says they have an ingenious template for annual reports. Patherya explains, “(It) is not a ready made answer to client needs. It is a probable landscape for what a client might need. So we need to pick and choose from the template and customise it to client needs.” Vinay Somani’s contention is that many annual reports are not clear about what goods or services the company makes / offers. “What are the products, who are the buyers, what are the implications of the company’s products — these should be clearly stated,” he added. With the financial crisis of three years ago and the ensuing erosion of faith in financial institutions globally, the biggest casualty has been the credibility of corporate balance sheets.    In such a scenario, a spokesperson for Black Sun, one of Europe’s leading specialist corporate reporting consultancies, says good design can help answer the most crucial question required of an Annual Report, which is ‘why would someone want to invest in this organisation?’ He elaborates, “In the wake of the banking crisis, global recession and a raft of corporate scandals that preceded these events, the trust and confidence of investors is more important than ever. The Annual Report is still the only document which provides stakeholders with the full story about what a company stands for, what it is trying to achieve and how it will achieve its goals. The role of good design cannot be underestimated, particularly as poor presentation can make it look as if a company has something to hide. Clear, accessible storytelling will engender faith and confidence in a company and its future.” change is in the air Change is clearly in the air and it’s an indication of where the market is likely to be headed. In today’s digital landscape, companies want to engage with investors and demonstrate a sense of community online. That and regulatory rules that deem it necessary for companies to post such important corporate information on their websites, has created a significant shift of the annual report into the online domain.

VSA Partners P&G Online Annual Report 2010

P&G launched their 2010 Annual Report online with embedded video content. The videos demonstrated, through personal, household scenes captured from markets as diverse as New Delhi and San Fransisco, how P&G had touched their lives. The objective was to narrate the multinational’s Purpose-

Special Report

“The Annual Report is still the only document which provides stakeholders with the full story about what a company stands for, what it is trying to achieve and how it will achieve its goals.” — Black Sun

Black Sun Amlin Annual Report 2009 BAE Systems Annual Report 2009

VSA Partners P&G Annual Report 2009

 61

62

Special Report

VSA Partners Target Annual Report 2009 IBM Annual Report 2009

Special Report

“At present, most companies are using a PDF version of the print edition on their website. Gradually however, the focus will shift to a more interactive, immersive (web) version.” – Atherstone

Addison WPP Online Annual Report 2010

Addison Neenah Paper Annual Report 2010

 63

64

Special Report

Addison Neenah Paper Annual Report 2010

Special Report

inspired growth strategy to serve more consumers in more parts of the world better. The upside is a credible, human face to the multinational. Addison WPP Online Annual Report 2010

WPP’s 2010 online Annual Report similarly has its wordy Annual Report as a drop-down menu on its website alongside its chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell’s video address elaborating on the company’s performance in the past year. As Internet penetration increases in India, a possible solution to environmental impact could very well rest on the possibility of Annual Reports going digital in the future. Giving a western world perspective, a spokesperson for US based Addison says, “The print annual report is no longer the primary means by which investors research potential investment opportunities. The Internet has changed that permanently. The print report is now one part of a larger investor relations communications program, which should include print, web, mobile applications, and SEO and support systems.” Black Sun calls this shift to a more digital orientated delivery platform for the Annual Report “somewhat inevitable given the current growth of the internet, social media and online communications.” And closer home, a spokesperson for local agency Atherstone clarifies that “A recent SEBI order makes it mandatory for all listed companies to maintain an updated corporate website with all relevant investor information, including an annual report. Moreover, the Ministry of Company affairs has recently issued a circular notifying a ‘green initiative’ that allows companies to send documents to shareholders (including the annual report) as an email attachment. We feel that in about three years, the print volumes of annual reports (presently running into millions for some companies) will come down by approximately 70 per cent as a result of such steps. At present, most companies are using a PDF version of the print edition for electronic transmission. Gradually however, the focus will shift to a more interactive, immersive version. It is important to note that the digitized edition will not be at the cost of the print report. On the contrary, the both will complement each other to create a holistic framework of transparency, ease of information accessibility and an ‘anytimeanywhere’ information ecosystem.” The key change driver is engagement. A spokesperson for U.S based Addison says, “Whether you’re communicating with investors, customers, employees or other key audiences, engaging and motivating them is your goal… A major role of the modern

annual report is to convey not only financial information but (also) the intangibles that can add value and foster a positive perception. Design is the best way to convey these intangibles.” A good example of engagement between the corporate and its investor is Addison’s report for Neenah Paper in 2009, which also won the highest honour — Best of Show at the International ARC Awards.   Addison Neenah Paper Annual Report 2009

speaking the same language   Using the annual report as an intelligent branding vehicle has long been considered a trend more popular in Europe and the United States, with several prestigious award shows hosted annually for the best ones. Black Sun consents, “There are undoubtedly regional variances in reporting which have developed as a result of: the legal and regulatory environment, culture, economic development and the nature of the corporate environment within a particular region.”   A look at Annual Reports from around the world sprung up some really exceptional examples from every corner – Germany to Brazil; Croatia to Singapore.   Croatian creative agency Bruketa & Žinić have designed an annual report for food company Podravka that has to be baked in an oven before it can be read. Called Well Done, the report features blank pages printed with thermo-reactive ink that, after being wrapped in foil and cooked for 25 minutes, reveal text and images. changing the dialogue Finally, although warily, Indian corporates are beginning to follow in the footsteps of our western counterparts with a growing awareness for the need to speak beyond the numbers and redefine the dialogue they share with stakeholders through that yearly opportunity called an Annual Report.   With corporates giving more voice nowadays to their Annual Reports, it’s no surprise that over the last decade several specialised agencies have emerged in India. Agencies that, unlike their counterparts in advertising, are dedicated to providing not just design but also research, content and several other specialised services. Closer home, there are a number of local agencies that have been working in this field for a while now. One of these is Atherstone

 65

66

Special Report

Design Army Human Rights Campaign 2009 National Mediation Board 2010

Special Report Podravka is the biggest food company in Croatia and one of the biggest companies in South-East Europe. The symbol of Podravka is a heart and corporate slogan Company with a Heart. Bruketa&Žinić has created seven annual reports for Podravka trying to make a serious and truly comprehensive overview of the company’s business, illustrating the values of Podravka as a brand.

The Podravka 2005 annual report is all about discovering the secrets slowly throughout the report, small secrets on how to be a good host/ hostess, on manners and table setting. The end reveals the final secret: Ideas and imagination are important, but the most important thing is putting your heart into everything you do.

The annual report consists of a big book containing numbers and statistics, and a small book inserted inside the big one that contains the very heart of Podravka as a brand: great Podravka’s recipes. It is printed in invisible, thermo-reactive ink. To be able to read it you need to cover the small booklet in aluminium foil and bake it at 100o Celsius for 25 minutes. Then the empty pages will become filled with text, and the illustrations with empty plates with food.

One of the main ingredients in the annual report Feed Me is the idea that the way to a person’s heart is through the stomach. The first pages reveal characters, marked with empty heart die-cuts, who are looking to be fed. But not just any flavorful fare will do; they need to be fed with love.

Bruketa&Žinić Podravka Annual reports Various years

 67

68

Special Report

Singapore-based Epigram has also long engaged readers with innovative and sometimes even interactive reports.

 

Bestworld International Playing cards and pop ups engage readers and inform them of the company’s new products. The interactive approach of this report portrays a progressive organisation committed to innovation. Entertaining and instructive.

Atherstone Monsanto India Limited Annual Report 2009

Epigram (Singapore) Bestworld International Annual Report 2005

“Our annual report is an excellent representation of who we are and of our vision and philosophy. Our story is shared in a simple manner and the distinctive look is very unique in the agriculture space, helping us to create a distinguished identity and generating the attention this subject really deserves (more than 50% of India’s population is dependent on agriculture). In addition to delivering our message to the core shareholder group, this powerful communication tool is helping us in our efforts to reach out to critical stakeholders across Governments, Bureaucrats, Scientific Community, NGOs, potential employees and helps us talk effectively about our leadership in innovation, our commitment to India and sustainable agriculture. ” — Mr. Amitabh Jaipuria, Monsanto

The TSAO Foundation  The TSAO Foundation is a philanthropic organisation working to improve the conditions of Singapore’s aged. This report covers the worst-case scenario genre book to a more positive how-to guide with useful life tips for seniors.

Atherstone Strides Arcolab Ltd Annual Report 2010

Epigram (Singapore) TSAO Foundation Annual Report 2008

“We don’t consider the Annual report as a statutory document, which carries financial reporting alone and have made all efforts over the past decade to deliver a theme-based report... For Strides, (the) Annual report is a serious document.” — Arun Kumar, CEO, Strides India

Special Report

Investor Communications (AICL), which has worked for clients like — Monsanto, Zee, J&K Bank, Responsive. There is also Trysis, Brand Harvest and Prism Research and Communications to name a few. The spokesperson for Atherstone asserts that Indian companies are gradually becoming more receptive to the concept of changing their Annual Reports. He adds, “All companies across the size spectrum are looking at refurbishing and modernising their shareholder communication. In larger companies too, the realisation is evident, though the complexity levels are far higher and the number of internal filters far larger. As a consequence, the transition is more gradual, and never radical, evident over a period of time.  It is important to pitch the idea at the right level, and handhold the process through a well-defined value proposition.” A spokesperson for Cairn India explains what makes the report so crucial as a form of stakeholder communication, when he says, “A good annual report is a must for contemporary organisations. Especially in sectors like extractive industry including energy like oil and gas, it is a critical communication tool to reach out to various stakeholder groups, a defining document, which is updated every year and provides a holistic outlook on the organisation’s strategy over and above the business update. It is a unique mix of identity and outlook that makes an annual report a powerhouse document. We invest a lot of time in conceptualising and designing the report, making sure that shareholders get a clear picture of the year gone by and also try and bring in a novelty in terms of themes (right balance of present and future outlook) and design. We also make sure that a lot of technical concepts e.g. if we want to explain the working of the Cairn pipeline, we conceptualise simplified graphical representations for the same.” annual reports: keeping it special The challenge behind putting together an Annual Report, contrary to belief, goes beyond endless numbers. It is a time-bound document shrouded by legalities that cannot be taken in stride. Moreover, these agencies need to be aware of the corporate world and have a fair understanding of business rather than hide behind a curtain of creativity. The Atherstone spokesperson compares the difference between annual report design and other design disciplines (e.g. brochures, or other print communications) to “the difference between a cosmetic surgeon and a beautician. An annual report is a complex product, requiring a specialised consulting service. Generic, off-the-shelf, or non-comprehensive solutions do not do justice to the complexity of an annual report or to the multiple layers at which it communicates. Strategy and messaging quality, complemented by finely nuanced

“It is a unique mix of identity and outlook that makes an annual report a powerhouse document.” — Cairn India

Itu Chaudhuri Design Cairn India Annual Report 2010

 69

70

Special Report

content are critical ingredients. Being a statutory product, there are many regulatory aspects that consultancies/ agencies need to be aware of.”  big budget or big talk? Even as the Annual Report is evolving in India, continuously altering perceptions about its role, design and content, a common debate revolves around the issue of cost, namely, that a remarkable report is possible only with an extensive budget. The spokesperson for Black Sun responds, “Many of our clients would argue that in difficult times communication is more important than during boom years and therefore it is one area where they would continue to invest while also ensuring that the service they receive represents value for money without compromising on quality.” The spokesperson for Addison opines, “Those companies choosing to limit communication budgets will find themselves needing to catch up to those maintaining active programs in coming months.” Says Atherstone’s spokesperson, “At AICL, we believe that a good annual report is not necessarily an expensive annual report… An annual report should be judged more by the quality of information and efficiency in addressing the aspirations and concerns of shareholders / investors, and less on the use of paper, exotic print effects, and a general misplaced impetus on higher number of pages. At the same time, the annual report shouldn’t give the impression that the company can’t even afford a decent report to its owners. Thus, a balance has to be struck between the two extremes.” the size factor: small to mid-cap firms Perhaps the pressure to produce a report that will make them the talking point lies more on mid-caps and small-caps. Investors are generally aware of, and have more trust in larger companies already. Besides, when shareholder numbers run into millions, the big fish have to consider the cost factor. Patherya says, “Everybody needs a good annual report. But having said that, it might be relevant to add that small caps and midcaps often need to enhance investor respect and mobilise funds to finance their growth. A well-communicated document can facilitate that process. I say this deliberately because few companies treat an annual report as a matter of pride, because that would be the right thing to do anyway.”

Atherstone Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited Annual Report 2009–10 Zee is synonymous with the cable television revolution in India. The annual report was created to underscore the pioneering role of Zee in the Indian media and entertainment industry context and also to highlight their ever-expanding geographical expanse. ‘Taking Entertainment Places’ was devised by AICL as the perfect literal and metaphorical vehicle to carry the message. Strong visuals, together with industry-leading disclosures further enhanced the appeal of the report. An abridged ‘Annual Review’ was also created as an extract of the main report, for a wider, non-statutory circulation.

Atherstone Jammu & Kashmir Bank Annual Report 2009–10

Titled “Shaping the Size”, the report has an unconventional cover design – showcasing the salient numbers of bank, and business model in a scrawled graph format. AICL created the report to deliver a message of solidity on financial parameters. The theme was further supported with stories drawn from a national cross-section of customers – to establish both the reach and impact of the Bank through active engagement. A small, detachable booklet containing key figures is part of the report for those in a hurry!

Special Report

Trisys (clockwise) Aptuit Laurus Annual Report 2009–10 Hindusthan National Glass & Industries Limited Annual Report 2009–10 Emami Limited Annual Report 2009–10 Nitco Limited Annual Report 2009–10 Orient Paper and Industries Limited Annual Report 2009–10 Nagarjuna Construction Company Limited Annual Report 2009–10

 71

72

Special Report

an eco-friendly debate: a paperless world? With hundreds and thousands of copies of annual reports being churned out every year by companies, the next hot topic of conversation is the issue of environmental impact. It’s a predicament that both corporates and agencies are well aware of and they tackle it appropriately. While the spokesperson for Cairn says, “Right from the concept to the paper, we try and make the process as environment friendly as possible.” The spokesperson from Atherstone feels the problem is a relative one and adds, “We do advocate the use of thinner paper, smaller dimensions, and keeping the report to an optimal number of pages as a measure of both economy and resource conservation. However, annual reports as a category consumes far less paper than, say, newspaper printing, and therefore, we feel the environmental impact of annual reports is overstated.”   number talk It’s evident that the Annual Report is, at long last, coming into its own. Even as India basks in a newfound attention from the rest of the world, with capital market activity at its peak, the time has never been better for Indian corporates to use their Annual Reports as a tool to sell their company, as much as a print ad sells their product. Given that the world’s largest democracy must have a million companies out there, waiting to transform the stale banter they’ve been exchanging with their shareholders, the scope for the Annual Report industry is quite promising. This is an opportunity not just for design agencies that are now dedicating their talent towards producing world class reports, but also, and more importantly, for the domestic corporate world. No longer is the obligatory statutory document a one-sided spiel of numbers and facts but rather, a tête-à-tête between the company and its investors.  Perhaps Design Army — a Washington D.C.-based agency — sums it up best with the quip that they create ‘Annual Rapport’ — An outlook that is fast spreading in the Indian context as well. And before we know it, there’ll be no more whispers, mutterings and murmurings. The numbers will clear their throats and pitch unapologetically from the rooftops.  

the writer is a freelance advertising professional. write to her at sashamahajan@gmail.com or visit sashamahajan.blogspot.com The guest editor is ceo, Atherstone Investor Communications Ltd (aicl) — a leading strategic communications consultancy from india. Arvind is a passionate advocate of corporate transparency through improved corporate reporting. he is available on arvind.agrawal@aicl.in

index Atherstone Unit No. 204, Kilfire House, 2nd Floor, Dalia Industrial Area, New Link Road, Andheri (W), Mumbai 400 053, India Phone: +91 22 6710 0691 aicl.in

Itu Chadhuri Design 139 Anupam Appts, M.B.Road, Saket, New Delhi 110068, India Phone: +91 11 2953 3239 icdindia.com

Addison 20 Exchange Place 9th Floor New York NY 10005 USA Phone: +1 212 229 5000 addison.com

Critt Graham Group 2970 Clairmont Rd., Ste 645, Atlanta, GA 30329 USA Phone: +1 404.320.1737 crittgraham.com

Black Sun Fulham Palace Bishop’s Avenue London SW6 6EA Phone: +44 20 7736 0011 blacksunplc.com

Epigram 1008 Toa Payoh North #03-08 Singapore 318996 Phone: +65 6292 4456 epigram.com.sg

Bruketa&Žinić Zavrtnica 17 10 000 Zagreb Croatia Phone: +385 1 6064 000 bruketa-zinic.com Curran & Connors 140 Adams Avenue Suite 20 C Hauppauge NY 11788-3618 USA Phone: +1 631 435 0400 curran-connors.com

VSA Partners Chicago 600 West Chicago Ave. Suite 250 Chicago, IL 60654 USA Phone: +1 312 427 6413 New York 106 7th Ave., 2nd Floor New York, NY 10011 USA Phone: +1 212 869 1188 vsapartners.com

Trisys Waterfront 16A Sarat Chatterjee Ave, Kolkata 700 029, India Phone: +91 33 2466 2657 trisyscom.com

The world △ Roxane Devanagari

by Amélie Bonet

writes in △ Arek Armenian

πολλά by Khajag Apelian

‫خطوط‬ many △ Skolar Greek

by David Březina

scripts △ Aisha Arabic

by Titus Nemeth

multilingual fonts from Kyoorius_mag_Rosetta.indd 1

www.rosettatype.com 30.5.11 10:36

74

the cabinet of curiosities

The Cabinet of Curiosities

text: pooja shah + www.theinkpot.in

From this issue onwards, we bring you The Cabinet of Curiosities, a four part series on interesting, design inspirations themed around Indian influences. This carefully curated knick knackery, featuring design work from contributors in India and abroad, is an attempt to interest and inspire the creative soul and expose them to work that they may have missed out on themselves. Historically, a Cabinet of Curiosities was an encyclopaedic collection in Renaissance Europe of incredible, obscure objects and antiquities, formed by aristocrats and rulers. These collections were precursors to museums and were also known by various names such as Wonder Room, or Cabinet of Wonder. Through this newly introduced feature, we seek to

recreate the sense of awe that the old cabinets once aroused. Every subsequent COC feature will begin with an India-centric theme. The design objects in that edition of The COC will be selected according to the chosen theme. The idea is to look at a single concept from a broad range of Indian design perspectives. Typically, the selection will encompass fashion design, fine art, photography, product and packaging design, graphic design, architecture, new media design and so on — all linked by a shared association with the theme and containing an Indian ethos. The first part in the Cabinet of Curiosities series is centered around the theme ‘Rang Birangi’ or multi-hued.

the cabinet of curiosities

How is The Cabinet of Curiosities going to help me? It’s a late night at work and you’ve spent hours working on a new design. Your deadline is tight and your mind is flustered. Every concept you attempt to bring to life dies off prematurely in failure. You fall deeper into a problematic state as your irritation grows stronger. This scenario isn’t too uncommon for a designer of any medium. Designer’s block is a horrid and hindering condition that prolongs the conception stage of design. Therefore this inspirational feature is the perfect antidote for the suffocated design-

er, especially for those days when the pixels aren’t aligning, the mouse finger isn’t clicking like it should and the sketches aren’t coming out quite right. We have compiled a list to serve up everything from logos to photos to art to fashion to just inventive ideas to get your mind ticking. So kick back with a piping hot mug of coffee, a notebook and browse away through the shelves of The Cabinet of Curiosities...

— Theme 1 —

Rang Birangi or Multihued Glistening Bollywood, garish weddings, shimmering deities, gaudy ghagra cholis, kitschy truck art, bustling bazaars, intricate rangolis, towers of colored spices, dancing peacocks and vibrant festivities are all pieces of a vast, multi-colored and multicultural mosaic called India. India simmers with color and color is an integral part of lifestyle here. It is a part of the religious rituals, cultural activities, customs, clothing, food, festivities and popular culture and it transforms this wonderful country’s crowded streets into dazzling rainbows. We decided to commemorate this madcap mishmash of color in our eighth issue of Kyoorius Magazine. Ten design inspirations by talented creative contributors who have incorporated this theme in their work have been curated by Pooja Shah, creative director, The Ink Pot. All images link to their original source and are copyrighted to their original owner.

 75

76

Special the cabinet Report of curiosities

Aakash Nihalani 1

Aakash Nihalani tape art

Neon Scotch Tape / Urban and Street Art The Brooklyn-based street artist calls attention to the mundane using bright rolls of tape, bringing out extra dimensions and creating optical illusions that incite passerbys to take a second look at their surroundings. Nihalani has gained wide renown for this 3D urban art that he creates using extremely bright, neon tape. The artist freehands his typically geometric tape designs, sometimes directly on a surface and sometimes on a cardboard backing to produce a rigid cutout that can stand alone. Encountering his work is a little like walking into a disorienting new wave music video. In his artist statement published on his website, he says he wants to “highlight the

unexpected contours and elegant geometry of the city itself” and to “create a new space within the existing space of our everyday world for people to enter freely, and unexpectedly ‘disconnect’ from their reality.” Basically, he brightens your day, literally and figuratively. Aakash’s tryst with street art began with an exhibition he put up while studying Printmaking. He was taping his prints to the wall, and idly began to trace the outlines of a table’s shadow with the tape. The idea excited his teachers, and Aakash had found his medium. His work before this was abstract expressionist: a preoccupation with surfaces and textured backgrounds. He had already hit upon the device of creating a little enclosed space on the canvas for contemplation using an isometric cube: the basic unit of space. All that remained now was to replace the painted background with surfaces in the real world;

the cabinetSpecial of curiosities Report

and the cubes began to serve just as well to highlight the beauty of the mundane, to force passerbys to stop and think a little. To Aakash, this is the raison d’être of his work: watching people engage with it. In the street, people see sidewalks and staircases in a whole new way through his taped outlines. And he photographs this endlessly. To him, these photographs are the final work of art: freezing the moment where the art and its audience are in conversation. You Tube – Stop, Pop & Roll (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_cZEwmqbrM) www.aakashnihalani.com

 77

78

Special the cabinet Report of curiosities

Meera Sethi 2

Meera Sethi

firangi rang birangi Acrylic, Ink and Pencil on Paper / Fashion Illustrations

Meera Sethi is an Indian-born, Toronto-based visual artist whose multi-disciplinary work explores the relationship between material and nonmaterial culture. Her practice references Indian dress history, contemporary fashion and the global textile trade with a particular emphasis on clothing, fashion and identity. Femininity, dress and hybridity emerge as key themes in her series Firangi Rang Barangi,

Hindi for “colorful foreigner�. Inspired by the movement of people across borders, this collection brings together Eastern and Western textiles, garments and jewelry, in order to re-imagine identity. A fearless use of color, bold pattern and finely rendered detail characterize these large, acrylic paintings, which layer cultural history with personal style. While the surface of these works draw us in, the bodies that they adorn are barely revealed – an inversion that suggests the role of sartorial expression in creating a sense of self, particularly one rooted in a diasporic, transnational experience. www.meerasethi.com

the cabinetSpecial of curiosities Report

 79

80

Special the cabinet Report of curiosities

Nina Paley 3

Nina Paley

sita sings the blues

Animated Feature Film / New Media Design Sita Sings the Blues is a 2008 animated feature film written, directed, produced and animated entirely by American artist Nina Paley primarily using 2D computer graphics and Flash Animation. It intersperses events from the Ramayana, illustrated conversation between Indian shadow puppets, musical interludes voiced with tracks by Annette Hanshaw and scenes

from the artist’s own life. The ancient mythological and modern biographical plots are parallel tales, sharing numerous themes. The film uses several different styles of animation to separate and identify these parallel narratives. Episodes with dialogue from the Ramayana are enacted using painted figures of the characters in profile, which strongly resemble the 18th-century Indian tradition of Rajput painting. The shadow puppet narrators (inspired by Chhaya Natak or the Shadow Theatre) link episodes of the Ramayana with a lively, unscripted discussion of their personal impressions and knowledge of the epic. They provide context and commentary for the

the cabinetSpecial of curiosities Report

story. These voices are contemporary unlike their visualizations and further establish the contrast between “ancient tragedy and modern comedy. Musical episodes from the Ramayana set to songs performed by jazz singer Annette Hanshaw are visualized, with Sita as the singing performer, using the strikingly modern technique of vector graphic animation. And finally, the modern, more personal element to the contemporary part of the story is narrated using the rough, energetic Squigglevision technique of traditional animation that conveys the restlessness. The end result is an enchanting, whimsical and astonishingly original film that evokes paint-

ing, collage, underground comic books and Mumbai musicals and combines them into a colorful jumble. This wonderful animated musical is the Nina’s personal interpretation of the great Indian epic, The Ramayana. The aspect of the story that the artist focuses on is the relationship between Sita and Rama, who are gods incarnated as human beings, and how they couldn’t make their marriage work. Sita’s story is uncannily similar to the story of the artist’s own failed marriage and thus she felt it was cathartic to retell the story. www.sitasingstheblues.com

 81

82

Special the cabinet Report of curiosities

Swati Khurana 4

Swati Khurana

carousel book titled ‘five day wedding’ Mixed Media / Collage

Swati Khurana is a New York based artist whose work explores the themes of gender, ethnicity and the seductive promise of rituals. The Five Day Wedding is a large carousel pop-up book based on a series of collages she made a few years ago called the Malabar Bride. The book and collage series illustrate experiences from her own Malabar wedding. In this work, Swati has digitally combined drawings of her traditional Hindu wedding photos with images of sumptuous imperial architecture, ethnic-chic interior design, and animal coloring books. She has constructed

these collages to create disorienting spaces of captivity and domesticity for the figures of the bride as she is contained within these interior spaces. Through her work she conveys that under the glossy and ironic aesthetic of consumer-age pastiche lies a darker world of entrapment. Her book enables the viewer to walk into and engage with the interior spaces and characters that are trapped in that world. Her sketches evoke her self-portrait as a bride along with other figures combined with different animals and environments on fabric. Her grandmothers became unintentional collaborators on this project and have embroidered onto her drawings. Her work explores the narrative nature of memory and space, where color combines with black and white, Xerox transfer integrates with ink, and line intermingles

the cabinetSpecial of curiosities Report

with pattern. Her main source of inspiration was her own multi-day Hindu wedding, during which she began exploring ritualized performances wherein brides become consumable artifacts. In her work, she is mainly interested in the connection between the personal and the popular, specifically the romantic, sexual and cultural expectations that are placed upon women. Through the creation of highly mediated and constructed compositions and narratives, she hopes to displace notions of authenticity and allow for possibilities of reimagining subjectivities, landscapes, and memories. www.swatikhurana.com

 83

84

Special the cabinet Report of curiosities

Ankur Gupta 5

Ankur Gupta

ambiguous desires of a child Sequins, crystals, glitter and embroidery / Fashion Design

Ankur Gupta, a Fashion and Textile graduate from NIFT is an avid storyteller. His frippery is painstakingly elaborate and heavily laden with sequins, crystals, dusted with glitter, and held together by embroidery. Gaze anywhere upon his garment, and a tale will gradually blossom, taking you through his homeland India. His kaleidoscopic mind’s eye is filled with imagery from his childhood. His work is a sartorial piece of soul, embellished with bursts of color, creativity, compassion, wonder and naiveté. His clothes fuse emblems from Hinduism, fables from jungles, animal mandalas and chunks of nostalgia from his very own life. His latest collection, “Ambiguous Desires of a Child”, has been inspired by three themes – children, dreams and interpretations. Through his newest works, Gupta has tried to tell amazing stories that combine the surreal

side of Hinduism with a healthy dose of humor and irony. For instance, one dress features a yellow school bus surrounded by exotic jungle animals and tells the story of a devoted kid who gets lost in the jungle with his friends when their school bus breaks down and gets help from Lord Shiva who kindly pours a bit of water from the River Ganges flowing from his head into the bus carburetor. His inspiration sprung from the negative. The current debate on war, terrorism, bomb blasts, recession and depression made him long for happiness, colors, freedom, children, dreams, excitement and irony. He connected all these themes together in his work, trying to spot humor and surrealism in Hinduism and linking the latter with children’s dreams and adding a healthy dose of irony to it all. The famous quote ‘When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child and reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up my childish ways’, was equally inspiring for him. www.ankurgupta.co.in

the cabinetSpecial of curiosities Report

 85

86

Special the cabinet Report of curiosities

Arti Sandhu 6

Arti Sandhu alphabet series

Photographs and digital collages printed on textile / Textile Design Arti Sandhu, is a Fashion and textile design lecturer at Columbia College, Chicago. The Alphabet Series are textile pieces that focus on the Indian alphabet. In an attempt to remind herself of her motherland and language, the artist has created pieces that are both educational tools and a visual commentary on India. Each piece has a letter of the alphabet in Devanagri script, with a word that is represented through photographs and digital collages printed on linen or cotton organdie, appliquĂŠd onto cotton tussar (silk) with embroidery and sequins. Besides fashion, her interests lie in textiles, embroidery, graphic design and photography, and

she has tried to fuse all these together in her art works. Through this series, she wanted to create photographs that have texture, are three dimensional, that can be touched and that reach out to you. Her collages combine aspects of Indian life that are often a culture shock for first-time visitors to India and thus make a humorous comment on life in urban India. These collages mix the everyday (pani, toilet), mundane (clothes, traffic) and novel, with some obvious strereotypes (haathi, mahal, buffalo). Her inspiration for this series came during her visit with her foreign fiancĂŠ to India. He was stunned by the unusual sights, sounds, chaos and traffic of Indian life and she wanted to capture these images conveying his culture shock. It was also a way of remembering and a way of visually communicating her experiences in India. www.flickr.com/photos/artisandhu/

the cabinetSpecial of curiosities Report

 87

88

Special Report

Kaali Arulprgasam

7

Kaali Arulprgasam mankind

Necklaces / Jewelry Design Kali Arulpragasam is a jewelry designer based in London, UK. She is the founder and creative director of the Jewelry Company and label “Super Fertile,” founded in 2006. Her latest collection for men — Man-Kind features statement pieces used in congregation as ornaments that suggest a better way of life. Fragile sculptural human figures of vivid painted plaster helping, climbing, and lifting each other in constellations across the wearer’s body have been created. Each figure is unique in color, shape and size. The Man–Kind pieces are just like human beings — none quite alike, none perfect yet all individualistic in their own right. Specifically non-gender, the collection takes you back to the basics of being human. The message she would like to send

through her latest collection is that that man might be evil, but kindness can overcome man’s evil tendencies — hence Mankind. Thus, each necklace features characters doing good humanist deeds, like lending a hand and pulling people to safety, in the hope of inspiring people to be better people. Kali’s ornaments always attempt to be more than a pretty adornment and are politically conscious in form and influenced and inspired by social realism, the environment and nations torn at war. Her work is a great example of how fashion has the ability to create awareness. In her previous collections she tackled global, political and economic issues such as famine, terrorism and recession. The latest collection offers a conclusion and solution to these issues, in her own words, “If MAN is the root of all problems, MAN-KIND is the solution”. www.superfertile.com

the cabinetSpecial of curiosities Report

 89

90

Special the cabinet Report of curiosities

Nilofer Suleman 8

Nilofer Suleman suleman chai

Acrylic on Canvas / Painting Nilofer Suleman is a Bangalore based artist whose work consists of fauvist splashes of un-adulterated, unapologetic color and a coalition of styles predominantly influenced by the Indian visual landscape. Each painting (usually around 5 feet by 5 feet) tells a story, anticipates an outcome and becomes an archetype. Each figure has defined characteristics but the plot is never static. There are twists and turns, there is love and lust and dilemmas to overcome. The main protagonists are: the eternally stunned and naive Chinamma and Jayaram. Then there are the sly and lecherous Ramlal Pardesi and Tiger Murugesh, complete with colorful scarves around their necks and oily hair. The seductress Kaanan Bala, the rogue Josi Kutti, the vamp Susy Mallama, love-struck Lakshmi and the disapproving mother-in-law amongst a sea of other char-

acters that together breathe life and laughter into typical Indian stereotypes. These characters intermingle while sharing an Ice-gola, “a paan” or a fish against a backdrop of painted Gods. According to the artist, Gods and cinema is really what lies at the core of every Indian heart, reflective of hope. Her paintings weave a narrative together as she outlines this hope that exists in the seemingly mundane everyday ritual of life. Nilofer firmly believes that inspiration lurks at every street corner waiting to be discovered — in the chai kadas, the barber shops, the ‘ammas’, the jhadoos, old Hindi movie posters, handpainted and wall-hung Ravi Varma’s god oleographs, in the excessiveness of painted trucks and in the simplicity of short but archetypal interactions on the road and in the movies. Further, she is inspired by Indian typography and street graphics. Not because they are seemingly “exotic” but because to her they are familiar, they are home. www.sulemanchai.com

the cabinetSpecial of curiosities Report

 91

92

Special the cabinet Report of curiosities

Priya Sebastian 9

Priya Sebastian the redbook

Visual Journal / Collaborative Design Priya Sebastian is an illustrator and she had her inspiration for The Red Book Project when she bought a lovely red bound Nightingale journal. The Red Book is a visual conversation between two artists expressed within the pages of a pair of red journals. The two artists – Priya and an illustrator friend, filled up pages of their respective Redbooks and then met once a fortnight at a restaurant, a different one each time, there they would ‘exchange’ their Redbooks, gasp dramatically at what the other had done, eat heartily and go home and excitably embellish the pages of the exchanged Redbook until they met a fortnight later for yet another exchange.

Her inspiration for the project came from wanting to do something fun, personal and unique in book form, which would combine creative skills between her best friend and her self into something compact, yet visually seductive. Each of them, now have a wonderful journal, filled with pages of their collaborative creativity and memories of the good times together. Further, her inspiration for the illustrations within the pages came from vibrant city life and her eclectic personal experiences within it. This wonderful collaborative project led to other things — experimentation as never before, new styles, further ideas into unchartered territory and the shedding of ambitions. This book is a lush documentation of everyday life and also a useful tool that helps in unclogging the creative channel. www.picasaweb.com/priya.sebastian/Redbook

the cabinetSpecial of curiosities Report

 93

94

Special the cabinet Report of curiosities

Brijesh Dahiya & Kuldeep Singh 10

Brijesh Dahiya & Kuldeep Singh cheapsex

Graphic Boxer Shorts / Product / Graphic Design Faridabad-based design company CheapSex started by duo Brijesh and Kuldeep has pumped testosterone into humble boxer shorts, along with a dose of desi humour and garish color. This series features unisex boxers with wacky doodles in themes like the Ass Cock, Butt Bite, Chadti Jawani and CheapSex Clinic. The idea came up over a casual lunch with Tennessee whiskey between NIFT alumnus and designer Brijesh Dahiya and software

engineer Kuldeep Singh. The idea was based on the premise that young people today like to wear trousers so low that you can see their undergarments and how no one likes to glance at plain, boxer shorts playing peek-aboo. This plain old boxer was crying out for sexual freedom and to fill this void in belowthe-belt graphic fashion they introduced CheapSex. Through their creations they play a satirical joke on kitsch, color and all that is local and shock people. They operate from a studio space in Faridababd called the Gulabo Chhap Design Works. The inspiration for their patterns was everyday colloquial humor, the unusual in the mundane. www.cheapsex.co.in

the cabinetSpecial of curiosities Report

 95

96

the cabinet of curiosities

Nina Paley www.sitasingstheblues.com

Aakash Nihalani www.aakashnihalani.com Meera Sethi www.meerasethi.com

Arti Sandhu www.flickr.com/photos/ artisandhu/

Swati Khurana www.swatikhurana.com Ankur Gupta www.ankurgupta.co.in

Nilofer Suleman www.sulemanchai.com

design resources selected blog Manu Tyagi’s Wearabout – a blog documenting street fashion in India http://wearabout.wordpress.com selected website Wetheppl consists of a bunch of artists, thinkers and producers

Priya Sebastian www.picasaweb.com/ priya.sebastian/Redbook

living in India, who are conducting an experiment called WETHEPPL, through which they are trying out conceptual, physical, artistic and literary ideas and seeing how they work. The ideas are inspired by the people around them and the people they look up to. http://wethepeopleareready.com

Kaali Arulprgasam www.superfertile.com

Brijesh Dahiya & Kuldeep Singh www.cheapsex.co.in

selected book Street Graphics India by Barry Dawson, captures the riot of color and image used in advertising, packaging, and even political murals in the subcontinent

pooja shah is a design researcher, writer and art connoisseur based in Mumbai. In 2010, she founded a unique publishing consultancy, The Ink Pot that provides bespoke design and editorial services to the self-publisher. She has studied design management and Indian aesthetics and helped create wondrous illustrated books on Indian film, popular culture, history, design, art, poetry and has also dabbled in the non-illustrated fiction genre.

Agency for motion and digital design.

We are opening Addikt Mumbai office April 2011 So we’re looking for talented people. Interested... mail India@addikt.nl

98

typography

TYPOGRAPHY COLUMN This is the first in a series of columns on the subject of Typography and its uses that we are going to be featuring in subsequent issues. Typography itself is centered around language, technology, craft and history and we will be having a look at the intersection of all of these elements in future columns. by Peter Biľak & Satya Rajpurohit

1 Oxford Dictionaries Online, accessed 30 April 2011 http://oxforddictionaries.com

On the left: road sign, Ahmedabad, 2011; on the left: redrawn version using typefaces Kohinoor Latin Medium and Kohinoor Gujarati Medium

To start with, it might be useful to talk about what typography is, as the word is often used in many different ways. Traditional dictionary definitions (for example, ‘The style and appearance of printed matter.’1), are outdated and perhaps too restrictive, since typography is no longer confined to the realm of print, it can unfold in space and time, and can transcend the layout and style of type. Language is ephemeral and immaterial, and it is typography that captures it and gives it a more lasting form. The aspiration of good typography is the same as that of language: to communicate an intelligible message. And just like language, typography is a multifunctional tool: it is both functional and expressive, both the humble servant of the language as well as an active component of how we interpret its message. Phil Baines and Andrew Haslam observed in their excel-

lent book Type and Typography that it is an anomaly that language and typography are taught separately in completely unrelated educational institutions. So: typography is the graphic embodiment of language, it is to your eyes what speech is to your ears, with all its expressive nuances and potential for communication as well as confusion. Good typography balances its functional and expressive sides as it shapes the experience of communication. In this text, we are going to focus on the utilitarian role of typography, as this aspect is perhaps easier to understand. Or to put it differently, the artistic aspect of typography is perhaps too subjective for a short text such as this. Let’s examine typography’s utilitarian role in a simple experiment using two practical examples, a road sign and a film certificate. (Typography is as pertinent to

typography

such mundane items as cinema tickets and tax forms as it is to posters and book jackets, which is why we chose these particular examples.) In both cases, the image on the left is an actual photograph of type as we found it, while the image on the right has been reinterpreted using principles of good typographic design. When you compare the two versions of the Gujarati road sign, you see that on the right both languages are given equal status, rather than making one supe-

Good typography communicates a message and invites the reader to engage in that communication. This can happen on many levels. In the case of a book it means that the text is simply legible and doesn’t get in the way of the reading process. In the case of posters or other uses of type where readability is not the only factor involved, good typography helps to organise information and communicate not only the facts but also the emotions connected with them.

केन्द्रीय फिल्म प्र्माणन बोर्ड

भारत सरकार

CENTRAL BOARD OF FILM CERTIFICATION

GOVT. OF INDIA

यह प्रमाणपत्र केवल वीडियो डिल्मों के बाबत डवधिमान्य है।

18893

This Certificate is valid for Video Films only.

VIL/43/44/2006-HYD

FEATURE

NOV 10, 2006

UNIVERSAL VIDEO (V/U)

NO.

CERTIFICATE NO.

V/U

DATED

CATEGORY

VEGAM (TELUGU) (COLOR)

PART I

134 MINUTES

01

FILM

PART

GUAGE

LENGTH

MTS REELS

निम्नललखित :

After examination of the film by the members of the:

☑ परिक्षण समिति ☐ पुनिीक्षण समिति ☐ फि़ल्म प्रिाणन अपील अधिकिण

☑ Examining Committee ☐ Revising Committee ☐ Film Certification Appellate Tribunal

के सदस्मों द्ारा परीक्षण के पश्ात तथा उक्त :

mentioned below and on the recommendations of the said:

☑ परिक्षण समिति ☐ पुनिीक्षण समिति ☐ फि़ल्म प्रिाणन अपील अधिकिण

☑ Examining Committee ☐ Revising Committee ☐ Film Certification Appellate Tribunal

की ससिाररशमों पर बोि्ड एतद्द्ारा यह प्रमाणणत करता है नक पीछे संलग्न भाग-२ में उपदलशशित कांट-छांट अौर उपान्तरमों के अिीि ड़िल् अनिब्डन्धित साव्डजनिक प्रदश्डि के ललए उपयुक्त है।

the board hereby certifies that the film is fit for unrestricted public exhibition subject to excisions and modifications listed in part II on the reverse.

SMT P. SOUDHAMINI

SMT G. VIJAYALAKSHMI

SHRI P. SARATH KUMAR

SHRI N. SEETHARAMA RAJU

SHREE T.V.K. REDDY (EX. OFFICER)

01

02

03

04

05

यह अौर प्रमाणणत नकया जाता है नक उपरोक्त बोि्ड द्ारा अधिरोषित कांट-छांट अौर उपान्तरमों को वास्तव में काययान्वित नकया गया है।

On the left: current version of the official Indian certificate for video films; on the right, a redrawn version using ITF Classic Devanagari Bold, and Kohinoor Devanagari and Latin

 99

Further certified that the excisions and modifications imposed by the board have actually been carried out.

SHRI J. JAGANNATH REDDY

SHRI J. JAGANNATH REDDY

VIJAY KUMAR REDDY THUMMA

NAME OF THE APPLICANT

NAME OF THE PRODUCER

CHAIRMAN’S SIGNATURE

rior to the other. Also the use of type is more consistent, and the stretching of letters is avoided. The well-designed typeface produces more legible text in spite of the fact that the actual physical size of the letters is smaller! Perhaps surprisingly, bigger type doesn’t automatically guarantee higher legibility here. Similarly, a comparison of the two versions of the bilingual Hindi/English film certificate shows that the original suffers from a lack of typographical hierarchy; although the actual typefaces are legible, the resulting layout is chaotic. Reorganising the information and drawing the reader’s attention to important points by the systematic use of type sizes and weights (as well as white space) dramatically improves the certificate’s readability.

Poor typography, on the other hand, is not just unattractive, but usually fails to communicate. It distorts the content and alienates the reader emotionally. We are surrounded by typography in the thousands of messages we read every day. It makes sense to pay attention to typography, since it plays an important role in the content it communicates. ◮

This column is curated by the Indian Type Foundry (ITF), a font development company based in Ahmedabad. ITF invites experts in the field of typography to contribute to this column.

Peter Biľak and Satya Rajpurohit are type designers and founding partners of the Indian Type Foundry. www.indiantypefoundry.com

100

typography

Arabic Calligraphy and Type Design by Kristyan Sarkis

This article presents the Diwani style of Arabic which led to designing Thuraya, a contemporary yet faithful interpretation of the Diwani style with extensive calligraphic features.

Arabic calligraphy is undoubtedly one of the highest achievements of Islamic art, and over the centuries an enormous number of calligraphic styles have emerged from different regions of the Islamic and Arab world. Arabic writing is an ethereal art set apart by its diversity of styles, the skill and passion required, and the message it was meant to carry. The powerful influence of calligraphy long inhibited the progress of Arabic type design development. Religious and cultural attachments to the art played a role in this, as well as the complexity of styles, which far exceeded the capabilities of Latin-oriented typesetting systems. Consequently, Arabic type made several disjointed jumps into the digital age, all marked by severe limitations: in the case of hot metal type, faithful reproduction of the calligraphic styles necessitated the creation of an extremely large character set (a minimum of 900 characters, Bulaq Press, Cairo, Early 1800s). In the case of Linotype’s simplified Arabic, the limitations of the typesetting technology necessitated modifications to the core of the script itself. Recent technological developments have removed many of these limitations, and several new possibilities are emerging thanks to growing interest in Arabic type (as separate from Arabic calligraphy) and to resources available to skilled designers. My fascination with Arabic calligraphy has always been my primary motivation for designing type, and since modern type design (not only for the Arabic script) has taken on a whole new level of complexity,

I wanted to explore the relationship between these two areas. My research focused on the intersection of calligraphy and type in a digital type environment, balancing the possibilities of both sides. For this purpose I chose the Diwani style, one whose complexity and unconventional rules have perhaps discouraged more extensive digital exploration. The Diwani Style The Ottoman dynasty held the Arabic script and its calligraphic traditions in high and sacred esteem. They assimilated them, developing them with both devotion and great imagination, mastering the already existing styles as well as developing new styles of their own. The Ottoman sultans patronised the most talented artists of the day, which led to the rise of a very large number of skilled calligraphers. One of the most important derivative styles of this period was the Diwani script, which was developed in the late fifteenth century by Ibrahim Munif, and later modified and refined by the celebrated Turkish calligrapher Shaykh Hamdullah. It is a cursive script based on the Ta‘liq style, ‘written on a less dramatically hanging baseline, though its letter connections are vertical and slanted’ ¹. It is characterised by dramatically curved undotted letters which are joined together in an unconventional fashion, and by ending swashes that often extend below the baseline of letters. Diwani is written without vocalisation marks. It was practised primarily in the council chambers (Arabic: diwan) where it was used for all of the official correspondence of the Sultans. The Jali Diwani, an ornamental variant which is highly admired to this day, is characterised by large geometric shapes created by the small, delicate ornaments which fill all the gaps between the letters and words. It was used for long names and the titles of the Sultans.

typography

Studying the Diwani Style Because I respect and admire the art of writing, its calligraphic practices and styles, and because the attempt to capture a calligraphic spirit in a digital medium inevitably involves the risk of losing the beauty and sacredness of the script, I wanted to make every effort to study the Diwani style before drawing a single letter. Therefore I contacted the renowned Lebanese calligrapher Ali Assi and had several lessons with him in which we tried to cover all the information essential for the start of my project. My aim was not to be able to write Diwani, but rather to understand it, always keeping in mind the forthcoming change of medium and how this new knowledge could be applied in a digital type environment. Under Mr. Assi I learned about the rules of Diwani, the structure and proportions of the letters (measured by the rhombic dot) in their different positions and alternative shapes, the angle and movement of the pen, the connections, the ligatures, and the unique, unconventional features of the script. This culminated in the detailed analysis that was crucial to an authentic interpretation of the script as a typeface.

The angle of the pen is 60°, creating thin stems (verticals) and thick baselines (horizontals). Because of the angle of the pen and the excessively curled endings of the letters, the thinnest strokes involve a lot of rotation and usage of the pen tip. The stem height is 6 rhombic dots, a relatively normal height, which maintains the horizontally compact texture of the style. The connected letterforms all have slanted horizontals, and the general vertical axis of all the letters is inclined to the left. A distinctive feature of Diwani is the no-descenders rule (except for the letter meem), contrary to other scripts where the letters are drawn between a maximum descenders line and a stem height line, with a baseline, several loop height lines and several descenders lines in between. This contributes even more to the general compact feeling of the script. The most complex and distinctive characteristic of the script is the slanted baseline. This feature is responsible for the most unconventional connections and shapes. Levels

My approach to analysing the structure of the script (and beginning to understand the limitations imposed on the calligraphic features by the digital medium) was to divide the stem height into six levels (according to the number of rhombic dots) and six sub-levels. Each letter occupies a specified number of levels, and in the case of the isolated form of a given letter, this number affects only the letter itself. In the case of the terminal form of the letter, however, this number affects the height of the letter’s connection with the entire preceding combination. Similarly, in the case of the initial form of a letter, the number of levels occupied affects only the letter itself, but in the case of the medial form of a letter, it affects the position of the preceding letter.

 101

102

typography

The last letter in any combination has to sit on the baseline, so the position of the initial letter is determined by the connection level of the terminal letter, the number of letters in the combination and the number of levels each letter occupies. The Process

On the other hand, keeping the clear horizontal slant and smooth curved connections of the letters, and playing with the levels of the isolated glyphs were ways to create a dynamic liveliness in the typeface. I was very pleased with the results. The effect was instantaneous. It looked like a nice start, and from here on the letters went through several cycles of changing and fixing and redrawing to meet the needs of the typeface.

Levels As a Typographic System The design process that led from Thuraya’s first sketches to the final digital version was full of ups and downs. Assuming that the slant would eventually work, I started two sets of quick sketches, one based strictly on calligraphy and one separate from it (without losing sight of the structure). After several rounds of drawing and much time devoted to designing slanted letters based on the calligraphic style, I came to an important realisation: forcing the typeface to follow the rules and proportions of the calligraphic script was not the right approach. Like every other feature of the script, this system had to be adapted to the capabilities of the digital typeface. I had been so fully focused on designing the glyphs according to the levels of the letters that I had not explored the shapes of the letterforms independently of the number of levels they occupied. The result was an outdated feel and unsatisfactory shapes. Thus a major decision had to be made: I would put aside the slanted baseline in favour of preserving the Diwani shapes and achieving smooth connections between the slanted letters, diverging from calligraphy while preserving its spirit. From this straight-baseline typeface I would later devise a new system to incorporate the slant feature. There would be two versions of the typeface, each suited to a different purpose.

Drastic changes included minimising the inverted curves, creating clear cuts following the pen movement, making the teeth more pronounced, reducing the curled endings of some letters, changing the shapes of some letters to avoid confusion while reading, and opening all the closed counters. 06

Having gotten the design process of Thuraya Regular on the right track, I returned once again to the idea of Thuraya Slanted. This time, however, the slant and level system was based not on the original calligraphic principles, but on a simpler concept derived from the straight-baseline version. To achieve a fluid, aesthetically pleasing result, every letter’s slant (i.e., the number of levels it occupies) would be proportional to its width. At this point the entire design was still largely theoretical with no real evidence that it would actually work. In spite of this fact, I continued to develop both versions in hopes that they would both be successful. Thuraya Slanted Born After a 3-day-workshop with Adobe’s Miguel Sousa, in a discussion with Erik van Blokland, Miguel suggested the cursive feature as a possible solution for the slanted baseline. The feature works as follows: Named anchors are placed at the connecting points of each glyph (‘exit’ anchors for the initial glyphs, ‘entry’ and ‘exit’ for the medial ones, and ‘entry’ for the terminals) and the cursive feature connects the ‘exit’ to the ‘entry’ anchors.

typography

This approach required a preliminary script which would search through the typeface and locate all the anchors to be connected. After several attempts, Erik van Blokland developed a working script, so we could test the first working version of Thuraya Slanted. I was extremely delighted and had a lot of fun typing my first slanted texts. And since it was now possible to test the slanted version properly with all the possible combinations, I was able to work out a lot of bugs, especially problems with rough connections. Curved Baseline One of the main characteristics I wanted Thuraya to have was a completely curved baseline with high, tight curves. Creating one smooth curve out of two separate connecting curves requires coordinating the width and radius of the downstroke with those of the upstroke. Since both depend on the structures of the letters themselves, the key is to find a balance between all the possible downstrokes and upstrokes, shifting the optical connecting point slightly to the right, since the typeface has a vertical slant to the left. Dealing with the connections of the slanted version followed the same principle as the straight version, with the additional dimensions of the width and radius of the downstrokes and upstrokes adjusted for the slanted baseline.

Other ligatures were designed either to achieve a smoother connection, as in the case of feh-alef or qaf-alef, or to solve the problem of overlapping diacritic dots, as in the case of yeh-yeh.

Titling Alternates

Ligatures To keep a harmonious calligraphic flow and a rhythmically curved baseline, several letter combinations were designed as ligatures. This is because of some letters like reh, zayn, yeh, alef maksura and alef maksura hamza, which don’t connect on the baseline, and other letters like waw, waw hamza, feh and qaf which were difficult to connect smoothly while preserving the slanted vertical axis. The 660 ligatures (included in both styles) include every combination of the terminal forms of waw, waw hamza, feh, veh, qaf, yeh, alef maksura, alef maksura hamza, reh, zayn and jeh, with the initial and medial forms of all the other letters.

Some letters connect vertically. This is an important calligraphic feature which I also decided to implement in Thuraya. Therefore a set of alternates mainly intended for titles was designed for an even more authentic calligraphic expression. Thuraya explores the intersection of the historic Diwani calligraphic style and a digital typeface. With its 2 styles, it is a contemporary yet faithful interpretation of the Diwani style with extensive calligraphic features. 1 huda smitshuijzen abifarès, arabic typography, a comprehensive sourcebook, saqi books 2001, london

 103

104

Illustrator

Sunil Garud

02

01

03

01 Frida Poster Personal work 02 Kooning Poster Personal work. 03 Crawford Market Personal work.

04 Salaam Bombay Hockey Academy Illustrations for Salaam Bombay Foundation sports event for street children. 05 Alexander Mcqueen Tribute Poster Personal work.

Illustrator

 105

04

05

It’s not easy to define Sunil Garud’s style after seeing his work, which is almost always a good thing. Garud is an illustrator, graphic designer, art director and photographer, all rolled into one. Having done brief stints at advertising agencies like O&M and Leo Burnett, besides freelance assignments for Mudra, Garud has also independently worked with clients like the FCH Group, Salaam Bombay, Vodafone, Volkswagen Beetle, Thomas Cook, Reliance and Aamir Khan productions to name a few. He currently works as a freelance artist and is based out of Mumbai. Inspirations Sunil Garud has a First Class First Honours in Illustration from Sir JJ Institute of Applied Art, Mumbai, which is a stone’s throw away from his home. Garud often goes back to his college for inspiration but it’s the city that he lives in — Mumbai, which is his biggest inspiration. He says it helps that Mumbai has so much to offer by means of inspirational material. Real life is unfolding everyday on the streets and this is the raw material that Garud works on. He spends a lot of time exploring the city and draws inspiration from daily life, meeting new people, discovering new changes in objects and life. Garud says his love for cycling also helps feed his everyday inspirations. One day, he hopes to travel and explore different parts of the world on his cycle. As for his work, Garud says it’s not just about seeing and soaking in new things, it’s about having a new perspective — seeing things from a different vantage point that lends a unique voice. Besides people and cities, which serve as easy inspiration, Garud says each and every element of Mother Nature inspires and empowers him to create art and designs. He says, “All that one needs to do is change the way one looks at things and Bingo — you find beauty all around you. This is what I am attempting to do with my drawings, paintings and characters which I have created using ink

106

Illustrator

and different kinds of natural and manmade objects. This is however, the very initial stage of my style, but definitely my personal favourite. These drawings and paintings are just forms of self-expression. They help me to connect with my inner self. These drawings, characters, paintings are inspired from the little things that I notice every day.” Garud says his art helps him relive his childhood, which he fondly remembers and misses sorely. Favourites When he is not roaming the streets of Mumbai soaking in the energy of the metropolis, he can be found in his studio at home in the company of AR Rehman, Sufi inspired music, Rajasthani folk songs and tonnes of movie soundtracks from all over the world. Garud’s favourite inspiration outside of real life are abstract expressionists and masters like Jackson Pollock, Raja Ravi Varma, Van Gogh, Franz Kline, Vasudeo S. Gaitonde, Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, Egon Schiele, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Johannes

Vermeer, Tyeb Mehta, Monet, Willem de Kooning, Amrita Shergill, Helen Frankenthaler, Sunil Das, Gustav Klimt, Andy Warhol, S H Raza, Jamini Roy, and Francis Newton Souza to name a few. He loves observing nature’s elements in their natural habitat. Stones, rocks, animals, tree leaves, branches, textures, clouds and the sea – these are all good starting points for his work. Garud says his natural curiosity has served him well. This extends to his drawing, painting and design style especially when he “tries to discover a new style by using objects that may not seem a part of the familiar art world.” Garud says he doesn’t want to be restricted by 2d and Print media, and believes the challenge lies in working with different media. While it is his illustration that has made him popular with the creative fraternity in advertising agencies and design houses, he believes it is the application of his skill sets to create brand identity, and campaigns that sets him apart from the rest. 07

06–08 Delhi Belly Poster Design for Aamir Khan Productions’ next film. 06

Illustrator

08

 107

108

Illustrator 11

09

10

09–11 Keya Pickles Packaging Design for Keya pickles

12 3 Idiots Apparel+Merchandise design for Rajkumar Hirani’s 3 Idiots.

13 Nature Networks Illustration for Asian Paint’s annual Report.

14 Simplymarry Illustration for Simplymarry.com

08

12 14

13

Illustrator

15

16

17

18

15–17 Kesari Tours Spatial Design for Kesari Tours. 18 Greenfish Production Branding for Greenfish productions. 19 Milan Maestros Harmony Concert photo album cover. 08

20 Cafe Coffee Day CCD Stationery Design.

19

20

 109

110

education

“They say every funda has a mental side.” Fundamental 2011 came to an end after four days of design, music and dance. The annual festival of Symbiosis Institute of Design (sid) in association with Kyoorius, Indigo Airlines and Shantai Hotels bustled with the energy of the circus of imagination. With events like “Cycle of Thought”, a product design event, where a new functionality had to be added to a cycle while maintaining its original functionaility, and “Mera Nam Joker”, the fashion event where participants had to create costume, non-textile garments with limited material. Day one ended with an evening of karaoke. The young designers

of sid are definitely breaking new ground with their contemporary installations displayed at all pockets of the campus, inventive and true to its circus theme. Day two was all about digital painting and “Click”, the still photography event, initiated by Better Photography Magazine along with toilet seat graphics and playing Pictionary with a twist. Suddenly a siren would bring everything to a standstill, all the students would gather at the amphitheatre for “Chaos” an ambient dance event. Dancing to the tunes of paced numbers, happened thrice a day and was a

strong crowd puller. Releve, the dance competition enthralled the auditorium where sid was judged by Ruel, the winner of two world hip hop championships and also featured “The Fashion Vaude Ville”– a fashion show brought forth by the fashion department of sid, which was highly appreciated. Day three had a balance of indoor events, seminars from the likes of Itu Chaudhuri, E Suresh, Fraser Muggeridge and Chandrashekhar Vyawahare to workshops by Dupont and Lawerence Casserley when “twister” and “chaos” kept students busy outdoors. Metal Bands battled it out at “Plug n Play” too.

education

“Sampla” was the last day of the fest. Students came in traditional wear to mark the end of their festival as well as to bid good bye to the final year students. Inhouse awards were given to fellow students and faculty on their humour and antics. The event was closed with a grand concert by popular folk rock band, “Swarathma”, at the enchanting Amphitheatre of Ishanya Mall, where the energy levels of the crowd were breaking all boundaries and made it a night to be remembered for a long time. All in all, dealing with sponsors, construction of massive installations, promotions, branding, registrations, security, the list goes on, basically months and months of grueling hard work is what brings the designers at SID closer together, breaks the ice between juniors and seniors and generates a true “Design” environment, where ideas amalgamate to move beyond just organizing an event and culminates in forming a living, breathing enterprise that takes a major place in all our hearts and creates memories for a lifetime. text by students from symbiosis institute of design

 111

112

education

Quasar Quasar! Well, if you’re wondering what it is, firstly it is considered to be among the most luminous objects in the universe and secondly it is the name given to the annual college fest of maeer’s mit Institute of Design, Pune. Well, here we are talking about the latter one. Quasar, the annual event is organised by a combined effort of students specialised in areas like logistics, events, workshops, hospitality, security, graphics, cultural events and the exhibition department putting their heads together to make this happen — every single year, since 2007. Well, in the name of Quasar, we do a lot of fun stuff through which we learn a lot of things. We work eight months a year planning, thinking, re-thinking and re-planning, and modifying the event so that we get it perfect in all aspects as it’s finally presented.

Quasar has grown tremendously over the years. What started off as an intra-college fest with game stalls and home-made food, grew with support from the design industry and then the industrial brands, over the years. In 2011, as Quasar goes through a milestone celebrating its fifth occurence, the story has come a long way. As we wanted the best of the design industry to be present here, we invited professionals from all over the world to conduct seminars and workshops at the event. Hence, establishing a platform where students from all the design institutes in India would come together to share and exhibit their strengths in their area of excellence. We had immense support from Kyoorius throughout and without which, this wouldn’t have been possible. As pro-active learners as we are, we had the biggest delegation of students and faculties at the Designyatra 2010. Interestingly, the students present there, had a talk with Mr. Rajesh Kejriwal of Kyoorius and fixed up an appointment to meet in Mumbai a few weeks later. Visits to Mumbai, disscusions over phone, skype talks followed. It has truly been a brilliant learning experience by having Mr. Kejriwal as our mentor.

education

For an event from 31st Jan onwards, we were done with finalising the speakers for the event by December itself, considering their schedules, travel, visa issues etc taking a month’s time. As the announcements were made in college and through our publicity media, we received absolutely overwhelming responses that boosted our confidence of hosting the biggest design festival in the country! Along with that, we had already confirmed over 15 sponsors who trusted us and showed interest in the event. As the date came closer, the college students started pouring out in huge numbers and worked extra hours at night as they started setting up the exhibition, the installations, venues for the seminars, the workshops and the 17 events. 31st January 2011, 10am, Quasar 5 got inaugurated by the hands of the most distinguished personalities in the design industry and hence setting a benchmark for all the design institutes across the country. The first look is at the annual exhibition of student’s work, titled “The Prequel” which aimed to showcase the hardwork behind any given design.

The seminars and workshops continued for 2 days. 17 events over another 2 days followed. These events were designed by the students while considering at least one event being directly related to a field of design that the college offers courses for. Apart from those, we had adventure sports included in some events that created a buzz in the atmosphere. With live radio jockeying throughout the day, everyone was kept updated with the happenings at the venue. Everyone sat around a bonfire and had informal chats with the passing out batch on the fifth day. The 6th day, being the last one, witnessed the biggest gathering of the year, we call it the cultural evening. Over 200 artistes showcased performing arts that were designed, choreographed and executed by the students and faculties themselves. It was the perfect closing for the fest as everyone enjoyed a spread of delectable indian cuisine. With much appreciation from all our audiences throughout the fest, we are proud to have hosted probably the biggest studentorganised design festival in the country! text by students from mit institute of design

 113

Winner of the Award 2006, 2008 & 2010

that make the visible difference. State of the art. State of the mind.

Pragati Offset Pvt. Ltd. 17, Red Hills, Hyderabad 500 004, India Tel: +91-40-2338 0000, 6699 9000 Fax: +91-40-2339 0230

Pragati_Advt_KYOORIUS_215x295.indd 1

Bengaluru: Flat No. C/15/85, Ground Floor, MIG Flats (BDA), Domlur 2nd Stage, Bengaluru 560 071 • Tel: +91-80-2535 6742 Chennai: Old No. 107, New Number 12, Venkatesa Nagar, 2nd Street, Virugambakkam, Chennai 600 092 • Tel: 095000 12370 Kolkata: P-54 & 55, Kasba Industrial Estate, Phase-II, Kolkata 700 107 • Tel: +91-33-2443 1501 Mumbai: B/22, Royal Industrial Estate, Naigaum X Road, Wadala, Mumbai 400 031 • Tel: +91-22-2411 5711 / 2411 5712 Nagpur: 3, Tourist Plaza, Opp. Janki Cinema, Sitabuldi, Nagpur 440 012, India • Tel: +91-712-2540316 New Delhi: 5823, DLF City, Phase-IV, Gurgaon 122 002, Haryana • Tel: +91-124-4045335 New York: 59th Floor, • Tel: 212 971 1313, 646 250 6228 Pune: • Tel: +91-20-2545 8268

6/1/2011 11:12:04 AM

event

UnBox On 24th-27 th February, the UnBox Festival brought together artists, designers, entrepreneurs, editors, and development practitioners, for an interdisciplinary conversation on Indian social and cultural change. In this first year of the festival, diverse participants came together to find a community of likeminded experimenters, give a name to emerging Indian creative practices, and reflect on and question what we have done and where we are going as a community. Through our own work as the box Collective, we have seen governments, development organizations, media, and businesses reaching out to us for interdisciplinary approaches to sometimes very old issues – clean water, urban sanitation, or creative urban platforms. In approaching these topics, we seek to see and intervene holistically. The disciplines we draw from in our studio, including photography, visual art, business, and design, inform and inspire one another. With UnBox, we sought to locate, strengthen, and even generate the larger community that works in the same way and is optimistic about creating social and cultural change in India.

The festival and its events were to work in the cross-over space between disciplines, contexts, artforms and cultures. It was an attempt to build momentum around design thinking and interdisciplinary collaborations as the means of driving more sustainable and impactful innovations, encompassing design, culture, social change, art and entrepreneurship. With the festival, we saw our belief manifest itself that a collective of this sort can collaborate and spark off new ideas through exploration, conversations, debates and stories in order to bring about change. The weekend triggered debates, challenged existing notions, and offered inspiration to 250 diverse participants. MP Ranjan kicked off the conference, urging participants to embed design in their lives by making their square foot of the world better, making design an everyday activity for all Indians. He emphasized the importance of contexts of entrepreneurship to enable designers to embed the seeds of possible futures within communities that they are meant to impact. Social communication designer Lakshmi Murthy and Chirag Executive Director vk Madhavan spoke of the import-ance of integrated, contextual approaches to social development despite ever present pressures to simplify and universalize solutions. Audience participants sparked off debates on how design-led change should relate to marketdriven change.

 115

116

event

John Thackara, founder of Doors of Perception, and Harsh Purohit of Cognito debated approaches to sustainable organizations. Purohit pointed to the complexities of sustaining business initiatives, largely assuming a market context, while Thackara argued that the earth’s survival depends on society moving from conceptualizing value as money to that which supports life. Turning attention to spaces for public culture, founder of photo commune BlindBoys Kapil Das inspired audiences with Blow Up photo exhibitions. Blow Ups bring photographs to the streets, leaving the gallery open for diverse people to both display and appreciate. Documenting culture is often assumed to be describing, not doing, but panelists Apala Chavan, Parmesh Shahani, Rajesh Dahiya, and Santosh Desai showed how documenting is a way of shaping culture itself. Panelists shared stories of how documenting culture through books, blogs, and magazines, changes how people relate to and understand themselves and their work.

event

UnBox participants also took part in a range of workshops across the two days of the conference across various topics like re-imagining digital learning, typography, crafting livable cities, design for the social sector, ideation tools, designing learning, storytelling and new media and several others, which were anchored by experts and practitioners. UnBox also included fellowships where a team of two/three fellows from the fields of design, art, science, business and technology headed into their assigned trips along with an anchor to experience diverse contexts first-hand over three to four days. These fellowships were a means for us to engage with a larger group of students and young people around an immersive real-world experience. The intent was not so much to come up with path-breaking solutions as it was to start empathizing with the unique contexts that new ideas find themselves in. Most participants went back with new experiences and new thoughts across the four fellowships-organic farming, livelihoods in Kumaon, innovation in context and Old Delhi & New media. Afternoons and evenings got participants interacting through dance, music, food, workshops, and informal conversations. The UnBox weekend included four parallel festivals across multiple venues. Salon der Alchemisten’s Delhi edition offered a sensorial playground that brought together space installations, art, music, experimental performances, cooking islands & fashion experiments in a manner that encouraged immersion and play. The Beat Repeat festival explored collaborations of the written and spoken word with rich media, live art, music and dance, bringing together writers, artists, musicians and dancers. The EyeMyth festival was about films that celebrate and visualize music and included the “Ars Electronica Animation Showcase 2010” as well as independent films curated by blot. Technodrome which happened across two nights at the Lalit Hotel, brought together the best in experimental electronic music and VJing, with forerunners from the global music and arts scene, along with leading Indian artists and performers. Hauz Khas Village saw it’s own share of the action with the Open Studios tour as well as workshops and make-a-thons. These experimental festivals sought to take forward the interdisciplinary nature of the weekend, connecting and immersing to create an experimental and magical experience. While each of the events was fairly multi-disciplinary in itself, it was the intersection of each of these with each other that also made things more fun.

The festival weekend was held across the British Council, Max Mueller Bhavan, Hauz Khas Village, Triveni Kala Sangham and Lalit hotel in Delhi, and was organized by the box collective comprising of Quicksand, Codesign, blot and Blindboys. The festival would not have been possible without principal sponsorship by the British Council and Goethe Institut, as well as the support of Prohelvetia and the Austrian Cultural Forum. Compiled by Babitha George, Quicksand

 117

118

Columnists

A Letter From Michael Wolff

Dear Reader, A much longer letter than usual. I hope the Editor will forgive me. First, I hope you’re well and happy. And second, I wonder if you’re as discontent with “content” as I am? “Content” is one of those impersonal words like “consumer” or “diet”. I think it means the “stuff” that we watch, read, consume, connect with, think about, know about and talk about. It’s a puzzling word. “Contents” used to mean a list of what you might find in a book, and content meant that you were feeling calm and happy with life. Now it’s more likely to be used by a medic to describe what’s in your stomach, or by airport security to describe what’s in your suitcase. In the world of media, it’s used to describe what’s published or broadcast. But whose is it? Is it intellectual content already in my mind, or is it something that someone has the rights to, and wants to put into my mind? Where does it live? For every programme broadcast there are millions of different ways in which people see it. What one person writes is not what another reads. What one person says is not what another hears. So who really owns content? It’s now 11.30 in London, on bank holiday Monday, the 3rd of January 2011. Three things, or bits or bytes of content, have already agitated my brain during the last 24 hours, and have lodged there. I’ve turned each one of them into content inside me—they’ve become some of my own content of the day. The first was on Woman’s Hour, live on BBC Radio 4. Not on iPlayer, or “listen again”, or in a podcast. I listened to a live discussion that Jane Garvey had with Susan Maushart about her book: “The Winter of Disconnect”. Susan had pulled the plug on all the screens in her home for six months. She described the radical effect that this had on her family. It seemed to me that it had ended the isolated and solitary world in which her family members had come to live with their own screens and iPhones, and in which they’d forgotten how

to share music and life together. It enabled them to rediscover their own community as a family. Susan also described her relationship with her iPhone, as a relationship of compelling, seemingly rich, but ultimately lonely dialogue, with a world of virtual connection. I was shocked as I realised how I too sometimes slide into a kind of sensual solitude, sometimes sharing my discoveries and experiences with others, nearly always after the event, and often forgetting what I’d seen or heard altogether. There’s far, far too much to know, so sometimes you have to get out of the shower of content. It’s a shower that can pour endless knowledge, information and drama over us, from billions of tiny nozzles, all the time. Is the news really the news, or has it become a kind of editorialised series of press releases? Why do I feel so easily interested and almost addicted to the stories selected to be the news? Stories that often start and vanish with no explanation. Sometimes these are stories of global importance, sometime they’re stories of astonishing triviality. I can easily stop reading a boring book or walk away from a film or play, if I dislike watching it. Why do I find it harder to stop watching almost anything on television or listening to almost anything on the even more compelling radio? For me the most distressing thing on television, probably in my lifetime, were the two episodes on the first of the Iraq wars. Before the invasion we saw Desert Cloud, with its own logo and music. And then we saw Desert Storm with another set of logos and music. Both seemed like episodes of a poorly branded commercial tv series—a profoundly tragic, and possibly criminal war, reduced to an impersonal and sententious soap opera. If this is content, then we should shun it. But I didn’t. I watched this grotesque “quasi series”, just as millions of Americans and others did, somehow immunised from the reality of the terror that was actually taking place. The second thing that agitated my brain was some research, commissioned by Freesat and carried out by Exeter University. I was

Columnists

 119

“Life is a dance without theright steps. Taste what you’re offered fearlessly and be willing to dance.”

shocked at the increase in the amount of hours we, in the uk, watch tv; I was interested in the various categories into which we seem to fall by making the different kind of selections we make in our watching choices, and surprised at the amount of time we spend talking to others about what we’ve seen. It doesn’t seem to leave much time for anything else. Apart from eating and sleeping, dreaming, making love and doing whatever we do, called work, this research implied that there doesn’t seem to be much else to life other than watching tv and its content, and then talking about it. The third, and by far the most satisfying thing that agitated my brain in the last 24 hours, was seeing Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in a marvellous movie—The Big Sleep, at the National Film Theatre, with my daughter. Raymond Chandler’s writing and William Faulkner’s screenplay are extraordinarily brisk and finely tuned. The whole thing is a feast of talent, wit and style. Sharing this with my daughter, who often shares films with me, was a delight. Even though I realise that so much of my life is, like anyone else’s, ultimately experienced alone, I realised just how much I value the helpless laughter and great excitements and even unexpected fears and other kinds of adventures that I have with friends. For me it’s only with friends that “content” becomes valuable. What I think I know is all useless weight to me, unless I can use it to be useful to other people. Seeing great art, like cave paintings or the work of great actors and painters and writers, is only useful to me when it enriches my life and so my relationships with others. These days in particular, the quality of many films from around the world is extraordinary. The talent in the cinema now seems to me to outstrip the talent in any other form of art. But for me it’s always more powerful when it’s shared with friends. On television too, programmes like the exceptional films made by Witness (its call to action: “See it, film it, change it”) are, as

far as I know, only shown on Al Jazeera. But as moving and as important as I think all the Witness films are, they represent a minute fraction of what television stations put in front of our faces. Many more people seem to prefer to look back at a wildly romanticized past than to face some of the more shameful realities of the present. When I read books, always in isolation, I feel both the excitement that great writing stirs in me and, at the same time, the claustrophobia of solitude. I’m always bursting to share what moves me. Just as with learning, if it can change and deepen my ability to relate to others, then I’m enriched and changed by it. When I read Gabriel Marquez’s great novel “Love in the time of Cholera”, it was a transformative experience for me. That someone else in the world recognised that soup could smell like glass windows was wonderful. More importantly, the relationships that this book revealed and described were rich and intimate. The whole book remains a moving and profound inspiration to me. After completing it, I was left with the frustrating feeling that I didn’t really know how to know people. I knew better how to see them as content. Sometimes you choose precisely what you eat, and sometimes you accept the hospitality of others without judgement or discrimination. It’s the same with content. Sometime you choose what you’re interested in and sometimes you join in with someone else’s interest. I can’t remember why I watched the Sopranos. Did I choose it or did someone share it with me? Did I decide it was a masterpiece or did I agree with someone else’s point of view? It was the same with the Simpsons and Dr Katz and probably the same with everything. It’s only through sociability that content brings value into my life. Choosing and enjoying your own intellectual menu in private is, I think, a kind of technology-driven epidemic, with pandemic potential, and a destructive new aspect of normal social life for many. It’s

Michael Wolff

Recognised as one of the world’s most experienced practitioners in establishing corporate identities, Michael’s body of work has spanned more than 30 years. He enjoys encountering situations where he doesn’t know what to do or think. That’s when he finds that he needs and, so far, can count on, his creativity. Most of all, he enjoys old friends and new ideas.

120

Columnists

making social life anti-social. Pushing out into conversations with anyone, and constantly prizing your closing mind open into unfamiliar territories of the tastes and the influences of other’s self-expression, is for me far more enriching than choosing what I like, because I already think I like it. It reminds me of not liking oysters for many years, before I’d even tasted them. It reminds me of the people I misjudged in my first impression of them, who then turn out to become my greatest friends. That moment when you decide that you’re really not interested in a programme or a film or a book, before seeing them, is a kind of self-denial that diminishes anyone. The price of missing a miracle is far higher than the price of trusting your judgement. Life is a dance without the right steps. Taste what you’re offered fearlessly and be willing to dance. I think it’s better to trust your open mind than to trust your judgement—a judgement that can only be created from your past. There’s so much to see and do and eat and read, how do you choose now, and how will you make your choices in the future? For me, now, I’m interested in everything, so I don’t do a lot of choosing. I listen to recommendations and often find myself with a programme or a book or a film or a conversation and then see what happens and what I feel. As for what I’ll choose to do or watch in the future, I think it’s like any aspect of the future, no one really knows what will happen, what technology will bring, or what kind of content there will be to choose from, even five years from now. All we really know is that our planet will be warmer. Will we all be able to have un-shiny big screens in our homes on which we can choose to display perfect digital reproductions of great paintings from any of the world’s collections? Will internet daters have full size floor-toceiling screens on which they can have virtual speed dating, liberating them into a wider idea of social life and relationships?

Will Wikileaks spawn many new sites that use existing private technology publicly, and bring about the irreversible end of privacy? Will a new activism, using photography, television and participation, like “Witness”, restore biodiversity to a more inclusive world? Will there be a “new generation of ‘un-embedded” journalists who will bring an open mind to our press, if newspapers survive? Will we become so obsessed with our interactive gadgets that we lose interest in anything other than being glued to their unlimited content? Will we need social lives or will we expand by looking at other people’s lives in “series”that become more and more intimate, and in which we can participate in the details and the outcomes? Will the four-wall-screen in Ray Bradbury’s story, where there’s a permanent and continuous family series in which people live as permanent voyeurs, become a reality? Will content transform education and free humanity from our future from being an extrapolation by the past? Will there be an effective backlash against globalisation of content? Will the media change us and enable us to change how politics, business and work are transacted throughout the world, to benefit all people and eliminate conflict and poverty? Will our variety of nations and cultures and languages endure, or will technology, content and our potential connection with other planets, turn us into a single, peaceful and interdependent humanity? I hope that many people will want to turn the current overwhelming volume of “content” down, without losing the richness that education, art, creativity and enlightenment brings. I hope too, that many more people will want to focus on their personal fulfilment and on the enrichment of their own lives with their families, colleagues and friends. Most of all, I hope that I, and you, spend less time sitting down, watching mass-produced content on a variety of devices in private, and more time talking and walking and being together making our own content. Till the next issue,

Michael Wolff, April 2011


Kyoorius Magazine 8