Interview in Pool : October 2014
Anoop V Chalil, an identity designer based in banglore, finds joy in giving tangible shape to the ideas of an organization and its people.
How would you describe good design?
AVC: It's a seemingly simple question that's surprisingly difficult to answer. The more you think about it, the more complex the question becomes. Not only does 'good design' mean different things to different people, it also changes at different times and in different contexts. Good design is subjective.
What attracts you about designing identities?
AVC: Through an identity, a designer gives a shape to the thoughts of the people behind an organization or service. Identity is the visual representation of their whole effort, including years of discussions, dreams, experience and research. The consumer or an onlooker sees the quintessence of a company, product or service. As an exercise, identity design involves more research and homework. I perceive design as a three-dimensional initiative It brings me joy and contentment beyond words when I see my hard work being appreciated by others. Identity design has a longer life than advertising and it actively engages with people for many years. these are some factors that keep me attracted to identity design As an identity designer, I believe in simplicity, and every design I create underlines the 'keep it simple' rule. Until a few years ago logos were designed keeping in mind the screen printing possibilities. Printing technology has greatly evolved. Nowadays print systems are very advanced. Yet, while designing a logo, I try to explore all the possibilities. I never in trends unless the project demands something specific.
In 2014, the‘I am pure’ work was published in Big Packaging Volume 2, a California based book publisher Hightone books. In 2016, The Dieline featured GLAANA, a perceptive design work we did for a Bangalore based company. A lot of thought and effort go into the creation of a brand identity. Our customers reach out to us because they believe we help create a brand that delivers. Our mission is to exceed every client’s expectations every single time and create unparalleled value for them with their target audience. When they grow, we expand.
Over the years, AVCD has managed to receive global recognition for its work. This is a greater responsibility on us to live up to even greater expectations. We owe our achievements and goodwill to our clients because these would not have been possible if not for them.
What a drew you to design as a discipline?
AVC: Iwas born and brought up in a small village called Kartikulam In one of the Kerala's most beautiful districts, Wayanad. It was an environment conducive to bringing out the best in those even remotely inclined to fine arts. Even as a child, I loved painting, and won many prizes at the school and college level. I got complete support from my family. My father was a head teacher in the primary school and also a good artist ; my brother is a known painter and photographer in kerala; even my mother is interested in art . Music was also very close to my heart. Back then, I was so interested in music, that after completing school, I joined government college chittur and completed my degree in Music (BA Music- Carnatic Vocal). While studying music I used to paint, at times holding small painting exhibitions . After completing my degree in music, I joined college of fine arts thiruvananthapuaram for a degree in applied arts . That four years stint clearly decide my career. Like all my peers, I also wanted to join advertising agencies like O&M or JWT. Unfortunately, some serious health issues prevented me from joining an agency on a regular job. I lost many years of my career , and was forced to work with some medium sized agencies because I could not relocate. I even played guitar for an orchestra in kerala fore more than two years.
Why did you opt to work independently?
AVC: Idiom design and consulting ltd. was the first design studio that I joined. I learned so much from Idiom and was able to refer to good designs from many sources. I started to love design more than advertising. After quitting Idiom, I got on board Ray+Keshavan( Now Brand Union), my best work place till date. I was there for four years and was privileged to design brand identity for biggies like NCC Nagarjuna Constructions Ltd, and Ashoka University; and was also involved in projects for companies like jindal, sterling, L&T, Mantri, and Danon. However, I wanted to build my own name as a designer. Like any other designer I also used to do many freelancing jobs while working at a job. While working for a company often the deadlines are tight. there were times when I felt frustrated and guilt; I believe that I could have done a better job on particular assignment had I been given more time to work on it. So, I decided to work as an independent designer.
What are some of your memorable projects?
AVC: Each project is a different learning experience. Engaging with different people, different products, different cultures, different subjects and different destinations definitely improves my knowledge level. 'Splash' is one of my recent projects for Wayanad Tourism Organization. it was a good experience to work with WTO - they gave me complete freedom on the project. My team played a significant role in this project. I had to find the right professionals, coordinate with them effectively, and check the print proofs to ensure the quality of final outputs, and deliver on time. we even created a short animation film introducing the logo. This was a great learning process for me. 'I am Pure' is a packaging project which brought me much recognition. Before my first presentation, Caroline kunst Wergeland - one of the key persons at super Helse - was not sure about me; after the presentation she was so happy ! The project was selected by www.thedieline as one among hundred of 2013. the works were also featured on many blogs. Jeevan S Nair did beautiful illustrations for the packaging. Right now we are in discussions on revamping the packaging.
What are you currently working on?
AVC: Currently I am working on an identity system for a multi functional club called The Hill District Club; and a juice packaging project for a Hyderaba -based startup company called Naturlich Beverages P.Ltd. Recently I signed a contract with an upcoming resort in Wayanad, Kerala; the project will take off soon.
What should a young designer bear in mind when working on an identity system?
AVC: Designing identity is a serious exercise which should clearly define a company or service. Good design is a perfect blend of drawing skills, analytical skill and conceptualizing abilities. Before entering into brand identity, young designers should work under an efficient and experienced creative designer.Certain areas of identity programs need an experienced hand. While it is essential for any designer to also posses good presentation skills, I would suggest that young designers work harder on their designs, so that the designs speak for themselves. There are no shortcuts to success for a brand identity designer, and I would advise young designers to show patience and perseverance; to build their skills from the very basic level up. Design studios also have a responsibility in the development of young designers - they should never assign a brand identity project to a junior designer.
What are the most significant developments in Indian design in the last five years?
AVC: The most significant development in Indian design is without doubt the blurring of borders between global and Indian design. Social design platforms like Behance and dieline have a good role in developing the Indian design scenario. Designers and art directors can now upload their work through the internet; even head - hunters have started to look through these portfolios to find the right talent. Entry of global design studios and design conferences like Designyatra has further helped the development of the design in India. Before the web era reference material was limited to design magazines or design books or called black books. All these expensive books were available to a negligible few who worked with design studios, advertising agencies, or design schools. Now the scenario has changed; anyone can access hundreds of resources through the net . This has also helped to improve the client's attitude towards design.
Anoop V Chalil: Founder of AVCD Brand Studio, one of the best branding agencies in Bangalore. A graduate in Applied Art from College of Fine Arts, Trivandrum.