Alchemy & Lore : Agency Profile

Alchemy & Lore is an independent creative agency. We’re almost 10 years old in 2023. I started out as an individual creative consultant, and soon Bharat joined me owing to multiple projects we were working on together. Cut to 2023 – we’re now a 5 member core team assisted by multiple senior creative consultants – Graphic Designers, Animators, Filmmakers, Copywriters, Illustrators, Editors, and so on.

What made you start Alchemy & Lore?
Mostly the unparalleled perk of working in my pyjamas.And then, being trained as an animator, but having worked as a Graphic Designer, Animator, 3D artist, Game Designer, Website Designer and Compositor always felt a bit restrictive. Make no mistake – each role was extremely fun and challenging, but at the same time – made me focus less on the other skills. That, plus the frequent enquiries for freelance or consulting projects made me take the leap and start HSD&C (Which is now Alchemy & Lore)
Tell us about your creatives. Did they go into fine art or design schools? How do you pick them up?
Our core team basically went to the same grad school as us – Srishti School of Art Design and Technology. The story is more or less the same – having collaborated so frequently, it just made sense to get them to join us, and they were more than happy to.Outside of that, our consultants are from varying backgrounds. Besides the usual art/design school backgrounds, one of our most talented artists is actually a self-taught illustrator and now – budding animator. It’s mostly been discovery through recommendations of our network of friends/professionals, with the rare and occasional post on social media.

How would you define the design style at Alchemy & Lore.
Honestly, we’re all over the place. I’m one for busy, hectic designs, and Bharat’s more on the minimal and subtle side of things. But this polarity lends to a lot of much needed perspective – given that it’s the both of us that drive the Creative and Art Direction for every project. We usually manage to find the right balance, somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.

What does Alchemy & Lore do which sets it apart?
We’re a creative studio driven by creative values, and most importantly – value and respect talent and artists. We faced issues of non-payment, unjust work hours, being short-changed for our efforts and a lack of respect for our work back in the day – when we worked jobs and then took to freelancing. One of the pillars we established Alchemy & Lore was this – to try our best and be fair.We’re not saying that we’re the only ones doing it, but we do take pride in it.
Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
Being geeks, it’s mostly been games and anime for me. Hayao Miyazaki, Shigeru Miyamoto, Hideo Kojima being inspirations for those two. Quentin Tarantino, Takashi Miike, Aaron Sorkin and David Simon for Film/TV.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in Brand Building?
Well, it would always be hard to limit influence to a single personality or entity but over the years agencies like Buck and Giant Ant have had a massive influence on us.

How important is the focus on good design in Alchemy & Lore?
We are obviously only as good as our work. And it is this work that gets displayed on the internet, or at a client’s office, or at an exhibition, and then leads to more work. So the focus is always on good design. But that’s also a two-way street. As clients are an integral part of the process, we make sure we present the rationale – be it an animation, or a brochure. It is this communication that maintains and upholds standards.
Do you function like a traditional advertising agency? Or would you call yourself more of a graphic design/branding agency?
We’re definitely more of a graphic design agency, but owing to our focus on animation and film projects – we function more like a small production house.

What do you feel about the state of design in Brand Building in India?
It’s come a long way. From when we started our professional careers, almost 15 years ago – branding and design were treated as an appendix. Agencies existed, so did great work – but it was not considered as a very serious career choice. But it’s grown leaps and bounds now, with new-age brands understanding the importance of establishing an identity and tonality, and sticking to it. Feels good to have witnessed a sea change of this scale in perceptions.

Any other Indian agencies you admire?
We have all been big fans of Animal since their early days. Their work and growth have served as an inspiration and a reference point to all of us.

What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals? Would you advise them to take on graphic design as a career option? Or Advertising and brand building?
I think it gets harder and harder to restrict creative professionals within a single label. Everything is moving towards an interdisciplinary approach to design.
Graphics designs are moving towards motion design as gifs have become almost a new mode of communication. Animators are learning to code as animation/movement becomes an integral part of web and app design.
So our biggest advice would perhaps be that – too learn as much as possible. With the constant advancement of tech and the process of learning become easier than ever, it has become even more important to not restrict yourself to just a single discipline and always try and learn new approaches to the same. I also feel it helps you see your own discipline with a new perspective and opens up a lot of possibilities that perhaps didn’t exist before.

Who would your design team like to take out for dinner?
Each other, as soon as we all are back in Delhi! 😀 Owing to the pandemic, Alchemy & Lore switched to a WFH system – and some of our artists went back to their hometowns. Productivity has never been better and artists never happier – with the freedom to work from anywhere, and also the added savings!

What’s on the company iPod?
This could turn contentious real quick. Tastes vary from Tool and Led Zep to The Wu Tang Clan to Miles Davis and Coltrane. But thankfully, we all seem to agree to one band – Radiohead.0

Mac or PC?
PC all day, every day.
Whats your Twitter Handle? Instagram?

Alchemy & Lore can be contacted via its website here.

Founder: Hari Shankar
Founder: Hari Shankar
Founder : Bharat Chauhan
Founder : Bharat Chauhan

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