Aliyah works in a way that is conceptual, engaging, and sometimes a little unconventional. She creates stirring illustrations and graphics that aim to evoke emotion. Her User Experiences are thoroughly researched and aim to delight, excite, and most of all – work. Aliyah loves to illustrate and write children’s picture books, and breaks in-between projects are usually spent making up silly little stories and humorous monster characters.
Why are you a Graphic Designer?
I see an opportunity to design something in every little thing I do or see. I’ve grown up with a fiery passion for beautiful packaging, books and graphics. When the time came to answer the question that gets most teenagers in nervous jitters (What do you want to be when you grow up?), I knew what my answer would be. I chose the life of an artist and designer, and however hard it may get, I savour every second of it.
Did you attend school for fine art or design?
Yes, I attended Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore for my undergrad (Ba. Hons 2D Animation), and Falmouth University, England for my Masters (Authorial Illustration).
You have a distinct style of Design. How long did it take you to develop your style?
It took me a few years of bouncing around styles and trying to please clients before I realised that my strongest USP was my style. When I gathered the guts to let it out in everything I do, the results were astonishing.
How did you focus so much on infographic? When did you realise you loved doing it and wanted more of it?
I naturally tend to create designs that have strong elements of illustration, rather than grids and typography. Though I do love the latter, my heart lies in creating pieces that contain people and emotion. I realised this around the same time that I allowed my distinct style to take the reins on my projects.
Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
E.H Shepard and A.A Milne. Winnie the Pooh was, and still remains my true source of inspiration. The magical environment, wonderful characters and beautifully written stories captivate and enchant readers in a way that I have never seen before.
Who was the most influential personality on your career in graphic design?
There wasn’t one, but many organisations and people that inspired and influenced my work. The most notable would be David Shannon and E.H Shepard (Illustration), Focus Lab LLC (Graphic Design), and Squarespace (User Experience Design).
When did you start freelancing?
When I was 19.
Was there any time when you wanted to quit graphic design?
I have never wanted to quit, but I admit there have been times where I almost gave up hope. What is important is putting on a strong face and pulling through, because in the end you will make it and it WILL be worth it!
Are many advertising agencies hiring graphic designers? Do you work more with agencies or publishers or direct clients?
There is no dearth of opportunities for designers in India, you just have to choose who to work with based on your personal goals and ambitions. I work with all types of clients, and feel that each offer their own benefits in terms of experience and industry knowledge.
Do you have clients who give you steady work or do you advertise for new clients often?
Though I have old clients that I continue to work with, I am also always on the lookout for new people and organisation. The design world evolves fast – you need to constantly challenge yourself lot keep up!
How do you market yourself?
At the moment, my marketing is limited to social media, but I am working towards becoming part of creative communities and networking a little more. My cosy studio space and desi puppy don’t approve of these plans, but what needs to be done must be done!
Any other Indian graphic designers who you admire?
There is a podcast called ‘Chuski Pop starring two girls called ’Sweety’ and ‘Pappu’’, and their illustrations are mind-blowing. I think they intend on keeping themselves anonymous, so I don’t know if I will ever learn the real identity of the artist!
What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals? Would you advise them to take on graphic design as a career option?
Every time you get knocked down, brush off the disappointment and get up. You will have to do this countless times. But don’t be fooled, once you have gotten through the initial uncertainty of your career, you will be unstoppable! Patience is key, specially in India where people are just beginning to understand the importance of design and the blood, sweat and tears that go into it.
And yes, if you design is where your heart lies, take on the industry at full speed!
Do you think Clients are opening up to keeping aside a decent respectable budget for design work? Do you think clients are understanding that they need to invest in Design as a communication tool and also to cut the clutter, and that good design comes at a price?
It depends from client to client, but unfortunately the answer is very often no to both of the above. But like I said, people are just beginning to understand the importance of design here. It’s a slow (and painful) process, but things will get better. That being said, you do of course come across clients that are an absolute pleasure to work with at times.
Mac or PC?
Who would you like to take out for dinner?
Timon and Pumba from the Lion King. They aren’t real I know, but imagine what a night it would be!
What’s on your iPod?
Lots of deep dark indie. My constants are Ben Howard, David Gray, Death Cab for Cutie, Paolo Nutini, and The Fray.
Oh, and Britney Spears. Im not justifying this one. I am a 90’s child!
What’s your Twitter Handle?
I’ve never really gotten the hang of Twitter (oops).
I do have an instagram account (aliyah.art.design) and website (aliyahartdesign.com)