Kawal Oberoi : Graphic Designer

Why are you a Graphic Designer?
Strange part is that I always wanted to be Physicist and I was pretty great at Academics especially Sciences. But at the other end, I had a strong inclination towards visual creativity. When I look back, I feel that I was made for the profession I am in currently. I always loved colors, shapes, visuals and the fact that what I saw made me feel particular feelings and how we can control what to make others feel through Graphic Design.

Recently, when I went back home my parents showed me preserved small publications that I used to make by hand. And among those were comics that I used to make. I also used to make small animated clips using stop-motion technique. Even though all of those looked naive, still I could see that I had a sense of Graphic Design and a passion for creating since early childhood and seems like I am following the same now!

Did you attend school for fine art or design?
I come from a school of design. I am trained as a Graphic Designer.

You have a distinct style of Design. How long did it take you to develop your style?
I would say that I have a distinct Design Process rather than a style. If there is any reason the work I make seem to have any correlation or they look like they come from a similar Designer, the reason could be the Design Process I follow. Since I had a schooling and high interest in sciences, I have a high respect for any kind of Process we follow. And I think, the processes I use currently are product of multiple iterations I made since I started out freelancing, which was 5 years back.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
I was a really really really big fan of Shock-Rocker Marilyn Manson. And part of the reason I took the path towards the creative profession can be attributed to him. I loved his creative expression, the fact that he would question social norms through art and shock rock.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in graphic design?
Stefan Sagmeister.

When did you start freelancing?
I started pretty early as a freelancer in comparison many of the people I know of. I started when I was 16 years old. I think, it was a great idea to start early. I would say, it definitely gives you an edge over others. It was two years after I got featured on Pogo Channel on the series called MAD, as a young creative.

Was there any time when you wanted to quit graphic design?
Not yet. But in future you might find me as much more than just a Designer. Probably an Entrepreneur or a Writer or something else.

Are many advertising agencies hiring graphic designers? Do you work more with agencies or publishers?
Work at Advertising agencies is mostly driven by Copywriters and Marketing team, even though there is a big need for Graphic Designers out there, but the major decisions are not taken by them. I prefer working directly with clients.

Do you have clients who give you steady work or do you advertise for new clients often?
In my Career so far I didn’t have to advertise myself. I keep getting steady work. And being a freelancer, I have limit the number of projects I take, I don’t think I would have to advertise until I startup and get a team.

Any other Indian graphic designers who you admire?
Mahendra Patel, Satyajit Purohit (ITF), Sameer Kulavoor (Bombay Duck Design) and Neha Tulsian (NH1 Design) are among my favorite.

What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals? Would you advise them to take on graphic design as a career option?
Get into the market and reach there fast. Market is the only place to evaluate if your work has value or not. Market is where the money/assets/lives are at stake and if your Design works or sells, it does that only because it fulfils the needs of people and after all, that’s why we design.

I don’t like the phrase ‘Career Option’. I won’t advise anyone to have any ‘career option’. If you do any work in the creative field with the intention of it being a ‘Career Option’ then you shall be a mediocre forever.

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?
I think, if you are not able to get the client for the budget that you should get for design work, then you are just a bad businessman or salesperson. Designing and Selling it are two different things. Some are good at just one. I try to practise and learn both. If your client isn’t understanding the value (in price too) of Design, it’s because of you being a bad Design Educator.

Mac or PC?
I use a Mac. Although, PC has it’s own benefits and computers are just one of tools in a Graphic Designer’s work inventory.

Who would you like to take out for dinner?
Stefan Sagmeister, of course. And if I could take two people, I’d include Richard Dawkins.

What’s on your iPod?
Indie Music and Loads of Indie music. I like to listen to Fleet Foxes on loop while working.

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2 thoughts on “Kawal Oberoi : Graphic Designer

  1. Venkat says:

    “I don’t like the phrase ‘Career Option’. I won’t advise anyone to have any ‘career option’. If you do any work in the creative field with the intention of it being a ‘Career Option’ then you shall be a mediocre forever.”

    But people still have to pay for existence, right? I think what this question meant was, can. You make a good living out of graphic design.

  2. Ajay says:

    Awesome work, man… I like the last one, psychedelic book cover.

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