Ladyfingers Co : Designing in Bangalore

Ladyfingers Co. is a Bangalore based 3 member design team. We do everything from branding and identity to websites and illustration.
Above all, we provide a very unique service called Graphic Recording – it’s a live illustrated note taking that we do during conferences and other public events. It’s super exciting and we’re probably the only design studio that offers it!

What made you start Ladyfingers Co.?
We started Ladyfingers Co. right out of college. I think we all felt we had the right components for a dream team. Amongst the three of us we’ve got a wide variety of skills covered. We all specialize in different things so we’re also experts for the team in that domain.
Running our own studio seemed intuitively like the right choice – we’re not the normal graphic designers. We’re interested in many different spaces and having the flexibility to choose our own projects has given us the chance to chalk out a pretty unique practice that we’re very proud of.

Tell us about your designers/animators. Did they go into fine art or design schools? How do you pick them up?
All of us attended the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore.
I suppose we were all in tune to the same pick up line, so we sort of ‘picked up’ each other.

Can you tell us the process of building a design language for a brand?
First and most importantly you have to understand the context of the brand. I think this is the most important step. We do that with meticulous research, questionnaires for our client to fill out (people tend to think more carefully when they have to write things down), surveys of the target audience and researching the competition.

I also think the most important skill to develop for this stage is the ability to suspend judgement. Its impossible to not have opinions – but we like to be about where our subjective opinions start and end.

How important is the focus on good design in Ladyfingers Co.?
This is like asking a fish how important it’s gills are underwater. That said we like to think of design as a verb, it’s in the doing.
Good design is not as important as something that has been well designed.

What does Ladyfingers Co. do which sets it apart?
From client feedback I can tell you that the one thing we’re most appreciated for is an active involvement of the client in every project. Obviously this is a tricky line so I can’t say we’re experts. But it’s an important part of what we’re striving towards.

In terms of skills – we’re very adept at dealing with content. We’ve successfully tried our hands at instructional design as well. Although we don’t claim to be trained writers, our ability to rewrite, edit and write some pretty clever copy has definitely given us an edge.

There is also the matter of Graphic Recording – a skill that has allowed us to foray into the arena of facilitation – without us being facilitators ourselves. It’s taken us to so many varied spaces from board meetings of institutions to entrepreneurship conferences to annual meetings of india’s financial planners. We’ve helped companies illustrate ideas for focus groups in brainstorming sessions.
Its the kind of skill that has taught us so much more than any other.

Tell us something about Design in the Digital Era.
We can tell you about being Designers in the Digital Era. The most important thing (and this has always been true, but the urgency now is more acute) is that we have to be learning constantly. Staying relevant by being well versed in technological changes which happen everyday is top priority. To do the best you can, you’ve got to know what the new limits are.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
When we formed Ladyfingers Co. we were very inspired by Pentagram. Not just their work – but their structure. The way they are structured as an organization is an absolute inspiration. It’s the kind of thing we’re trying to do as well.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in Brand Building?
Wally Olins and David Airey. David Airey has this lovely thing he does on his blog – he shares parts of his process. A lot of what some of us have learnt about this buisness has come from those blog posts.

Do you work with any advertising agencies? Or mostly directly with brand teams at clients’ side?
We’ve done both. Most often the latter.

What do you feel about the state of design in India? Do you feel that our collective aesthetics need to improve?
No – it would be mighty egoistic of us to suggest improvement in aesthetic of an entire country – that implies we know what ‘good aesthetic’ is and that there is such a thing in the first place. Our senses of aesthetic are formed by our cultural upbringing. What’s good is totally contextual and a deeply personal choice.
For India we only wish that as indians we come to love and feel pride for our history, culture and traditions. Our cities are such a pastiche – a veritable smorgasbord of the new, the old, the beautiful and the ugly. We wouldn’t dream of depriving our country of this texture by suggesting aesthetics need to ‘imporve’.

Any other Indian design firms that you admire?
There are some great studios doing great work. We work out of a co-working space called Co Lab that houses six different practices.
Each of them does some great work from illustration and publishing design to web and interface design.

What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals? Would you advise them to take on graphic design as a career option?
Why not?
Our only advice would be to always know context is king and that beyond a point, loath as we are to admit it, aesthetics are highly subjective and difficult to impose upon.

Who would your design team like to take out for dinner?
Great new clients!

What’s on the company iPod?
For a long time it was “I see Fire” the Kygo remix.

Mac or PC?
Both.

Whats your Twitter Handle?
Ladyfingersco_4

We’re theladies_ladyfingers.co on instagram.

Ladyfiners Co. can be contacted via their website here.

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