Shruti Anand is a Visual Communication Designer based in Delhi, India and a Co-founder of LSD, Learn Something Different. LSD is a platform where one nurtures the inner creative hidden inside each one of us and is a space where all aspects of creativity come together to celebrate the diversity in articulation and expression. She is also an ardent adorer of all animals, a budding sculptor who likes creating funky ceramic masks and has a second degree black belt in karate!
A little about yourself:
I am a Visual Communication Designer based in Delhi, India and a Co-founder of LSD, Learn Something Different. LSD is a platform where one nurtures the inner creative hidden inside each one of us and is a space where all aspects of creativity come together to celebrate the diversity in articulation and expression. Also, I am an ardent adorer of all animals, a budding sculptor who likes creating funky ceramic masks and has a second degree black belt in karate!
Why are you a Graphic Designer?
It has always been quite intriguing what emotions and thoughts the first cave painter’s prehistoric art piece evoked in the people around her/him/them. It is absolutely mind blowing the infinite range of emotions graphics can evoke in humans and animals. There is just something art does that words can’t convey. Like Edward Hopper once said, “If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.”
Graphic Design quite literally means visual communication. All designers and artists are the bridges between thoughts and words. To be able to design the perfect visuals to translate the client’s thoughts into the vivid words they want to convey is the creative process that excites me the most and which is why I chose the path of a Graphic Designer.
Did you attend school for fine art or design?
Yes, I graduated from Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology with a degree in Visual Communication and Strategic Branding in 2016.
You have a distinct style of Design. How long did it take you to develop your style?
It has definitely been a relatively long and interesting process. My parents had a huge role to play in it as they have been extremely supportive of this creative journey. I remember as kids they would give my sister and I big markers and let us, nay, encourage us to scribble on everything possible. The walls, furniture, doors, dogs and even they were scribbled upon!
I was a complete introvert growing up in a house full of extroverts and art was my voice. When we had guests over, I used to sit with my sketchbook and pencil, listen to fascinating conversations, absorb and express through my art. It was quite liberating as I was able to be part of conversations that I probably did not understand at that time but which really helped shape me into the person I am today. My mom also brought some amazing and inspiring people into our lives and their conversations were always exceptionally mentally stimulating. What is most fascinating is that when I look back at my childhood drawings I can link and recall each conversation that happened with every tiny stroke.
How did you focus so much on graphic illustrations? When did you realise you loved doing it and wanted more of it?
In most of the illustrations that I create for personal explorations, I draw directly with any pen. That is a technique that really helped me gain confidence in my work and develop the skill further. When there is no way to erase the “mistakes”, you end up finding a way to work around them or with them and create something which you would have never thought of. Different mediums bring out different styles. When I use a thick graphite pencil I always create big sketches with bold strokes but when I have a fine tip pen I end up creating intricate illustrations.
I always knew I wanted to go into the creative field but did not know what I would be specializing in. I am glad I chose Graphic Designing as I love what I do and wouldn’t want it any other way.
Your designs have incredible amount of vivid detailing. There also seems to be influences from traditional Indian tribal art. Can you please talk a little about it?
It was never clear to me why I adopted a style that was so detail oriented. I understood it the day my Violin teacher asked me if I knew what my name meant. I always had a vague idea that it had something to do with sound but wasn’t sure. He then explained that it is the smallest interval of pitch that the human ear can detect and a singer or musical instrument can produce. It was a big moment of revelation as I then understood why I loved going into the finer details of each artwork as all of our names do eventually define a very strong characteristic of our personalities.
My mother is extremely passionate about art and I am so grateful for the exposure she has given me. We grew up knowing several wonderful artists and visited art galleries, art fairs and craft bazaars regularly. One day, I remember we had gone to NGMA and my eyes glanced towards a painting by Jamini Roy. I stood there mesmerized by the eyes of the women in the painting for hours. His work felt so bold and graphic. There was such powerful freedom in his strokes. Apart from that we had some really inspiring works in our house – prints of Gustav Klimt’s paintings, French movie posters, Friedensreich Hundertwasser’s paintings, African sculptures and some stunning traditional Madhubanis and Thangkas which I am sure have strongly influenced my style in different ways.
Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
Definitely! I am so grateful for having such strong role models growing up. One of my biggest role models till date is Anjali Gopalan. I don’t think she needs any introduction as she is phenomenal. I could not emphasize enough how much I love and respect everything she is and all that she stands for. The way she has woven her life around helping animals and people selflessly is something I strongly aspire to do in this lifetime. Apart from her, there are of course my parents who have been too cool, open, accepting and strict where they had to be. Also, the countless other role models to whom I am ever so grateful.
Who was the most influential personality on your career in graphic design?
In college we had the most brilliant faculties and out of them my favorite was Alison Byrnes. For my final year at Srishti, I was lucky to have her as my faculty all year round. Two of my favorite projects, Cosmythology and Knots & Crosses were done under her guidance. Alison’s way of teaching was so intricate, meticulous, exciting and fun that you genuinely looked forward to each class. I remember no matter how ridiculous your project proposal was, she would find a way to guide you into a direction that turned it into something incredible. That is truly a mark of a brilliant teacher who does not force their ideas upon you but guides you into carving your own path. The amount of knowledge we gained in every class was infinite. She really helped form a solid base to my journey as a Graphic designer.
When did you start freelancing?
Straight out of college! I really wanted to experience what freelancing was like since the idea of working on projects from scratch and handling all aspects of it was something that really excited me. While I was applying and heading for full time job interviews I was also trying to fetch some freelance projects on the side. I had, like a super enthusiastic graduate, applied to hundreds of places and expected some immediate responses. When in the first few days only 2-3 reverted, I applied to more. Little did I know that these things take time. Suddenly there was an excessive inflow of opportunities and I was thrilled and frightened at the same time. Thus for the first six months out of college, I was working on these freelance projects which helped me gain so much knowledge into how real life Graphic Designing actually worked. The amount freelance taught me was next level. I started working at Green Goose Design after these six months but eventually went back to freelancing as I enjoyed it too much.
Was there any time when you wanted to quit graphic design?
Quit? Never! Sure, like other freelancers, I initially doubted whether to take up a full time job or continue with freelancing but whenever I went through a time where work was slow, I would work on creating and uploading my portfolio online and that helped me get right back on track.
Are many advertising agencies hiring graphic designers? Do you work more with agencies or publishers or direct clients?
For my first internship, I interned with McCann Erickson and was blown away how fast paced the world of advertising was. It was exhilarating but scary at the same time. There are many advertising agencies who hire graphic designers for full time positions as I do receive such opportunities via mail.
I prefer taking on direct clients, however, I am always open to all sorts of new opportunities.
Do you have clients who give you steady work or do you advertise for new clients often?
Yes! I do have clients who give steady work but I still keep an eye out for new projects as well. Freelancing is very unpredictable and it is best to take on as many projects as you can handle because you don’t know when or where the next one will come from.
How do you market yourself?
Usually, I depend on sites like Behance, instagram, linkedin, dribbble and direct mail but most of the projects I get are through behance so I put all my efforts into that.
Any other Indian graphic designers who you admire?Thousands! I don’t even know where to begin but currently I have been obsessed with these super talented sisters, illustrators and Graphic Designers – Sandhya and Chaaya Prabhat.
What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals? Would you advise them to take on graphic design as a career option?
- Always patiently explain to the client what the specific service you are providing entails. Most clients have little to no clue of the design process because that is the reason why they are approaching you but that doesn’t mean you keep them in the dark. Explain in detail the design process, timelines, deliverables, rounds of modifications, payment structures and the terms and conditions.
- Fix timings. I can not emphasize this enough. Work from 10-6 (Monday to Friday) and request the clients to drop an email post those timings. If you are freelancing you need to segregate work time and personal time for your mental health.
- This is a given – never work for free. If you don’t value your work why would anybody else? Only if the project is something you are extremely passionate about and you feel it would be a great addition in your portfolio, only then consider it. There will be several such opportunities in your first year and only you can be the best judge of whether you should take it up or not.
- Set monetary goals for each year. If you are freelancing, it is very easy to fall back and give excuses such as work is slow, market is down, client took time to respond etc. You can even set per project goals like “I will only take up projects above 50k for the coming 6 months”. It can be challenging but very satisfying when you are able to achieve those goals. Afterall you are your best cheerleader in the world of freelancing.
- Lastly, I remember how confusing it was to set design charges initially. If I asked my seniors they would suggest charges based on their experience and I would feel uncomfortable with that amount. Only you can know your true worth. In your first few years, yes, ask for advice but never charge an amount that you would be uncomfortable working under. Be confident, know your worth and feel free to reach out if you ever want to understand anything. Always happy to help.
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?
Definitely. Few years ago, I remember, clients would approach for design work 2 weeks before launching their product! Now, I have seen a drastic shift in clients actually keeping a decent amount of time and funds for Graphic designing.
Mac or PC?
PC! Just kidding, I succumbed to the beauty of Apple products when I got my iMac. Now, I am really looking forward to buying the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with Mini-LED | 2021
Who would you like to take out for dinner?
During this pandemic? The person who develops the permanent cure to Corona, please.
What’s on your iPod? Spotify?
Recent 5 artists on loop – Pink Sweat$, Leon Bridges, Sawyer Fredericks, Billie Eilish and Darkside.
What’s your Twitter Handle? Instagram?
Instagram: shrutiannand | https://www.instagram.com/shrutiannand/