Business World

Client is ...

There are more things that happen between a client and a design team than what meets the eye. A great design outcome is only possible when some magic happens, some happiness blooms.

By Partho Guha    Co Founder  Director

Client is a person

A client represents a business and wants to leverage design for its growth & success. That is just the starting point. A client is also a person gearing to do something awesome, to leave a mark, to sleep in satisfaction, at the end of a hard day.


Like any relationship, it is a two way exchange and to make it work we need to accept the other as they are. Often we want to change the other and that destroys the trust.

In a relationship, some times we forget that the only one whom we can change is oneself. When we focus and change self to accommodate the other, the seed of a great project is sown. It is not easy to give away the pride of earlier success, the creative ego, the superiority of intelligence and be humble to make space for others. Different attitude, skill-sets, experience is a must for a project, but conflict never makes a great project. 

Invent the future

Clients and design team are the collaborators ready to take that tandem jump for the unknown scary future. To gain the confidence of sticking one's neck out and feel that the other will cover your back is a gradual process. The confidence grows based on small evidences happening at the early stages of the relationship. Most likely, these are soft and emotional responses. Dating time has serious impact on the project outcome. 


Design projects mostly do not have a sharp target. The success of a project gets revealed with passing of time. The initial response from market, analysis of statistic & data, the pat from the boss, admiring glances from the peers, all contribute to the success of a project. When the client feels the personal success, the project is on a good path. It mostly takes some time before design team feels the glory of the project success. In a way, the success of the client as person is the first leaf of a healthy blooming plant.

Spread the word

When a client speaks about the project he/she is proud of, the design team is always glorified. Those good words are the real indicators of how the project has fared. It takes patience and humility, to wait seemingly infinite time for client to talk. 


Then at the right time, all the good words come. It not only energises the design team but also brings in new clients. 


Well... what is a success, if it does not bring new clients!

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Being Woman

Being Women_Blog_Elephant Design.jpg

Being Woman

Ashwini Deshpande, Co-founder, Elephant, looks at her career journey as a woman, an entrepreneur, today as a motivator shares insights that she found on the way.

By Ashwini Deshpande

In my long work-life of 25+ years, I have rarely looked at myself from a gender lens. Partly because women have a natural acceptance in communication design and partly because I have been fortunate to be surrounded by equalists. Maybe the unequalists fell off the earth’s surface & I never noticed them!

In recent years, with experience & reach, I am frequently invited to speak to women at various workplaces, in various stages of their careers. First such opportunity was at a research organization that had over two dozen women scientists. I was rather excited to get to meet these highly accomplished women and looked forward to getting motivated rather than the other way around. So I did not question the occasion much though it was held on World Women’s Day. 

Many such opportunities followed. Each time I thought to myself whether it is right to be addressing women as a woman. I would question often myself whether I would be considered less accomplished if I was a man, whether my limited success is unfairly attributed to being a woman, whether being a woman is a handicap or advantage. There was no resolving these conflicts. 

I can’t quite articulate whether the discomfort was out of questioning my own ability to motivate people or whether I was in denial that women are differently abled at workplaces. 

I have now come to terms that I was in denial. Just because I was fortunate and could pursue my path unhindered by family responsibilities or other biases, I had no right to believe that every woman had it smooth. 

I started looking keenly at this issue this year as I was listed among "50 most Influential Women in Media" by Impact magazine, invited by "Microsoft Women in Tech” initiative as a motivational speaker and invited by Businessworld’s "Young Entrepreneur Awards" conference to be part of an all-women panel discussion. 

So here are 7 insights that I found to share ;

  1. Every single merit list of any exam small or big has girls topping the lists. Why they are not seen in equal percentages at leadership positions is an unresolved pain point. 
  2. Large percentage of girls take a break from work between 28 to 35 because of marriage, motherhood, husband’s career choices, health of parents or in-laws. Most of them get married without actually asking the crucial question about equal respect to each other’s work. So, I rarely see a father in his early thirties taking leave for his unwell child or mother. It is exactly at this point that women need to be counselled or mentored so they keep going. 
  3. Girls give up too early on themselves. They take the choice of opting out as a way to avoid conflicts at home front. In turn they give up on their own potential. Unfortunately, this is rarely acknowledged by the family members. They switch off before they can shine. 
  4. There are many flexi-options available today that border on entrepreneurship. Women need to consider options other than full-time job or full-time home-maker to discover their own place under the sun. 
  5. Despite education, urbanization, nuclear families, global exposure etc, family structures & expected behavioural patterns have seen very little change. The traditional definitions of a woman’s duties towards her household & family still remain what they were in the last century. 
  6. Even today, majority of girls are brought up to believe that working outside the house is a choice they will make and that their household will not be dependent on their income (fathers, brothers, husbands are there to do that). However, working inside the house is a given and that they will have no choice there. So what do you think the girl takes seriously? 
  7. Popular media glorifies the traditional roles & makes vampish characters out of those who defy them. 

The list can go on… 

Meanwhile, here is a link to short conversation between Sapna Bhardwaj of Businessworld and me… 

Published on Jul 31, 2015

Ashwini Deshpande, Co-Founder, Director, Head- Communication Design, Elephant Strategy + Design, spoke to BW Businessworld’s Sapna Bhardwaj at the sidelines of Young Entrepreneur Awards, recently held in New Delhi, India. Credits: Editing - Vijay Shankar, Ratnesh - Camera, Head Video Editorial - Sapna Bhardwaj      License- Standard YouTube License

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