Elephant

Treetem Pole - Honouring a Memory

Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.
— Herman Hess
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We planted our happiness way back in the early 2000’s and started listening to trees. Both, the trees, and us were in our formative stages. We’d moved into this new space and wanted to make it our own and one of them was a 2 feet tall Silver Oak right near our entrance on the south east side of the lot. The silver oak grew more than 45 feet tall, and as it grew, it became the essence of our workspace. We’d sit underneath its shade for impromptu meetings and chats over coffee. All our photos featured this tree, just like it was a part of our family. It was tall, majestic and every now and then dropped a few leaves, lending an autumn character to our staircase. 
At some point last year, our silver oak became sick. It was taken over by a disease and had started showing signs of giving up. We tried a lot of remedies, but nothing seemed to work. Once it ran dry, we decided to pull the tree down ourselves, before it fell and accidentally hurt someone. We kept a portion of the trunk intact at the bottom, as a way of preserving its presence. 

It was never the same. Our space felt hollow without the Silver Oak’s charming aura. We were itching to pay homage to the tree that had given all of us so many memories. After much thought, our Design team came up with the concept of a Totem Pole installation. 

Traditionally, totem poles are a significant part of Native American culture. They’re carved out of large trees and serve many purposes beyond their beauty. Some of them represent stories or important event or pay respect to the departed. With these poles, each figure represents a part of the story. These are not worshipped, or even considered to be God. Instead, they represent traits or characteristics of the tribe or story. 

We decided to adapt this concept to honour our fallen tree, and thus was born the Tree-tem pole. This Tree-tem pole would celebrate the memories of our tree, and overlay with values shaping us for the future. 

At Elephant, we pride ourselves on a strong set of values which we abide by in our lives and work. Each figure engraved on our Tree-tem pole would embody a value that we stand by today. The face of a human being at the top depicts Empathy, something we strive to incorporate into all of our actions. The bee represents Expertise, as we endeavour to offer the same level of proficiency as she does while constructing honeycombs. An Eagle personifies its exploratory nature, and Honesty mirrors the kind face of a dog. We chose a cow to depict Value Addition, considering how selflessly she gives to our mankind. The Tree-tem pole is interfaced near the top by a large Elephant head, crafted with a sheet of aluminium, embodying the spirit of Design at Elephant. 

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Life sprouts on to this inanimate structure through creepers planted at the base of the pole, which now have started winding their way upward. The old Silver Oak trunk stays visible through the mesh at the base allowing each one of us to get a glimpse of the original tree. 

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Elephant had three Interesting outings this October!

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TiE Pune Healthcare Summit

Anand Palsodkar delivered a talk on Design with Empathy for Patients at the TiE Pune Healthcare Summit that took place on 27 October 2018. 

TiE is world’s largest network of entrepreneurs that works towards fostering growth. The purpose of this Summit is to bring together like minded experts to promote thought leadership and exchange of ideas and to position Pune as the Healthcare hot-spot.

Organised by Pune Chapter of TiE, this annual Healthcare Summit was well attended by healthcare eco-system including Industry bodies, Incubators, Government and Public Policy experts as well as Investors. 

Anand Palsodkar is Design Director at Elephant and heads Product Innovation vertical.


Ladies Wine & Design

Mayuri Nikumbh shared her experiences as a Woman in Creative Profession at the Ladies Wine & Design Pune kick-off event on 27 October 2018 organised by a group of young designers & design students. 

LW&D is an initiative started by designer Jessica Walsh to empower creative ladies around the world after she realised that only a small percent of creative directors are women, and she would like to help change this through mentorship circles, portfolio reviews & talks. 

Mayuri Nikumbh is Design Director at Elephant and heads Product Innovation vertical.


DesignUp

Ashish Deshpande participated in a panel discussion on Leading Design at the DesignUp conference that took place in Bangalore on 25-27 October 2018. This annual conference is focussed on Design-intech & Design-for-tech. 

The panel also included Jurgen Spangi (Atlassian), Anjali Desai (Intuit), Amy Huang (RedMart) and Daniel Burka (Google Ventures). Discussions revolved around Ux, Product Innovation, Emergent Tech & more.

DesignUp started in 2016 with the idea of raising the design agenda within tech companies and tech-led businesses. 

Ashish Deshpande is Co-founder, Director at Elephant and leads Product Design & Retail Experience verticals.


Brand Makeover

Kurkure has a vast portfolio of multiple categories, flavours & sizes with varying preferences of tastes & shapes across the country. 

As some of the innovations in shapes & flavours had happened organically, this hugely popular brand needed a cohesive brand architecture and visual language. Indian snacks had added to the complexity of portfolio even further.  

There were 3 significant tasks for this redesigning exercise: 

  • Enhance brand leadership, relevance & distinctiveness.
  • Build an architecture that is able to create strong differentiation for categories 
  • And most importantly, help consumers navigate the shelf & pick the right snack of their choice

As echoed by consumers everywhere, Kurkure being the brand of abundance, crunch & quirk, design team decided to highlight these three axes on the packs. 

The concept was built around getting the ingredients in focus to enhance taste appeal with a larger than life shape of the product providing backdrop for play between products & ingredients. Every variant is called out in custom designed typography that also makes it ownable. Back of packs are brought to life with custom drawn illustrations of turning mundane encounters into fun moments by sharing the tasty crunchy snack. 

While harmonising the entire portfolio in terms of messaging, tone of voice and visual language the team was successful in creating clear distinction within categories of collets, puffcorns, trangles and Indian savoury snacks; taking the shelf visibility & excitement to next level. 

Time to grab India’s favourite Masala Munch! 

Settling in a new ‘fun’ place

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Its my first month at Elephant and I’m still finding my way around. As a new face in the crowd, you tend to get swept away. In the midst of trying to find a rooting, I have been amusing myself with the little things at Elephant. The little things are quirky, fun and add an element of happiness to my dullness of solitude while I attempt to make new alliances. 

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On my first day, within the first hour, I am showered with goodies. A well illustrated coffee mug, a t-shirt, and a diary (there are a set of cool stamps which can be used to personalise your diary!). I am also given a little pink diary (yes, pink) which gives me contacts and guidelines that I may need while settling in. It also allows me to set goals to be achieved in the first few months. All this using unique comic-book type illustrations.

As I wander around the premises, I notice these little signages which add to my amusement. The conference rooms have names such as ‘Idea Bar’, ‘Think Tank’, and ‘Chat Box’: (REALLY cute displays). While going down the stairs in one of the buildings, the ceiling is a bit low towards the landing and here comes a little sign saying ‘Oops!’. That truly does put a smile on my face. There are coffee and lunch breaks at the ‘Palm Beach Cafe’ and it rightly holds true to its name. It is an open wide space giving you plenty of opportunities to mingle with the rest of the crowd. Even the disposable cups have been personalised by Elephant and have cute illustrations.

It is still my first month and as time passes, I am sure to discover more little things at this institute that believes in the power of magic!

Reema Mehta

Incident at a fort!

Incident at a fort!

27 summers ago, moonless, it was a night for Elephant and we had our own tryst with destiny.By ASHISH DESHPANDE

The year was 1989 for certain. Yet, it is unclear when Elephant1 started. No one is sure. Perhaps it was that Design Management module in our fourth year. It could have been one of those countless discussions that excitedly took place on the stair leading to the auditorium or those precious wasted hours at NID2 gate over Chai3. Maybe, a hard date can be inscribed as April 16th. 1989, the day pioneers of the herd landed in Pune with their trunks, hold all & drawing boards. Another date that probably is hard coded is 02 May 1989, date the firm got itself registered as Elephant and a working deed was drawn out by a bemused CA4, who wondered the point of making the deed when Design itself was questionable in his mind.  

As fresh graduates, we saw the bleak landscape that Design in India presented as an opportunity. We were friendly, eager to learn, connect and people around were more than willing to help a fledging professional practice. Elephant survived, and a year later, excited, we plotted to celebrate our one-year of existence in the Indian design landscape. May, 01 1990 was pegged as Elephant Day, maybe it helped that 01st of May was a public holiday5 or in most probability, it was the most convenient average of various dates. 

We finished working late on the 30th. April. Yes, we worked hard those days as we continue the tradition even today. The plan was to pick up five Chicken Tandoori 6 portions, half a dozen bottles of Pilsner beer, hire a Fiat Premier 7(big deal those days, since we has 2 scooters between the five) and head to Sinhagad 8, a 1400AD fort that towers over the city about 30 km from Pune.

The herd started from Pune at about 10:30 in the night. It was a lonely drive up the hill to the base of the fort. There was no one around and we hiked up the fort to find a great spot overlooking the city in the distance. The plan was to see the sunrise from the fort ramparts and celebrate our first year as Elephant.

We celebrated nonetheless, consuming beer, the chicken tandoori, and talked our way through the night. There was no good shelter and we were lying in the open on the wild grass looking at stars.

That night, at that moment, life taught us one of our first lessons. Around 3 am., as breeze grew stronger and a chill set in. It was difficult to remain in the open. We had come unprepared, there was no torch or matchstick and we were in our light summer Tees. By 3:30am, we were shivering.  Rattling our way back to the parking lot, we woke up the cab driver and started our descent back to Pune. The driver, poor soul was obviously sleepy and lost control of the Fiat and the car scrapped against a Bund wall 9 over the valley below. The fiat lost its headlamp, side panel & trims and the driver lost his sleep. We were lucky to be alive.

We never saw the sunrise. I guess, Pune had acquired a new sun, for the next 28 years, all thanks to the lesson at the fort and our bone rattling experience. We got back and laughed. We laugh every year when this incident is remembered and how close we were to having no Elephant in any room at all.

The journey that began so carefree goes on and each year we remember the lessons learnt, adapt and shine on. The Design landscape has flowered and the herd has grown. However, what remain is that spirit, that took us on this carefree journey, and till this day, we get rattled, we learn, most importantly, we laugh and move on. 

Notes

1.     Elephant, is India’s premier design consulting firm

2.     NID, National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India

3.     "Chai" is a local term for Indian brewed tea

4.     CA is the short abbr. for Chartered Accountant

5.     01 May is celebrated as Labour day and also Maharashtra Day in India

6.     Chicken Tandoori is grilled Mughlai cuisine recipe made in a traditional open coal oven

7.     Fiat Premier “Padmini” is a version of Fiat 1100 Delight

8.     Sinhagad, a martial fort 30 km south west of Pune

9.     Bund Wall is a small retaining or edge wall


ASHISH DESHPANDE is an Industrial Designer, Co-founder & Director at Elephant. An alumnus of National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, he is a keen Design Thinker, a past member of India Design Council & Jury for India Design Mark. He has worked on several design programs, notably, Titan Eye+, Ceat Tyres, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, Symphony, Paperboat and works on medical & healthcare devices amongst others. Recently, Ashish spoke on Design with Context : Design for Real Needs, at the International Design Congress and is the Product Design Jury, Cannes Lions 2017.

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Design with Responsibility

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Responding to local Needs

There are numerous challenges that emerging economies like India face today. Where do we find answers to these complex problems? What do we learn from our past, our present?

What is the role of a practicing designer? Are designers, architects waging a lone battle when it comes to Green Products & Practices? With Paris agreement looming large, it is a good time to do a reality check on how businesses should approach the problem. 

How do we apply our learning to the future of 1.3 billion people in India and how do we align it to the challenges facing our “One Earth”.

By ASHISH DESHPANDE, Co Founder Elephant, Member of India Design Council, Jury for India Design Mark & 

VP - Association of Designers of India

Man has always been a creator.

Be it for anthropological reasons or certain survival instincts, creation is not new to us. We have been creating objects for a few millennia's. From creating for survival and local day to day needs, we have moved towards a rampant phase of object creation, stocking, consumption and refuse generation. The question that creeps up is how much should man create. What led us go get into an overdrive mode of converting every possible resource that we could mine into not an object of survival but that of desire? It is question every environmentalist is up in arms with the powers that be in our world.

According to the author, economist & environmentalist, Ramchandra Guha, “there was no environmentalism before industrialisation”. The term did not exist and came into existence only in the post industrialization period. Industrialisation itself came to India 30 years after it engulfed Europe in a bid to produce more, consume more post the discovery of oil & especially after the proliferation of mass production factories and later the plastics1. Designers and their self-serving employers in their greed & enthusiasm to scale up slowly drew into the web of global consumerism, forgetting our immediate environment concerns & local needs.  

Design as sensible

Design as a profession in its modern definition came into existence almost in parallel to the Industrial and the post-material phase contributing significantly towards creating innumerable objects of desire. Design has been ever present in our society.

The question is and always has been if designers are focusing on needs that are most relevant to us? Not always. If we focus on local context and we can see how examples from our past and cultural heritage have been contributing in creating objects of daily use.

Lets us take a deeper look at a traditional container that is used as an everyday object of use. In India we call it LOTA. It is a simple container found commonly in Indian homes as a traditional object, many a times handed down for generations.

Amazingly, it took the great American Design couple, Charles & Ray Eames to look at this ubiquitous object, to so very eloquently describe it in their now famous India Design Report which laid the foundation of present design in India.

Lota is a product that is very simple in shape and can hold water, milk, grain. It can act as a measure of volume and weight. It is very comfortable to hold, ergonomic, can be carried in hand, affords being carried at waist, or on the head. It can be stored one on top of other. When poured it makes a nice sound. The shape counters fluid dynamics during motion and at the same time is simple & beautiful. It is truly multi purpose. It is locally produced and when made in clean copper, even purifies water. It has taken our society years to perfect this object into a very sensible product.

Lota, however traditional, establishes principles of good design. Good design is the one that addresses needs of our immediate surroundings, is multipurpose, made from local resources, lasts long and is adaptable over the period. As an object, Lota has not lost its relevance after centuries, nor has it contributed to our over growing refuse and land fill problems. It teaches us an ancient lesson of beingsensible in our approach to adding objects into our present day daily existence.

Design as emotionally durable

However, sensibility cannot be restricted to functions alone in the personal lives of people. Like in Korea, in India too, people love their food and cooking traditional recipes is a national passion. Traditional cooking is on a slow flame so as to retain flavors, ingredients and so on. However, the traditional pots presented a problem of reuse and cleaning. Additionally, such pots get soiled during cooking and are not useful for serving as tableware. This practice is getting lost over time.

The Slow Cooking pot range was completely redesigned and recreated using organised process of Earthenware manufacture. This way the dimensions and stability of the product can be controlled. The new pot was design with a system of lid and pot. The unique feature of the new pot was that the exterior as well as the interior of the pot is coated with food grade teflon. This is interesting as it makes the pot reusable and very easy to clean. The pot draws from the traditional form of the pots but adds convenience of an integrated carry and serve handgrip. The shallow dome shaped lid traps the steam and the detail allows it to snugly sit over the pot improving efficiency of cooking over heat. The lid handle is actually a small container for water to help condense the steam. The knob handle becomes a convenient resting place for the spatula. The product is called Bhoomi , which means Earth. The motif, which is glazed on to the surface, is derived from the Devanagri2 script letter “Bhaa” of Bhoomi and is simply a calligraphic expression reinforcing the products connect with earth.

 Designer as a creator

As Designers, we usually tend to distance ourselves from taking responsibility for the negative impact of our creations to our society, economy and ecology. It is important that we introduce metrics that would guide us measure such an impact. It is also important to create an environment & team that is amiable and sensitive to being responsible.  

“Design, if it is to be ecologically responsible and socially responsive, must be revolutionary and radical – says Victor Papanek.3

Victor Papanek, an Austrian designer was rebel with a cause. He relentlessly campaigned for designers and product manufacturers to make their articles relevant, meaningful & sustainable. This father of responsible design was even critical of the design fraternity, beginning his seminal book, Design for the Real World with, "There are professions more harmful than industrial design, but only a few… following up with ... by creating whole species of permanent garbage to clutter up the landscape, and by choosing materials and processes that pollute the air we breath, designers have become a dangerous breed."

 

Though designers are crucial to the creation of products & environments, they do not constitute the sizeable decision making machinery in corporate juggernauts. Whipped into being morally responsible many designers have fallen into line, however do they have control?

The Paris Agreement on climate change saw 195 nations give it a nod. However, notably 5000 businesses from 90 countries have agreed to align and support the global agenda towards a properly sustainable & low carbon world. This is a recognizable outcome of COP21 and will call for a fair bit of transparency framework and practices to be adopted. Against this backdrop where do producers of products and services stand today? What is the degree of practice shown by business concerns today that is environment friendly and sustainable? As designers, it is important to take a hard look at the playing field.  

Who is thinking Green? 

One rarely comes across corporates & producers with genuine concern for sustainability. Corporate structure necessitates several point of views getting channelized into the decision making process. Designer’s concerns have a tendency to lose itself in a deluge of constrains from all stakeholders. Green concerns have always been secondary. Most producers are motivated by long term monetary savings, or operational benefits that green products bring to their business.

The “green & good for environment” part is a by-product of fiscal decisions. So, the priorities today can be stated as;

·       Operational expense savings

·       Company law regulations, environment policy mandates

·       Competitive advantage

First is the prime mover for “green decisions” in corporates. The second is a legal necessity and the third is the story. However, all require a Design Thinking approach to make the impact stick with people, deliver monetary & habit change and be good enough to bear the “green edge”. Design is one such asset capable of enabling a “green edge” within a production setup, provided design teams start dropping their blinkers and business leaders open their minds.

Stepping beyond singularity, design teams tend to stick around creative ideation as their strength. A large part of this creative energy goes towards focusing on the Product or Service, form, function & experience. Products or services are interaction cores of a larger engine that makes solutions happen. Design needs to enlarge focus beyond the fuzzy elements of product solutions. Rarely do Designers concern themselves with manufacturing processes, materials with reference to its impact on our environment. Most follow the producers set up as an overriding constraint to design. It is interesting to bear in mind that a product or service is not alone. It comes heavily loaded at one end with manufacturing systems and on the other end with logistics of market access, retail & consumption. A sum total of this value chain is the impact of a “Design” on environment. This value change can no longer afford to be linear in thought process and remain in isolated silos of excellence, rather play like a football team with a unified objective.

Creators & producers need to proactively look beyond ideas into product optimization, cleaner production, life cycle assessment, cradle to cradle, extended responsibility and environmental impact assessment as part of their design process & tools, both in development & route to markets. Green Innovation will happen, provided the thought is holistic and across the value chain. Newer practices will add up to the expenses, however, eliminating waste, sharing resources may be light weight methods of lowering costs and offsetting any new“green” expenses without business disruption.

It is sad to see that most “green energy” transport solutions today, are the most “expensive” transport solutions.  Herein lies an opportunity for “creative” approach towards ensuring both “green” (environ & monetary) returns on investment made. Many a times policies can be binding, like take the case of restrictions on use of thin plastic grocery bags. Prior to the bags coming in market through grocery chains and standalone shops, cloth & paper bags were prevalent. Years after restrictions were executed, the industry has not been able to promote alternatives. Paper bags are laborious to manufacture, not sturdy & have their own issues, cloth bags have not regained popularity. The industry has invested huge into plant, materials, machinery & markets that prevent it to see a linear solution in sight. Solutions at present are incremental or too expensive and need a creative thought from a different viewpoint. This calls for a mind & process shift by creating a new development process based on Design Thinking.

So, Industry focus must shift and businesses can start investing in co-creative development teams to make the future greener. New areas of focus for redevelopment can be one or all of the ones stated;

·       Power & Energy (Reduce consumption, Green source, increase efficiency)

·       Resource consumption and waste (localize, Reduce, Share, Reuse)

·       Production materials (low carbon rating, low pollutants)

·       Finishing substrates (Reduce, Remove, low carbon rating, low pollutants)

·       Logistics (Reduce distance, time, space)

·       Functions (merge, eliminate least desired)

·       Retail (Reduce touch points, strengthen story, share)

 

New development process based on Design Thinking leading to Radical impact within Resource limits. Illustration by the author.

Mahindra Reva’s e2o is a good example5. The design team went beyond the traditional indulgence of vehicle design into adapting efficient green production process, unconventional materials, solar charging and regenerative braking technologies and even new ownership programs to make buying affordable. The effort resonates of all round contribution at various levels & verticals. However, the car still leans on government policies & subsidies and has not yet managed to make the end price attractive for making box office hits. E2O and its predecessor REVA since inception has been a green focused business and so it is not surprising. That will be a remarkable example of “green impact” at an affordable price tag of US$6,000 compared to say a TESLA3 at US$35,000.

The way to do this is to work with cross-functional teams as a start point with Design Thinking as a primary enabling tool & framework for development. This presents a new challenge for designers as well as an opportunity to create more relevant, holistic & eco-friendly solutions. Moving focus away from traditional playgrounds for design development teams to new areas for innovation is a route with guaranteed success in the “Battle for the Greens”. Though, Design Thinking may “no longer be a competitive advantage” for companies, as questioned by Tim Brown, CEO, IDEO ( HBR Post )6, design & design thinking are still good enough to ensure a “greener” tomorrow.

Design for Larger impact

Let us look at another product from recent times. Like Republic of Korea, India is a large democracy and people voice is important. People express their voice & choice through voting. We are a country of 1.3 billion people and the numbers in India are staggering. We have 815 million registered voters. In our general elections we have 8000+ candidates in fray from 1600 political parties. People cast their votes from urban to remote corners of India through over 93 thousand polling stations. General elections used to consume more than 8000 tonnes of paper, accounting for over 200 thousand trees. This use to take days and days of laborious counting and bogus voting practices.

The design and introduction of the Electronic Voting Machines heralded a revolution in the voting process for the common people. Designed by Industrial Designers A G Rao & Ravi Pooviah from Industrial Design Center, IIT Mumbai7, along with Electronic Corporation of India8, they were first Tested first in 1989, the EVM’s have been used in total since 2004. The system is easily portable, takes less space to store, easy to use, makes the voting process quicker and results are available within a few hours. The communication and interface is highly simple and algorithms used are fool proof against erroneous voting and even frustrate bogus voting attempts.

This is another effective example of how sensible design can have a great impact on common people.

So, design must lead to a larger impact.  By sensibly addressing the needs of our people and by being relevant to the immediate social environment, it can bring about true improvement in life of a large number of population.

Design for community opportunities over luxury

India is changing. For people in an emerging economy to survive, local job creation is extremely important. About 800+ startups are set up every year. By 2020 there will be 12000 startups employing over 250,000 people. These start ups are looking at local business opportunities based on local needs. This is where design needs to focus.

Lets discuss the work of two enterprises working within local context. First example is work of Designer Laxmi Murthy and her organisation UGER9. UGER is a social enterprise. Lakshmi Murthy was very concerned with poor menstrual hygiene among socio-economically backward populations, women as they were not able to afford synthetic pads manufactured by Multi National Companies.

The existing pads were not friendly to the skin due to use of bleach and once thrown, due to synthetic materials, disposal was big issue contributing to land fill problems.

Eco friendly Pads being sold online, picture by Author of Uger online promotion

Uger has designed sanitary pads for women that are made entirely in cotton. They can be washed at home and hence can be reused. This makes use of sanitary pads affordable to low income group women. And improves hygiene amongst these women. The pads come in pleasant colours and patterns. The inner stuffing is cotton that does not add to disposal and landfill issues. Pad making has given employment and work to women from the region. Laxmi Murthy has created value for women who are socio economically backward while mitigating environmental risks.

The second project is by Promethean Power Systems10, a start up. This project was done for the benefit of milk farmers in rural India. It demonstrates as to how technology led solutions can be created for people with lower resources and means.

Operation flood that was launched in India by the government has ensured that milk production has substantially increased at rural levels. Over 100 million gallons of milk is produced each year in India. However, milk requires immediate chilling otherwise in hot, humid conditions in regions like India, the milk quality diminishes in less than 4 hours. In India 10 million US$ worth of agricultural produce is lost due to inadequate cooling. In rural areas there is power only for 10 – 12 hours.

This affects milk chilling and the quality of milk, which in-turn reduces the earning by the farmer.

The new solution by Promethean Power Systems uses a Thermal storage battery that uses a phase change material to store and transfer chill energy. The battery charges up whenever the power supply is present and is ready to chill even when there is no power. This system ensures that there is chilling charge available in the system 24 hours, even when there is no electrical supply. Costly diesel set and stocking of fuel is avoided. The components are Modular and hence they can be easily transported in a small commercial vehicle. The bodywork is Stainless Steel, is hygienic. The loader platform ensures ease in pouring milk. What has this product achieved? It has made Making milk chilling affordable at community level. The farmers do not loose milk produce. The dairies get better quality of milk and the consumer gets healthy milk product.

Empowering communities to add value to their produce helps local communities grow and prosper. When we provide more value using fewer resources for more people our design efforts can be said to be truly working.

Design that helps sustain

There is an emergent need to shift the focus of design from the top 1% of the world population to the needs of rest of the world. This majority portion of the world faces complex problems in healthcare, energy needs, education, basic food & sanitation. Design has the potential to connect people with technology, people with people and businesses with people to reach out appropriate solutions that not only make lives better but help our planet to breathe.

Remote health care has started gaining importance in emerging economies. In countries like India, which fall short on resources, modes of travel, presence of primary health care, design and technology can come together to reach solutions and care to people who till today do not have access to good healthcare and diagnostics services. SynPhNe11 and Healthcubed are two such examples of new companies that are employing cutting edge technology and design to provide low cost, portable healthcare and diagnostics solutions to common people. Their design & technology may be based on local context but the solutions can help bring access to cutting edge healthcare and diagnostics to any person on our planet.

Talking of our planet, it is important to highlight the work of Daily Dump12, a Bengaluru, India based design led enterprise that has been using design to create eco friendly compositing solutions for organic waste. Daily Dumps work has helped change mind set of urban citizens towards waste segregation through effective use of design, local solutions and in the end it is a big step towards helping sustain our planet.

There is enough to be done for our planet and its habitants. As designers, we need to keep asking where we stand. I believe, It is our responsibility as a designer to sensibly keep giving more, by look for opportunities and understand that we can help make a large impact with design to the lives of common people, while sustaining our precious eco system.

Notes:

1.      How much should a person consume? By Ramchandra Guha, 2010, Hachette India. Ramachandra Guha is an Indian historian and writer whose research interests include environmental, social, political and cricket history. For the year 2011–2012, he held a visiting position at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), the Philippe Roman Chair in History and International Affairs. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramachandra_Guha.

2.      Devanagari, a script based on ancient Bramhi script family that has forty seven primary characters and is used for over 120 languages, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devanagari

3.      Victor Papanek, Victor Joseph Papanek (22 November 1923 – 10 January 1998) was a designer, author and educator who became a strong advocate of the socially and ecologically responsible design of products, tools, and community infrastructures. http://papanek.org/about/victor-j-papanek/

4.      Design for the real world, Victor Papanek, Academy Chicago Publishers (Preface to the first edition)

5.      Mahindra & Mahindra is an automotive manufacturer, India, Reva & E2O, are all electric vehicles with zero tailpipe emission claims, http://mahindrareva.com

6.      Tim Brown, CEO & President, IDEO, https://www.ideo.com/people/tim-brown,  HBR Post, https://hbr.org/2015/08/when-everyone-is-doing-design-thinking-is-it-still-a-competitive-advantage

7.      IIIT, Mumbai, Industrial Design Center, is a premier design school established in 1969, http://www.idc.iitb.ac.in

8.      Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) is a Government of India Enterprise under the Department of Atomic Energy (India), established on April 11, 1967 by Dr A S Rao at Hyderabad, to create a strong indigenous base in electronics, http://www.ecil.co.in

9.      UGER, means “new beginning”, UGER is a movement about women's empowerment and menstrual issues, http://ugerpads.jimdo.com, a brain child of designer, Laxmi Murthy

10.    Promethean Power Systems, designs and manufactures refrigeration systems for cold-storage applications in off-grid and partially electrified areas of developing countries. http://www.coolectrica.com/#productsCoolectrica

11.    SynPhNe is a Singapore based bio medical initiative, http://www.synphne.org

12.    Daily Dump helps manage waste and garbage for home, http://www.dailydump.org

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Want to join Elephant? Read these super tips by Vinita Jakkal who landed herself a place in our team!

Vinita Jakkal

Vinita Jakkal

As most of young designers dream of starting their career with the top studios but dreaming is not enough says Vinita Jakkal, a Post Graduate in Graphic Design from MIT Institute of Design, who is currently working with Elephant Design, Pune. She shares the tips, which may help you make your dream come true. 

If you really want to get placed in your dream company, you need to be on your toes from the very first day of your college. Dreaming is good but doing nothing for that dream every day is not. No matter how philosophical or boring it sounds (even I felt the same when I was in college) but it’s a truth that I learned over past 6 years of my design experience.

Start by choosing the company with a must do basic research on company portfolio, it’s market reputation and most importantly what you want to learn from it. Also understanding the scope for individual growth and aspirations.

Your design portfolio is going to act as a mirror for you and your skills. So be thoughtful while choosing a work. Only select the best & unique, as viewer will be interested in the quality and not the quantity. Now a days everyone is techno savvy so try to make an online portfolio or your own website.One of the most important part is showcasing the design process of your work.

If it is a face to face interview, along with your resume & online portfolio try to present some of your best physical models or works as well. It will add interest for the reviewer.

When you aspire a dream opportunity, it can come to you in any form and at any time, so do not wait for vacancies of studios. Just participate in public events, contribute on global or national level design platforms so that many studios can notice your work and rest assured if you are good at your skills, they will pour you with opportunities and offers.

Also, be confident about your work while presenting. Try to highlight the process & thought behind any creativity and specially avoid saying that I have chosen this colour because that’s my favourite one.

When you’re trying to sell yourself as a conceptual person, you need to be able to validate your decision-making because interviewer want to see how you think and that you understand the purpose of design from a business & end user perspective.

Studios always want people with multiple skills. So sell your skills correctly!

So Best of Luck peeps.

http://www.creativegaga.com/articles.php?act=details&aid=371

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How does Design affect business ?

How does Design affect business ?
 

"Design is as much craft as it is insightful thought."


Like we say at elephant, doing a cool design for "limited edition" is alright, but what can we do it for a mainstream product that sells in excess of a million every single day! 

Britannia breads packaging needed to reflect the positive & healthy change in recipes. With misconceptions around brown, wheat, whole wheat & so on, we wanted to give each variant a distinct identity so that consumer is fully aware of what she/ he is picking up. With a conversational tone and cheerful illustrations, this sure is a welcome change for these loaves… about 1.5 million of them are selling like hot breads now...

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Bready affair... 

Centre of Excellence, Elephant, Team, Pune.

 

 

 

WHAT VALUE AM I CREATING #3

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TEAM ELEPHANT SPEAKS

WHAT VALUE AM I CREATING #3

I'm a preacher for planning. I love to work on well-planned projects. It helps me maintain the enthusiasm, fun & love for work.

I was blessed with really good, encouraging seniors. And I try to bring those qualities of encouragement, guidance, humbleness & fun on the table as we work.

Suraja Kotnis - Graphic Design Team

I am working on photo-shop tablet sketching and through peers I have learnt the process from scratch in Elephant and will continue to try and learn new methods like this independently.

Aarish Netarwala - Product Design Team

I strongly believe that my greatest value is my love for illustration. And if there is any illustration work required by any team, I am happy to help!

Nivedita Kekre - Graphic Design Team

Beyond the defined solution I also make few innovative routes, which are a few steps above the requirement. This way the client can know our expertise and understanding of the problems in his market. Also the client can come back to us when he/she has more evolved requirements as well.

Rimpy Batra - Graphic Design Team

I am encouraging all designers to create one pro-active design work a month. This not only creates a healthy competition but also pushes ones creativity. One also ends up doing something different beyond the regular projects.

Nikhil Phadke- - Graphic Design Team

Constraints as well as possibilities with the vendors/supplier organizations are important. This helps us to know the latest trends and technologies in the respective sector. I am creating a cutting edge vendor list, and will try to arrange visit for the team.

Yogesh Maralkar – Product Design Team

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WHAT VALUE AM I CREATING #2

TEAM ELEPHANT SPEAKS #2

WHAT VALUE AM I CREATING

I always have options ready.   Being in Administration and HR we have to take extreme care about planning. Still we should think about the worst problem may occur in between and always be ready with the options so that all functions happens smoothly.

For example, arrangement for any event / workshops check all small thing like food type, drink flavour, mosquito repellant in working condition, etc.

Jayashree Babar – HR & Admin Team

Whenever I encounter a design brief or a design problem I try to look at divergent ways to come up with concepts ( e.g Method cards, Visual Thesaurus etc)  and to bring the same to a logical execution. Being empathetic to the users/clients needs is something that I have learnt over time here.

Meenakshi Borgohain - Graphic Design Team

A design that is practical and easy to execute as per the production methods. I try to educate the younger designers the importance of smart design.

 

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I try to involve in other teams project also and give my inputs wherever necessary new technique, method and new design trends.

Abhay Patil - Graphic Design Team

I have also been organizing out of office activities with my colleagues that include home visits, outings, treks as well as get-together for Elephants. Meeting outside the office helps the team synergies and know each other better, building friendships and camaraderie.

Harshad Choudhari - Program Management Team

I maintain a list of work, which I have to do. And try to done it as per priorities.  It is very helpful to me to keep track on my daily, weekly, monthly work.

One thought can change our mood. I try to write one good thought on our white board everyday.

Rohini Natu – Finance Team

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WHAT VALUE AM I CREATING

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TEAM ELEPHANT SPEAKS #1

WHAT VALUE AM I CREATING

Smallest of things I learn at vendors & printers, I feel the need to convey it to our designers as well as artwork people quickly.

Pravin Mutkekar – Artwork team

By educating everyone around us with the projects that we have worked on and letting them know of the mistakes committed, so that such errors and mistakes can be omitted in future, adds to a lot of value to the Team.

Sharing and using new technologies, new trends and new insights from the industry/cross-industry

I have learned a lot from this place, and wish to give back with pleasure.

Vidyavati Gore – Program Management Team

I try to go the extra mile and do something additional for my colleagues who are stressed out. This in turn gives me an exposure to a task that I may not have worked before.

Gouri Kamat – Graphic Design Team

Quality is always maintained in urgent work, many a times in hurry, there is a big chance that slip up might happen for some things.

Power Saving - I take care of mine as well as my floors machines when is not in use, at that time I switch OFF the machines / ACs / Lights / Fans etc.

Harshad Deo - Artwork team

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What’s happening in Visual Design: Before & Beyond

Mayuri Nikumbh

Mayuri Nikumbh

Visual Design and Graphic communication is evolving. What are the trends that will sway the graphic world, how does new technology play a role in this new evolution and how does one connect with the new age end user.

By MAYURI NIKUMBH

With the lines between different media of visual communication blurring by the minute, it is inevitable that the design trends are being heavily cross-pollinated as well. While skeuomorphism has taken a big beating in the latest versions of all digital platforms, it is a trend that is not going away for a long time to come but rather is being adopted by print as well. Simple, flat graphics with solid, contrasting colours is the flavour of our present and fast becoming the preferred style of visual communication for designers & viewers alike.

What’s also emerging as a visual delight and emotional connect is ‘handcraftedness’. Whether it is the use of freehand fonts or unfinished textures or rough sketch lines – imperfection is the new perfection. It is probably the coming of a full circle after the visual fatigue of too much slick & shiny in the preceding seasons. People as consumers are now looking for rootedness and familiarity of the days gone by!  Since products & services are also speaking of the same language – their means of communication cannot remain unaffected.

An offshoot of the above is also another visual trend which sees the mixing of the old and the new – the classic contemporary or the retro new age! Both compliment each other beautifully in terms of image & typeface or colour & form or even tone of voice & visual expression.       

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Packaging Design for Britannia Good Day Chunkies, truly emphasizes the imperfect, handcrafted feel of the product within.

Today technology is enabling in more ways, to express the desired design outcome. If all the above design trends can be brought to life, say in a packaging design exercise, it is due to the advances in printing technology. Whether it is about making a plastic pouch appear like paper or whether is it about creating illusionary glass bubbles on a flat surface, it is all being made possible to attract the consumers’ attention sitting on a shelf and communicate the right brand story.

Another area technology has impacted communication is the new way of purchase – online! The way packs look and engage a consumer is rapidly requiring newer strategies and design expressions. Here the competition or concern is not so much about the shelf shout. The challenge is to appear distinct and engaging in a few pixels and help make purchase decision without holding and feeling the pack in hand!

Substrate treatment simulating actual paper does complete justice to Paperboat Drinks in bringing alive its brand story of being pure and unadulterated nostalgia

In an age where there is prolific usage of internet & new-media not just by the youth but every set of hands who has a cell phone, easily spanning an age divide from 12 to 80, the end user is changing with every new download or upload. The only way to strike a chord with these people is to understand their world – become them. As a designer, one has to constantly be shifting identities and changing shoes based on for who is he or she is designing. One could be reading ‘The Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ on a day to understand what does today’s ‘tween’ think like or could be speaking to a pediatrician on another to understand what a mother is truly anxious about. A designer of our near future has to be a heady mix of psychologist + ethnographer + crystal gazer! J

MAYURI NIKUMBH is a Principal Designer, Visual Communication at Elephant. An alumnus of Industrial Design Center, IIT-Powai, Mumbai, she leads a cool team of designers with work straddling across brands, packaging and branded environments.

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