India

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     elephantdesign.com

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.

Relationship

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. 

Success

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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Seeking the ‘Little Girl’

Seeking the ‘Little Girl’

Little Girl, is that bubbly person with her unique sense of life and constantly looking for joy. She is the future, unaffected by the past. That is the person we always want to design for. Through our design we are always trying to add little joy in her life. But thats not always really simple. The serious conversation of design on competition, manufacturability, the appropriate time to launch, the scale it needs to achieve dominates the conversation. Little girl mostly slips away from these conversations. 

By Partho Guha, Co founder & Director, Elephant   www.elephantdesign.com

There is no ‘Little Girl’ in the user data

In our conversations about the users, we are now quite sophisticated. We have borrowed framework, principle & methods from sociology, statistics, anthropology, psychology & such expertise to understand large number of users. Understanding the desirability factors of a user’s mind specially for a mass distributed offerings is a huge challenge. We are trying hard to make it a fact based conclusive logic, because that is easy to explain when large investments are in questions. But the Little Girl, always absent from such data sets and analytics

There is no ‘Little Girl’ in the analysis

Though are we fully aware that hard data never represent emotions of the users. Emotions are possibly the strongest driver for desirability. In our high level conversations we are avoiding these soft issues because we do not know how to discuss feelings, memories, happiness as data.  May be the analytical approach itself is completely inadequate to tackle these soft issues. 

We may find the ‘Little Girl’ in early ideas

We need to move over to the synthesis processes to have any conversation on feeling. An analysis process starts with breaking down the context and than work towards ideas and a synthesis process starts with ideas and than concludes through validation. When we start the design process with messy data & deep empathy and trust the artist in us, there is a chance we may get the Little Girl in conversation. 

May be a chance worth trying.

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Red to Blue: Mark of differentiation

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Red to Blue: Mark of differentiation

Biggest challenge facing businesses fighting in red ocean zone is ability to effectively differentiate. How does design help deliver business advantage?

By ASHISH DESHPANDE

“Differentiation is the essence of strategy, the prime source of competitive advantage. You earn money not just by performing a valuable task, but by being different from your competitors in a manner that lets you serve your core customers better and more profitably. The sharper your differentiation, the greater your advantage.” - Chris Zook & James Allen, The Great Repeatable Business Model in hbr.org

The air cooler market in India is estimated above Rs.3000 Cr and 70% of this is the unorganized sector. Soaring summer temperatures, longer summer months, rising aspirations of the Indian middle class & accessibility to global markets have made every appliance manufacturer turnout products, to take a share out of the air cooler pie.

Evaporative cooler technology, over years, has improved incrementally and relaxed Intellectual Property compliances makes it hard to place Air Cooler products that are differentiated from the me too & rip offs flooding the consumer space. In this context, how does an appliance manufacturer stay above the waterline? What role does design play in helping companies take a hard look at their product line up? An interesting case of design at work asElephant teams with Symphony Limited, world’s no.1 cooling company.  

Customer focus ≠ Host of Features

Many cooler manufacturers believe that providing a host of incremental benefits is a way to the customer’s heart. Little more pad area, a few cubic feet of more air throw, a liter more of tank capacity is no better than running a race at the discount store.

Differentiation begins with empathy-based observations of what people do when they buy your products. Design team at Elephant spend hours observing people in their homes, looking at their habits and noticing their real time concerns. During one such visit, the design team observed that coolers were always being shunted to balconies, lofts or were pushed under wall units. People need space, and when they don’t need a product, they try and get it out of their way. Coolers not only consume precious floor space but also block airy windows in case of window mounted versions. Air Coolers inherently carry volume and are bulky. Instead of focusing on increasing air throw or the next best remote control, the design team focused on “reclaiming space” for customers. 

Pictures taken by Elephant Team during actual home visits showing Air Coolers stowed away.&nbsp;

Pictures taken by Elephant Team during actual home visits showing Air Coolers stowed away. 

Setting a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)

Once a challenge is identified, it ends up providing the design team with a sense of direction. However, challenges are not easy mountains. The design team at Elephant & Symphony set themselves a couple of goals.

First was to design a full size cooler that fits on a footprint of 1’ x 1’ tile. This was not as easy as it probably reads, since the entire air throw mechanism was to be reconfigured and reengineered to fit into a compact, yet, tall space. This itself was not enough since the product was to deliver a better cooling performance and air throw than conventional models.

Second was to free the window. Windows are a relief in urban apartment environments and the design team set itself the second challenge to create a product that doesn’t need window mounting. The product could be mounted high on the wall like a split AC. Again, this was easier said than done. The design team had to solve the problem of water tank, water filling and cooling.    

Making it happen

When design team under takes new direction or challenge, they come across unknown obstacles. Some of them are known spoilers like weight of the product, cost of parts, number of parts, assembly, quality of manufacture and size for shipping. All these obstacles need to be sorted out from the regular functional issues before a cooler can be realized. As a new format of product that is deviant from the traditional, it is imperative that the product carries no bugs.

The development work resulted in two product formats.

First, was the creation of the ultra compact and tall range of next generation cooler range “DiET”. This product connected with people due to its floor saving footprint, low power & water consumption and was an instant hit. DiET today retails across 40 countries with over 1.2 million units sold. This product for its design & innovation quality was awarded the “India Design Mark 2013”.

DiEt cooler with ultra compact foot print, tall delivery and “intelligent” controls.

DiEt cooler with ultra compact foot print, tall delivery and “intelligent” controls.

Second, resulted in the creation of world’s first wall mounted air cooler, “Cloud”. A cooler that has completely freed window and floor space for people for whom space is luxury. This product for its design differentiation and innovativeness has been recently awarded the India Design Mark, 2016.

Cloud Cooler, mounted on wall. This freed floor space and windows.

Cloud Cooler, mounted on wall. This freed floor space and windows.

When development effort focuses on people, appreciates and acts on unsaid needs, product innovation can take place. The two efforts for Symphony are good examples of moving from a crowded orbit to an elevated plane. This orbit shift is what creates powerful brands, those that rise above the red ocean and make business sense.

Design led Innovation is a powerful tool however needs the courage from corporations and a resolute design team to undertake lofty challenges. Challenges that are not a figment of someone’s imagination or sales target but rather drawn from the latent needs of people.  

All successful product categories get crowded, what matters in time is agile & continuous people based design & innovation effort.   

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 & President of Association of Designers of India. He has mentored several start ups, conducts Design led Innovation workshops and 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.

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Start Up & Design Thinking

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Select START UP teams of The Intel & DST – Innovate for Digital India Challenge 2.0 underwent #designthinking workshop Elephant Design Learning Centre yesterday. 

As a mentor adviser Ashish Deshpande spoke to top teams at #T_Hub earlier this month. 

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Award for Paper boat design

Paper Boat designed by Elephant Design was presented The India Story Design Award 2016 to applaud the emotional power and timeless nature of its design.
Elephant has been instrumental in shaping this hugely loved brand of drinks & memories right from the inception, contributing to its name, story, shape & visual identity. 

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Packaging Design: An Arranged Match*

Suraja Kotnis ,&nbsp;Lead Designer, Communication Design, Elephant

Suraja Kotnis, Lead Designer, Communication Design, Elephant

Packaging design is very demanding yet interesting. It is like someone looking for an arranged marriage match. With just 3 seconds to impress, the design needs to speak the buyer’s language, or else, it gets thrown out of the consideration set.

Designing anything with such a small real estate and high expense requires a lot of thinking, understanding and planning.

* a marriage planned and arranged by the families of the couple

Here are some thoughts to consider before embarking on a packaging design exercise.

1.    Inside the closet or outside the closet:

Does the product have a show-off value, will the brand enhance the buyer’s image or is it a regular habitual product. This helps understand the purpose and mindset of the person buying a brand. eg: a glucose biscuit vsChunkies cookies –

Graphic language and messaging attitude follows smoothly if the answer is clear.

2.    Target Audience:

Who, when, how and why is the brand being bought.

I believe there are 3 kinds of TG – the influencers, the decision makers and the end users. And we have to impress all :) at every stage

Sometimes the end user might not even get to see the packaging. But what if she/he does and doesn’t get impressed?

3.    Brand – Is it a Leader or a follower

As communication designers, we might think of a completely out of the box idea but if the brand has an established legacy it will just be a great idea without any connection to the brand or its loyal consumers. eg: MTR Foods: The idea in revisiting the packaging was not to alienate its existing consumers. The task was to simplify the information in the exact manner that as consumer seeks it while taking the design a level ahead as a leader & trend-setter.

4.    Building an exclusive brand experience at 3 levels – attracting, buying and end usage

At every touch-point, we need to think of creating small but impactful experiences. That is the only way to create a continuous cycle of loyalty for the brands.   

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Monday Morning & Taximeter

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First #MondayMorningMeeting at the reclaimed #PalmBeach opened with the very inspiring presentation by our super designer #PriyankaKaryekar who walked away with the cool #taximeter trophy at #taxifabric#TFWorkshop with her Disco Driver theme. 

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Tata Salt, Olympics & Elephant

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Tata Salt partnered with Elephant to reach out to over seven crore households across the nation with a limited edition packaging. This specially designed pack not only displays the athletes proudly on the tricolour background, but also has a call-to-action where consumers can give a missed call to register their wishes to support the Indian Olympics

Lean Check - Elephant & a Start up

Hospital-acquired infections result in over 100,000 patient deaths every year* LeanCheck is India’s first system with a mission to reduce hospital-acquired infections significantly through a holistic approach. 

Elephant is happy to support this start up. 

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FINGER LIX - Ready & Accessible

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Highlighting food that is ready & accessible 

Using design, adding enriching experience and communicating the delight. Check out our latest intervention with finger licking food Start Up !

yes. we are excited to work with start-ups. especially if they happen to be a crack team of marketing consultants we enjoy working with! 

Here's to every success... from Team Elephant to Team FINGER LIX!

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Want to join Elephant?

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.

 

 

 

Battle of Greens

Battle of Greens: Different approach

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.

By ASHISH DESHPANDE

 “Design, if it is to be ecologically responsible and socially responsive, must be revolutionary and radical - Victor Papanek

Victor Papanek, was rebel with a cause. An Austrian designer, 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?

In my entire retail & product design experience & career across clients, across domains, I rarely encounter clients with genuine concern for sustainability. Mostly, it has been designers and architects, who bring the focus on sustainable development or Green Design into play. 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. MNC’s and large corporates take the cause of Green Design based on requirements of statutory regulations, audits & company law compliance reports. Others do it to satisfy & earn green point awards like Energy Star, Design for Environment, Watersense certifications by EPA, EPEAT, Greenguard-UL, GRIHA or LEED certification, more propelled by market driven competitive spirit than any genuine concerns. 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. A product 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.

Existing development process leading to incremental impact

Avoiding white Elephants

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 become re-popular. 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)

New development process based on Design Thinking leading to Radical impact within Resource limits

 Mahindra Reva’s e2o is a good example. 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. Reva since inception has been a green focused business and so it is not surprising. It will be interesting to see the learning from recent projects making their way into the diesel guzzling SUV platforms from the Mahindra stable (recent diesel SUV ban in Delhi, NCR area). That will be a remarkable example of “green impact”.

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), design & design thinking are still good enough to ensure a “greener” tomorrow.

No better time to start the change, than now!   

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 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.

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Brands in 2k Crore club

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Congratulations Britannia Good Day and Britannia Marie Gold on being part of the 2,000 cr club! Elephant has been a proud design partner to both these brands since 2007.
Watch out for more from them & from us.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/management/first-among-equals-115051901496_1.html
 

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'Make in India' + 'Design in India' = Empowered creators

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Not just Make in India, have Design in India to enable creators, says Ashwini Deshpande of Elephant Design

Success Quotient is a weekly feature that appears every Friday on Firstpost, which looks at the pains and joys en route to success for a head honcho - whether a CEO, MD or an entrepreneur. The column looks at the ideas that helped launch a company, its highs and lows.

Starting out in 1989, Elephant Strategy+Design was co-founded by Ashwini Deshpande, Ashish Deshpande and Partho Gupta in Pune. In a short span the company rose to the top with a distinct identity of its own and now represents India at the Design Alliance Asia, a consortium of design consulting companies across 13 Asian countries. Ashwini Deshpande, Co-Founder and Director, shares her continuing passion for work.

Excerpts from the interview:

What did you want to take up as a career? 

I grew up in Aurangabad, a small town. I was highly inclined towards art, creativity, advertisingand visual story telling in school. I was also good at academics. Towards the end of high school, I realized I was not interested in walking down the conventional career path of engineering or medicine. My parents were very supportive. So we explored options like commercial art, architecture and then we came across some information on NID, the premier design institute in Ahmedabad. Though I wasn’t fully aware of what a designer does as a career and there was nobody to find out from, the prospect of going through the professional design education seemed very exciting. In 1983, NID selected 24 students to join the undergraduate batch. Being one of them felt rather special.

How were your NID days? What are your memories of the place?

For many reasons, NID was a cultural surprise, even a shock. There was freedom, learning and exposure to global thought. There was a degree of social commitment. At NID, a student was only compared to his or her own benchmark or capability and never with anyone else. Years spent at NID taught me to think as an individual on a broader level and to be purposeful. It opened my mind, broadened my horizons. I also came out with a conviction that design is a team game.

Did your views towards design change after going to NID?

Honestly, I did not have enough understanding of design to form a view before I went to NID. But there, the first thing I learnt was the difference between art and design. I understood that design always has a purpose, a parameter, and a problem to solve.

Ashwini Deshpande, Co-Founder and Director, Elephant Design+Strategy

Ashwini Deshpande, Co-Founder and Director, Elephant Design+Strategy

Who is your inspiration?

Companies like Frog Design influenced us in the 80s. There were some great professors, but they were not in the business. There were some peers and seniors who ran boutique design studios. But there was nobody ahead of us in the field with a dream of large scale, sustainable multi-disciplinary design consulting company. So the excitement was to carve a path, create a benchmark and keep raising the bar of design impact. The Elephant team is my inspiration. My teams are my heroes.

What was the genesis of the name of your company – Elephant Design?

Our name is inspired by the story of the blind men and the elephant. We believe design is a team game. We are always interested in adding another dimension to the process to form a richer, bigger picture. The name has worked well. It has had an excellent recall. It also becomes the icebreaker with most new teams that we meet.

What was the first assignment that the company got?

Our first assignment was a big break. I was in Pune working on my graduation project with the India office of a German multi-national company. As luck may have it, the global head of corporate communications happened to visit India during the time, saw some of the work and offered me a project to work on their international collateral. I took it up saying we will do it as Elephant. That project got us a 100,000 Deutsche Marks that roughly equaled Rs 13 lakh in 1989. In the initial days, a consultancy needs to pick up whatever work that may come its way. That money gave us the confidence to focus on meaningful work where we could bring about a positive impact with design intervention.

We saw decent double digit growth last year. Hopefully the trend will grow.

What are the changes in your sector that you welcome? What do you think needs to be done?

Design being a nascent profession, awareness about the impact of design intervention is very low.  There are no measurable tools or any documented case studies that explain how design helped increase profits for a business. Now that there are many design schools in India, we should be able to have better talent and awareness. When the Indian government promotes Make in India, it needs to start with ‘Design in India’. Otherwise we will become a nation of ‘makers’ and not ‘creators’.

I would like to see Indian products and brands becoming globally relevant and successful. I feel Indian design needs to focus on staying relevant to its audience and not get side-tracked by trying to showcase an outsider’s version of ‘Indian’ design.

What are your dreams for Elephant Design and how far have you come to fulfilling it?

We have always worked towards building an institution that transforms lives. The dream was to stay purposeful, make a large and positive impact and lead the way for establishing business of design in India. It took time, but we are quite there. The next dream is to put Indian design on the mainstream global map of design, to make design intervention meaningful to the masses and to use design as a tool for social impact.


How do you nurture your creativity?

The best virtue of a designer is to stay curious and to not be judgmental. I try my best.

You love travelling. Does travel for work give you Me-Time or it is only work?

There is a idiom in Marathi that I grew up with: Kelyane deshatan pandit maitree, sabhet sanchar, manuja chaturya yetase far. It loosely translates to: If you travel the world, meet experts, interact with others, you may become clever yourself!

I never see work as something I need to get away from. I love everything that comes with the profession. Who can complain about getting invited to Cannes for seeing the best work in one’s field and get to also have an opinion on it?

What is on your bucket list? How many have you finished on that so far?

I have travelled across more than 20 odd countries. And maybe 20 more are waiting. I edited a book called Colours of Asia last year, but now want to write one myself. I feel Elephant is an inspirational story that needs to be told. So I am hoping to complete that book soon. Other things from the bucket list will emerge as I go along.

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