Interact with these doodles to jump to the topic in the video

00:00:00 Hi everyone I m Kadambari Sahu. I'm the head of design at Value Labs. Design Inspire is

00:00:14 the web series of passionate innovative and young inspiring designers. The web series

00:00:20 dive into their passion inspiration and what makes them go. It's an effort to understand

00:00:25 how they are navigating their career path and how they are investing their creative

00:00:29 energies. We believe hearing their bold moves and inspiring stories that will ignite interest

00:00:34 and inspired the next generation of bonding designers across the globe. So let's go forward.

00:00:40 Hello everyone welcome to design inspire our guest today is Deshna. Deshna is a visual

00:00:45 artist with the passion for photography, design writing and curation. A graduate of Sir J.J

00:00:51 institute of applied Art, followed by a master's in graphic design from London College of communication

00:00:56 and masters in visual communication from Royal College of arts in London, she moved back

00:01:00 to India seeking to find meaning within her own design practice. This led to the inception

00:01:06 of Studio Anugraha which serves as a platform to encourage and entertain collaborative practices

00:01:10 in the field of visual art design and research. It derives from and contributes to elusive

00:01:17 aspects of culture, philosophies, and ideas in general. So welcome Deshna. How are you

00:01:23 doing today?

00:01:24 I'm fine thanks Kadambari. Thanks for having me.

00:01:27 So the format of the show. I'll talk a little bit about that. And then from there we will

00:01:32 pick in. So the first part of the show would be where you take, anything that inspires

00:01:37 you, motivates you're passionate about and can talk about that as a presentation, followed

00:01:42 by that would be a session where I ask you questions about your design journey. And the

00:01:49 questions today which are collated from the user experience group, at Value Labs they've

00:01:54 gone through your profile and, you know, the curious to know about your work. So they've

00:01:58 collated that, and I'll be asking that, but before that, we're very excited to see your

00:02:03 presentation. So let's go forward and do that over to you Deshna.

00:02:06 Thank you for having me. I'm just going to screen share and begin. I'm going to take

00:02:16 this opportunity to talk about, one of the largest projects that we worked on in our

00:02:22 studio. It s been a commission to, it's a permission to document the Kumbh mela s the

00:02:31 reason I picked up this project is because it's kind of exposed us to a gamut of processes,

00:02:38 which we've all sort of learned along the way and now in hindsight, we use a lot of

00:02:45 them in some of the projects that we are currently working on. And it also helped us to define

00:02:51 a niche of which is designed for documentation, which is what our studio focuses on. And,

00:02:58 we hope to do more work in this genre. So, to start off with, we had a patron who sort

00:03:06 of came by and said, we like books and a film on the Kumbh mela, and this was back in 2012.

00:03:15 And the Kumbh mela was approaching in January of 2013. So at that point I had just graduated

00:03:23 from the Royal College of art and had yet figure out what I was going to do, whether,

00:03:27 you know, freelance or work for someone or start a practice. But because this commission

00:03:32 came sort of set up and start practice, we had somebody who invested in sort of believed

00:03:41 in us. So, I won't go to the, I mean, we can talk about the backstory of that later, but

00:03:46 now I take it to the processes we engage with to document the Kumbh. So the visuals you're

00:03:52 now seeing the Kumbh of Allahabad that happened in 2013. So if some of you may be aware of

00:03:59 Kumbh as a festival or gathering. But, basically it happens in four places in an Allahabad,

00:04:06 Ujjain, Nasik and Haridwar. And it happens, mainly around water bodies around the rivers,

00:04:14 which are Holy and worship that is a sort of a very peripheral explanation. But for

00:04:20 the sake of time, I'm moving ahead. So what our team did was take this head on because

00:04:28 we are not really, you know, any experts on Hinduism neither we or historians, and neither

00:04:33 do we have any background or understanding of the Kumbh in fact in most of the team.

00:04:39 This was the first time that they even visited the Kumbh. We really expected to make books

00:04:43 and a film. So, it was important for us to think through how we were doing this. And

00:04:49 the only way we could do this is you know, adopt a sort of understanding and approach

00:04:54 more in the zone of ethnography and anthropology. And look at the premises that oral historians

00:05:00 sort of, you know, invite them navigate with because, that's the only way we could document

00:05:08 and produce something of some authenticity. So I want to talk about that a little later

00:05:13 but we, essentially the model documentation was spending time on field to the duration

00:05:19 of the gathering. So Allahabad right in 2013, we spent 60 days on field the season was,

00:05:25 it was winter and, approach for documentation was more experiential in Nasik we spent 65

00:05:33 days it was the rainy season our approach for documentation was more factual and in

00:05:39 Ujjain we spent 9 days, it was summer and our approach was anecdotal. So when I say

00:05:45 experiential factual Anecdotal these approaches also are emerging they are not preplanned

00:05:50 but they were emerging from the constraints that we had to document, we were asked to

00:05:56 do books and a film. But, our client gave us a free hand on how we approached it and

00:06:02 what we produce as we go along, I talked through how these emerged. You are seeing some visuals

00:06:12 now of you know, this is the most crowed day of Kumbh Mela 2013 and this is the Chalis

00:06:18 Lakh procession where people go towards the river for the Holy bath. And I think close

00:06:23 to 50 million people travelers landscape of the Kumbh which is 50 square kilometers around

00:06:29 both the banks of the Ganga, the Sangam, on this particular day. And it is estimated that

00:06:36 80 million people visited the whole Kumbh to its duration of 22 months. So now, how

00:06:44 did we do this? It is a complex space. It is, to many people. How do we document such

00:06:49 a gathering and how do we even navigate this all fagging this ourselves. So the only way,

00:06:55 like I said, was to approach it in the methods or in the, lenses that oral historians would

00:07:04 adopt, which is through conversations with people experiencing it in real time. So essentially

00:07:11 what this means is that say if you are a government officer, who's in charge of the health and

00:07:19 sanitation at the Kumbh, if I go into arrangements for that particular from your responsibility

00:07:26 in contributing to how this unfolds at that time. So what do you tell me will be a value

00:07:32 because your presence is making things happen in a certain way. So this way, we went and

00:07:38 interviewed essentially people who were experiencing it in real time, but were also contributing

00:07:43 to the landscape in powerful way which contributed to how it even unfolded for that particular

00:07:49 year. And then our client told us, right. The client's brief was that make a book. But

00:07:55 now, as we all know in the design space, that's not enough of a brief because you need to

00:08:00 have some sort of positioning. You need to have some sort of a purpose within the larger

00:08:06 commission to make one, because there are so many books and films that exist on the

00:08:10 Kumbh Mela. So why make another one? I put one out, out there like that. so we studied,

00:08:17 we did about, you know, month and a half of secondary research before we went, which is

00:08:22 looking at whatever we could get hold of in terms of documentaries and existing, books.

00:08:28 And what we, where we found the gap really was that. There were so many books, which

00:08:33 are profitable books, which were very image heavy, and you're not done by photographers,

00:08:39 etc. they were brilliant like visually, they were all brilliant and they communicated beautifully,

00:08:45 but they were not very contextualized. So I'm just seeing image after image. And there

00:08:49 are captions, but it doesn't give me more stories than that. And then there was the

00:08:54 other extreme, which are very scholarly. So like they are, you know, expanding philosophies

00:08:59 of Hinduism. They have some notations and, it's quite heavy there. So unless I'm genuinely

00:09:06 interested in the subject matter, I wouldn't really pick up those books. So this is where

00:09:11 we found the gap. So there is this whole zone of, you know, really, visual profitable books.

00:09:15 And there's this other zone of very scholarly text, heavy books. So we wanted to position

00:09:22 this in between and the reason to do this was also because our client's main intention

00:09:28 of doing this was that we want people to experience the Kumbh. And, according to them, a lot of

00:09:35 young people in our country, or even otherwise, they look at the Kumbh as gathering, which

00:09:42 is you wouldn't willingly go to it's like a stampede or it's so massive that, you know,

00:09:47 why would you willingly put yourself in that situation? So while that is also true? And

00:09:53 there is no going away from that for the kind of scale it is, but there is also a lot that

00:09:58 goes on, which has, which has a lot of potential to, you know, teach in different ways or,

00:10:06 there are life lessons. There are lessons of all sorts that the landscape offers. So,

00:10:11 you literally said that, you know, if through this book or to this film, if you're able

00:10:17 to bring people to go to the Kumbh of your age then you've succeeded. So literally that

00:10:22 was the base of the breeze and we had to plan everything around it. So going back to positioning,

00:10:27 we said, we'll make this book, which is fully contextualized. So while there'll be images

00:10:32 and there'll be texts, but the images will support the text and vice versa while we are

00:10:36 going to do it through storytelling which the stories will be extracted or the insights

00:10:41 will be extracted from conversations. So I'm just rolling on few pictures of the Kumbh.

00:10:47 So this is the scale. You see these upon them bridges that connect the left and right bank.

00:10:52 These are temporary about 1.5 kilometers long, which are deployed on 23 of them are deployed

00:10:58 just for the duration of the kumbh and these are the kinds of settings that we are photographing

00:11:02 in at all points of the day and night.So one of the things that we talked about before

00:11:09 going was that, you know, there is this massive gathering, but then what makes it massive?

00:11:15 What makes the scale, what it is it is the individuals that will come together to form

00:11:20 the collective, right? So we were interested in these individual stories that formed the

00:11:23 collective. Now we did it in two ways. One was two conversations and the other was for

00:11:29 observations. And as people are documenting, we would also going to be publishing. So people

00:11:35 who are publishing and undocumented, we have the responsibility of archiving and also evidencing

00:11:42 because, you know, it's not like a travel log where, you know, we go and say, okay,

00:11:46 it's beautiful or you know, it's, the scale is enormous and it's not very good objectives

00:11:51 because that's really very subjective to our own opinions. Whereas we wanted to put in

00:11:58 information that, sort of peer to connect and, is authentic in a way that it supports

00:12:05 the objective unfolding of the event. So, observations, what does not tell. So if it

00:12:13 didn't stand for the rest and conversations with evidenced and really voice recording,

00:12:18 video recording, and taking stills of people we spoke to. And as an archive, now we have

00:12:23 all of these in the studio that are that form, the bibliography of the published volumes.

00:12:29 So, what you're seeing on my screen is essentially an example. This is a milk man. Now this is

00:12:34 the shadow street bridge that connects the two banks of the, the two banks of the river

00:12:39 Ganga in Allahabad. And what we observed was 6 to 6 30 in the morning. If you go onto the

00:12:45 bridge, you will see that a lot of milk men come. They put a measure of milk into the

00:12:51 river, and then they go by, this is not a very normal happening outside of the permits,

00:12:56 mainly during the Kumbh. Now this is way of offering into the offering the river their

00:13:03 measure the milk whatever it is. So I'm just taking some visual examples for now. Then

00:13:09 this is baba that we encountered. He called himself a scooter baba and we were surprised

00:13:14 because we saw going down to him and he's writing the Scandi stripes to the scooter

00:13:18 in the landscape. And. he will be really like amused what was going on. And we spoke to

00:13:25 him and he said, you know, my way of serving people is really to make people smile, serving

00:13:29 God is to make people smile. So by dressing up the way I dress up every day, people want

00:13:35 to take photos with me. They look at me and it brings a smile on their face. So that's

00:13:39 why I'm hearing, this is what I'm doing. So there were stories like this. Now this is

00:13:44 not something you see in books on Kumbh it's really something that we were encountering

00:13:49 ourselves. And it was emerging from our experience of being on feed. So this form photo story,

00:13:54 a character story in the book, then another visual evidence for the story in the book

00:14:01 is, we saw the women garlanding the bridges. So they're having these huge balls of, you

00:14:09 know, Garlands and they're chanting and they are garlanding bridges in we're wondering

00:14:12 what is going on. But then we realized on talking to them that for them, they worship

00:14:18 the river as goddess. And when the rivers worship as Goddess the closest they can get

00:14:24 to the river without contaminating. It is really garlanding the bridge. So for them,

00:14:28 that is their way of worshiping. So again, this is something that, was very evidence-based.

00:14:33 The visual tells the story. We just support it with the conversation that we had. I won't

00:14:40 get into this. These are diary modes, but, books had mostly everything was evidenced

00:14:46 through an objective, which is an objective viewpoint, which is somebody on field or something

00:14:53 that is seen. But one component in each of the volumes was a diary note, which was a

00:14:58 theme sort of an ankle. I'll talk about this a little later. This is a diary notes scribble,

00:15:04 and then there were also the funnier sort of aspects. So at the Kumbh so many people

00:15:10 it's the largest human gathering or not. So like with all the religious sites globally,

00:15:15 you see that, you know, as a form of worship, people would find it the river now during

00:15:21 the Kumbh mela so many points, right? So many people. So these are kids of boatmen who live

00:15:26 there and come evening. Like at dusk, you see so many of them thinking magnets into

00:15:32 the river and fishing up the point. So this is on the lighter side. But again, these were

00:15:36 things we never had any direction or we never preempted to find them. We found them. And

00:15:42 the documentation is really a post of what we found. It was just about being open and

00:15:46 absorbing all that we saw. This is Andrew, who was an Australian that had come into the

00:15:52 Kumbh that time. And for him, he wanted to serve in this landscape, had come to Kumbh

00:15:59 which was 12 years before this Kumbh. And for him, he thought this is a great platform

00:16:06 to homeschool children, because it has so many insights and philosophies from all that

00:16:09 is going on around. And the next time he came, which was in 2013, he wanted to be a contributor

00:16:14 to the landscape, not just a receiver. So he's a boat builder in Australia. So he actually

00:16:20 came to Allahabad to buy the one before he built a boat, the boats name is Karuna and

00:16:24 he was failing people up and down the Ganga for free. That was his way of, you know, participating

00:16:29 in the landscape for the value he saw in it. And then of course the Kumbh so many aspects.

00:16:35 It, one of the aspects is to serve, seva. So people who believe in the karmic philosophy

00:16:41 in Hinduism for them, this is like the Karma Bhoomi to serve like karmic points in the

00:16:47 form of good karma by solving and not expecting in return, but in a way it's intangible that

00:16:52 it adds up to your karma. So you see langurs of all sizes and shapes, feeding 5 Lakh people

00:16:59 to 5,000 people to 50,000. In all numbers, free food everywhere, and people incessantly

00:17:04 cooking on this camp about 50 ladies, from Punjab, very poor families, farmers day and

00:17:13 night they are making Roti s, they make something like 75,000 Roti s in a day to feed people.

00:17:20 So, moving on to the most serious insights. So these are formal, this was the Mela Adikari

00:17:25 that particular Kumbh. And we had all these formal conversations as well. He's the head

00:17:29 of security and traffic control Ravindra Pratap Singh and he was talking to us about all the

00:17:34 management policies that they are deployed. Example of one was, you know, a stoppage at

00:17:41 one point means a stampede at another point. So he said that for us, all our ground staff

00:17:46 is instructed in a way that to make sure that its constant circulation, because if there

00:17:52 is a stoppage somewhere, it might potentially mean a stampede elsewhere. So even if they

00:17:59 have to direct people sometimes to the wrong direction, they will do that, but they have

00:18:03 to make sure that there's constant flow. So this is one of the 25 cloud management sort

00:18:08 of, you know, strategies that they had. So, these serious conversations brought out all

00:18:14 of these, you know, insights that help the functioning of this landscape. So, yeah I'll

00:18:21 kind of skim through there are lot of stories there's close to around 50 different insights.

00:18:26 I even read this, but I don't have time right now. He's head of sanitation and he said,

00:18:34 you know, the things that was striking was that for us, it's not about, the challenge

00:18:39 is not to build toilets for so many people. The challenge was to make sure people deprecated

00:18:44 them because. So more than 60% of the people attending the Kumbh from Rural India. And

00:18:51 they are not used to having toilets in where they live. So they had to deploy staff to

00:18:55 make sure that people desiccated in them and not outside them. So it's a very different

00:19:00 kind of landscape where problems are very different and it needs solutions that sort

00:19:06 of speak a different language. These are academics at Allahabad University head of anthropology

00:19:12 had Ancient History, head of Ancient languages, and all these people have seen more than four

00:19:19 or five Kumbh to their life. And we interviewed all of them as natives of Allahabad but also

00:19:24 specialists in their fields. So they had lots of stories in contribution that form the lands.

00:19:29 I mean that from the documentation. So in Allahabad we had 80 conversations, that, and

00:19:35 then now that was on field now or field, how do you sort of put all of this together? I'm

00:19:42 going to stop sharing here and kind of move to another quick presentation. So here I will

00:19:51 talk to you all about thing of information design now. So seems so far was on field.

00:20:02 What you see on my screen is eight books that are published, which is what the outcome was

00:20:08 and a documentary, which is an hour long. So, these eight books out from the documentation

00:20:14 and then printed and published by the studio. How did we come to these? I actually, our

00:20:19 commission was one book, but, As we started putting things together, we went to the client,

00:20:23 you know, it book draft and said that, look, this is what we've come up with. Now we laid

00:20:28 it down before they make it to three or two or whatever. But at patron was quite happy

00:20:33 with this. And he said he wanted to publish them, you know, as this, as 8 volumes, how

00:20:41 did we arrive at these eight volumes? So right now, we also documented the Nasik and Ujjain.

00:20:46 So in all we have 275 conversations on field from people from different gamut s of life,

00:20:51 life ranging from, you're not seeing Takada members, pilgrims, academies, writers, philosophers,

00:21:00 all sorts of people interviewed and they fund the voices. We call them the voices of our

00:21:07 books because essentially all the content comes from them. We, as a team, I'm playing

00:21:11 the role of facilitators to extract the content and curators who are sort of piecing the content

00:21:17 in a way that is receivable in the form of books. So Allahabad that has 80 conversations.

00:21:22 So. All of these people's profiles are mentioned in the beginning of the book. And, whatever

00:21:29 they've said is sort of in the books, but how did we come up with this grouping? So,

00:21:35 essentially, like with anything that we now do, we tag for photos we tag content, we tag

00:21:41 all of these 80 conversations for various categories that they offer. So say I spoke

00:21:47 to you at the Kumbh. And you may talk to me about your faith and you may talk to me about

00:21:53 the government official. You will talk to me about how, security was deployed. So then

00:21:59 I'm tagging or interview one for faith, one for security, and there is other aspects you

00:22:04 may have spoken off. So that way every interview was tagged. We, at the end of tagging, we

00:22:09 had around a hundred tags. Then those hundred tags, we started grouping and this group,

00:22:15 group, and group, we couldn't group any further. And those groups are really these Place, time,

00:22:21 Astronomy, history, mythology, belief, Ganga, Yamuna, Sarasvati, Seva, Sadhana

00:22:25 So these are essentially have emerged from tags. That's why we describe a process as

00:22:31 self-organization and emergence. It's not redirected, it's imagined from what we've,

00:22:37 exposed ourselves to what we find in the landscape and via trials. We have this idea that, Well,

00:22:43 you know, the Allahabad Kumbh that the iconic thing about it is that it happens that this

00:22:49 them, which is the confidence of the Ganga, Yamuna, Sarasvati, So all Kumbh happen at

00:22:53 their respective rivers, like Godavari for Nasik, Shipra for Ujjain but here Allahabad

00:23:00 is Iconic it's at the confluence. So we wanted to make sure that something in the book is

00:23:05 stands out as Sangam then it s iconic to Allahabad. So that gave us an idea that if we keep one

00:23:11 book as Ganga, Yamuna, Sarasvati, as a trilogy, then it offers us more sort of systems to

00:23:18 have religious as tags. So we would then, so we grouped in a way then that we were,

00:23:24 we got tags of three and that also allowed us more sort of salt. Accommodation. Cause

00:23:28 we, it gave us 24 instead of eight for eight books. So that's how the group thing happened.

00:23:34 And that's where the idea came from again, imagine so now the books are 8 in number and

00:23:40 say, you talk to me about the river and the rituals that are under your faith. What do

00:23:45 you think of the security? Then you will be in book to me, which is about the goal and

00:23:51 rituals. You'll also be in book seven, which is about faith. And you will also be in book

00:23:56 eight, which is about, you know, the security, the services that are offered and the Mela

00:24:01 is of the Mela. So the same person would make it his way or his voice into the various books

00:24:08 based on what he, or she has said. So the books are really by subject because now when

00:24:14 we think of receiving of the books as a reader, I don't care what said, because I don't know

00:24:21 who he is, but I cared about wanting to know about security and cloud management, you know,

00:24:26 policies or strategies. So in that way, the receiving was thought of, and therefore the

00:24:33 segregation was done by subject. And also what this kind of helped us in responding

00:24:38 to a client's brief because he said, I want people to come and experience the Kumbh. He

00:24:42 didn't say, I want people to develop faith or needed to be say that I want to promote

00:24:47 religion. He said, I just want people to come to this landscape because it does different

00:24:52 things to different people. Somebody may take lessons of management from it. Somebody may.

00:24:56 See the power of collective energy. Somebody else may be interested in the reverse or astronomy.

00:25:02 Anything somebody wants to just experience the idea of serving and, you know, free food.

00:25:09 Somebody wants to experience philosophies and teachings of gurus. So in this way, the

00:25:13 eight books kind of, and so one question each, which is, a different entry point into the

00:25:19 landscape. So say I'm somebody, who's an stamp who has nothing to do with philosophy or religion.

00:25:25 Then book, it is a book that will help me to get an idea of the services that the landscape

00:25:33 offers. Because there's nothing religious about that book. It's only the services and

00:25:39 the Melana's of the Mela, which is, which is what the book is about. So this, division

00:25:45 had definitive entry points into the landscape and either detected, it attracts different

00:25:52 times of leaders with different interests. So this was the aspects and, visually we'd

00:25:58 given up a lot tradition to it. And then, everything on field was really interviews,

00:26:04 which was a Q & A. But, in the books we have, we've created eight different styles of writing,

00:26:10 again from different people who are contributing to the making of the book. And, each book

00:26:16 has eight different styles of writing and, they are represented by flags. So why flags

00:26:22 because as a landscape or sees a lot of flags. So if you were at a vantage point and you

00:26:28 see the landscape, you'll see flags of all shapes and sizes flags will help you to, help

00:26:32 act as unifiers. But at the same time, Septetos also in that video is very important as a

00:26:38 visual component. So we just graphically drawn from that thought. And for the information

00:26:43 design system, we've used different flags for different styles of writing. So moving

00:26:48 ahead, this is the map of Sungum, which you see a lot. In all the billboards, etc. So

00:26:55 this is a very familiar shape when you are in that landscape. So we've used it metaphorically

00:27:00 to navigate that it books. So this is essentially it 8 colors, which is eight aspects. And there

00:27:05 are eight flags, which is eight styles of writing in each book. And when the two are

00:27:10 juxtaposed together, you'll get the contents for all the eight books to navigate. This

00:27:14 is any, this is a spread in book three, as you enter. So you're in book three and it's

00:27:20 positioning you within the whole map of where you are and how this translates for those

00:27:26 really. So this is the juxtapose map. So this gives you all the eight books contents. So

00:27:33 that is one generic book, which is like an inventory or the lead into how do you navigate

00:27:37 the eight books? This is how it is designed. And this is now, these are, you'll find these

00:27:44 at the footer of each book. So. Right now we are in book three, which is blue in color,

00:27:49 which is about the river and on every page, based on what the pages you find the symbol

00:27:54 and color. So that's how it anchors the information design.So you just looking at the photo on

00:28:00 every page, you will know, okay. On this book and you're now reading poetry. So that's how

00:28:06 it just designed essentially. So, yeah. And of course there are more graphic components

00:28:11 to it because it show considering reorder communication design studio. I've skipped

00:28:17 a few steps in between about, you know, archiving, etc. Cause I don't have so much time, but,

00:28:24 just taking you to the slides quickly to sort of, this is the flags and where our inspiration

00:28:31 comes from. And then on display font was also created for the book. I think I have a team

00:28:38 mate Carolyn, and on this call and she's the one who's the digital feed and you know, the

00:28:44 display font. So, yeah, these are spreads from the whole book. These are some insight

00:28:52 page layouts from book one. This is examples of the display font that's created. And then

00:29:04 there are other layers of design that I use. So every photo story inside has a view title

00:29:08 you know, yellowish background, every character story has a red title and a grey background.

00:29:15 So these are smaller intricacies as designers that are there in the book. These are more

00:29:19 spreads on. These are the kinds of writing. So like say scooter baba makes his way into

00:29:25 character story. This is a dairy note. I don't have time to explain. This is a photo story.

00:29:31 This is a poetic extract. So this is expressed in the form of poetry. These are left in as

00:29:38 interviews, from conversation. And then just last point I mentioned is publishing. Like

00:29:43 I told you that we are as studio publish these books and because of having to publish, it

00:29:49 was important for us to get in with NOCS. No objection certificates from every individual

00:29:58 who contributed to this, was the voice who we interview who contributed to the books.

00:30:02 We spoke to them. We had obviously told them that we will be publishing and with their

00:30:06 consent only we had asked and talked to them, but like with a lot of things, you know, translation

00:30:12 can cause discrepancies. Our conversations on field work a lot in Hindi. And we will

00:30:19 work with transcribers and translators or fields. And, also in the way, a bookstore

00:30:23 design, the same person's content was kind of split into different books based on what,

00:30:29 what that person he, or she spoke about. So we found that it will be, ideal and responsible

00:30:34 on our part to show them how people appeared in the books before we published. And. It

00:30:40 was better to get a formal written acceptance because we were acting as publishers. So tomorrow

00:30:44 morning, we don't want somebody to wake up and be like, look, we didn't mean that when

00:30:48 you, when we said that or you contextualize it in a different way. So this process is

00:30:54 something we didn't anticipate at all, that it took us six months from making the book

00:30:59 draft ready and to publishing just because it took us that long to get all the NOCS,

00:31:03 because these are people who don't necessarily have email IDs. They are on the move. Specially

00:31:08 the stains. And, even some of them are from villages. So to access them, we have to physically

00:31:14 put your things. We had to email some, we had to send people to Allahabad from the client

00:31:19 and went and chased and found people and got their NOC S. But we had to extract each person's

00:31:25 part and how it appeared in whichever book and make PDFs and make booklets and say that

00:31:30 look you up here. One, two, three, four places. This is what is before you. This is what is

00:31:35 after you please have a look. If everything is okay, please sign the NOC and we'll publish.

00:31:39 So while we got some, most of them, it was played. We have quite a few of these detective

00:31:45 stories. So this is one example. You see that this is a lady who we interviewed in the Kumbh.

00:31:50 She is a Sadhvi and she had an Ashram in Madhya Pradesh. And, we couldn't chase her. We had

00:31:56 asked, I mean, we had taken out address and a phone number, everything, but there there's

00:32:01 didn't exist. Nobody was answering the phones, the curious bounce back. And she was amongst

00:32:06 the only one that we didn't have an NOC. And it was risky for us as a studio because we

00:32:11 have 79 out of 80. And even if she woke up one day and said that,

00:32:14 look, you know, this is not how I would like you to publish me. Then we would have to pull

00:32:22 down the whole publication. So, thankfully in the process of trying to find a way to,

00:32:27 you know, get in touch with her, Tita, my other colleague from studio, who's also maybe

00:32:32 on this call, she had the presence of mind to zoom into this background image that you

00:32:38 see of a pandal describes her Ashram her set up and in that we found the number from the

00:32:45 flex that was printed on this. And we called them up and we tried to ask him about, you

00:32:50 know, if he knew about the whereabouts of this lady and he did shifted. So he gave us

00:32:55 the right address and that's how we got NOC and then, you know, we had all of them to

00:33:00 publish the book. So we have a few stories like this, which are also there prior to publishing

00:33:05 which we didn't anticipate. So this is how the books are packaged and the project has

00:33:11 been exhibited in different places. This is the launch of the narrow center in Bombay

00:33:15 and, that's how it looks in full information architecture here. So our books were by subjects,

00:33:23 but our exhibit was by styles of lighting. So on one wall where all the interviews on

00:33:27 one wall with all the photo stories, because it just had these spatial economics of going

00:33:32 to two people who want to read less are concentrated in one area. People want to read more. They're

00:33:38 concentrated in one area. That's how the exhibition was designed. And the information architecture

00:33:42 helped that. So this is at the Goa international photo festival, which was our first preview

00:33:48 of the project. This is at Indian Institute of human settlements in Bangalore. And then

00:33:54 Sumaila lifelong learning center, at the Venice Biennale lane. We were fortunate, sending

00:34:03 footage from the Kumbh.. So there was a pavilion by the name of desk, permanent matter. Which

00:34:10 was the architect, so pavilion and, his book, he and his team he heads up in planning at

00:34:17 Howard and he and his team were in the same home landscape sort of documenting, the come

00:34:24 from a different, big architectural standpoint. And in Venice, he was invited to exhibit and

00:34:28 we had people studies, whereas they had all the factual stuff. So, we were able to contribute

00:34:35 people, stories in the form of footage that was exhibited in Venice. So these are some

00:34:39 slides from the Venice Biennale limited, tried to recreate the whole pavilion in a way that,

00:34:46 actually is with bamboo and fabric.

00:34:50 Hi Deshna a quick time check. We are at 35 minutes.

00:34:57 So this is it. In terms of the Allahabad Kumbh. We also did Nasik and Ujjain I was able to

00:35:05 kind of take you all to, you know, how the system was derived. The information design

00:35:10 and navigation was done in a Allahabad but we have a completely different system that

00:35:14 we came up with, again, not what we came up with, but what, the information that we got

00:35:21 offered, and it's a whole different way of navigating, the books that we've used or,

00:35:27 you know, common nouns, proper nouns and abstract nouns as a way to dissect information and

00:35:32 put relevant visuals to it. So for all the common nouns, we use vector illustrations

00:35:37 for all proper nouns. We use photographs and prolapse stack nouns. We use patterns and

00:35:42 how these three come together to form the design of the whole book. So yeah, in a sense,

00:35:48 every book project that we've done, which gives us the scope of on-field documentation

00:35:53 to convert it in like a book or films, we are trying to spot systems and see how these

00:36:00 systems can, help in navigating complex information and make that information more receivable.

00:36:08 So I think that's what we love doing in this studio. And I speak for a team of several

00:36:15 people and I represent them because all of these projects are massive in size and cannot,

00:36:20 by any means, be one person. So although I'm the face of them, a lot of hard work is put

00:36:26 in really by the team that is in the studio and our collaborators that make it happen.

00:36:29 Yeah, sorry I exceeded time.

00:36:30 I think it's wonderful you know, the kind of work that you've done, it's really insightful.

00:36:40 And, I think that it cannot be like, you know, totally gathered on because it's so big and

00:36:45 we could not, you know, sort of get bored of it but yeah, I think, some of it, you know,

00:36:52 sort of, look at it in the question and answer. So I ll started with your design journey and

00:37:00 you did talk about it, very little, but I would like to know, like, how did you even

00:37:04 think of becoming a designer and how did it start for you?

00:37:13 So my dad's an architect and I saw a lot of, you know, his kind of work around me all the

00:37:23 time. And I think I did my 11th grade science because at that point we needed to do science

00:37:26 to do architecture. So that option was kept open and I did it but at the end of the day,

00:37:33 I realized that I was more drawn to, you know, design and art. And that's how I applied in

00:37:37 JJ and got through. And then it was sort of in JJ, we had I don't I think it's still like

00:37:45 that even now, but in third and fourth year you pick up a specialization and I specialize

00:37:50 in that typography at that time and then we were exposed through tutors to, you know,

00:37:58 experiences outside of the country or, not exposed to the experiences, but we would talk,

00:38:03 people would talk to us about it. We had. At that point, curious design Yatra, just

00:38:08 that day, then, you know, we were exposed to some of the things happening outside. And,

00:38:14 that's when this, this thought of wanting to study for them, then London college of

00:38:20 communication was an obvious choice or to pick because it had graphic design. And that's

00:38:26 what I wanted to pursue in specializing. And then I was fortunate to meet, my design mentor

00:38:32 in London, who is, by the name of Michael Wolf, whom some of you may know he's the founder

00:38:39 of Wolf Olins the branding company. He s now in his eighties. And, yeah, I was very, very

00:38:45 fortunate to have met him and, been mentor to my design journey of four years in being

00:38:52 in London. And he still continues to mentor and inspire. He was the one who prompted me

00:38:58 to apply to RC. And he said, you know, it's a different experience, and you should expose

00:39:04 yourself to it if you have the opportunity. So I applied and worked through, and then,

00:39:09 my parents were supportive to fund my tuition because it's quite expensive that's how RCA

00:39:16 and DRCA experience happened. So that's been the design tragic thing. And then after that

00:39:23 Anugraha was set up in 2012, which is the year I came back from London. It's been eight

00:39:29 years. And, because we had the opportunity to document the Kumbh, which becomes a sort

00:39:34 of a case study because of the kind of scale this project is. And also we immersed in it

00:39:39 a lot. Now there's more opportunities to share it, at cases like NID with the publication

00:39:47 design and documentation courses.

00:39:49 How do you go back? Like, so how did you go about setting Anugraha the Kumbh as you, you

00:39:56 know, it's really very massive and documenting it whenever he makes it difficult task, a

00:40:01 daunting one to even begin with. So how did you go about planning about it?

00:40:05 So, like I said, it was so the little dots that can be to my visitation at the London

00:40:14 college of communication for. When I was at LCC, I compared as part of my major project,

00:40:20 I looked at the landscapes of the Ganga and Varanasi in London. I did this cultural comparison

00:40:28 of semi photo journalistic approach, and that manifested in the form five books, but it

00:40:34 was a school project. And then I went to RCA and then RCA, I think, all that it was exposed

00:40:41 to most probing into, you know who I am and what I want to pursue you or what I want to

00:40:49 make my design practices. And at that point, I realized that for me, meaning or purpose

00:40:55 was really in things that are cause based. And I was interested in, you know, looking

00:41:00 at things that were supporting or facilitating, so essentially NGO Cultural institutes, because

00:41:07 although they are physical entities, they are based around causes or ideas and things

00:41:13 like that. So for me, I found meaning in those spaces and experiences, and I found myself

00:41:20 inadequate to be one of those or to start anything your support, the course. Right.

00:41:26 I thought that like, can I not use the design to facilitate that course? And that's how,

00:41:31 to the joining of RCA and my visitation there. I decided that, you know, whenever the time

00:41:38 is right for the practice and that is what has happened or now that as a studio philosophy,

00:41:44 we focus on, both teams. And we would take those and I have to stick, which means we

00:41:53 try not to work on luxury brands directly on products that promote consumerism. Sometimes

00:41:59 they're also apart, but they're more of a byproduct than be sold them. And this is of

00:42:05 course, with due respect to all of the ways of working, it's just something that I found

00:42:09 resonance with and two wanted to pursue. So going back to your question of the Kumbh.

00:42:15 How that happened was, I came back from RCA and I decided that I'm going to work. Like

00:42:21 I want to work in these zones. So at that point, the client came by and, he's a builder

00:42:26 of a patron whose commissioned as document the Kumbh they are builders and, he asked

00:42:33 to design a building. And I said that human, this is not the zone I really want to pursue

00:42:38 now. I thought they come back after I see it. And I said, I want to work more in the

00:42:43 cultural space. And so he was like, okay, show me some of the work you've done. And

00:42:46 that then I happened to mention about the Ganga and the Tims visitation at LCC. And

00:42:52 that's when, because it's about the divorce and sort of photojournalistic. He, he got

00:42:56 the thought that, you know, why don't you document? So that's really how the commission

00:43:01 came about. And at that point I was figuring whether I feel honored to work for someone

00:43:06 and because the commission came and it wasn't a project that one can handle alone by any

00:43:12 means. I thought it's a good time to set up that this, and Anugraha was born from that

00:43:17 commission. The commission was before this studio, there was one that we immediately

00:43:21 set up. So my co-founders those are two others and both are from our more for commerce background,

00:43:27 but they ran a design studio prior to, co-founding Anughraha and they focused on their expertise

00:43:34 really is in print production accounts, logistics. So, it's actually everything that I kind of

00:43:44 orientated with that, with the numbers, etc. So, I had this vision and they kind of supported

00:43:50 it. They believed in it. So they bring in all of the components that I cannot do. And

00:43:56 so we compliment them. That's how the studio was born.

00:43:59 You want to expand on the caused based work that you do.

00:44:04 Sure. So far, our clients really have been, we probably have worked for about more than

00:44:10 15 NGOs and it's, it's the same thing that a communication design studio would do essentially

00:44:15 branding collaterals you know, invites posters booklet brochures profiles, but it's really

00:44:23 only for this sector, which is, social, cultural, educational, environmental. So examples of

00:44:29 some of our clients really is we work for the impact foundation at the Tata Memorial

00:44:34 hospital that works cause of cancer for children. Or we worked for an NGO is that, you know,

00:44:42 working in the zone. And then how to kind of help the men to divert the sessions or

00:44:47 support them. It s by missing link trust just very simply. So is a whole gamut of basically

00:44:55 there's one young volunteers organization that, brings in entrepreneurs, to contribute

00:45:02 small amounts and then chooses have calls every month to support. So that's the sort

00:45:08 of, she take the culture. We'll take those museums, art galleries, really. So one of

00:45:14 them that has been a long standing, we've been designing and we've been designing for

00:45:21 them for the last four and a half years now, but all their shows and catalogs. Yeah. And

00:45:27 then the others. This has become commemoratives volumes because like the Kumbh design for

00:45:33 documentation, our clients. So we get like patrons will say, okay, can, you know, can

00:45:38 you document, okay. In the way his values are or in the way he's impacted society. So

00:45:48 I believe, felt like that. And then we have to go and meet all his stakeholders, all his

00:45:52 you know, office staff or whatever he's done in social work and, and sort of put together

00:45:58 content structures. And another example is a, a hundred over 130 year old animal shelter

00:46:06 in Nasik which is spread or over to a hundred acres. And its family owned. And it's never

00:46:12 been talked about a documented, but, we spend two weeks on field interviewing the people

00:46:17 who run it and came up with the same work of mankind and land and how that cyclical

00:46:22 and supporting the ecosystem for it to learn sustainability. And put together as, you know,

00:46:28 in the form of book ultimately, but put together the whole system of operation in the form

00:46:34 of infographics, then that further translates into a book. So it's become that two kinds

00:46:38 of projects happen. One is when we are expected to go on, see like the Kumbh. And then convert

00:46:44 something that is a physical entity or an event into a deliverable like. And the other

00:46:51 is like a normal, you know, get the Atomic or say gallery will say that this is the artist

00:46:56 whose work will be displayed or of the images you are at the text. Now focus on. You know,

00:47:01 designing the catalog and the format. We also work with Brendan production. So that's again,

00:47:07 a thing that, we're trying to experiment with different formats of books and lectures that,

00:47:16 yeah.

00:47:17 So in your presentation that you did right now, you talked about different pathologies,

00:47:22 like for example, expediential, factual, and, you know, anecdotally, can you expand on that?

00:47:27 Yeah. So, I couldn't go to the other two Kumbhs, but so basically if you look at the Allahabad

00:47:34 books now, although there is a contents and a certain way that it's structured, if you

00:47:41 open one book and you seamlessly move into the next chapter without actually knowing

00:47:45 really that in one into the next chapter, because one, it's almost like you're reading

00:47:50 an interview, then you are seeing some images, which is a character story with little captions.

00:47:54 Then you're seeing a photo story. Then he was seeing some pools in the form of page

00:48:00 insights inside the different seamless experience in a way that you find yourself at the Kumbh.

00:48:06 It's not very directive. It's something that you discover. So it's not like, sort of saying

00:48:10 that, you know, if you want to find out about crowd management, go to page X in the book,

00:48:15 it's almost like, Oh, you read the, security, traffic control guys, interview and newly

00:48:20 discovered it. So it's really in the way that you experience the landscape that you discover

00:48:26 was that experience that as you read, you don't anticipate what you will read a larger

00:48:31 head, you anticipate, but smaller things you just discover as you did. So in that way,

00:48:37 we tried to recreate the experience of being at the Kumbh experience of the books themselves

00:48:42 as you navigate. So that is more we call it expediential. When we say Nasik documentation

00:48:49 is done very differently, its four volumes. But in that we interviewed155 people. And

00:48:55 what happens is in the way it is written in design, every single sentence is footnoted

00:49:02 to say who said it so you can trace every single sentence in the book to who said it

00:49:07 and what will that person play? it's very fact-based. So for example, we have 14 interviews

00:49:14 just of police personnel from control rooms from on, on the traffic control on the security,

00:49:20 on the cloud management. So we have a lot of data. And so the only way to kind of allow

00:49:25 the reader to grasp all that is to attribute who's saying it because sometimes it's even

00:49:30 contradictory data. So we don't know how to validate, right? Like how would we know that

00:49:35 this is right? Was, is that. So we put it all out there for the reader to decide based

00:49:42 on who said it and the authenticity they associate. So when you look at the Nasik books, if you

00:49:47 tell me, okay, can you tell me about how many people were in the Kumbh on this day? I can

00:49:52 tell you which page number at on. So that is very, very factually designed in a way

00:49:57 that, you know, you can pinpoint sentences to find out certain information and Ujjain

00:50:02 has done very differently also because we had constraints of time and budget. So we

00:50:06 were on field, only nine days, and there were 45 conversations that we had. So every chapter

00:50:11 name is really or name of a person. So it's like a little story or anecdote. So the person's

00:50:17 lens that you are experiencing the Kumbh. So the three I think I'm more emergent again,

00:50:22 not redirected or decided, but what without constraints we could be. And I think is also

00:50:28 the home ground for a client. The client is based in Nasik which is also why we had a

00:50:33 lot more access to, you know, people and the government officials, etc. So we could get

00:50:38 more information.

00:50:39 Yeah, that was really insightful. You also touched upon like, you know, the biases that

00:50:44 creeps in into the research and point a few you know, an unfiltered point of view somehow

00:50:50 can get of designers into the research. So how do you avoid these kinds of situation

00:50:58 and the biases?

00:51:00 so I don't know if I have an answer for that, except that, just the awareness that it can

00:51:06 happen constantly and also, sort of vetting whatever we are producing, with other people

00:51:13 constantly, because if one person is working on it throughout then, even unconsciously

00:51:20 or subconsciously that voice may become dominant and seeing voice of the. A team that's making

00:51:26 it, I mean, edit it or whatever. So on all our books, we don't have like one editor one

00:51:33 day, but we have four to five different people who have contributed in different capacities

00:51:37 in different times. We're vetting all of it to find us a question or, even ask where that

00:51:44 content has come from or why have we curated it in a certain way? So more than one lens,

00:51:49 seeing it constantly. And, also because we are sort of, like we said, that I know that

00:51:57 there's no such thing as neutral because the questions you ask that it defines, a certain

00:52:03 plugging into the answer. So in that way, I don't think we have any answers in terms

00:52:09 of being neutral, but the client brief was that, for the Kumbh was really that you need

00:52:15 to capture the acense. So now it's very easy for me to make a book on you know, everything

00:52:20 that goes wrong at the Kumbh. I have enough data for that because you are exposed to a

00:52:26 landscape with both things happen but the focus is again, aligned to the brief because

00:52:31 the client doesn't want us to make a book on everything that went wrong. And he wants

00:52:35 us to look at the acense of what it started out as and what carries on. So that becomes

00:52:42 the ankle to kind of navigate all your questions around. And also as a fallback. That if I

00:52:50 asked this question and someone said, this is it kind of conforming to the client brief

00:52:55 and wanting to capture the acense. So, yeah, I think that, and if you look at some of the

00:53:01 things in anthropology or ethnography as more just study, or, I mean, there are no literal

00:53:09 methods that come to my mind, but it kind of trains you to think of how to, how to take

00:53:16 a step back and, you know, look at things that are in front of you, in a way that is

00:53:23 really not you. So to, to absorb without judging. And I think that's a constant quest for all

00:53:31 of us in the team, because we all judge, right. Even before we know we are judging everything

00:53:35 around us. So to consciously think of, you know, this is not about me or you it's about

00:53:42 them and their representation. So how are we in the twist, me presenting them, which

00:53:48 is also where I sort of say that I role is not also directors' role is of anchors and

00:53:54 facilitators of curators, but not of authors validators. We're not doing that.

00:54:02 I also want to like, because, because of the time constraint, we couldn't, literally go

00:54:08 over the archival process. Do you want to walk us through that a little bit? How do

00:54:16 you go about? So. Again, no rocket science, but, everything

00:54:20 on field is generally sound recorded, video recorded and photographed in the form of stills.

00:54:24 Typically for any conversation, we generally have four people from the team. There's an

00:54:28 interviewer. This person who's just doing sound recording somebody who's doing video.

00:54:32 And somebody who's doing stills and then people are given different responsibilities where

00:54:36 they, one person is making sure to ask the name, the place, the date, the time, like

00:54:40 the basic diligently recording, all of that, and also the contact. How do you get in contact

00:54:45 back with you if I want to? So, that is just on field, the basics. Then when you come back

00:54:52 to studio, one thing, I mean not to do on field at the Kumbh every day at night, cause

00:54:58 you're meeting say 15 different people and. But by the time you go onto the next day,

00:55:02 we've completely forgotten who you met and what they said. So we do something called

00:55:06 diary logging, which has to be done every day in the night before we move on to the

00:55:11 next day, how we will late in the night. So it's really writing down the time and place

00:55:15 of conversation in a sense three words of whoever from team was present, what that conversation

00:55:21 was about and who from the team was present. Because again, then we translate later, we've

00:55:26 liked that person present from the team to vet it because translation can also change

00:55:31 things. So this is done. So at the end, like. It took two years from on field to publishing

00:55:37 this project of eight volumes. So, the whole day log, the diary log of all the 60 days

00:55:43 really is the see, because the book has no secondary research. Secondary research is

00:55:48 only in the farmer referencing, but I will knowledge. But nothing in the book is, secondary.

00:55:55 So the whole bibliography is really the time the search and the form of and we have backups

00:56:02 of that and we try to keep, I mean, basically all archiving does it in a more sort of, not

00:56:09 everything is on cloud, of course. And we have not yet done that, but we will eventually,

00:56:14 but to kind of keep your set of hard drives, not in the same location. I just thought if

00:56:18 I could have been, not even in the same city, so have that second thought back up in another

00:56:23 city, but yeah, the basics are done, in, in that, and everything is attributes. So in,

00:56:31 in terms of like, because it's also the role of publishing, we have to make sure that anything

00:56:36 put out has that evidence, which is the archive. That's super helpful, you know, in understanding

00:56:42 the process and it's really very diligently done, and especially how you approach people

00:56:47 and, you know, take an NOC from each and every one. And the story that you told that was

00:56:54 really inspiring in that sense. So, you know, the kind of work that you're doing, what is

00:56:59 your source of motivation or conviction to follow the body of work that you do?

00:57:06 I think it's, in that way, it's just stuff that you find meaning no, it's pretty straightforward

00:57:14 as in that, you know, if you like the music we are going to you'll easily do things that

00:57:19 are music, or if you like things around the sensory smell, you will pick up things around

00:57:25 you that have that component, or you will start looking at how do you deal with this,

00:57:29 to what you like so far for me, Personally, I find meaning in pauses and impulse driven

00:57:37 social work. And so it's easy for me to, work in that. So actually I find myself in a privileged

00:57:44 position because a lot of people do what they don't like to do for their work. But for me,

00:57:49 in that way, meaning, purpose and work is all the same like it encapsulates what my

00:57:54 aspirations are. it is not been the most, easy journey in a way that we do a lot of

00:58:01 books and books that get work in two days or even two months, they sometimes take six

00:58:07 months or two years, so that the amount of deliverables in the studio is fairly slow.

00:58:13 We don't have, you know, things that get away in one day or two hours. Everything takes

00:58:19 very long. So in that way, it does demand patience, but you know that they're working

00:58:23 towards something larger all the time. So it involves a little bit of discipline now

00:58:28 and, you know, sort of having your deadlines or being driven because otherwise you don't

00:58:33 lose any lose track of time because they're such long projects and you have to hold the

00:58:38 auto and self-accountable. So you have to find ways to account, be accountable. And

00:58:43 for that, what has helped me personally is really ask to build team because we all have

00:58:48 our different strengths and we work like a business. Like they look like pieces of a

00:58:52 puzzle. So it's almost like if I do something, somebody else is designing somebody else's

00:58:57 illustrating somebody else's you know, checking the content, somebody else's layout. So everyone's

00:59:02 playing their roles. And in that way, if one person lags on time are so, it's like you

00:59:10 keep each other motivated to respond to the larger timeline. And that helps to, really

00:59:16 keep going. But in going back to what you asked about the drive really it's, it's something

00:59:24 that resonates and so it's easy.Yeah. It's challenging. Monetarily, it's challenging

00:59:28 to keep doing it. At work because not, it's work that that effort is the same for you

00:59:36 may, you know, work for the consumer and then see and you'll get paid six times more for

00:59:41 the same thing that you will get paid in the social sector because that sector doesn't

00:59:45 have that kind of funding. But then it's also kind of thinking of it as a lifestyle. So.

00:59:50 But as in the studio, everyone, who's part of one. Also, I feel shares that vision because

00:59:56 they could well be in another studio, paid double of what we'd be doing, the kind of

01:00:01 work they're doing, but for them also meaning lies in the work and the kind of, and therefore

01:00:05 they are that, that's what I believe. So all of the work that you are doing are

01:00:12 very research driven. Right. And they're generally immerse. So how do you keep track of time

01:00:16 and specifically, you know, when there are deadlines, which are sprints and how do you

01:00:19 go about doing that?

01:00:22 So I think, it's just, I, I mean, I don't have a specific method except that you back

01:00:29 work could either, if you have a book launch and that's your back work. Then it's also

01:00:34 back looking because sometimes with these things, based on the time you'll have, you

01:00:38 can go on and on like the same book you can make in six months, but you can also take

01:00:42 12 months if you have that much time. So in that way, you just put a back when strain

01:00:46 then actually when there's a deadline is great, because then at least that becomes the dead

01:00:51 line. Like for us, it was like coming launch when the book is ready. So that dragged even

01:00:56 more because there wasn't a deadline. So, the positive, the deadline is that then it's

01:01:01 all about back working and seeing in that constraint. What can you, but yeah, our daily

01:01:07 deadlines is important because we will have to have your plans I'm saying that, okay.

01:01:12 You know, two weeks to have to finish all the transcribing in two weeks, you need all

01:01:17 the, structures done in three weeks, all the illustrations and the visual language. And

01:01:22 then after that, you may say that, you know, we need to keep that client buffer getting

01:01:27 a response like everyone, everyone does and then fine tuning or proofreading. And then

01:01:32 checking for the NOC. So all of that, it's really the process. Just put into time slots,

01:01:39 along the timeline of keeping a larger one insight. And, that's how we book.

01:01:45 That's amazing so right now it's, it's currently everybody is working remotely. How has that

01:01:52 scenario impacted you? What has it?

01:01:55 I think, I can, yeah, I, I wish like my colleagues could answer that, but because I think each

01:02:03 has their own way of taking it. And, because a lot of our work currently is more digital

01:02:10 also. I don't think we are that effective because we can work remotely. But I have to

01:02:15 say that, you know, the three people who are working in a theater capacity, we are a small

01:02:20 studio alongside me. I have been with us for more than five years. So in that way we know

01:02:26 the processes, we shared a comfort level. We know what to expect from each other and

01:02:30 each other's friends. So with remote working, that's very handy because you, you really

01:02:34 know how much time somebody is going to take to finish this. And if you need something

01:02:38 done quicker, you get it to send it to her because she's good at it. And vice versa.

01:02:42 So I don't think it's, for us, it's been, in that way, productive enough. Although there

01:02:47 are days when you have to, you know, kind of, I think drive yourself and others because,

01:02:53 we're all in this situation of not only working anymore. So add in at home and look after

01:03:02 which, by going to a workspace, all of that was just done by somebody else or it did,

01:03:07 but now you had exposed to all of that and you have to contribute to that. So I think

01:03:12 flexibility of time has helped as in if you're in an office space nine to five or whatever

01:03:19 everybody's working in that time, which has its positive of co-creating brainstorm mind-mapping

01:03:24 or all that squint physically now it's just saying that, okay, we need this much work

01:03:29 done in a day or in two days, then how you do it when you can micromanage you, unless

01:03:34 there's a deadline or there's a loop involved. But other than that, it's more like you want

01:03:39 to work, you know, two in the night, its fine. Then we want to work, but the work needs to

01:03:44 get done. So yeah, I think that's how we're navigating.

01:03:47 Okay as a designer or creative person that you are, what inspires you? Film, books, anything,

01:03:54 what are those things that really pushes you?

01:03:58 I love reading so and so I love books. So, and again, I said, I'm fortunate that I'm

01:04:04 mostly designing books. So it's almost like a childhood thing where when I would visit

01:04:10 a library or crossword, I would tell my mom that, you know, I wish to own this set someday,

01:04:15 or be a manager in this world because I love the books, but yeah, books essentially of

01:04:21 all sorts, whether it's visual and design books or even not stories or philosophy. I'm

01:04:28 also, I love philosophy. So, yeah. Any sort of philosophy by biographies lives in books

01:04:36 or literature inspire me. Yeah. I love drawing an illustrator who can respond to great briefs.

01:04:44 We have, in our studio, Carol who's very good at that. And, but I'm not that. And offend

01:04:54 illustrator, but I love say for example, I love doing Lotuses. So there was a point where

01:04:59 before going to sleep every day at night, I would draw this and put myself to bed because

01:05:04 it's a good way of calming down. So yeah, I have my little I think hand doing is something

01:05:14 that we was in where we were expected to show up and college only after we had 50 sketches,

01:05:18 they've been wanting for a long time. So in that way, with running the studio, not, I

01:05:23 don't get that opportunity of doing things hands-on every day anymore. So I find other

01:05:29 the ways to do the Lotuses and keep that as the hobby time.

01:05:33 Any recommendations for book that inspires you?

01:05:38 Yeah a lot. I can send a list, but, yeah, that is in terms of design. I think of, there's

01:05:47 a great book by the name of, how to be a graphic designer without losing your soul. It's written

01:05:53 by Adrian Shaughnessy, who, who was the Royal college of art. And I love that book. it's

01:05:58 it's almost like, although it's, I think it's returning 2005, which means it's 15 years

01:06:05 old. But somewhere, it's, it's very contextual and open that it's like the go-to to find

01:06:11 answers sometimes when you're lost. So I use it like that. I recently read a book called

01:06:18 5 AM by Robin Sharma. I won t wake up at five, but I would like, but anyway, it's a big book

01:06:24 of how to, you know, manage your life and your time and your time is limited. So how

01:06:30 do you turn a nice energy to what you, what you really want to do and work around goal

01:06:35 setting and things like that? And that's been an interesting book. I like haikus and I like

01:06:40 books you know, philosophies like wabi-sabi so a lot just me or not for him, I've written

01:06:48 this book, Bobby savvy, five descend designers. Which is a big book as well that, I enjoy.

01:06:54 And other than that, of course you have the classics, like the Art of looking sideways

01:06:59 by Alan Fletcher, which are just like a little in the middle of the day when you are stagnated

01:07:06 or stuck. So, yeah. And logs like Brain Pickings and Maria Popova of course it's all books,

01:07:14 but in a digital medium, that also is just a difference in medium that way. But, and

01:07:20 that's again, a big blog that has fewer, a lot of thoughts and integration and send you

01:07:27 a list.

01:07:28 Yeah. Some advice for young and budding designers?

01:07:34 I'm not sure the feminine in any advisory capacity because, I think, learning along

01:07:41 the way every day as well, but, I think what I can only speak for what's helped me and

01:07:46 what's really helped me is to really find meaning and purpose in what I'm doing. And

01:07:52 that's also a constant place. It's not like every day you can just do what you like. It

01:07:57 has its struggles within it, but just that when you have a larger. Kind of an ankle,

01:08:02 the purpose that you're responding to for your own self then, but what becomes of much

01:08:07 more than book as in its, it's easier to work in it also because it's, it's just a resonance

01:08:14 of how you are and who you are. And it helps too. So I feel like I designed schools in

01:08:20 India, especially, and it's changing now, but especially in my time when I was studying

01:08:25 in JJ, etc. a lot of emphasis was put on formats. So like, okay, you're a type of the illustrator,

01:08:32 you know, you are a UX UI UX designer. So we all have a skill sets and that's needed,

01:08:38 like I can design books quickly. So that is my, then I know my skills are in design. We

01:08:43 all need both skills, but I think the other gamut, which is thinking of perspectives from

01:08:47 a content perspective is also important. So it's as easy as this, that safe. You're a

01:08:54 cricket fan. If you want to make a book out of it, one cricket and sure to be better than

01:08:59 somebody like me was no interest in cricket but very often I'm the one who's commissioned

01:09:03 to make a book on conflict because people are like, can she make a book? So let's go

01:09:08 to her but nobody's looking at subject and resonance. Whereas I feel like that can potentially

01:09:13 play a huge role. So now when somebody comes with say jewelry brand to design. I'm not

01:09:19 going to be able to do justice because my heart doesn't like that don't know anything

01:09:23 about it. But on the other side is if somebody comes to me with an NGO or, you know, cultural

01:09:29 museum or something like that, because I've kind of pursued that. And I liked that. I

01:09:34 also have the experience in doing that over and over again. I will respond to it much

01:09:39 more positively. So I see, like as designers, if we not only think about the format we're

01:09:44 working in, but what resonates with us as human beings and therefore to see how we can

01:09:48 even create spaces or studios or work environments that are not only thinking by format that

01:09:56 thinking also by subject matters or larger broader context. So let's say a design studio

01:10:00 is only doing work for education sake, and if they do that for 10 years, imagine how

01:10:05 good they get at it. And say somebody who's graduating has really done their research

01:10:10 and working for the school or, you know, working for teach for them or whatever. So they would

01:10:16 find a fit in that kind of a space. So I'm not saying that if I were to do only that,

01:10:22 but I think that would nice.

01:10:25 Thank you for sharing your thought. I take right now just one question, but seems to

01:10:31 be there here from the team which says that did you have to reject any brand client because

01:10:37 of your values related to consumerism? If yes. How did you handle the situation?

01:10:41 Yeah, a lot. I think I've said more no s than yeses, but again, like I said, that it's,

01:10:47 we exist or we can do the work we are doing because of CSR that does that exist? And the

01:10:53 CSR that exists, exists because the mainstream exists. So in that day or a little loop, it's

01:11:00 all interconnected, one feeds into the other. So there's no going on it. It's just like

01:11:04 saying that, you know, you can do something better. So you do choose to do so in that

01:11:08 way, when you communicate to a client saying that, you know, I'm not designing for you

01:11:13 because I don't like what you have. It's just that my inclination is more towards this and

01:11:15 I'm better at this. So I'd rather focus on this because I can't do justice. What you're

01:11:23 asking me to do. So I think, when you maintain that modesty and it's not modesty, that's

01:11:29 born out of trying to be modest, but it's the reality like today, if you tell me to

01:11:33 do a jewelry brand, it'd be very hard for me to do, because I don't know how to do it

01:11:37 in the last 10 years. I've not done it. So, in that way, I think if we are just honest

01:11:42 to ourselves and then. We honestly speak to our clients. They understand, and I've had,

01:11:50 yeah, I've been very fortunate to have patrons or clients will come to me for very mainstream

01:11:55 consumer products, all very high end luxury brands. And I've said that, you know, that's

01:12:00 not my zone and whenever they have an NGO or an endeavor that social cultural, the same

01:12:06 people have come back with wanting to work on that space. So I feel it's just the way

01:12:12 you communicate and, what you really are intended. Because ultimately that's how we work. And

01:12:16 so, yeah.

01:12:20 So thanks for sharing your, you know, your thoughts today. Deshna it was wonderful, you

01:12:25 know, listening to you, your, projects that you've done, it was inspirational and owing

01:12:30 to the amazing work that you've done. We just want to shout out love and appreciation, for

01:12:36 those words. And we would want to confer upon you the title of inspiring young designer.

01:12:42 Thank you now Deshna.

01:12:45 Thanks Kadambari. Not for me. It's for the studio and the team, like I said, I will represent

01:12:53 then. Yeah. Thank you.


Deshna talks about the massive work she did with her team in documenting the Kumbh. Taking us through her inspirational journey, she teaches us on how to manage and conduct design research at a massive scale.