The Creative curve
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As partners at GCD Studios, graphic designers Shahana Jain and Devshree Sahai contribute enthusiastically to the ‘creation of ideas without boundaries’.

What does it take to create persuasive advertising campaigns?

SJ: The key to making a campaign effective is keeping it real and relatable. Our experience has taught us that great ad campaigns are often founded on deep insights - complete understanding of the brand, the gaps that it seeks to fill, the target audience, competition, etc. Drawing from real stories and experiences lends authenticity to the messaging. It is instantly perceived as logical and therefore becomes memorable.

It is very important for the brand to find values that become uniquely associated with the user. A campaign can be effective and memorable but converting it into an actual reaction requires deeper understanding. If it manages to strike a chord with the target audience and brings positive results for the brand it has served its purpose.

Transparency and honesty also play an important role in making a campaign stick. There has to be truth in the message so it has the power to convince the viewer/consumer to engage with it and buy into the product/ service. A campaign becomes the face of the brand and creates an image in the minds of the consumer. That image must be credible for it to have the desired impact.

Good design is imperative for a campaign to be noticed. A judicious combination of copy and visuals with appropriate emphasis on both, impactful messaging, uncluttered and clean visuals that convey a clear message, and simple layouts all go a long way in presenting the campaign esthetically, therefore adding to its saleability.

Devshree, what role has formal art education played in your career?

DS: I’m a strong believer that creativity comes from within and cannot be taught but if you are even a little inclined towards it, formal education guides you in the right direction. I didn’t even want to pursue Arts. My mother saw the creativity in me at a very early stage and was sure a formal art education would help me further. I pursued a BFA (Applied Arts) at the College of Art, New Delhi at a time when graphic design was still an unknown profession in India. My time in college was an eye opener. It gave me a base to start with. Our college laid a lot of stress on hand work and concepts. We weren’t allowed to show anything on the computer - everything had to be done by hand, from the first cut of the layout to the last finished design. They taught us the basics, which now I realize is very important. Young people these days jump straight to the computer when they get a brief; they don’t understand that Google doesn’t have the answers every time, and definitely not original ones. Very rarely do you see designers thinking with pen and paper. I just believe thinking without Google or Pinterest to aid you enables a better understanding of the problem at hand, leading to stronger and original solutions.

Shahana, tell us about your journey from psychology to graphic design.

SJ: I wasn’t very sure of the path I wanted to take. Multiple factors, including the uncertainty of a stable career in a field of design that many people didn’t even know about, led me to enroll for Psychology in Delhi University. While I became immersed in my honors course in psychology, my heart was never completely in it. I couldn’t see myself pursuing a full time profession based on the subject. Design and creative pursuits kept me busy in my spare time, so I enrolled in a software learning course alongside. I didn’t know what fruit it would bear; it was purely to create a foundation for myself to build on later. All I knew was that I had made a beginning towards something that looked more promising than anything else. Immediately after graduating I took up a design trainee’s job in a reputed design studio in New Delhi. I wanted to further assess my intention of pursuing design and then move on to formal education in the subject. The day I walked into the studio I knew it was my kind of space - unconventional, friendly, and bustling with creative energy, ideas and color.

I eventually did not get down to studying design, learning continuously on the job instead. Not having a design education drove me to make an extra effort to be cognizant of every input and insight the workspace had to offer. I was always in a state of readiness - to assist, to try something new, to do anything that was assigned to me. In creative professions like graphic design, along with the basic skill set it is also extremely necessary to understand the environment, the people, the key requirement, the process of ideation and execution. Being faced with real situations at work helped me grasp these fundamentals more effectively and at a 360 degree level.

How has your journey at GCD Studio been so far?

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