Debashis Nayak (a.k.a. UtterCreative) shares his on-going/up-coming plans and projects, interests and lessons learned from his experiences, through his bloghive.



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Again today, I was watching Michael Bierut's presentation on his 5 secrets from his 86 notebooks (the99percent by Behance).

Just I wanted to recall those 5 secrets -

  1. Listen first, then design
  2. Don’t avoid the obvious
  3. The problem often contains the solution
  4. Indulge your obsessions
  5. Love is the answer

Design contests have one plus point!

For the budding designers, I feel design contests offer a good starting point (launch-pad), i.e., providing opportunities to continually improve their skill-sets by getting updated with the latest trends of design while participating and/or watching the design competitions and competitors’ works.

One always wants to get clicked there. This means, every time a sword is hanging on the top of his head to remind him that he has to win the contest by kicking-out other skilled designers. One can get ample opportunity to have that exposure to improve his skill-sets  by trying different fair winning methods like studying hard, doing sketches, managing time, being ethical while dealing and learning communication skills etc. And yes, it is purely subjective to his know-how on business, graphic design & design industry, community knowledge (social) and design skills.

A designer must be a good social-communicator

Communication always plays a crucial role when it comes to design business. A designer must be a good communicator - whether it is verbal/oral or non-verbal.

In social media, non-verbal communication is much trickier and sometimes harder than it seems. Because you are open to a certain group or community of people where your communication actually projects your image not only to like-minded people but also to people who still want to understand you. Their views can differ and you may be accepted by your peers or restrained by observers!!

I was working on a design project that was getting quite a good feedback at my client’s Facebook and actually unknown to me. Days after completing the project I discovered that the initial drafts were appreciated by number of people (my client’s peers). And amongst them, only one comment drew me to write a thank you note on my client’s Facebook wall. I did so by thanking and emphasizing with much appreciating that one comment showing my interest. There I did the mistake - “I must have thanked everyone equally who really liked my works, whereas, I confined myself”. I realized it later but it was too late. I think, I failed to create an impression there !!

Nevertheless, mistakes happen and that can be lessened if you can open yourself to answer the following:

  1. the Audience: Whom you are communicating?
  2. the Theme/Gist: What you are communicating?
  3. the Place: Where you are communicating? and
  4. the Process: How you are communicating?

Reading begets experience begets results - Part 2


Now the print job is over; but my first impression after seeing the prints was not satisfactory. I realized that I have invested $250 to get 1000 pieces of junk that I can not even approve for my studio promotion! Because I didn’t find the same what I expected. Here I have two options and one obvious action-

  1. blame the printer or
  2. get a lesson to be learned - “the opportunity to improvise my knowledge to work with offset printers in future” and
  3. Action: re-print the brochure in another printer after implementing the must improvements (from lessons learned)

CMYK plates

Following is the brochure properties/preferences (set when sent to the printer):

  • layout - 20.5”x17.5” (print area) with 0.5” bleed (in Adobe Photoshop CS3)
  • mode - CMYK color, 16-bits/channel (printer acceptance level - 8-bits/channel)
  • proof setup - working CMYK
  • color profile - ICCProfile: U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2
  • file - multi-layered (printer accepts PDF or TIFF files only)
  • paper - matte, 170gsm

@ Printer: One of the best printers in our city

  • preferences - unknown to the any of the personnel who handles the printer. Also it is not documented anywhere!
  • paper - feed size 21”x19” (coated/uncoated OR glossy/matte). Not sure about high-quality paper available in the market.
  • color - 4 color process (offset printing)
  • appointed designers: work with more than 4-5 editing softwares and highly complex print machines hardly know what happens when/if fonts get rasterized OR the difference between 8 and 16-bits/channel mode!!
  • final check - no personnel appointed
  • printer age: 20+ years

Let me analyze the whole process and find out - what went wrong and why I faced the following issues with the final printouts:

  1. color - no true colors, inflated and cyan overly exposed in places
  2. paper - broke where creased spoiling the back poster
  3. design - minute lines/patterns blurred


    Reading begets experience begets results - Part 1

    In these days, I was not so active in social media because to be very frank, I think I am not quite there where I should be! I am not feeling positive to handle different projects till I learn how I should convey the right message and in which way? Not that I am feeling incapable or overly biased by something - rather I have become more receptive and open to make my skills more stronger. So may be the reason why I decided to hibernate from social media for some time.

    I am learning and gaining experience to get to know how design communicates visually and that to effectively? It all started with my design studio branding about six months ago and I am still in the middle of that project!! Initially, I was quite unsure - what should I do? and where should I start? And at the same time, I thought that I should continue with logo and brochure design. Despite of the hurdles like budget constraints and less-experienced printers in my town - I decided to have my brochure printed, at first.

    Huum, this is not it - I had to go with several iterations and modules to get the final design -that of course, forced me to read a lot and sit with my clients to understand what would influence them and how they want me to approach them or vise-verse?

    Nevertheless, I have sent my design to the printer and waiting for the prints. But my experience with the printer is still obscure! Why? What am I afraid of?

    Just like this, there are many questions in mind- still the answer is same, i.e., go-get the knowledge :) It is always a designer should seek is what he learned today! And that makes him confluent with the ever changing standards of design. Well, design is science and few theories are constant but still few are new and unknown to most who struggle to know how design influences and communicates with prospects mind?


    Branding is no more static

    I really enjoyed reading “Brands as Patterns" by Marc Shillum. He describes how smaller ideas can be executed as patterns to make a brand speaks. After all, a brand is what you perceive and find concurrently affecting your level of emotion, which is of course - "what you see is what you get" and that continues with your experience to get more and more out of it, where brands preferring more agility to stand-out.

    In respect to that, branding is not anymore considered static because it is not anymore confined to a specific sphere to speak that agility and dynamism. Rather it has gone beyond. Specifically, versatility is considered more while making the logo or the identity that goes under stellar process, in fact! Designers spend much hours to get the exact inspiration for their ideas on products, services, graphics, colours, textures, patterns and above all, types!

    I have observed that most need their brands to talk with people and about their culture and languages! Thus, they prefer their brands to associate with consumers daily-life. For that they have embraced the ever changing fashion to tingle with their brands [example: Google (more of Google) ].

    I feel this is good because designers get the liberty to explore the infinite possibilities to get the ideas and have the horizon in front of them to develop effective brands!!

    Loved the way Typotheque explained its “fonts licensing options” with a cute tabular form ! This is certainly helpful for those who scratch their head to know what and which license is appropriate for their needs.

    Well, I must admit that I am really moved after watching Robin’s presentation on “11 obsessions of Remarkable Entrepreneurs”.

    What made me inspired in his presentation is to find the answer of countless hours I was busy with doing nothing but thinking how to get the things done? And I found that I am not the only one idiot on this whole earth who’s being misunderstood for wasting time sitting lonely for hours and doing nothing :)

    Chance favors only the prepared mind.

    - by Louis Pasteur

    Few questions!

    1. How many designers and design agencies you can recall by their name and logo?
    2. How many of them have actually branded? - No, I am not only talking about their logo, business-card or letterhead designs but also I am curious to know how many of them successfully positioned themselves in their target market !
    3. How many of them use a single name in social media like Facebook,Twitter and so on?
    4. How many have uniquely identified themselves?
    5. How many have a tagline? In other words, how many have their mission statement in a written form?
    6. How many have their Unique Selling Proposition (USP) listed?

    When your vision is not clear, you can’t set a goal - just like when your goal is not set, you have nothing to plan to achieve. Achievement only counts then when you are free to work as per plan. So where there is a vision, there is a goal and where there is a goal, there is a plan to achieve what you have envisioned.

    A sketch that inspired me for years

    The above is redrawn with vito ink in the year 1993 by me. Since I have been thinking to showcase this art work which inspired me for years, was originally sketched and published in a diary (in the year 1982 or before). As it is too old, I’m unable to recall and mention it’s artist’s name here. For a note of appreciation, I would like to congratulate the original artist for his wonderful ink arts.

    Imitation, plagiarism and/or piracy, often used interchangeably to define the act of copying or getting inspired, fully or partially without referencing an original work, thus, arising copyright infringement at times.

    Few substantial comments that I was given for the above logo iteration is as follows:

    1. Seems too “craft-oriented” kind
    2. Representing the Bee in the design, disconnects with the name - arises confusion
    3. Typography is too old-fashioned to go with the concept. Plus letter-spacing (kerning) is required and
    4. The color doesn’t work

    Does anyone feel the same too? or anything else?

    UPDATE: A very common question is asked to me is - “What is the Bee doing there in the design?”

    Well, unknown about the fact that how much I succeeded to convey the core message through this logo; I would like to explain this a bit. This logo has got separate elements to think upon. They are -
    1. The net: is used to symbolize the unsolved OR the problems
    2. Constructed compartment in the middle: is used to symbolize the solution
    3. The worker Bee: is used to symbolize the ‘CREATIVE’ working for a solution with a tilt towards right direction which is used to denote ‘forwardness’ and the movement or direction.

    Above all, ‘UTTER’-ness is the main message what I was trying to convey is through keeping a Bee in the design. Because the Bee is often used to denote design/architecture, friendliness, and hard-work.

    Let your peer writes a testimonial for you

    Sometimes you get surprises when you see what your peers think about you. Even at times you will find that people observe you more than you know yourself!

    In the year 2008, I was undergoing a professional training on Leadership at Xaviers Institure of Management (XIMB), Bhubaneswar. I was attending different workshops on leadership enhancement with 19 colleagues (management crew) of mine including project managers and our CEO. One of the workshops was to play a game to know what we think about our peers? The room where the workshop was held - there was a round table and we are offered to take our seats. The instructor supplied us 20 blank papers, one for each and told us to write our names on the top of the paper and then pass it to our peer sitting on our right. We did the same.

    Then we are instructed to write only one positive word or sentence describing the person, whose name is written on top of the sheet (that you have with you, now). We are told to pass-on the sheets every time we complete writing one good thing about the guy whose name is written on the top of the paper, e.g., passed to us from left.  But a strict instruction was not to repeat the same characteristic written by the other peers about the concerned guy. So read before you write!

    Surprisingly, when the piece of paper on which I have written my name came back to me after 19 comments and a complete circle; I discovered some new facts about me that I have never observed in me before. Now, this piece of paper worked as a testimony for self-motivation, which was the theme of the workshop, in fact.

    The bottom-line is -

    Often clients seek a good set of sound testimonial before hiring you for their projects. So now-a-days different social networks like Linkedin and Facebook provides such facilities to ask your peers to write what they think about you. This should be the best way you could have your peer writes a testimonial for you.

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