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Disruption through design with Aditya Nagar

When it comes to inviting guests from all around the industry, Avantika University never fails to deliver the expectations and the standards it has set. This time the session was about design and how closely it intertwines with advertising, branding, and marketing. Also, we were in a treat for the load of knowledge about learning what User Experience means. This time we had Aditya Nagar, founder of Galactic Hobby Square which has 6 year history in helping Military & Government bodies to develop Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Blacksof Design Studio, his second venture started 15 months ago which is a design and branding firm catering clients across the globe.

Aditya believes that learning is the most important skill and institutions play a minimal role in honing it, you have to own your learning. He pursued his childhood dream by starting a business in 2012, during his second year of Engineering. His journey began with a small garage-based import business of UAV & its parts which, focusses on helping build UAVs. With just 5 customers in first five months to 500+ customers in next five and a half years including ISRO, DRDO and Indian Military, Aditya believes it is just a start.

In 2017, he co-founded another company, Blacksof, which is a design and branding studio which deals in everything under the umbrella of design & its consultancy. He believes that Customer Experience is the bottom line of any business and Blacksof contributes directly to it.

The talking point of the session revolved around "Disruption through design". Design being the central point of discussion and its implementation in the industry including advertising, branding, digital marketing, public relations etc was focused upon.The discussion also circled around latest trends in the design industry accompanied with the process of design thinking.

The session started with introduction of basic differences between advertising, marketing and branding. While advertising is the varied paid means available for branding, branding is the identity associated with the product or service and advertising is the means to get that product closer to the end audience. Once this basic difference was clear he subtly connected it with the concept of design and how a good design exhibits all of the traits of the above. Good design in todays world has not remained solely for aesthetics but for its functionality. That is the representation of good design.

The other important thing in branding is known as brand activation which is the crux of all advertising. It can either make the product sell or break it. Basically, brand activation in the simplest terms is the process of driving consumer action to start building a following towards your brand. Brand awareness for market is an essential factor in branding.

Pentagram, worlds best design agency, founded in 1965 has flaunted some of the best designs the world has seen, be it a product, customer experience or a service. This studio believes that design is a behaviour and not a department. The point of mentioning this was that they have been working for more than 5 decades and yet dont run out of ideas because they adapt to the behaviour of humans and how they react to different things. They adapt the customer experience and then design for it. They design for a behaviour and not a department.

Then, he gave us a great example about how Heathrow Airport solved one of their crises through a design solution. So, basically their problem was that the baggage counter area would get heavily crowded after a flights arrival and from the consequent flight thereafter. Instead of approaching an architect or consultancy services, they approached a design agency who promised to deliver a solution within a week without any structural changes. After an intense week of brainstorming they presented a solution. Quite simple. Quite innovative. The problem was solved. So what did they do? They just made a long queue for the arrivals leading upto the baggage counter and put up a simple hoarding above. The hoarding showed couple of obese men and below written was a text saying, If you dont want to be like them take the longer path. And it worked miracles. People started walking through the longer route which created a buffer of extra 15 minutes, in which the earlier arrivals would clear out. Amazing. Simple. Solution. What can design not solve?

In the eras of 1930s, when the creative boom had not happened, a new player entered the market. It was Ogilvy founded in 1948. Its work? To create ideas. Ogilvy has created some of the best ads in the world. Pidilites fevicol is a sure shot example which every Indian has embedded in his mind. How could anyone forget such ads? And thats the power of advertising. No one even comes close to fevicol in terms of its market. The mastermind behind this advertisement was Piyush Pandey who now is the head of Ogilvy India. He had applied the Reductive Ad Absurdum which is a tricky space between telling a lie and a joke in the advertising world. And he passed out with flying colours.

Last but not the least, amalgamation of skills is equally important. In the end its the skills that matter and not the marks. After all this is a field which can never be judged by your qualifications but only by ones experience.

Reading books is the best way to dive into the world which we cannot physically access but can mentally traverse anytime we want. Biographies especially take us into the realm of great mens lives and hands us their experience first-hand. It is true what they say, A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. And every designer must achieve a level of transcendence by living everyones life for it is then, when he will be designing for the people. By becoming one of them. And that could only be achieved by reading loads of books.


Written by,
Atharva Dahotre