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Optimism and design take centre stage on Day 1 of Designyatra

The first day of the conference saw speakers like Graham Fink, Prasanna Sankhe, Waqas Jawaid, Andy Chen, Cheryl Heller, Madhav Raman and Christopher Doyle speak about creativity and design and their endless possibilities

Designyatra is back in beach paradise Goa this year after a slight detour. The 12th edition of the design conference is all about ‘optimism’. On the first day of Kyoorius Designyatra 2017, speakers brought to the table various narratives of optimism and how creativity and design can have infinite possibilities and far reaching impact to bring about social change.

The first speaker for the day was Graham Fink, Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy China. Fink has over 20 years of experience in the world of advertising and design and is also a multi-media artist. Fink spoke about artificial intelligence (AI) and technology and how they were going to be the game changers going forward. An apt example for this was the drawing he made with eyes. Fink has used in a such a way that made him capable of controlling the cursor on a computer with his eyes which in turn allowed him to create drawings with his eyes. Fink also spoke about the importance of standing out and making a statement. The example he used here was of Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang. Guo-Qiang basically makes gunpowder art, where he rigs explosives in a way that the gunpowder from them makes something beautiful. Fink ended his talk by emphasising the fact that as long as people believed in themselves and their ability to do great things, nothing was impossible.

Following up Fink was Prasanna Sankhe, Founder and Creative Head, Hyphen. Prasanna began by saying that, “Art is like masturbation but good design is like sex.” He went on to explain that art had the liberty to be self-serving, it did not need to please anyone but design involved two people and both the parties had to be happy in the end. Sankhe, who was a well-known name in the advertising circles, spoke about the importance of getting out of one’s comfort zone and doing things that challenged and excited them. He also spoke about how design had to serve a purpose or solve a problem and it did not just do to look pretty. Giving the example of the work they had done for Singleton, Prasanna spoke about how instead of making something that wouldn’t add anything to the company’s portfolio in the name of surrogate advertising, they actually went and created an entire line of leather accessories that will break even for the company in three years, thus adding value to the brand while also solving a problem. Sankhe also spoke about the “arrogance of knowledge” while talking about a project they had done for Indiabulls. Sankhe said that one must be so confident of the work that they are doing that they should be able to take pride in it and be able to counter doubt and criticism with their knowledge.

The next to take centre stage were the dynamic duo, Andy Chen and Waqas Jawaid. Chen and Jawaid met each other in college and today are partners at Isometric Studio where they create work that promotes inclusion, equality and progress. Through various examples, both Chen and Jawaid, spoke about how inclusion can come about through design and the positive it creates on the society. Cheryl Heller, Chair, MFA Design for Social Innovation at SVA, who spoke after Chena and Jawaid, also spoke about design and how it can uplift societies and bring about positive social change.


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