A walk through the Design Temple store in Colaba transports you to an alternate universe where objects as mundane as a matchbox or toilet paper roll reflect utility with an urban Indian and. This store is a sensorial treat with its part gallery-part store approach, and is the brainchild Design Minimal in of Divya Thakur, a Sir J J School of Art graduate whose design career spans over two decades. Starting off in the advertising space, she moved on to create design solutions for select clientele through her design house- Design Temple and extended the design house’s offerings with the launch of a retail brand under the same banner.
It’s interesting because my journey began in the field of advertising, which was brilliant in the sense that it has a clear idea of who the audience is. It really honed my skills at understanding how to speak to an audience since no matter what you do, you must know who you are Divya Thakur Design Temple store Areca leaf plates Inside the Design Temple store talking to otherwise you might just be talking to yourself! It disciplined my thought process to understand what the job is, what the client is all about and what the product is. While in design, it is difficult to quantify whether something has done well, in advertising when an ad film comes out, the sales are an indicator whether the campaign has been successful. Feedback is crucial because we are not sitting as artists for ourselves. Our purpose is communication design.
The Journey into Design
I started Design Temple with the intention of it being a place that didn’t have to choose between design and advertising, and product and space. We didn’t want to be bound by boundaries of any kind– geographical or conceptual. So anything that was interesting, we wanted to do it. Or anything that we could make interesting, we wanted to take up. Since nothing arrives at your door as a diamond, but as coal, you have to be able to see potential. It was in response to the excessive commercialisation in advertising that I was responding to. We did that for seven years till 2006 and then we started the product side of Design Temple.
We faced challenges when we started Design Temple and we continue to face challenges to date. I don’t think it’s easy at all because it’s a different kind of business. It’s not a nuts and bolts business; or an established system like advertising. There’s no particular way of doing it. However, we are the pioneers of what we are doing. So our problems will be those of any company that is a pioneer. But as difficult as it is, it is equally rewarding, if not more. The challenges and rewards go hand in hand.
On Further Learning
In 2000, I took a sabbatical to do a short course in information design at the Pratt School of Design. I think it’s important and interesting to keep on learning. The learning process never stops and should never ever stop! You can learn from anywhere at any point, provided you remain open and humble. It refreshes you in an amazing way and keeps you alive and up to date with what’s going on.
A good mix of education, awareness, sensitivity and an idea of your strengths and weaknesses is needed since it’s important to understand who you are, what your surroundings are and what exactly you are creating. Some people are born gifted like many designers, singers, film makers or musicians. And then there are many people who acquire skills. I believe that I am one of the people who wasn’t born gifted like some. Anyone can acquire the necessary skill sets to become a successful designer provided that they are aware. In this profession, it is important to be able to train yourself. In addition to that, you also need to remain open to learning at all points. Studying design at the National Institute of Design, J J School of Arts, Shristi School of Art, Design and Technology and Sophia College are really good. NID is better if you are interested in a more holistic approach to design.
Lucrative or Not?
To me, what’s lucrative is the satisfaction of creating something that someone else hasn’t. If lucrative means making money, then there are other ways to enjoy this. I’m not even sure if graphic design is the most lucrative way to make money today. I went through 12 years of getting paid and sometime not! What I do know for sure though, is that if you follow your passion, all will fall into place. It’s most lucrative if you can wake up and do the things you want to do!
Volume 1 Issue 12