Monday, November 17, 2014

Designing of RP-SG Group calendar, diary and greeting card 2015: my experience

Expressions! What imagery does it conjure up in our mind?

Since our childhood days we are taught that the face is supposed to be the mirror of one’s mind, the facial expression is nothing but its silent language while bringing out some facets of the persona.  Portraiture is one such technique that encourages an artist to delve deep into the recesses of her/ his subject’s character (of the portrait) in order to explore the numerous layers within a subject’s personality. Once an artist adorns her/ his work of art with feelings and emotions, the creation comes to life. And that is what it makes a portrait – be it realistic or abstract - so meaningful! ‘Expressions: the power of portraits’ is a well chosen theme for RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group’s calendar, greeting card and diary for the year 2015.

RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group greeting card 2015

RPG Group and RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group are known for their “elegant” and “classy” calendars. On 22nd October 2014, the eve of Diwali, after our celebrations at office got over, my former boss Sunil Bhandari, Executive Director – Corporate, sat down to discuss the calendar, greeting cards and diary; and showed me the photographs of the paintings, which he and the Chairman had shortlisted (except for the one of Bikash Bhattacharjee that later on I wanted to use for November-December in the calendar), and asked me how would I like to design the layouts. I suggested a basic layout based on whatever I’d visualized at that moment. But it was evident that unless and until I give them some shape it would seem vague for him. He decided to have a chat with my current reporting manager Sanjay Gupta, Head – Corporate Marketing, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, and the CEO of Au Bon Pain, for resource allocation; and also have the high resolution images of the paintings sent to me through Kankan Banerjee by the following week so that I could start my work with an immediate effect.

RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group calendar 2015

Unlike the previous years, this time Sunil Bhandari wanted to complete the work before the yearend and set a deadline of exactly 10 days for me for showing him the final layouts. He had been far more flexible for the ad/ designing agencies in the recent past that had stretched things to more than a month and a half, resulting in unnecessary delays in designing and dispatching the products throughout the first month of the new year. There is always a difference between a job being outsourced and the job being done in-house, in terms of the sense of onus and timeframe, setup and manpower involved, quality of the output and the efforts put in. And probably which is why people tend to rely more on the agencies and label them as professionals. My experience in this case is different – even though I was never considered as a “professional” but time and again I was asked to intervene for providing creative solutions like designing/ creating the last page of the calendar or a DVD cover for the outsourced job and so on. I remember pointing it out once to my ex-boss. It used to be a ‘ghar ka murgi daal barabar’ situation! But this time, I was surprised that three reputed ad agencies that are considered as “professionals” became apprehensive and hesitated to do the job after getting the brief from Sunil Bhandari. And a decision needed to be taken between the fourth one and me, the ‘ghar ka murgi’. His assistant Madhuja felt that since I’d done these types of jobs in the past, I could do it while his other team member Saumyapriya felt that it would be a mammoth task for one person, so it should be given to some other agency.

From left: RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group diary cover, back cover with spines on the either side, flap attached to one of the spines, page with poem/ quotes and the poet's signature, and other inner pages for writing 

Knowing my current relaxed state of mind and speed, I started my work on 29th October with a few conditions including the fact that that to save time and get rid of unnecessary confusion that usually arises due to diverse opinions, the final intelligent and filtered feedback from his current team should come via Sunil Bhandari only. Since I had worked with him for 14 years and being aware of his artistic sensibilities, I could rely on his feedback. In three days’ time, I gave shape to the layouts of the calendar, diary and the greeting card. Once he approved, I started developing the three things in Adobe Photoshop and Corel Draw. The job got completed in 14 working days and there were two areas where Sunil Bhandari chose to intervene – the images/ layout of the calendar cover, and the typefaces (14 font styles were downloaded by him) used on the calendar and diary covers, the inner page of the greeting card. I have used four amongst those downloaded fonts in three internal pages of the diary.

When I look back to the calendar design that I did for 2011, I clearly see the difference in terms of the output quality (though nobody else will be able to make out the difference), and my speed that has drastically improved in the last 1.5 years after my transfer to the Corporate Marketing department, thanks to my current relaxed state of mind. Unlike the ad agencies that worked in the past on this assignment, I completed the job in 14 working days’ time. I see this as a great achievement for myself! J