Interview with graphic designer Geetali Baruah
Geetali Baruah is a well established graphic designer presently working in a leading publishing house based in New Delhi. She has worked in various regional, national as well as international projects. In this interview she has shared about her passion and her journey so far.
Hello Geetali, Creativica welcomes you!
Thanks for having me here.
Tell us about your graphic designing career and education. What made you decide to be a graphic designer?
I started my full time career from 2009. I did some part-time design jobs before that when I was a student. I am a graduate in Advertising from Kamala Nehru College, Delhi University and I have a three years design and animation diploma from arena animation, South Ex, New Delhi. I never decided to be a Graphic Designer; instead I was destined to be one. I am an artistic person by birth who likes to express whatever I see and feel around me. I may express through a poem, a painting or an article. The mediums vary but the art of expression remains. I love to play with colours and that pulled me into this profession. I remember, from the very time I started understanding myself, I was always fascinated by the kind of work my uncle Mr. Amulya Baruah did (he is an established graphic designer of international repute in London) becoming a designer in 60’s and 70’s. Belonging to a small town Digboi in those years meant you only have limited access to the outside world. But he broke free and did it!. All these together made me a Graphic Designer.
Are you satisfied with your work as a Graphic Designer?
I feel I can never ever be satisfied with the work I do as a designer. This is so because I have realized that design keeps on evolving with more and more experience. So when I seat to see the work I have done till now, I see lots of imperfection which could have been done in a better way. I try to correct those in my next project but again, when I evolve as a designer, I see some more scope of improvement. As a result, complete satisfaction is impossible. However, I am satisfied that I am doing the kind of work that I enjoy doing.
Do you think a graphic designer should also be a good painter or sketcher? How often you draw?
You don’t need to be Leonardo or Picasso to be a graphic designer, but yes, I honestly think you need to be an average sketcher or a painter to be a graphic designer. If someone has the inborn trait of expression through art, then it definitely helps in meeting the commercial need of expression when you design anything for the client. However, the power of observation is far more important than the talent of drawing because as a designer one has to be productive with new ideas. If you keep drawing what Leonardo drew, then that painting will never be your original work. So no use being a sketcher or a painter without originality. So learn to observe as much as possible and then draw it out! I draw and paint whenever I get time out of my busy schedule.
How will you describe your work and what & who inspired you the most in your career?
My work is FUNNNNNNN and always NEW!! I am inspired by three people in my life, my father Lt. Baikuntha Baruah, mother Lakhipriya Baruah and my khura (uncle) Amulya Baruah… My parents inspired me to be a good and an efficient person in whatever I did… And I am inspired by one and only Mr. Amulya Baruah to be a designer. Like I said before, I always wanted to do what he did and I always wanted to be like him. I believe he is the first Assamese who has achieved international acclaim as a graphic designer on global platform. I have heard the stories of his struggle in.
As a graphic designer, how much are you aware about your social responsibilities and how?
I have been aware of my social responsibilities from the very first day of my career. I have always hated the concept of everyone calling himself/herself a graphic designer without even knowing what designing means! Drawing a shape and filling some colours into it does not mean you are a designer. Sorry for being harsh, but I feel one should have clear idea about this as almost every institute misleads students and somehow jeopardize the careers of youngsters. I was called to speak in few seminars in Arena Animation, Panbazar, Guwahati. I have always said this to the students. I feel it is my moral responsibilities to show them the real picture that many a times institutes fail to show. It is better to be warned than left alone later when you actually need to begin the career. I feel bringing in such awareness in students is also a major part of my social responsibility as a working designer who knows what the industry demands.
Which was your favorite and most challenging project so far and why?
Every project is challenging as it’s very difficult to understand the client’s mind and give a product accordingly that will satisfy the demand. In recent time my favourite projects were: To design the book cover for a book title ‘Holy Smoke, It’s a Godman!’ and the only coffee table book on Narendra Modi ‘Being Modi’. And my most challenging project was for a Saudi Arabia NGO, ‘Students India’. I designed an illustrated book for them which was my first freelance work and had to be done and co-ordinate completely over the internet.
What do you love most about graphic designing?
The scope to think endlessly, both logical and weird…. The scope to explore and express… both good and bad! And also it’s a profession that needs no office room. You can design from your bed, dining table etc… It’s a profession that has no age bar or retirement age… It keeps you alive as you always play with colours and beautiful images.
Which are the applications/software you use most often during a designing project?
I work mostly on Photoshop, Illustrators, Indesign, Corel and Quark.
Have you ever tried any open source graphic designing software such as GIMP, Inkscape? Do you think open source graphic designing software can replace paid software in the near future because they are absolutely free of cost?
No, I have not tried any of the open source designing software till now. Since I have not worked on them, it is hard to say whether they are good or bad, but I am pretty sure that any such software will have hard time in beating the key players like adobe, corel etc. Absolutely free may at times fail to deliver the up-to-date needs of a profession like graphic design whose needs are always growing. Paid software companies have experts who keep on adding new features to the software in their new versions. That might be missing in the free software!
The designing industry isn’t static, everyday new techniques and trends pop up, how do you keep yourself up-to-date with such techniques and trends with your own way?
I read a lot over the internet and whenever possible I attend seminars like the one FICCI does yearly… I try to stay in touch with industry seniors…
How will you differentiate between print based projects and screen based projects? Which one do you prefer most?
I mostly work for print based projects. I prefer it more…but no particular reason why I prefer it more… I believe it’s just a matter of choice! I think there is more flexibility in screen based projects as that can be changed more often and moreover there is scope of instant correction and re-upload without incurring much monetary loss. Whereas, in print if something is printed and then an error is found, one will have to exhaust or dispose that total quantity and then re-print, which at times may lead to huge monetary loss too…
What is your opinion on present print media industry of North East India? How much has the designing industry evolved in the region compared to the past?
I was in The Sentinel Newspaper in Guwahati from 2009 to 2011. At that time I did not see much improvement in print media industry. But again I started to like a few new magazines coming up, which had freshness in design and the articles. I think print media industry is way behind in North-East compared to other parts of India. It has a long way to go!
What can one learn as a professional graphic designer that can’t be taught in institutions?
In institutes you learn what your teacher teaches! But as a professional graphic designer, you learn so many things from so many people around you. Like from your seniors, clients, boss etc.. You learn that everyone expects different things out of you and trust me, most of the time they expect the most cliché and weird things. You learn to change their choices for the better and convince them to accept what is actually a good design. You learn to fight to bring in the good design!
What is your biggest dream regarding graphic designing and how near are you to realizing it?
I do not know… I have a dream to have a design consultancy firm named ‘Creator’s Avenue’ one day. Although I have a Facebook page of that name, I am still far from realizing it in reality. One day I hope to have lots of clients who will run after my design consultancy firm..lolzzz
Any suggestion for graphic designing students?
Yes, do not just learn the tools, but learn to observe and create ideas. Do not take up the profession just because your friend did, instead judge yourself whether you are in the right profession or not?
It was nice talking to you. Creativica wishes you all the best!
My Pleasure and I wish team Creativica a bright future and let this be the website with maximum clicks from viewers from all around the world. BTW I like the name ‘Creativica’…sounds CREATIVE!