Please tell us about yourself

Vinita Jakkal can consider herself one of the lucky ones. She took a hobby she enjoyed in her youth and made it into a full-time job. Now, a senior designer, she lends advice that acts as a guiding light for all the young designers out there.

Just to introduce yourself, if you aren’t freelancing, where are you working and what’s your current job title?

Hello! I am a Graphic Designer, Illustrator and Photographer based in Pune, a Cultural City of Maharashtra. I enjoy working on Branding, Packaging & UI projects. I have completed my Post Graduation in Graphic Design from MIT Institute of Design. I did my Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Marathi Literature from Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey Women’s University

I am currently working as a Senior Designer at Elephant Design, Pune.

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Tell us about your journey from discovering your craft to acquiring the skill you have now. How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and exciting career?

Since I was a child, I was fascinated with arts and crafts. I remember the days when I used to spend hours and hours drawing cartoon sketches and coloring them, which, in turn, became my hobby. I believe in a job that can be done in a better way if the person doing it really loves the job, so why not to take a hobby of creating various designs and make that into a full-time profession.

After dealing with various demands from clients and/or bosses, what’s that one experience that you learned the most from?

I think with a wild perspective so before designing anything, I learned that I need to first study the user mentality & his needs from the specific product.

In the whole world, whose work do you aspire yours to be like? And what attracts you to appreciate what they do?

I am a great fan of Malika Favre’s work. I really admire her, I like the simplicity, boldness & expressiveness of her work. Because the simple things are always the most difficult ones.

Which project of yours are you particularly proud of? Could you tell us a little about it?

Swa Pune is the project which really close to my heart & I am really proud of it. It is a hypothetical project created for Pune tourism. Designing an identity for a city was a really challenging job. There were a number of parameters which I had considered while working on this project. Pune is the fastest growing city in India. It is an Oxford of the east, a cosmopolitan city, a metropolitan city, a city with the history of Peshwas behind it, it is also known as Deccan odyssey and IT hub.

So I positioned my Pune, which is a cosmopolitan city that offers global connectivity, a rich history &  a home to a unique network of people who celebrate excellence & quality living. It is a dynamic city where culture & technology are living hand in hand.

My mission was taking Pune city to another level by building value added experiences for people & shoppers through merchandise.

When I was working on the brand name, I tried to give it a more humanistic approach to Pune by using the Sanskrit word “SWA” which means “My Own”. The aim was to create an emotional bond between the city & the people, not only the ones who live here but also for who visits the city for various purposes. Over the years, the ratio of Punekars & people moving to Pune tremendously increased from 90:10 percent to almost 50:50 percent. Pune is not only home for the Punekars but also the residents who came here for business or educational purposes.

While working on identity design, I took inspiration from old window architecture & Shiva mudra. Also for the visual language of the brand, I picked elements from the city itself like Bakarwadi, bridges, theater art, modaks, temples & created minimalistic icons & used them as a pattern.

Can we have a piece of advice for students?

As most of young designers dream of starting their career with the top studios but dreaming is not enough.

If you really want to get placed in your dream company, you need to be on your toes from the very first day of your college. Dreaming is good but doing nothing for that dream every day is not. No matter how philosophical or boring it sounds (even I felt the same when I was in college) but it’s a truth that I learned over past 6 years of my design experience.

Start by choosing the company with a must do basic research on company portfolio, it’s market reputation and most importantly what you want to learn from it. Also understanding the scope for individual growth and aspirations.

Your design portfolio is going to act as a mirror for you and your skills. So be thoughtful while choosing a work. Only select the best & unique, as viewer will be interested in the quality and not the quantity. Now a days everyone is techno savvy so try to make an online portfolio or your own website.One of the most important part is showcasing the design process of your work.

If it is a face to face interview, along with your resume & online portfolio try to present some of your best physical models or works as well. It will add interest for the reviewer.

When you aspire a dream opportunity, it can come to you in any form and at any time, so do not wait for vacancies of studios. Just participate in public events, contribute on global or national level design platforms so that many studios can notice your work and rest assured if you are good at your skills, they will pour you with opportunities and offers.

Also, be confident about your work while presenting. Try to highlight the process & thought behind any creativity and specially avoid saying that I have chosen this colour because that’s my favourite one.

When you’re trying to sell yourself as a conceptual person, you need to be able to validate your decision-making because interviewer want to see how you think and that you understand the purpose of design from a business & end user perspective.

Studios always want people with multiple skills. So sell your skills correctly!

So, what are you working on now?

Mostly Branding & Packaging projects; especially FMCG Brands. Also working on my own website 🙂

Can you walk us through one of your packaging design projects?

“Bakery World is a Banglore, India based Bakery Shop. Brief was to create a new Identity for the Brand along with new Packaging Design for their Stone Baked Bread range to standout in the market with current trends.

The new identity is a combination of chef cap with bold & modern typeface, which creates a powerful unit. Packaging is inspired from traditional brick oven. A product window is itself a brick oven through the type of bread is visible. Currently they have 3 variants Brown Bread, Milk Bread & Sandwich Bread. Fresh & Bright Colour Palette is used keeping in mind the significance of the variant.”

Brand Identity and Packaging Design for Bakery World / World Brand & Packaging Design Society

Where do you see yourself in the future?

Running my own company.

How do you unwind and refresh your creative juices?

Traveling makes me happy because you go close to nature. Nature has always been  source of inspiration for me.

Have you ever tried out a completely different creative field? If yes, how did that turn out?

Nothing apart from design. But I started my career in animation and later entered the field of graphic design.

If you had to start afresh in the industry today, would you choose a different path and if so, what would it be?

I don’t think I would change my industry. Because I am enjoying my work & that’s what I always wanted to do since my school days.