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A designer’s tales

Graphic design is very often confused with DTP (Desktop Publishing) and that is one of the main reasons why a real professional graphic designer very rarely gets his due. Distinguishing between what is design and what is not is Bina Nayak, who will speak about the same at the talk today
Janice Rodrigues|NT BUZZ
Steve Jobs was once quoted saying ‘Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.’ And further emphasising the role of design is the Design Centre in Porvorim, which has been conducting various programmes in that aim. Today, the centre is hosting a talk by graphic designer and communication specialist Bina Nayak, who has worked with organisations as prominent as Walt Disney. She will attempt to clear out the misconceptions of those who equate graphic design with DTP (Desktop Publishing) design.
Bina will be speaking from her experiences she had faced after graduating from the J J School of Art, and setting up shop. She aims at getting people to understand the importance of design. “Before I started out in 1991, I was in an art school. I learnt to draw with a pencil before I could draw with a mouse,” says Bina emphasising the prerequisite of having a sense of art to do anything related to design.
She further explains the need for proper thinking graphic designers, who will help in boosting the company’s image. “When designing logos, the company gives us their vision and mission statements with 60 pages of what they do, we are supposed to distil all that into one design which tells you what the company is all about,” she says.
The trend of institutes offering short term courses in animation and graphic design has further added to the dilemma of the trained graphic designers. “They take students from any stream who learn computers and get a job at a Xerox printing shop. They don’t have design thinking, and don’t really understand concepts and not think, create and come up with ideas,” says Bina.
This could be the reason for the rise of many mediocre designs, ads and signage in the markets today. “Now printers also design for cheap, they will put the charge in the printing and not overtly charge for the design,” says Bina. These malpractices are the reasons why clients often resort to the printers over paying fees to a designer.
Speaking from her trials and of how she overcame them, Bina says that it is up to the designer to decide when to draw the line in dealing with clients. “Clients tend to steal your designs. I’ve had experiences with even the bigger clients who have the money. Once, I had sent my designs via email in a presentation and the client did not get back to me. A few days later, I opened the newspaper and I saw my ad staring at me! I then decided not to leave anything behind, and started doing only laptop presentations,” says Bina.
Another lesson learnt was that people can steal your ideas, but the person who they are getting it done from cannot think further, and they have to come back to you for further changes. “It is thus the duty of the graphic designer to make the client understand why he needs pay more for quality work and design; explain the logo, how it will continue being relevant even after 20 years. The clients have to think of it as a long term investment,” she says.
While designers can charge heavy fees from the well-to-do clients, Bina is of the opinion that for smaller NGOs and start ups one should be considerate. “I consider myself a Robin Hood designer. I will charge the rich high profile clients high fees and if I’m doing it for a small NGO I may give him a design for free.”
Speaking about the need for design in everyday life, Bina says it makes life simpler. “All the traffic signage is all graphic design. It helps in a place like India where people are not all literate. Instead of writing it is better to visually depict an idea. Designers are used in town planning when doing maps, in malls signs, fire safety manuals.”
One example when Bina has incorporated her design skills in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and helping people is as a part of an online organisation called ‘Design and people’. “I have done a lot of design work for them. One couple in Assam wanted to do something for the disabled. We in India have several disability laws laid down which are fantastic but people do not know of them. So they wanted to make a manual, and asked for an idea of something that people will actually open and read. We ended up make a year planner with one portion for the laws, and called it the ‘Ready Reckoner of Disability Laws in India’. It had some nice bright colours, illustrations of people on wheelchairs; it was empowering and not depressing,” says Bina, emphasising the importance of design in making something attractive. “Basically design is about bribing people to look and open something and read it,” says Bina.
(A talk by Bina Nayak on the ‘Role of graphic design in society’ will be held on August 18 at 6.30 p.m. at Design Centre, Alto-Porvorim. Details: or 9925053595.)

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