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Design Foundry: offering brands ideas with a deeper connection and design-led thinking

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Design Foundry: offering brands ideas with a deeper connection and design-led thinking

American Historian Daniel J. Boorstin once remarked that “An image is not simply a trademark, a design, a slogan or an easily remembered picture. It is a studiously crafted personality profile of an individual, institution, corporation, product or service.” A lot of effort goes into the designing process involving a whole lot of complex visual communications, talent, creativity, dexterity, technical expertise and an acute understanding of aesthetics, economics, technology, and psychology. The visual communication narrates a story which is difficult to be described in words. The impact of visual communication has always been very profound on the masses. Hence, came the need for branding to make the products distinct and trustworthy from other commoner products.

Our editorial team spoke to Mukund Venkatraman, the Founder and Chief of Design Foundry established in 2016 to know more about the organization. Mukund is a multi-lingual speaker, a graduate from Loyola College in Visual Communications and was an active member of Loyola Theatre Society & Fotalent during his college days. He was also the founder of an advertising firm Banana, based in Chennai before he moved on to start Design Foundry.

Here are some edited excerpts…

Branding and Beyond

Our communication methods have evolved tremendously over the years. According to a recent study, by 2018 an estimated 84% of overall communications will be highly visual. We are swiftly moving away from the corporate stock communication methods and getting closer to a more authentic brand of communication that crafts the story of a bigger distinct brand. There was a time when branding was all about designing logos and restricted to mediums of print. But, with changing trends, the new media has opened several new avenues for vibrant brand engagements. Now logos are no longer comprised of single or solid blocks of colour. The industry has introduced Dynamic logos, for example, the Google Doodle, it has set a new criterion in branding, and even with a lot of content overdose, brands are trying to become simpler at the same time. And with these changing trends, brands are consciously taking steps to redefine their positioning in the market. Successful brands stand for more than just a great product; they stand for a great idea or a specific point of view. We are building a portfolio of work that is edging closer to offering brands ideas that have a deeper connection to their base and we are powering it with design-led thinking.

Evolution of Brand Communication

“Historically, marketing and branding was a very different, personal endeavor by the proprietor in early years. But in today’s world, Branding is a crucial strategy for all kinds of businesses, no matter the size of the company. It is imperative that companies create memorable messaging that remains consistent with the ethos of the target audiences of the brand. And doing it sooner is better. We still observe that creating a brand identity is always an after-thought, but it can be so crucial to the brand’s journey. So, involving a design company from the inception of a product or company is invaluable in articulating what the brand stands for. Thereby making designing a more impactful identity. The kind of partnership a brand requires to drive preference deserves a lot of ownership, and enterprise from the agency, and if the agency is able to fill that role then the results will follow. We work towards delivering that level of partnership with every brand that we work with. As an agency, that ownership towards their brand success is what we feel has been key to our brand success.” said Mukund.

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Challenges and Drivers

As a start-up with solid numbers and a good roster of clients, we asked about the biggest challenges Design Foundry has hitherto faced.

“I say this a lot, but my mantra is, if design forgets people, people will forget that design. This is an integral part of our value system and one that drives and helps our work evolve. Design Foundry works closely with their clients helping them with strategic storytelling of brands while creating rich marketing content which strengthens the brand impact.”

Design Foundry services include Brand Design, Marketing Communications, Content Strategy, Digital, and Social Experiences, Environment Design, Packaging as well as traditional Advertising Solutions. “We are a close-knit team of designers, illustrators, writers, marketers, strategists, and art-mavericks. Everyone comes from a background that is either creative or has experiences that fuels their creative pursuits. This diversity in our voice has ensured that we can offer our clients a very versatile solution. The ease with which the team is able to blend design and copy with art adds depth to our branding solutions or our marketing strategies. It even enables us to create artful environment designs, unique merchandising and even art installations in corporate buildings and resort settings. The possibilities of our offerings in design are endless,” concludes Mukund Venkatraman. The company has a great client mixture from hospitality bigwigs like Hyatt and Marriott to luxury retailers, new tech start-ups, boutique players and IT giants like Cognizant.

Giving back to the community

Knowledge and creativity don’t grow and evolve in a vacuum, so giving back to the community is the most prudent way of sustenance. This initiative of giving back to the creative community makes the firm more excited than ever. As part of the firm’s CSR endeavours, the organization runs an online magazine called Art Satva (artsatva.com) that looks at the world of arts and actively promotes and highlights Indian artists. Through this medium, they hope to help the art world become more integral to the design conversation. They also started a publishing house, Paper Project, as an imprint of Design Foundry last year, publishing a book of poetry by Tanya Mendonsa. Book critics lauded it for its beautiful verses and illustrations, all of which were done in the DF in-house facility. Between Art Satva and Paper Project, Design Foundry is hoping to create an ecosystem where the lines of design, art, and communication can interweave to bring rich experiences into the marketing space.

Accolades and Achievements

Within the initial six months of its incubation, Design Foundry won many accolades including eight nominations at Abbys 2017. In the subsequent year, 2018, Design Foundry went a notch higher and bagged eleven nominations at the fest. The company also won two golds, three silvers, and one bronze at Maddys 2018.

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