Sudhir Sharma, Founder, Creative Chairman and CEO of INDI Design, a micro multinational brand design company, spread across India and the globe, from Pune, Delhi, Berlin, Paris, Riyadh, Muscat, Dhaka, Thimpu to Hong Kong and Hanoi, gets candid with Yoshita Shah Pol in a quick tete-a-tete
Who is your favourite actor?
Nazanin Boniadi – the Iranian actress
Who is your role model?
Which is your favourite book?
Go Daan – Munshi Premchand
What according to you is the greatest work of art?
Anything in Nature, the man himself..we are the greatest pieces of Art.
If you could be an y person in history who would you like to be?
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (Turkey)
What is the most extravagant purchase that you have later regretted?
I bought this timeshare holiday thing from Club Mahindra many years back, it was a bad idea..i can never plan my holidays in advance, and if I manage a booking it is always a bad experience.
Which city do you call ‘home’?
What is your favourite quote?
Today it is “ Don’t worry about hurting my feelings because I guarantee you not one bit of my self esteem is tied up in your acceptance” Dr. Phil.
Which is the most unconventional food you’ve eaten?
Toxic food of nuclear waste taste by Marije Vogelzang at Eindhoven
Which is your favourite cuisine?
North Punjab Cuisine- with all the fat, ghee and spices
What are your most treasured possessions?
My passwords on various accounts..
Who is your favourite designer?
Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto (finland)
Your best design accomplishment?
Launching Designindia ( first and largest social network for designers in India) and living thru 50 issues of POOL Magazine..
Is design an inborn talent or can it be got through studying?
Design is definitely an inborn talent..u have it or you don’t..but it is like a wild horse unless you discipline it by studying….
Your favourite design or art that you have worked on?
Working on 4 Pune brand identities..in 2002 “Bajaj Auto”, in 2006 “Pune” City Identity that was used for the CWYG, In 2008 Venky’s and in 2010 Bajaj Finserv, the the book “Dear Rahul” in 2008 and “Pune and Beyond” in 2013.
Villa Gyllenberg –a private home museum in Helsinki
The best school of design according to you?
National Institute of Design, Paldi campus.
Shigeo Fukuda, I spent some evenings with him in Taiwan, we lost him in 2009.
Leica M series Cameras.
Which is your favourite current television show?
CNWK – Comedy Nights with Kapil
What is your favourite song?
Now a days _ Kanika Kapoor’s Baby Doll.- Yeh duniya pittal di
Name your favourite shopping destination?
Which is your favourite holiday destination?
Tell us about your hidden talents?
They are best kept hidden, I wouldn’t like to cook for a lot of people.
What is your favourite adventure sport?
Driving on Pune roads. You get all the thrills.
What is your greatest achievement till date?
I survived an accident on the expressway in 2005
What is your favourite perfume?
Armani code from Giorgio Armani
What is your favourite hobby or pastime?
Favourite pastime is Sleeping, Favourite Hobby is travelling
What is your favourite drink or cocktail?
Tall Sweet Lassi, thin not thick….:)
Published in Creme Magazine | PUNE, Vol. 1, Issue 5, June 2014
Extracts of my speech at PackAge Conclave 2013 in PrintWeek (August 2013) feature “Prepare to meet packaging challenges”:
There is a huge opportunity in the packaging industry on branding oneself. Sudhir Sharma, founder and creative chairman of Pune-based INDI Design, and a speaker at a PackAge conference, says, “As an industry, we depend on consumption; we want people to consume more and more whether it’s through color or packaging; by making it last or smell better, and reach in good condition. The bottom-line is to sell it more, produce more and push it in the market.”
Sharma however, says that as an industry we are also seen as problem creator for the world. “A finger is always pointed at the packaging industry for being at forefront, carrying the weight of climate change burden, littering, waste, resource depletion and related global crisis.” Sharma says environmental issues are not driven by the consumers. “It is wrong to look at the consumer and say that they are going to change their attitude on climate. The change should be led by us who know about the technology, the designs, the packaging materials and so on.”
According to Sharma, the packaging providers leave information at information level, knowledge at knowledge level and awareness at at the awareness level. Especially about green and sustainability. The companies are aware, and they leave it there, says Sharma. “Companies do not use the knowledge which they have gained in producing products or creating something,” he says. “You will see a lot of stickers on sustainability, and CSR, as a department is being made very strong but it is at the company level, it doesn’t actually percolate down to the consumer.”
Most of the typography in packages is not readable. Consumer’s age is changing and is one of the biggest threats. “The whole issue of senior-friendly and accessibility, the whole issue on impacts of vision and nervousness of hand needs to be considered when a packaging is designed and produced,” says Sharma.
Sharma agrees with the point that packaging is very important and that the consumer is always looking for something new.” “If the packaging gives the impression which is different from actual product, people reject it outright. And if the package of a soap dispenser has been same for two years people assume that the company is not selling well. There is no holding back when people have to criticize a product,” he says.
Materials, production, transportation and how to destroy the material after the product is consumed, should be made clear to consumer, says Sharma. “Lead the knowledge, do not wait for the consumer to tell and design responsibly. If you are designing a bottle of water, don’t only design it for water. It should be useful even for other purposes.
Sharma shares three design mantras on branding – Do not design in isolation. Design for larger audience and not for specific audience. Keep environmental impacts in mind. “Packaging’s intent should run across increasing consumption to caring for consumers,’ he says.
Interview taken by popular ukrainian magazine Marketing Media Review during my summer visit to Kyiv, Ukraine is just out in print. Here it is (in russian):
What influences your design decision?
I have been thinking about this recently. There are many factors that create a complex decision making process for design…and this process happens in a flash..almost intuitively as you get more experienced.
Context (location, geography, technology, language, culture) is extremely important, so are People, suppliers, vendors the whole eco-system on which design depends, then Politics (situations, trends and imperatives that you have to live with..) so CONTEXT, PEOPLE, POLITICS influence how I take decisions and this gets rendered in a frame called past experience.
Our brain is always looking for a similar experience from our history to base our decision..even similarity. So for me Design Decisions now are Intuitive.
Can it get complicated along the way? How do you rectify it if it gets Messy?
Yes of course. It gets complicated all the time. You always take risks by not listening to that small voice in your head..coming from your heart. And it does get messy. The trick is to own up mess quickly and not to hold it to your heart. True creativity can only happen in a egoless environment. DO drop your ego, it is not very difficult to backtrack, say sorry and start again. If you haven’t messed up once in a while..u have been too safe. You are a designer and u have license to mess up. And sure sometimes you have to pay for the Mess…all a part of our indulgence.
Kids from the 60s have different upbringing and views of the world, just like how a 70?s kid would be part of the hippies era, or pop culture will brainwash the minds of the young ones born in the 80?s. Clearly, design is in the picture with other creative elements thrown in to make information easier to digress and the world more beautiful than it ever was. I wonder how is your era like?
Long question.. this one needs an essay. Eras get defined in the hindsight. When u are are growing up, you are taking in influences as they happen, without reasoning them. I was born in 60s to parents who were in Army, traveling to many places often within a year. Books brought in the only long lasting companionship, so did music. It is now replaced with technology. I own thousands of book and still buy then often, but I read more on mAcbook or iPad. When I was growing up, I think times were uncertain and there was more insecurity, war seemed more real and future seemed very harsh. Music was motivating, and biographies provided templates.
Its changed now..those biographies are outdated, not relevant, future seems peaceful and lovely. Music is more enjoyable. People laugh and talk.
Modern technologies aside, are books still the best way to attaining Knowledge?
I think it is very contextual. Knowledge is important, how it comes is not. The form of attaining knowledge is ever changing. Technology is good, but it has not reached everyone. In india we have only 8% population with access to internet, even books are not accessible to all. Oral traditions continue.
I think a mix of all will prevail, at least in our society. I see more people on mobiles in India than in Europe. I doubt if print will ever go out..though it my not remain the only temple for knowledge.