Meet Niteesh, an engineering drop out who now lives and breathes Typography.
Inspiro India: How did you get started? What first got you into Typography? Tell us a bit about yourself.
Niteesh Yadav: My journey has been a bit different from the usual ones. I am an engineering dropout (second year) who started working as a self-taught designer initially and then after working for a while I decided to join college. From then I have been moving along with the life of a student and simultaneously working as a Design Consultant, looking after a Design division of a startup as well as working on freelance projects. The best part of this journey is the people I have worked with right from the beginning.
The love for illustrating letters and quotes got me into studying and exploring more about type. I used to draw a lot of letters and after a certain time, I started to realize that though they look good something is still missing and to fill that gap of making it better, I started to dig in deeper to learn about the technical aspects of Typography. Things that make a letter look more pleasing to eyes, this was the beginning and that learning is still going on.
Inspiro India: How would you best describe your style of illustration? Any challenges you faced as an artist Designer?
NY: From the past two years, my work has been typing oriented but I am in my exploration phase of trying new styles and mediums to express my ideas. Started as an Interface designer then explored my way into print and packaging and now working with type and illustrations. Soon you might find me experimenting with some unconventional and bizarre mediums as well.
Working as a Graphic Designer, the first and foremost challenge is to get in sync with the client and vice versa. Resonating at the same frequency is very important otherwise the whole project might go back and forth. Another thing which we face is variable project requests, sometimes a lot of project requests bombard at the same time and we have to prioritize which ones to accept (choosing the right ones is a task in itself.) Also, you find yourself standing in the Thar Desert at times waiting for that one project but treat it as a golden period of refreshment, start your own personal project or just take a break to rejuvenate your creative juices.
Inspiro India: What are the tools you can’t live without? Can you please explain your work process?
NY: All I need is a pencil and a paper! I am fond of getting my hands dirty as it is way faster. You can just do it on the run while eating on a tissue. We never know when the idea might pop in. Once the ideas are sorted then only I hit the screen to design it digitally. When you make things physically, there is a strong bond that is established. How often that smile comes on your face when you go through your old drawing books and now compare that same thing with an old folder on your desktop.
In my projects, I follow a structure which starts from receiving a brief from the client or to make one based on the client’s request (This happens a lot while working with Indian clients). Next step is to do an extensive research to put the pieces together and get a clear picture of the project and an approach to it. Then its time to pick up the pencil, our WMC (weapon of mass creation), sketching several ideas then finalizing which ones to share with the client. I restrict the number of concepts since as Designers we are supposed to use our expertise to help people and not to confuse them. One final approach is decided, I move on to refinement and iteration phase (limited iteration mentioned in the agreement). This phase includes feasibility testing of ideas and many designers ignore this but I have learned that it is a crucial one as impossible is possible on screen. People use mockups blindly on the web to just showcase to the clients and without even knowing their feasibility, the clients are usually awestruck at that time but face problems later while trying to execute them.
I recall a project, Identity design of a new line of a Fashion House for which I sat down in their workshop working with the people to test the feasibility of selected designs using different embroidery techniques. Finally, after working for several hours we figured out a way to make it work from design and execution perspective. If a design doesn’t serve its purpose then it is a waste.
Inspiro India: Is studying illustration in college worth the cost or do you recommend an alternative?
NY: Rather than just focusing on illustrations right from the beginning I would recommend, if you are enrolling in College then start with Design as a broad sphere then explore your interests and qualities to decide on your specialization. This will help you out in framing your goals. If you are sure that you want to get into illustration then start practising and try to expose yourself to as many styles as possible as well as other people’s work which is going to help you out in expanding your knowledge about the immense possibilities. As illustrations are not just about the pencil, paper, watercolours etc., it’s your medium of expression and how you take it forward creates your style. Art or Design college is a place where you are exposed to a lot of things, there are no set books or hard guidelines. It’s you who is supposed to absorb that information and explore further. The only alternative I can think of is your dedication and handwork.
Inspiro India: What do you enjoy most about being an illustrator?
NY: I mostly refrain from using the word illustrator as very small part of my work is illustrations. The thing I like when I am illustrating is the amount of freedom I have to express the ideas which are sometimes very limited while working on regular design projects that have very rigid client briefs.
Inspiro India: What did you want to become during your childhood?
NY: I wanted to join the army but as I grew up I went on being more inclined towards creative stuff and now I am on my small little crusade of making useful things to fight bad designs and help people with my work.
Inspiro India: Can you explain to our readers a bit about your ‘Dream Big Project’ on an elephant?
NY: ‘Type on Elephant’ is one of my ‘close to heart piece’ as it was a whole new experience for me. I had spent a significant amount of time with the elephant observing their behaviour and the best way we can be around them so they don’t feel uneasy. All that helped me a lot in working on it and there was not even a single moment when I felt scared.
It is part of India Through Type Series that aims to bring out some unique and interesting aspects of India through Typography based experiments. It also focusses on some important aspects such as dying crafts which are in dire need of being brought into the limelight. Simply talking about these and putting forward the same old stuff will not work as it has been tried several times in the past. So this is the reason I am working on creating a new experience for these things.
Inspiro India: What are you passionate about besides your work?
NY: I am really fond of travelling and exploring more about people, culture and especially places which are close to nature. This is the reason I have been working remotely for the past couple of months and moving around.
Artwork by ©Niteesh Yadav
Inspiro India: What advice would you as an artist give to other creative heads out there? Some creative tips you’d like to share?
NY: Do what you love and give your 100% to it! There are times when you are working where you won’t get full freedom to create things of your choice. Develop a habit of working with guidelines.
To let your creative juices flow, work on some self- initiated projects as they are going to help you in creating things where you have full freedom and control over what you are doing but always have a purpose why you are doing it. It can be “just to make myself happy.” What it does is that you will never feel that you have wasted your time at any point in time.
Check out his full feature in Oct’16 Edition of Inspiro India Magazine issue#32 – Download Free.