Beyondesign were one of the companies that I spoke to in October last year. They are an all woman studio with a contemporary, straight-talking website, so I was definitely intrigued to meet them.
On the day we flew into India, the 4th February, I got an email from Bhavika, the creative director, saying that they were looking to connect with a few freelance designers for some work in the near future and would I be interested. I never thought I’d actually be approached for work and it was such a coincidence that it was on the day we arrived from Sri Lanka. I said I would definitely be interested, assuming that we would have some chats over the next few days about how things could work.
Design is a funny world and clients are funny creatures who want things yesterday. Of course that’s not what happened. I had a brief within 10 hours and did a full day of really fun, conceptual work on the 5th to be shown to the client on the 6th!! It was all pretty crazy but really fun and luckily Bhavika loved what I had done and was impressed with how much I’d managed in a short period of time. A great start.
The next day Bhavika told me that the client had loved my concept and although it wasn’t quite right for the current project they really wanted to use it on an upcoming one. Amazing, I felt like it was a real achievement for my first experience of designing in India. Then, as clients do, all went quiet for a while. I was still in contact with Bhavika, discussing how our relationship could work and trying to gauge how freelancers are used in India, but no more work came in which was fine… I had travelling to do!
So when I went in to meet them last week in Bombay, I felt as though I already knew their company to an extent. They have just moved to a new studio in Mahalaxmi, a suburb further south from Bandra and had had a crazy couple of working weeks so trying to pin down a time was tricky. Unfortunately Bhavika was in a meeting so I didn’t get to see her, instead I met Shernaz, the account handler, who explained a bit more to me about the business. It’s smaller than I had pictured, just 6 people in total, and they work on a wide variety of projects; a lot of real estate, which is obviously massive in Mumbai right now, pharmaceuticals, identities, weddings, clothing brands and start ups.
Again we discussed the difficultly of the perception of design in India and persuading people of it’s value. Shernaz agreed that it was definitely changing slowly and that there was always a bit a battle to accommodate and understand people’s needs. She told me one story of a client who had come to them to design some social media communications. Unfortunately they had just had their logo done for 999Rs, which is the equivalent of about £10.50, and unsurprisingly it was awful. The client insisted though so they’ve had to work around it and use the bad logo. Obviously to some people in India 999Rs is an awful lot of money but it’s crazy to me that it can buy you a piece of design work and I guess it highlights the battle against devaluing the creative process.
Anyway they also wanted to discuss with me the work going forward and my fees as it looks like it’s all getting started again, which is very exciting. Watch this space…