Talking Design with Jaskaran Bhatia

1. What got you interested in graphic designing and how were you introduced to it?

It’s a bit of a long story. I was initially HUGE into film making and video editing, since way back when I was in 8th Grade. I used to participate in local inter-school competitions, and eventually a friend and I decided to start a YouTube channel. We needed to design the logo, and cover art for the videos back then, and that’s what got me into graphic designing. I was already familiar with Video Editing suites like Premiere Pro, which is an Adobe software, and I thought about giving Photoshop a shot. Post 12th grade, my friend moved to Canada for film school and I ended up here, so the idea for making it big in the YouTube world derailed, but my interest in designing stuck.

2. What would be your advice to a beginner who is looking to just start with graphic designing? What and from where should he/she start learning?

I understand that picking up a new skill is daunting, especially with how overwhelming the interface might seem at first. I think what made it easier for me was that I was acquainted with the Adobe Suite through Premiere Pro and After Effects before learning Photoshop, and so the learning curve probably wasn’t as steep.

3. How do you focus and stay creative while under pressure, if you are working on a deadline?

The idea is pretty straightforward- I don’t think of work as work, I think of it as an opportunity to grow. I feel that the most useless kinds of tasks in such a field are those where you know everything and don’t have to apply anything new. These kinds of tasks lead to stress. Avoiding it is pretty simple- I try to go for something new every time. As long as I feel I’m learning, I’m not really stressed, as such. Sometimes, there is a lack of inspiration, at which point I just ask the client to throw ideas at me that I can work with. I also recommend sources like Behance, Dribbble, Unsplash, and even Instagram to get comfortable with design in general. It goes a long way towards helping your creativity.

4. How do you manage academics as well as creating awesome workpieces at the same time? What’s your secret to managing time efficiently?

If I had a dollar for everytime somebody asked me this, I wouldn’t have to think about sitting for internships or placements!

5. How tough was it to make the waves aftermovie this year considering everyone might have been at different places?

I’m so glad you asked me to answer this. I really, really am proud of the entire team that worked on the movie. Everyone was so stressed throughout the entire process, and we also had a couple of fallouts in between, just short of shouting at each other over Meet. But in the end, it all fell through. I think everyone on the team agrees that this isn’t some of DoPy’s best work, but I strongly believe that in the given circumstances, everyone in the team went above and beyond what they signed up for.

6. What are the major steps in your creative process, from start to the finished product?

Whenever I’m given a task, I begin by asking the client for ideas. I want to get a proper hold of what’s in their mind, and what they expect out of me. Initially, I try to think out loud with the client and tell them what I feel the end product is going to look like. Sometimes, it gets hard for me to explain exactly what I’m trying to achieve, so I try to find a similar design online to help the client understand better.

7. Can you see yourself using AI tools which can generate hundreds of images based on algorithmic visual approaches but reduce the scope of human creation ?

I feel that automation is inevitable, but something like design needs character. I think AI hasn’t yet reached the stage where it can replace a human when it comes to creating art. Moreover, design is an ever changing idea and what is considered tasteful design today might become obsolete tomorrow. Plus, a lot of designed work has a context attached to it. That context comes from what’s prevalent in the world at a given point in time, but it also comes from the designer’s perspective of said world. I think mimicking subjectivity is where AI falls short.

8. Do you plan to be a full time visual designer? What are your future plans?

From what I’ve researched so far, the exact job description of a visual designer seems a little hazy to me. Different sources describe the role differently. In any case, I would definitely love to take this skill forward as a potential career path. As I said, I’ve started exploring Front-End development, and having a background in Graphic Design certainly helps. A typical front-end developer expects designs from a UI designer and attempts to copy them into code. With the skill-set that I’ve managed to develop, I can potentially drive the entire process of application development- from User Research, to Wire-framing, to creating mock-ups, and then putting it all into code- all on my own (to some extent). This opens up a potential to cater to a huge market in the freelance world, as I can offer my services to clients in requirement of a designer, or a developer, or both.

9. How does one get started with video editing? What are some resources you would recommend?

Here’s the thing about creative fields like these. There isn’t a lot of effort required to get started, but it takes a long time to get good at it. Getting started with Video Editing is as simple as acquiring Premiere Pro and following along a 10 minute long tutorial video. That’s all you need to export your first edit. The problem is, again, that you wouldn’t create an Oscar worthy video in the first try- or even the first thousand tries, for that matter. The software takes time to get used to, and there’s a lot more to a creative process than just the software anyway. What most people want is to get immediate results, which is just not possible. You might be a quick learner and get familiar with the software and the workflow easily, but you still have to endure time to gain experience.

10. Any advice on how should one utilize this time to pursue various fields of their interest?

It isn’t the best of times, and there’s a decent chance that a lot of us aren’t exactly in a state of mind that’ll enable us to be productive. The world, however, is still functioning, and so for everyone who says that turning a pandemic into an opportunity seems insensitive, I say that this is what the new normal looks like.

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