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  • De Icebreaker Creative Studio


Design India, Pankti Sheth

What role has formal design education played in your career?

PS: The notion of creativity and design has always appealed to me. The freedom to explore and express oneself in the creative field has always piqued my interest. MSU (What is that? Elaborate – what did you study?)- Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda Gujarat. I study Masters in Applied art. showed me that a design has the power to solve complex problems or change people's minds about things.’ I've often wondered how my formal education molded me into the person I am now. My mentors helped me acquire the ability to visualize and illustrate ideas. Formal education adds value to humans. One must have an understanding and appreciation of not just design but all other aspects that go into blowing life into designs. It's important that your suggested creative output makes business sense.

What led to the idea of your own studio?

PS: My father was persistent that I relocate back home after I spent many years away working in the industry. By then, I was done climbing the corporate ladder in global organizations. Starting a studio was never the plan but I wanted to work on something more purpose driven and something that gave me the satisfaction of delivering right product to right consumer. I returned to Ahmedabad and began taking on projects and in the process I came across other like-minded people who joined me with the same goal, and the rest is history.

My younger brother came up with the name ‘Icebreaker’. He was 16 back then and was curious to know what exactly I did. I told him that I work on how brands can tell their stories right in the market, to which he replied, “So you are a story teller?” I said, “No, I strive to design stories in a way that can convey the purpose of my client, and disrupt the market with its ice breaking visuals.” He said, “So, you are an icebreaker!” and that's when I knew this was the name I wanted. De-Ice Breaker Studio (DIB) has no hidden layers, offers clear and genuine communication, delivers the right product to right consumer, and clears the air between sellers and buyers.

Which have been your most memorable projects?

PS: Each project that we did gave us some knowledge and helped us grow as a studio. Each project has successfully left its mark on us, but some left a greater mark. For instance, the packaging design for Miraj Khatak was one of the most memorable projects for us because we shattered the monotonous hierarchy in the snacks packaging design with the company logo, product name, product photo, and claims. For the Saawal A2 Milk Ghee packaging, we used the Biglims (explain) After carrying out research we boiled down to the decision of using the big limbs style of illustration which is one of the most appreciated styles of the year 2019. We illustrated the process of ghee-making by giving notable importance to the details. This will help the consumer in connecting the dots and weaving a story out of it. To showcase the authenticity and the purity of desi A2 cow milk ghee. Both the projects helped us bag awards for India’s Best Design Project.

Other interesting projects included brand identity and product portfolio for Nonsense; One-stop party solutions brand as its name suggests. We have designed its identity and product portfolio keeping the brand mantra of them being: colorful, sarcastically entertaining, and bold. Identity for Anahadi; A brand from Hind creation, they are in the market for 80 years now and they were planning to launch in the D2C market, The project was to design a packaging to deliver a user experience and tell a story about how Indian handcraft is moving towards modernization which carries forward their legacy. and packaging for Evo Egg Alternative. (Elaborate a little on each) – Evo foods call themselves India’s first plant-based egg selling brand. They approached us to design the packaging of their new launches – Plant based protein cubes & Plant based protein patties.

Pankti Sheth, Design India

Did you consciously choose to focus on packaging design?

PS:Yes, I've been enamored with it since childhood, and there were several FMCG packaging designs that piqued my interest, leading me to create and career in the same. Don't judge a book by its cover. Even though we've all heard this expression, we all do this. If a book has an interesting cover with an eye-catching image, you are more likely to pick it up and read it. Consumer goods, whether a box of cereal, a cleaning product, or a pair of socks, If the box does not appeal to a customer immediately, the product, no matter how good, ends up languishing on a store shelf.

For the brands it's like casting a hero, isn't it?? Package design is a foundation for the rest of the brand and is a decision that must be pondered at the onset of the business process, not just as a marketing device. I think the packaging has the power to change the way we use or react to the product. As a result, I created DIB's core portfolio in packaging. We appreciate our work since it not only provides smiles to client's faces, but also allows us to observe how the end-user engage with it, which makes our work satisfaction endure longer.

What is the most challenging brief you’ve worked on?

PS: We were asked to design a wall for the prestigious Balaji group (who are they/what do they do?) Balaji Wafers is India’s leading brand in snacks. Their products include wafers, namkeen, snacks, and many more. The pioneers of snacks wanted to make their office walls to talk about their legacy. They wanted a fun wall that made their office look like a comfortable place to work and grow in. We designed the wall keeping in mind how the company is both modern and traditional at the same time. We have worked on the project on environment design for Balaji Wafers. Working for a giant like that was humbling and we wanted to do our best. For the design we decided to keep a bioscopic wall with a peephole that showed the legacy of the company through old pictures. The requirement was to keep tradition intact but with a modern touch as the target audience comprised young people. Their office is very modern but they wanted to stick to their roots in some way and this traditional yet modern wall design taking the onlooker through the history did the job just right!

How do you provide relevant, culturally contextual design solutions for your clients?

PS: Design is an amalgamation of science and art. As a result, we as designers mix expertise, ideas, and concept. We strive to give the right mix to the client from the beginning of the ideation process to the final delivery of the artwork. We are a team that enjoys solving complicated issues while concentrating on people and the future, resulting in a smooth brand integration experience. We are enthusiastic in challenging the status quo, which motivates us to contribute creatively to every project.

What makes De-Ice Breaker stand apart in such a saturated market?

PS: There are no hidden layers in our design or execution processes and that makes communication easier or simpler. We are passionate about delivering winning ideas and solutions in emerging markets.

How do you balance creativity with the commercial side of it?

PS: In the service industry, balancing creativity with commercial aspects is a big challenge. In the beginning, we were happy to say yes to anything that came our way. To keep the commercial side of the studio in check, it was vital to understand when and how to say no. People began to notice the effort that went into the job and were persuaded to pay for it.

What are your plans for De-Ice Breaker Studio?

PS: I envision bringing global standards and professionalism to the design process. The way global designers connect and work together is amazing, Collaborative working can lead to more powerful ideas in the future, and we strive to create a space where studios, agencies, and independent designers or artist can come together and innovate for the new generation brands, as well as emphasize the importance of design in India. We would like to educate business leaders about the value of design and how it can sit at the core of their strategy.

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