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Meghana Ogale, Head of Design at Design Sutra: The Missing Piece

09 December 2020

Meghana Ogale

Design Head
Design Sutra, Mumbai

You think you know Meghana. But that's only until she reinvents herself. Always up for a challenge be it a soccer turf or transforming a brief. She has her own way and her own style. Unique, surprising and non-conformist. In fact, she will probably want to rewrite this too!
I joined this industry around 18 years ago as a wide-eyed graduate from art school. And what a wild, but amazing journey it has been. Starting my career in design I have also had the good fortune of working in advertising and being an entrepreneur, giving me the opportunity to get insights not only from one, but multiple disciplines. These have helped keep my viewpoint and approach innovative and intuitive and I highly recommend it to everyone who wants to broaden their perspective.
But currently heading ‘Design Sutra’ has brought me back to my one true love – ‘Design’.
Even today, I find fulfillment and joy in what I do, which is a rarity. It’s because as a creator I have the opportunity to express myself in my work. I consider self-expression vital to great design, and yet over the years, it somehow gets stifled and replaced by “safe expression” or the “tried and tested”.
To borrow from Nikola Tesla, “Most persons are so absorbed in the contemplation of the outside world that they are wholly oblivious to what is passing on within themselves.” This is true especially in the case of designers. We are so inspired by our surroundings that we forget what magic can come from within us.
The pandemic has brought this thinking to the fore, forcing people to spend more time by themselves, getting to know and explore themselves a little more. The outcome being  creative expressions that are true and unique to each person’s  personalities and traits. Artists, musicians, designers, creators are now peeling the exterior to let their inner creative expression find its voice.
Designs without personality and experiences tend to become lifeless and uncommunicative. Anthropomorphizing design gives the viewer the ability to interact and make a connection. It resonates with those engaging with it and a conversation begins. This is true visual language. It is the vital difference between ‘attention’ and ‘connection’. Attention is momentary but connections last longer.
A few years ago for the launch of a marble brand called ‘The Quarry’, I tapped into my inner diva to transform a lifeless product like marble! In a male dominated business world it was treated like stone – impersonal and dispassionate. A design sensibility that looked at it from a feminine, exotic and ethereal perspective disrupted the category and gave it the life and vibrancy it needed. There was an immediate connection with the exclusive clientele looking to create an individualistic yet heartfelt space for themselves.
I am delighted to see the ‘emergence of self’ in design. Young and experienced designers alike, we aren’t shy of adding our personality to our work. Making it contemporary, distinctive and highly experimental. Brands seem to love it too and are collaborating across the spectrum. With both companies and designers, pushing boundaries.
Take fashion for instance, some of the world’s largest global luxury fashion houses are renewing their creative expressions as they bring in fresh new-age Creative Directors that add individuality while keeping the brand ethos intact.
At Design Sutra, we encourage ourselves to showcase our individuality through our creative expression. Like when Mondelez India came to us to reinvent a consumer favourite dark chocolate pack for ‘Cadbury Bournville’. We did so by unleashing our dark side. The design was very well received by the client and applauded by loyalists and new consumers alike as the dark, mysterious design personality struck a genuine connection, not only with the palate but also their minds.
We look forward to designing a more positive and hopeful 2021 at Design Sutra. Mindful that 2020 made sure we found ourselves all over again. And the simple fact, that sometimes the only thing missing in a beautiful piece of design is ‘You’.