Disha Paul is a versatile independent graphic designer/graphic artist from Kolkata, West Bengal, India. I met Disha on LinkedIn when Jay and I were working on the first issue of This Awful-Awesome Life. I was blown away by her creativity and her enthusiasm for design.
I’m excited to finally have the opportunity to feature Disha in the magazine. Instead of our usual feature article, I decided a Q&A with Disha might be more fun. Here are her responses:
1. Tell us a little about your background.
Disha: I was born and brought up in Kolkata which we refer to as the “city of joy”. My childhood has been amazing especially when you grow up with an elder brother. I earned a bachelor in English Honors from Calcutta University. I have a two year diploma in visual brand design from Wigan and Leigh College, and I left home to complete my master’s degree in visual brand design from Domus Academy in Milan.
2. What inspired you to work in graphic design?
Disha: I have always been fascinated about designing and art and culture. Looking at things and portraying them in your own way. Walt Disney has been my greatest inspiration. We all have grown up by watching Disney. It has taught me to be brave enough to portray thoughts in my own way. Often, simplicity works best. It might seem to be strange, but its uniqueness will grab a person’s attention and make him wonder. This is the most important thing for a designer/artist.
3. Tell our readers about The Disha Paul Project: Disha in 2020. What motivated you to start the project and where do you hope it takes you?
Disha: The project 2020 was about me, the things I love and aspire to do. It was more of an introductory project which we were given at Domus Academy. Because the students were from different parts of the world, it was a fun way of interacting and learning everybody’s aspirations as a designer.
4. How would our readers benefit from such a project for their own careers/businesses/personal lives? Disha: It is very important to do research on yourself. Have you identified what you want and how to get it? What are your goals? If someone wants to have a career, start a business, or make a difference in their personal life, doing research on “what I want” is very necessary. Projects like this will help show you the answers to your questions.
5. You worked as a team member on a project for Coca Cola and McDonalds promoting the use of the Internet (the promise of WIFI at McDonald’s locations around the world) to help bring in tourist traffic and increase traffic from locals who planned to travel. How did the idea come about? Do you think WIFI availability is a good way for businesses to attract customers? Are there any downsides?
Disha: Internet has become an important part of our lives. It is important in every minute of our lives. I am a frequent traveler. Travelling without internet access makes things very difficult. Access to information especially when we are in a foreign land increases the demand of internet. Nowadays, everybody travels, be it for work or relaxation or for some adventure. The internet gives you access to information about where are you heading - where to eat or what to eat, and what to do in each city. If McDonalds provides internet, this will attract additional customers and there will be an increase in sales.
There are downsides to it when it comes to the execution. Should they provide a sim card or a pocket hotspot or buy a free and a faster space in the city WIFI? Some methods are more expensive and less reliable. Also how do you make sure the internet users are actually buying something? According to my research, it is best to use the city WIFI because collaboration with the local WIFI typically allows access to higher speed internet. Our suggestion was to provide a code to the customers with the purchase of a certain meal. They can login with the code and use the internet.
6. On a team project for Cisco, your task was to encourage employees to feel comfortable contributing ideas in the workplace. Please explain how this campaign can benefit smaller businesses as well as major corporations.
Disha: Cisco was focusing more on employee engagement - how to make the workplace more fun and engaging by providing an outlet for new ideas and business strategies. My team and I came up with several ideas and managed to combine our ideas to develop a single concept, “Play off.”
Our concept, “Play off” involved racing, sharing, and voting for ideas and receiving feedback. It’s like a cycle. Information and ideas will be on the website, so people around the globe can view them. Our main goal was to make it global and not local.
Play off consists of four stages:
Stage 1: There will be a physical board where everybody can share their ideas. The idea can be related to a particular problem for the team, or it can be related to a workspace problem an employee is going through.
Stage 2: Information and ideas are transferred to the digital wall.
Stage 3: The top three ideas are transferred to the website.
Stage 4: Employees vote on the ideas and the most popular idea will go back to the physical wall.
7. How do you make a company website more than just a visual business card?
Disha: A company website is very important. People want information before they contact a company. Can this company provide what the customer wants/needs? Are they reliable? Do they listen to their customers?
A company website should contain all the pertinent details, but shouldn’t contain vast amounts of information which might confuse potential customers. In short it should be crisp and smart. It should contain information about the company, the team, their services, their portfolio, a list of clients, and a current project they are working on, and most importantly their contact information.
8. How do you keep the viewer actively engaged, but focused on the product?
Disha: Social media is the best way to keep viewers engaged and updated about products and services.
7. How important is a business logo?
Disha: Identity is important. Without an identity a business cannot succeed. To build the identity of the business, a logo is required. A business without a logo is like a man without a name.
8. Are certain colors better for designing websites for specific types of businesses?
Disha: In my opinion, yes! Color matters a lot. It brings out the personality of the business. Colors are often associated with certain traits, such as blue for integrity and stability, yellow for happiness, pink for enthusiasm, and green for nature and balance.
9. How do you make a website stand out if all its competitors are using the same color?
Disha: Every color has variations from light to dark or bright to pastels, etc. My inspiration is nature and from there I try to create my own palette.
10. A tagline on your website says, “Your Passion, Our Vision.” What does that mean to you and your clients?
Disha: Every client comes to me with an idea. I turn that idea into a concept and visualize it for them. With my power of creativity, I give that idea a shape and create a foundation to support it.
11. You also speak of “bringing imagination alive and making it visual for all to enjoy.” How do you convince clients who are so focused on sales to relax and have fun with the creative process?
Disha: Sales is all about numbers, figures and information. If I combine this with creativity, it becomes infographics. An infographic presents information in a graphic format to make the data easily understandable at a glance. It’s the best way to keep things fun when you are interacting with your clients. Infographics quickly communicate a message. Clients can easily see large amounts of data, data patterns and relationships. They can monitor changes in variables over time. It makes things comprehendible. Iconography (the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images) is also another interesting way of explaining work.
12. Briefly outline some of the services you can provide for small businesses and how these services can translate into future growth and sales.
Disha: The services I provide to clients and companies include posters, infographics, illustrations, establishing/building corporate identity, website design/layout and content, iconography, cards (formal/informal), and social media banners. Our services assist clients with creating and raising awareness of their business. We elevate your visibility in the marketplace.
13. How can you work on projects all over the world if you’ve never been to that particular region or country?
Disha: In my opinion, location is not very important for a graphic designer. I work as a freelancer; I have no preconceptions about an area or its inhabitants. This gives me a free space to work and think. You tell me about your business and your goals, and I will do the necessary research to create a successful design.
14. When you aren’t working, what do you enjoy doing?
Disha: I work-out (a lot), read books (mainly fiction), and bake cakes (I just cannot live without desserts). When time permits, I travel with my family and enjoy having fun with my friends. Spending time with family and friends has always been very important to me. I love animals, especially dogs. I also enjoy listening to music: it inspires and relaxes me. I like to crank up the volume in the house, so it can get pretty loud (ha ha!).
Disha Paul is part of a new breed of graphic designers/graphic artists who are not limited by geography. She is fluent in English, Hindi, and Bengali and speaks a little Italian and French. Her contact information is: