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Susan Joseph


Susan is an independent digital communications and user experience strategist. She helps companies discover their brand voice and grow their business.

Shubharthi Ghosh


Shubharthi is currently part of the strategic marketing team at Regalix. His expertise mainly lies in the account-based marketing and programmatic advertising space.

Priscilla Thomas


Priscilla is a content writer who has worked for Infosys Technologies and other technology startups in India and abroad.

Moulishree Srivastava


Moulishree is a freelance journalist with over 7 years of experience, she writes research-based analytical stories on technology and business.

Avanish Tiwary


Avanish is a Bangalore-based journalist who writes on business with a specific focus on technology companies.

Priyanka Bhatacharya


Priyanka has covered every aspect of the IT industry as a tech journalist since its early days. She is now an independent writer, working on subjects like digital marketing, enterprise technology and high-performance computing, among others. 



A freelance content writer, S. Sahu was the former editor of TCS's house magazine at Tata Consultancy Services. He developed tech marketing collateral for the company and helped compile and edit books and journal articles on TCS's technology innovations. He also ghostwrites print and online publications. 

Prajwala Hegde


Prajwala is a Bangalore-based freelance journalist who writes on social issues, stories of human interest, and art and culture, among others. 

Rajesh Nanarpuzha


Rajesh Nanarpuzha is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at IIM Udaipur. Previously, he has worked as a brand manager in Dabur, and as a business consultant in the retail and consumer goods domains at Cognizant and Tata Consultancy Services. Rajesh has an MBA from IIM Indore and a doctorate in marketing from IIM Ahmedabad.


Priyokumar Singh Naorem


He is a passionate UI & UX designer who thrives on creating engaging creative solutions.


Dyuti Mittal


A freelance illustrator, artist, graphic novelist and designer. She has designed and illustrated several book covers. Her personal illustrations so far have attempted to seize the fleeting absurdity and mood of places, things and people she encounters in a childlike, intuitive and expressive manner with closure, beauty and innocence – the things that she desires.

Sumakshi Singh


She is an artist and an educator who has taught and lectured at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Oxford University, the Victoria and Albert Museum among other institutions. Her installations, paintings, thread work and sculptures have been exhibited in Saatchi Gallery - London, C24 Gallery - New York, and Museum of Contemporary Art – Lyon, among other notable galleries and museums from around the world.

Purna Chandra Mahato


Purna Chandra Mahato is an artist based out of Rourkela, India. Trained in painting (fine arts) from Pracheen Kala Kendra, Chandigarh, Purna has participated in many prestigious exhibitions and artist camps. His paintings explore various aspects of colour, shade, textures, and strokes, while keeping to abstract themes; they strive for a spontaneity that is enjoyable to spectators.

Parul Gupta


A commerce graduate from Delhi University, Parul pursued a masters in fine arts from Nottingham Trent University in the UK. As an artist, she is interested in line as a subject which has led her to follow architectural lines in built environments. She says she is also interested in how we perceive the environment that we inhabit and what happens when a subtle shift is made in things which we have been used to seeing in a certain way. We present six of her artworks here.

Shweta Malhotra


Shweta Malhotra is a graphic artist and designer from Mumbai, based in New Delhi.
After working with ad agencies and design studios for close to 8 years, she branched out on her own and currently works independently.s Her overall design aesthetic is minimal, bold and graphic, a response to the maximalist visual language prevalent in India.

Rithika Merchant


Rithika Merchant (b.1986) received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Parsons the New School for Design, New York in 2008. She has exhibited extensively since her graduation. Recent exhibitions include a duo show “Reliquaries: The Remembered Self” at TARQ, Mumbai; “Language of the Birds: Occult and Art” at 80WSE Gallery, New York; and group shows at Summerhall, Edinburgh and Artry Gallery, Kochi. Her work has been included in multiple group shows at Stephen Romano Gallery and The Morbid Anatomy Museum, New York. Born in Mumbai, she now divides her time between Mumbai and Barcelona.

Aniruddh Mehta


Aniruddh Mehta is an artist based out of Mumbai, India. Trained in graphic design from the London College of Communications, Aniruddh is a self-taught illustrator and currently works as an independent freelance designer. He believes in finding the right balance between art and graphic design. He has worked closely in collaboration with Bhavishyavani Future Soundz, Qilla Records, Taxi Fabric, Adidas, Dell and United Colours of Benetton. He also goes by the moniker, ‘thebigfatminimalist’ and his style ranges from bold minimal forms to more intricate pieces exploring patterns and geometry.

Paramesh Jolad


Paramesh is an artist who enjoys working in both the realistic and abstract style of painting. He loves working with water color. Featured in this issue are a set of water color works that he has created exclusively for us on the subject of digital transformation.

Chandrashekhar Thakur


Based in Mumbai, Chandrashekhar Thakur is a Senior Art Director and Illustrator at Truebil.com and the Founder of HAPPiNESS For You. He loves working with new styles of art and considers illustration to be his forte. Chandrashekhar has completed his BFA from DY Patil College of Applied Art.

Concept and Direction

Nimish Vohra


Head of marketing at Regalix, Nimish drives research in emerging technologies and customer experience, and takes a keen interest in creative arts.


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Andy Budd is one of the founding partners at user experience design consultancy, Clearleft.

As a leading authority on interaction design, Andy spends a lot of his time promoting the design industry at international conferences like The Web 2.0 Expo, An Event Apart and SXSW. He is an organizer of the Brighton Digital Festival as well as the originator of Clearleft’s popular design conferences, dConstruct and UX London. He sits on the advisory board for .Net Magazine.

In 2010, Andy was named as one of Wired UK’s top 100 digital power brokers. He is also the author of the popular book, CSS Mastery.

Here we chat with Andy on the challenges faced by the design industry & where it is headed.


Interviewed by Arunh Krishnan



/ / While most Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) we spoke with agreed that ‘content’ is a critical element of their core marketing strategy, ‘design’ was never brought up in the conversation by any of them. Why is this so?


At marketing school, you are taught the 4 P’s: Product, Promotion, Price, and Place. Sadly most marketing teams have ended up fixating on the promotion element, at the expense of the product. This is one reason why you regularly see campaigns describe an experience of a product that rarely lives up to reality. So when I talk about the role of design in marketing, I’m mostly talking about the design of the product or service that’s being marketed, rather than the campaign “creative”.  For me, the product is the most important thing, and if you don’t have that right, no amount of snappy content, clever ad placement or “creative” will help.

Fortunately, the tide is turning and CEOs are waking up to the power of design, in part thanks to the numerous articles on design thinking coming out of publications like the Harvard Business Review.


/ / At a time when we are faced with an overload of content, can design help in providing the edge in gaining consumer attention?


In the old days of advertising, the creative partnership was king. This was the blending of words and images, through copywriting and graphic design. These days I think there is a new creative partnership in the form of content strategy and UX design, ensuring that the words are backed up by the simplicity and appropriateness of use, rather than memorable imagery. Essentially we’re moving away from style and toward true substance.

As technology becomes more and more of a commodity, one of the few ways a product or service can really differentiate itself from competition, apart from spending more money on advertising, is to compete on design.

As a result, I truly believe that product design is the new marketing.


/ / Why doesn’t design get the attention it deserves amongst marketers?


The thing is, it is easy to measure the effects of content marketing, programmatic ad spend, etc.; it’s much more difficult to measure the value of a well-designed product. That’s because design acts as a multiplier of ad spend. If you have a crappy product you have to spend so much more getting it in front of users and convincing them it’s not as crappy as it appears! If you have a great product, you can spend much less on marketing for a similar effect. Sadly, it’s much easier to write a new piece of content marketing, or spend more on pay-per-click, than it is to improve the quality of the thing that you’re selling. This creates a difficult but understandable imbalance in design investment.


/ / How critical is it to have a separate design brief for mobile?


The majority of the brands we work with these days see over half of their web traffic coming from smartphones and tablets, and it’s only getting bigger. As a result, we’ve seen the rise of “mobile first” thinking, where the mobile experience has been prioritized over the traditional desktop experience. However, that doesn’t require a separate brief. It simply requires input from a modern design team that understands the fundamentals of responsive design – an approach that allows you to design once, but publish on a multitude of devices. Thanks to responsive design, the days of separate mobile briefs and separate mobile websites are well and truly over.


/ / How can a company measure the ROI on its design investment?


It isn’t as hard as it may seem. Understand what outcome you want the design work to have—it could be encouraging more content consumption, delivering more click-throughs, increasing checkout completion, or raising revenue— then undertake the work and see whether it’s moved the dial. Our friends at Google design use their HEART framework to help focus attention, where HEART stands for happiness, engagement, adoption, retention, and task success.


/ / Your take on Lean UX… is it just a buzz phrase or is there more to it?


The old way of doing UX involved a lot of document creation and ‘big design up front’. This saw designers wasting huge amounts of time and money creating endless wireframe iterations. The modern way of doing UX ditches the formality in favour of the least documentation possible, a conversation over a specification, a sketch over a wireframe, and a poster over a PowerPoint deck. While Lean UX is heavily aligned with the Lean Startup movement, I prefer to see it more as an evolution of UX thinking in line with the Toyota philosophy of lean engineering and reduction of waste.


/ / How is the increasing dominance of social media influencing the design language?


I’m not sure it is. However what is affecting “design language” is the rapid growth in design literacy and design expectations set by a glut of well-designed products coming out of Silicon Valley and other places.


/ / 3 Dos & Don’ts of design that every CMO should be aware of.


1. Don’t mistake design for “look and feel”, it goes much deeper than that. Good design is how a product or service works, how elegantly it solves the problem it was intended to solve, and the experience it provides customers as a result.

2. Don’t tell designers what you like or dislike, tell them what you want the design to accomplish.

3. If in doubt, test your designs with real users. That doesn’t mean you ask their opinion. It means you put your product or service in the hands of users, note the problems they encounter and fix those problems. This moves design even further away from personal opinion and into the realm of objective problem-solving.


/ / What are the key trends you see evolving in the design space in the coming years?


I’ll leave you with 3 big trends.

The first one if the rise of the design leader, the ‘designful’ company and the DEO (Design Executive Officer). To exploit the competitive advantage inherent in design, companies need to become design infused, and this requires design leadership at the highest levels.

The second trend is related to this, and revolves around companies bringing more and more digital skills in-house. Great digital design agencies have two roles to play here. The first is the traditional role of providing short-term capacity. However, the more important role is that of helping to grow capability within the client team. This involves working alongside the client’s internal team, mentoring, training and sharing skills along the way.  

The last big trend is the rise in Artificial Intelligence and VUI (Voice User Interface) stripping away our reliance on graphical user interfaces in favour of text and voice interfaces. We’re already starting to see this with agentive technology like Siri, Amy and Alexa, along with products like Amazon Echo. Expect to see voice control find its way into more and more devices, from your Bluetooth headsets and TV remotes to your bank app and self-driving car.  As a result, the future will be filled with fewer glowing blue rectangles and a lot more people seemingly talking to themselves in the street. Oh joy!