Ad land’s Young Guns: Anil Gupta, Grapes Digital

Anil Gupta, Associate Creative Director, Grapes Digital, is a passionate designer with eye candy visualisation talent. Gupta joined Grapes Digital in 2016 and has been helping the agency with design communication and brand design strategy. He now leads a team at the agency. 

A man with print media and digital as his career background, Gupta has 8+years of experience in this industry. He started his career in 2009, when digital was at a very nascent stage in India. He has worked with companies like Makni Creatives, Brand Bazooka, Coffee & Creatives on their print side. 

Gupta has good creative and ideating skills. His key strength/ role is to offer clients across sectors path breaking ideas which have quicker outcomes. In his free time, he loves travelling, photography and doodling. 

How did you get into the role you are serving?
I think it was meant to happen, but I wasn’t aware of it till the time an animated banner actually triggered this thought. I started researching a lot about them and read various case studies to learn how they work. I was awed by the fact that a creative done with the right usage of colours, icons, graphics and patterns along with the right copy can create a magical impact. Inspired, I joined Arena to enhance my skills further and finally got a job where I kickstarted my professional journey as a Junior Graphic Designer. I feel privileged that my first boss had complete trust in me and let me handle the creative for the popular shoe brand. I put my skills to full use and earned recognitions for the same. Since then, there has been no looking back. It’s been 8 years now and I still feel awed while creating impactful art and designs. 

What particular skill sets do you think you bring to the table?
Other than cracking the visual language of a creative, I like getting involved in the ideation process as well. Working on the different legs of a particular campaign and infusing the knowledge of print into digital to create minimal art that appeals the audience is something that I try to achieve every time a brief comes to me. 

One campaign that you have worked on that you are particularly proud of? Please take us through the making of the campaign.
This was the second time that I worked on #ShutThePhoneUp from Manforce Condoms and I am really happy that I got the chance again with Grapes Digital to take it a notch higher from 2017. A visual language that hit the right chord had to be cracked. With phone and data privacy being the key elements that had to be highlighted, I focused on the same and leveraged my experience of print to design minimal creatives that subtly gave the message. The look and feel of the different creatives were that of print while keeping in mind the digital bit of it. Along with that, the canvas was so wide that enabled us to convert it into a 360-degree campaign. 

While working on the creatives how do you prepare yourself? What goes on in your mind?
I want people to really connect with the creatives that I design for different brands that I work on. There are certain restrictions and demands from the clients’ end. But I take that as a challenge and try to rise to the occasion. Furthermore, copy also plays an important role in influencing my design. Sometimes, it just clicks. Sometimes, I have to put in some extra effort. My trick is to have an element that resonates with the brand and a relatability factor that makes people hit the ‘Like’ button. 

Icons in advertising you look up to and how they have influenced you and your work?
Prasoon Joshi for sure. His Happydent campaign had my heart! It was done beautifully and connected with the user in a very quirky manner. While I cannot be quirky all the time, but I think that being simple is the essence every time. The best of ideas are extremely simple. One big learning from the campaign was how people can turn an insight or a product USP to something that goes on to become a symbol of the brand. 

What are the five most productive things that you do in your everyday routine?
Design, design, design, design and design! Jokes apart, I keep having a look at the work that’s being done all around the world to become better at what I do. In my free time, I like to learn new things. Currently, I am trying my hand at caricatures. Video editing is something that I am keen on adding to my portfolio, because that’s the future. We do a lot of in-house shoots so I like to be a part of that as well. 

Do you think a career in advertising is a viable one in the long term?
Most definitely. But expanding one’s portfolio and not just sticking to your job role is the key. If you wish to reach the next level, you need to understand how a campaign works. From copywriting to designing to media and every other thing that goes on to making the campaign a success, is something that one must learn. If you keep learning a new thing every day from different departments, you can do wonders in advertising and become a full-fledged professional. 

What does it take to succeed in a career like advertising?
This is just not another 9 to 5 job. You have to live and breathe it. Every hoarding that you cross, every copy that you read is an inspiration for your next big idea. 

What would be your advice to youngsters planning to enter this industry?
This industry is dynamic. It’s ever-evolving. You can never get bored. Probably this is the industry that gives you a chance to do everything creative. If you love writing, you can bring a change. Love music? You can compose your own jingle. There’s no dearth of opportunities. So, if you are planning to join, buckle-up for an adventurous ride. 

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
Probably at NCD level. 

Is there any agency/ organisation that you would like to work with in the future?
Right now, I need to take the team at Grapes to the next level, but working with JWT, Oglivy in the future is something that I am looking forward to.


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