September 19, 2014

Blued wins Black at Kyoorius Design Awards

BLUED Book won the Black Elephant in Kyoorius Design Awards 2014, on the 13th of September, concluding Designyatra 2014. The Blue Elephant nominees and In-book winners can be seen here.

The blue tarpaulin or ‘Taad Patri’ as we call it colloquially, has become a normal part of our urban landscape, used for multiple purposes – from roofs, tents and car covers to rain shades covering the outside of buildings or shops. Especially in the peak months of monsoons, we see this bizarre blue sheet spread over a vast majority of the cities, in the same manner as Michael Johnson described in his article; a phenomenon that is very ‘Indian’. BLUED Book, a self-initiated and published book by Bombay Duck Designs, captures these versatile usages of Taad Patri. “For me it was not just about the material but also how people use it in the most creative ways to solve day-to-day problems. There’s a connection between that and the role I play as a designer – ‘solving problems’”, says Sameer Kulavoor, the founder of Bombay Duck Designs and an Indian illustrator and visual artist.

Blued Book by Bombay Ducks (1)

Blued Book by Bombay Ducks (2)

One of the first stages for Sameer was to research and document as many different situations in which tarpaulin has been used. The second challenge, which was the more sensitive issue, was to showcase the BLUED phenomenon without poking fun or looking down on anyone. The design of the book had to be such that it did not conflict with the content in any manner. Being self-funded, the project was driven by passion and self-motivation, giving the creators of the book the opportunity to step out of the regularity of running a design studio and do something purely for the satisfaction of seeing the end result.

The book uses very minimal, expressive illustrations, which only indicate as much as is enough to reveal the meaning of each visual, leaving large white spaces and gaps for the mind to fill instinctively. The judges of the Kyoorius Design Awards 2014 collectively felt that the book represented a very strong Indian voice. Sameer expresses that he finds ‘Indian’ design debatable because of the multiple things ‘Indian-ness’ can mean. The country we live in is a melting pot of regional or international cultures, so it’s hard to pin down on one particular style called Indian design. Instead, he says, “When I create something, it naturally reflects my surroundings and my country. I do not believe in consciously making ‘Indian’ art and design. I think that is very superficial. I believe in art and design that is true and honest.”

Blued Book by Bombay Ducks (3)

Blued Book by Bombay Ducks (4)

When asked what it felt like to win the Black Elephant, Sameer responded, “It is a great feeling to be recognised as best in show especially because BLUED book is an independent self-published project and the format of the book is unique. It is a huge encouragement not only for us at Bombay Duck Designs but also to all those designers in India who are working on self-initiated projects and original ideas.” BLUED Book encourages alternative publishers and book designers to come together and create their own independent publications, be it by contributing, funding, helping with research or with production. It brings out the simple realities of India, which most people can understand and relate with – insiders and outsider alike – without compromising on the graphic sensibilities of the designer.

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