If you have looked at one common factor behind multiple successful companies and startups, you can notice that one of the most important aspects they focus on is design. Not just physical design of the product, if it’s a physical product company, but also the overall design that forms the core behind all their communications, product design and company philosophy.
This week, we talk to one such individual who helps companies in getting this aspect right. This week we meet Tanja Jain, an independent artist and writer.
Give a brief intro about yourself and what you do?
I am an independent designer, artist and writer. I work with various clients to help them build brands that communicate their voice visually. To express my own voice, I use art and writing as mediums. Both my art and writer are interlinked and co-exist together. I grew up learning how to paint which eventually led me to pursue design as a career.
What made you start graphic designing and writing?
As a design graduate, I’ve always been inclined towards the different channels of communication. Whether that’s visually through graphics or writing. As someone who looks at the world in pictures and colours, graphics came naturally to me. From brainstorming ideas to finally creating a design that stands for itself, being in the graphic space has always been exhilarating to me. Writing on the other hand, is a very personal domain. When I feel like I need to de-stress or channel my creativity, I use writing as a means to express it.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before graphic designing or writing?
During college is when I realised that graphic and writing were my main interests. I’ve been a designer and writer since then. When I work with clients on projects, I learn a lot. This journey has helped me grow personally and professionally. From being challenged to eventually finding my comfort areas, I’ve realised that the design space is where I’ve always wanted to be. While the graphic work I do is for clients, writing is what I do for myself, from short stories to fictional pieces.
Who do you consider are your competitors and how are you better than them?
Design and writing both are huge spaces. There are thousands of designers and writers out there. What I’ve learnt is that every creative I come across, I analyse their work to learn a skill I don’t already possess. I wouldn’t consider it to be a competition because honestly there is a lot of work out there and not enough creatives. There is plenty of work to go around.
How hard is it to have a work-life balance and how do you manage it?
I believe that I’m still learning how to balance the two. Initially in my career, I didn’t have boundaries and I would work at odd hours to please my clients. I learnt it the hard way that everyone needs to clock out at some point to be able to live peacefully. Having the stress of work will only result in burnout and that’s not worth it. Once I’m home, the work stops and I get to enjoy my downtime.
What gets you excited about your work?
The beginning is always exciting. Whether it’s a new project or a new story I’m writing. There are so many ideas to explore that the initial phase is just as challenging as exciting. This is why I enjoy working on different projects every now and then, the newness and change keep me going.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
The biggest misconception people have is that because I’m an independent designer, I should keep my rates low and work round the clock. The reality is that I am still doing the same amount of work and putting in the same hours, whether I work alone or with twenty people, it shouldn’t matter.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
My morning routine is all about staying calm and relaxed before the work day begins. I wake up, spend some time reading and prepare my to-do lists. The next 8 hours are spent at work. Each day at work is different depending on the project I’m working on, it is the key to staying excited and active at all times. Once the work day is over, I come home, spend quality time with family and watch something light before falling asleep.