Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Once Upon a ShareKhan........

The company was undergoing a re-vamp last year. Graphic Designers worked up a new avataar of their old mascot - Sheru. They simplified the old form and gave it a more polished look. And ShareKhan Ltd. found itself a new marketing identity even as they shifted base to a more centralized location - Dadar's plush Ruby Towers. This place gives you a panoramic bird's eye view of the entire Mumbai city from its pedestal on the 18th floor office. 

It is indeed commendable how a company trading in stocks and shares related itself to wildlife and "guiding people to the financial jungle" through the mere rhyme of a word - 'Share' which when pronounced in Hindi (Babbar Sher), means a Tiger.

Hemant Sonawane's Studio was commissioned to convert this simplified logo of Sheru into a large-scale 3D sculpture for the new office. All I had for reference was a high-resolution poster carrying the renovated mascot. The new design did not leave much room for conversion into 3D. It was not clear how their marketing team had visualized the blank spaces in between the lines. And they were not sure how the yellow portions in the mascot would be translated in a sculpture. But they were unanimous on "full-relief" nevertheless... no further clues beyond that.

Normally clients are not able to ascertain their requirements through mental visualization alone. The only way to confirm is by showing them actual options. We went on to create three models of Sheru.

The first one had a cherubic face with the blanks in between given relief curves. It carried an antique metal finish as desired by the design team. Outlines of the mascot were clearly carved out and its bottom lines were used as an in-built pedestal for the sculpture. 

However, his did not agree with their interior design theme which required the mascot to portray a denser appearance. A slim figure would not match with the amount of space that was allotted to it on the office premises. They realized this on observing the first model.

So it was decided to have the mascot appear as though it has been carved on a huge rock. This time, the rock effect satisfied their Architects.... but the Marketing Team had a problem with the figure. They all wanted a full-relief logo but what they saw in fiber somehow seemed not to look exactly like it does on paper. This is a common issue while translating a two-dimensional figure into 3D. Can any one of us forgive the way Hollywood studios messed up while portraying the popular cartoon character 'Garfield' on celluloid? It looked nothing like it does in the legendary illustrations. Same was the issue with Sheru.

The Marketing Team now wished the sculpture could be a replica of the drawing, for purpose of branding. As an Applied Art graduate, I knew this all along... but more often it takes a longer route for the client to "see" and be convinced of your initial suggestions. What matters, is that the end-product should be satisfactory to all. And that's what happened.

So we carved a final third model with intermediate spaces flattened, while retaining the rock structure. Everyone was happy. The team traded its fascination for "antique metal" finish and we finally readied the full-scale model for a smooth egg-white surface, as they now wanted it to be.

This is what the final sculpture looks like at site... Seems like it took some real brainstorming between the Designers and Marketers on how they wished to present ShareKhan Ltd.'s new identity. It took them over half a year to prepare the "jungle" ambiance since we delivered the sculpture to them last October.

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