Many things have changed after I left commercial work and started my career as a teacher, when I was inspired by Prof. Kirti Trivedi towards teaching Graphic Design and referred me to Department of Design, IIT Guwahati, Assam, India with aim to focus towards teaching design in India addressing Indian context and its communication needs. I have yet to learn a lot and I am finding my perspectives towards the discipline changing drastically after graduating from IDC, IIT Bombay.
I see my future as a graphic design educator adhering to the manifesto, "First things First" originally written in 1964 by British graphic Designer Ken Garland, which I still believe is a fresh call to arm graphic designers to use their talents for more useful and lasting form of communications, and primarily for me, in the Indian context.
"In common with an increasing number of the general public, we have reached a saturation point at which the high pitched scream of consumer selling is no more than sheer noise. We think that there are other things more worth of using our skill and experience on. There are signs for streets and buildings, books and periodicals, catalogues and instruction manuals... and all the other media through which we promote our trade, our education, our culture and our greater awareness of the world" (First things First, Ken Garland 1964)
[a recent work]
Every name has its own inherent strength to express itself. With this, strength the name tries to encapsulate its meaning and picture in the viewer's mind. It often happens that we know someone by his name, but actually have never met him. Unless, we meet him in-person, we keep on trying to visualize/guess his personality, which sometimes meets our expectations or leaves us surprised. This is quite applicable to anything, be it, a place, person or a thing. One normally encounters oneself with similar situations when he/she visits restaurants and is greeted with a Menu card. It seemed necessary to investigate, when the names on the Menu cards in Indian restaurants were found to be handicapped in expressing themselves, emitting a scent "alien" from their true form. The idea is of envisaging a device, which will provide an interactive preview of the food and inform the diner about a country's cuisine and culture.
above: opening page of the presentation
Cultural Journeys talks about diversity of the culinary art that exists across the various states in India & the traditional way of serving food in a thali - a metal plate or banana leaf in which lunch or dinner is served in India.
Manacles of Language begins with an analogy to explain how difficult it is to visualize a delicacy in a restaurant before it is ordered. An information graphic complements the thought.
Delayed Reality explains the current scenario about the linear process of ordering food in an Indian restaurant. The illustration analyses the gap that exists between, anticipation of the food by the diner and the final reality.
Information Flowering introduces the envisaged idea of a device, which can provide an interactive preview of a 'thali'. It mentions about creating interesting associations, and accentuating dishes or delicacies beyond the gamut of Menu cards.
Fragrance for the future, talks about the application of idea in various contexts, without missing to mention the balance of the two scents (traditions and technology), considered as the most important to create a fragrance in the near future.
Detailed text about the JPGs with headings
Visual Appetite: 'Cultural journeys'
'Manacles of Language'
As per Indian tradition one should not waste food and should eat a complete meal without any leftovers. In an interactive mode the diner will be able to predetermine the amount of food (which is likely to be variable in various restaurants), taking into consideration his likes and dislikes, primarily for natives, who are familiar with the menu. An interactive preview would also serve as a true representation for a traveller, who is unaware of the Indian cuisine and its delicacies.
Design of such an experience could do justice to the unspoken information, hidden inside a country's cuisine, which either would have gone unnoticed. The homogenous nature of the concept does not limit it to just restaurants, but can be compared to the cuisines of other countries, who are rich in their cultures.
The theme can be adopted in various contexts; where people from different cultures come together or where choices are to be made, e.g. (interactive food service in an airplane, where minimum interaction is possible due to constraints of space, or dining desks of restaurants in relation to the tourism industries, where a meal could create an experience to be carried back).
All this may not sound untrue with the upcoming flexible polymer film based LCD screens, which are paper-thin. Ideas may branch out commercially to find their place in tourism industry or service industry, but the main aim is to strike a balance between both, to find solutions without killing the legacies of the past (our traditions) and the coming future (technology).
The picture towards the right (please refer the picture above) is the newer version of a thali, I accidentally came across at a restaurant in Assam, affected by the winds of commercialization. Before the traditional scents get lost under the perfumes of modernization, we need to nurture these invisible scents, revisit them, in order to preserve their aesthetic sense and beauty. Efforts should be made towards, involving audiences in an inviting experience, while eating a 'thali' in India, by maturing ourselves to get sensitive to these traditional scents. We should take care that these traditions don't fade off under the strong scents of growing technology, but move towards, creating a balance of both. They could be thought of as the most important factors in creating a fragrance for the future.
Mandar S. Rane
Assistant Professor ~ Communication Design
Department of Design
Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati
North Guwahati -781039