Like many young university students, Shrenik Ganatra found himself in a degree program that really wasn’t his passion. He was an undergraduate student studying Information Technology in Mumbai, India but his “heart wasn’t in it”. He explains: “I definitely wasn’t into the program and constantly thought to myself ‘what am I doing with my life?’”
During this time, he often reverted to his childhood love of drawing and design. After graduating in 2013, he took a couple of years off. He began working on his design skills by undertaking several personal and freelance projects. Shrenik then applied to, and was accepted into, the Graphic Design (MFA) program at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, United States.
He talks with us because, from the outset, Shrenik’s career journey with graphic design has been a partnership with Adobe.
Adobe: How did you get started in graphic design?
Shrenik: As a kid, I absolutely loved trains. My grandfather would take me to the railway station, we would just sit and observe the trains and then I’d draw them pretty much everywhere. Also, one of my childhood friends was a great comic book artist. He’d draw amazing renditions of “The Mask” and “Spider-Man” comics. I’d regularly borrow his sketch books and try to replicate the sketches.
This is where it all began.
My early love of drawing has transformed into the passion I have for graphic design today. My confidence grew when a collaborative project titled “HUES”, which I developed with my French friend Émilie Rol, was acknowledged in the 2013 Adobe Design Achievement Awards. Also, before going to MICA, I designed a typeface called ADAM.CG Pro. It’s named after Adam Gilchrist, my favourite cricketer of all time. And it took off. It still feels unreal that it’s so well received around the world.
.Snapshots from HUES. Check the entire project here
Adobe: When did Adobe feature in your career?
Shrenik: I have been using Adobe software for several years, Adobe’s Bēhance being the most recent of all. Adobe India looked at my work on Bēhance and invited me to give a talk about it at a conference in Bentota, Sri Lanka in June last year. This conference kick-started my direct connection with the Adobe team: with the people who are Adobe. This has developed and grown. As a student, it’s been a real honour for me to have a fantastic relationship with the people at Adobe.
Adobe: Later Adobe also invited you to Adobe MAX in San Diego; how was that?
Shrenik: Max is a career highlight! It was great for sharing ideas with an eclectic mix of creatives primarily from the Asia-Pacific region and forming connections with them. It was a rare opportunity to have one-on-one discussions and share a few beers with the CEOs, senior executives, and people from the design industry. I was also interviewed about my work the following week which was pretty cool.
At MAX, Adobe demonstrated the importance of building and maintaining relationships with its end-users and especially with students like me. At heart, I’m attracted to the process; I want to know more about it. How an idea transforms into reality is what I’m interested in. Adobe’s student pages help here. They provide insight into the creative process of different designers. Plus, they’re a good discussion forum. Events like MAX help expose the innovative frontline of the profession; for students, that’s super-helpful.
Adobe: Which Adobe product is your favourite?
Shrenik: I use a range of them for the different kind of work I do. Obviously, I use Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign for my core design work. Additionally, I use Premiere Pro, After Effects and Audition for my audio-visual projects. I’m a huge fan of Adobe’s Bēhance; it’s where I showcase my work. I really don’t have a website – Bēhance does that for me. It’s been perfect for publishing and publicising my work. It also provides a place where I can back up my work. It’s easy to use and, really, it just works. I get about 800 or so views a day. That’s not bad.
Adobe: So where next for Shrenik’s design?
Shrenik: I’m graduating in May this year. Although I’m fairly open-minded, my short-term goal is to live and work in New York City. Coming from a massive city like Mumbai, I’m used to urban chaos and thrive in it. I’d also love to spend some time in Australia.My long-term goal, however, is to return to Mumbai, establish my own design practice while moonlighting in a rock band. My graduate thesis is based on the idea of combining my passions for both rock music and design.
Typography remains close to my heart; I want to specialize in typography and typeface design.
Snapshot from State of the Union/Pretender. Check out the entire project here
While typefaces have been around since printing was invented, people still seek the new and the different; they are always looking for typefaces. Some of them have short shelf lives, coming and going like fashion. Others last and become classics. To me, it remains an exciting space for design.
Check out Shrenik’s work on Behance here https://www.behance.net/Shrenik18