Design to die for – Saha’s ad makes my heart palpitate

Design to die for – Saha’s ad makes my heart palpitate

This is a design style I adore & wish I could create:

Saha's post card advert showing a busy, colourful design

Shah International Cuisine

I grabbed this postcard a few weeks ago because I needed something to job my memory about some marinades I tried at a farmer’s market.  I’ve pulled it out and looked at it repeatedly, pouring over details since tossing it in my backpack. It’s the type of graphic design I wish I could do. Oh, I’ve tried over the years, but no, it’s not something I can pull off with any success. I lack both the training and the unique creational bend.

When looking back over things I’ve created, I see a linear pattern in everything. Creating visual explosions of colours and conflicting patters takes a talent that is way out of my league. Part of me is envious of such talent. But, the other part of me takes a childlike thrill in being able to sit back and appreciation the talent.

The Saha International Cuisine postcard accomplishes the goal of conveying the companies philosophy in a small 6×4 space. The artist evokes India, natural foods, vibrant flavours & colours and a sense of adventure without falling off the cliff of clutter overload. I’m a huge fan of white space. A friend once said the simplicity of white spaces can speak louder than an over complicated design. And that has stuck in my mind for decades. With the passing of years I’ve grown to appreciate minimalism increasingly.

…. but this ad! It speaks to me in a way I can’t quite explain. I said it isn’t cluttered and I know a few people raised an eyebrow (or two). It’s busy but each item has a purpose and tied together by the large circle n the middle. It avoids the “death but clutter” design trap quite nicely.

The flip side is equally well done. The colours and fonts make the content easy to read, despite the lack of white space and overall busyness.

Saha International Cuisine's post card

Saha International Cuisine’s post card

Everything is there – clear content, how to connect, company philosophy and a personal note. I tried to do a mock up using my own business as a model to stretch my mind a bit. I tried for a pastiche but ended up with a grab bag lacking a clear mission statement.  I moved back to what I do best – minimalism. When  my new rack cards come back from the printer next week, I’ll put one up to show you what I mean. I like my new ad, don’t get me wrong. As a matter of fact, I really love the simplicity, but that doesn’t stop me from admiring the elegant design of ads like Saha.

The fellow I spoke to at the Saha booth talked about how they were proud to use a stripped-down taste – no fillers, no additives, just the flavours. And oh those flavours. Did I use the word explosion earlier? A spoonful was eye popping-ly fresh and pleasingly warm. Don’t know if the ad designer tasted the marinades & bases before creating the advert, but I’ll bet my bottom dollar they didn’t wing it without knowing about both the company philosophy and tasting everything. The post card compliments the products.

I occasionally do small jobs for customers, simple things, but I normally tell them to hire a professional designer for large, complex projects. I know my limits. Putting an ad  in a magazine or on a website? You have one chance to grab the reader’s eye before they flip the page. A good graphic designer knows how to get the reader’s attention and drive them to your product. In the end, a professional is worth every penny.

If you’re curious about the marinades and curry bases, check out Saha’s website. I still haven’t gotten around to order any, much to my embarrassment, but the flavours are embedded in my memory. They have some kick ass recipes online to explore as well so it’s worth a wander over.

 

It may be pink, but it’s an effective ad

It may be pink, but it’s an effective ad

While standing on the subway platform last week, my eye was drawn to an ad that screamed out “Look at me!”.

Ad seen on the subway platform for Links of London - "Oh Darjeeling!"

The design is simple, simple, simple! And you can’t ignore it. The pink, while terribly over done regarding targeting women, is successful in this setting.  Against the dull subway grime and grey, it’s eye popping.  The fun play on images/words – “Oh Darjeeling” and the cup of tea – plus clean graphics and colour creates a sleek and sophisticated feel.

Whoever came up with “Oh Darjeeling” had a true stroke of marketing genius.