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‘Graphic design and marketing must go hand in hand’

ASU School of Design and Visual Arts alumna Kaanchan Salunke says it’s important to keep oneself up do date in a creative and marketing field

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With a keen interest in graphic designing, Kaanchan Salunke, an alumna of School of Design and Visual Arts, Apeejay Stya University,  had started freelancing while she was in her second year of college. “That was the time I started getting to know how the job market works and how ad agencies function.” By the time she was in her fourth year, she did her internship with McCann, a global advertising agency network. After graduating from Apeejay in 2016, Kaanchan has explored several fields – starting from creative to marketing to public relations (PR). She was an entrepreneur, a social media marketing professional as well as a social media influencer and has collaborated with more than 100 brands in her professional journey. Currently, she is working as an Account Executive with 80dB, a Gurgaon based PR firm. In a wide-ranging interview, she recounts her impressive professional journey. Edited excerpts: 

Share with us your internship experience?

Interning with McCann was a very good learning experience for me. I was in the creative department and I was dealing with clients such as Mamagoto, IFCO, among others. I received a lot of exposure and I came to know how an advertising agency actually functions. By the time I completed my internship with them, I had decided that marketing is the field that I want to explore next. 

You have also worked as an entrepreneur. Please throw some light on that.

Before I jumped on the social media marketing bandwagon, I along with one of my Apeejay friends decided to start a startup in 2017. We got good clients like Punjab Grill and Naukri.com and getting these clients in the initial phase was a great deal. However, we did not have much space to expand and it was just the two of us and so, we decided to quit the entrepreneurial journey. Moreover, it was important to build on the knowledge. 

How did you start your journey as a social media marketer and influencer? 

Subsequently, I got into social media marketing. At that time, social media was experiencing a boom and people were keen to explore this new field. So, I got an opportunity with a hospitality firm and there I was handling two big restaurants. Even though I was there for a brief period, I had a very good learning experience. By that time, I had started taking up my own project-based work for different agencies. I understood social media and graphic design were my two fortes. After this I also started exploring influencing marketing. I became an influencer and collaborated with more than 100 brands which includes Nykaa, The Body Shop, Bath & Body Works, to name a few in addition to small Indian homegrown brands. I got a vast amount of exposure while working in marketing aspects with various clients. Finally, I wanted to explore the PR world and that’s how I got into my current job with 80dB Communications, a Gurgaon-based PR firm. 

Why did you decide to go for a graphic design course? 

Ever since my school days I was very creative and I loved working on design projects and making different visuals using materials present at home as well as presentations. My parents figured this out. Initially, I was applying for a law course and I had cracked the exam as well. But I wanted to unleash and explore my creativity side. I started filling up the forms and finally, got Apeejay. 

How has Apeejay helped you in your creative journey?

Apeejay gave me that space to learn and helped me grow in this field. With its industry-focused course and the fundamentals taught are something that not just equip students with the desired knowledge of the domain but also make them fully capable of applying that knowledge in a real-world setting. Moreover, I had such supportive teachers at Apeejay who helped me in every step. Each of my doubts had an answer and it’s because of the faculty who made it so easy. 

You have worked in both graphic design and marketing, what are the key points to remember in both fields?

For graphic design, no doubt creativity plays an important role. You are required to think out of the box. It’s something where you have to put all your skills that you have learnt in your initial days of design course. When I look back, when I was doing my foundation course at Apeejay Institute of Design, all the fundamentals taught then made a huge difference when I got into the actual business world. I realised how these fundamentals are used practically. You have to keep yourself updated to make your design stand out.

Whereas, talking about marketing, I think it’s all about relations that you make with your clients – how you are helping your clients grow and how you are able to sustain yourself in the market and these are a few things that I have learnt in both the fields.  

Is it important for graphic design and marketing to go hand in hand?

Of course. I know a couple of people who are very good with graphic design but do not think from a marketing point of view. But I think being a graphic designer and also doing marketing is something that should go hand-in-hand because if you have to sell your design you have to think of a marketing strategy as well.  

Tips for aspiring designers?

  • Never give up 
  • There is no substitute for hardwork
  • Be focused

Harshita is Assistant Editor at Apeejay newsroom. With experience in both the Media and Public Relations (PR) world, she has worked with Careers360, India Today and Value360 Communications. A learner by nature, she is a foodie, traveller and believes in having a healthy work-life balance.

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