Exit Design, Karn Malhotra on Branding and Design Communication


Exit Design specializes in corporate brand design and development of a communications strategy. We at Yourstory.in got in touch with Karn Malhotra – a man with multiple designations; Business and Creative Head for Exit Design, working on an e-commerce venture for affordable art called Art Town as well as a soft-skills training venture for rural colleges called Career Yoga! Excerpts about Exit Design:Tell us about Exit Design.

Exit Design came into being in early 2004. We’re basically a Branding and Communication design company but you’ll find a wide range of collateral on our website website.

What are the services you provide?We specialize in corporate brand design and development of a communications strategy. The touchpoints for the same could be print, spatial or digital media. From understanding what the client exactly wants to materializing the intended motive, we help in every intermediate step.

Tell us about the accolades that you and Exit Design have amassed.

We’ve had our work published in a coffee table book by Taschen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taschen). On a personal note, I’ve spoken about ‘The need for partnership in design education’ at TEDx Goa. I’ve been shortlisted for the Young Creative Entrepreneur Award by the British Council and appeared on the cover of India Today as a creative entrepreneur to watch.

So how did you come up with this idea and what is your background like?

I was freelancing for a year and a half through the final year of college and after graduating (which I almost didn’t because of doing more work outside college than in it!). A close friend of mine had just finished his masters in the U.K. and was looking to come back to Bangalore, so since I’d been working on my own for a while – seemed like a ‘next step’ to just start a design studio together! I would do business and marketing and he would handle design. We just acted on instinct – the best thing you can do.

[A sample wallpaper from ED's free download section]

What were the challenges you face in the line of branding and designs?

Today the challenge is for people to see and understand the value you create – you the person – creates. If they aren’t convinced – their options include going online and getting a website for Rs.500/- and a logo for $100. How do you convince them that they need you?

Personally, I don’t think you can affect anyone elses’ space. People make choices based on where they see maximum value for themselves. On my end, I try and keep the value creation consistent. If you’ve created enough value over a sustained period for the client, even when you slip up, they’ll back you up. But if the slips start becoming consistent, there’s no vlaue anymore, and the client moves on.

How big is your team? Are you looking at hiring?

We’ve been operational since 2004. Including freelancers, the team strength is well over 30. We’re looking at hiring a fresh graduate or an experienced senior designer for our inhouse team presently.

What are the other players in this field whose work you admire?

There is enough space in the market for quite a few others. Some of the ones whose work I like are Kena Design and 1st December studios.

How do you plan to take it from here on in?

I think opportunities will present themselves if you’re open to changing how you function; only because technology is affecting the way we work every 6 months or so. My focus today isn’t about having 12 or 20 or 200 designers in-house; I’d rather work with 3 or 4 and amongst us we understand the ‘value’ we’re meant to create in all our interactions with different clients. Some’ve the ‘biggest’ agencies globally, by way of billing, are just 2 or 3 people in-house, with the majority of their work happening through collaboration.

More about Exit Design here and do drop in any questions you have for Karn in the comments below.


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