Meet the communication designer who is pushing boundaries of creativity with AR/VR
Creative souls often choose paths less trodden. Their unconventional approach to life defines them and their work. No one knows this better than Prateek Sethi — Producer, Designer, Entrepreneur, and TEDx speaker based in Mumbai.
Best known for his stint on the popular TV show FAQ on Pogo channel, Prateek has since carved a niche for himself in the sphere of Creative Communication Design. He started his design firmin 2009, and hasn’t looked back since.
“I was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer when I was a teenager, which was a really difficult phase of life. It taught me to enjoy and be thankful for every moment I am alive,” Prateek tells YS Weekender.
Excerpts from an edited interview:
YS Weekender (YSW): Why did you decide to pursue a career in creative communication?
Prateek Sethi (PS): It was either this or designing internal combustion engines! Ever since I could get my opposable thumb to follow my brain’s lead, I loved to draw.
I grew up watching cartoons on broadcast and VHS recordings, which really spurred my imagination. I actually wanted to improve the quality of content on offer then and my grandfather, with the blessings of my parents, encouraged me to pursue animation.
I completed my graduation in Visual Communication Design with a specialisation in Animation Film Design from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad in 2005, and since then life has been really hectic.
From creating new live-action and animated characters to exploring the multimedia mix; from channel branding to graphic music videos, graffiti, films AR, VR and as talent on and off-screen; life has been a whirlwind of new ideas and pure madness. I’m also a core team member of the Animators Guild of India, and I’ve completed an Executive Education Program in Strategic Digital Marketing from Judge Business School at Cambridge University.
YSW: What was your vision for your design company, Trip Creative Services?
PS: Trip Creative Services was started in 2009. Our motto is to provide the best possible services to our patrons. We strongly believe our work speaks for itself. Most often, our clients become our friends and brand custodians.
Our multi-award-winning visual design team has worked on some of the biggest names across industries while maintaining a nimble and agile approach to the entire creative process. Over the years, we have successfully completed over 680 projects, won 16 awards, and had over 30 nominations.
YSW: Please tell us about some of your recent and popular projects.
PS: We recently designed the world’s only 3D wheel of life known colloquially as the Bhavachakra. We painstakingly built this over a year. The Bhāvacakra is a symbolic representation of Saṃsāra, known as the cycle of life and death, in Buddhism. One usually sees it adorning the walls of monasteries. We brought it to life and converted it to an NFT.
Additionally, we have done creative communication work for eleven of Skoda’s newest cars. Recently, we designed the virtual event content - shoots, presentations, films, images, AR, VR, and supporting 3D content – for the new ŠKODA SLAVIA World Static Premiere.
As part of this launch, we created an AR filter, a VR interactive car preview, and the website for the upcoming sedan. Our social media filters pushed the boundaries of how creative one can be on platforms like Instagram and Facebook. It was not easy since we had to work with low file size and very limited interactivity.
Other work in the technology space includes projects for the FB4FANS mega AR Concert which took place across Thailand, Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia.
I’d like to also mention our ongoing YouTube series the ‘Folktales of India’. It showcases the rich variety of folktales and lore from the Indian subcontinent, depicted as animation in art styles specific to that region.
YSW: In a highly competitive industry, what have been the biggest challenges you have faced?
PS: Speaking purely in terms of my business operations, once people see our body of work, they form this impression that they may have to shell out a lot of money for our services. They don’t realise that we are actually extremely competitively priced considering the experience we provide, and our tremendous professionalism.
We are committed to our deadlines and to delivering the best possible value for money.
YSW: How have you redefined your work to fit post-pandemic needs?
PS: As we provide 360-degree design services and our products are made in-house, the pandemic did not deter us. In the first half of 2020, team Trip directed, designed the content, and produced the first-ever virtual conference in the history of ŠKODA Auto India.
The live event launched three cars - the Karoq, Superb FL, and Rapid TSI with a new range of TSI engine technology. We pulled this off while working from home. There were key personnel shoots in the Czech Republic while we were stuck in lockdown in different parts of India.
Even after lockdown opened, we have been doing our physical shoots while following strict COVID-19 protocols as per the latest government directives. We have a strong foundation in communication design and have a proven track record both pre and post-pandemic.
Interestingly, the new normal led to an increase in demand for creative content in animation, AR, VR, virtual conferences, digital and web design services.
In fact, I believe that Augmented Reality is ready to take the world of communication design by storm. With further improvements in software, hardware, cost sensitivity and accessibility, it is only a matter of time before AI, AR, VR, and more intense hyper-reality interactions become a part of everyone’s daily life.
We’re in for some exciting times!