Nitin Srivastava: Blending pride with design

NEW DELHI: “I live the clichéd life of an art director,” says Nitin Srivastava, creative director (art) with Ogilvy’s Delhi office. By which he means that he hangs out at art galleries, museums and bookshops; places where the lines between work and pleasure tend to blur. But for Mr Srivastava, the work-life balance and boundaries have not been all that well defined.

Even his Cannes Lion nomination was not for advertising per se but a piece of work that affected his life and the lives of many of his colleagues. He designed Ogilvy’s Delhi office with Soho architecture and walls that are essentially showcases for quotes by people about advertising and life in general. “The entire space came alive with the smart use of typography,” Mr Srivastava recalls. Besides winning a finalist certificate for environmental design at the Cannes Lions, the Ogilvy office was also featured in Communication Arts Design, and probably played some part in Mr Srivastava being hired to design the new office for Brand David in Delhi.

Of course, he has scored many more wins for slightly more mainstream work — a calendar for India Post that got showcased in the D&AD, The One Show and Clio this year. His packaging design work for Fuel Vodka is also another of his favourites, and got featured in Communications Arts Design and One Show Design.

A silver medallist from the Delhi College of Art, Mr Srivastava’s career has been defined by his abiding love for design. While the discipline had few takers in the Indian marketing communications space, he feels things have changed over time: “People are beginning to understand that good design is good business and that it can give a brand competitive advantage.” This is evinced in his latest campaign for Blender’s Pride which he considers among his best work.

“The Blenders Pride campaign captured the brand promise of ‘taste that speaks for itself’ using evocative images, each with a story and sub-text that speaks volumes,” he says. However, the most challenging work for him so far was on Afghan Telecom, a project for the government of Afghanistan, where he got to travel to Kabul and capture the life of people there. “From that project, I learnt that human emotions are very universal,” says Mr Srivastava.

He believes part of his brief in advertising is to “make the world a more beautiful and stylish place to live in.” He started his career at TBWA, moving to Contract for seven years and has been with Ogilvy ever since. “Ogilvy has given me a platform to grow and explore new avenues in advertising and design,” he says. Among his professional inspirations is Fabien Baron, noted French art director whose credits include ads for Calvin Klein and Madonna’s controversial book, Sex.

His heroes closer home include Piyush Pandey — Mr Srivastava confesses to being “an unabashed fan” and a senior colleague at JWT and Contract — Syeda Imam (formerly executive


director of JWT Central Asia and Contract India) for whom he designed a book — Making of Advertising. “He is a person who will quietly surprise you with his originality and meticulousness,” says Imam who considers Mr Srivastava a “great artist who has gone beyond commercial art.”