With a name like that this company is sure to attract everyone’s attention and has achieved that no doubt! SHAKTHI MANICKAVASAGAM
With the rapidly growing Indian economy comes the need for intelligent, client-oriented advertising and design firms, which can optimise an organisation’s marketing potential: enter Whoa Mama Design (WMD). The Chennai-based company, run by 24-year-olds Shaun D’sa and Anek Ahuja, together with Nishant Philip John in Bangalore, is striving to change the face of design in India. “We provide design solutions to problems our clients might have, and sometimes, solutions to problems they don’t know that they have,” says Anek. “At the end of the day, we really do believe that great, efficient design can change the world.”
After graduating from Loyola College with degrees in visual communication, the three classmates worked for two years in different agencies, before deciding to branch out on their own, two-and-a-half years ago. Since then, they have added three more employees to their team. While Shaun and Anek handle the art and design aspects of the firm, Nishant, who works part-time with the company, is responsible for content writing. “I step in whenever they need copywriting or ideas, particularly for brochures and websites that are content-heavy,” he says. As for the unusual name, Anek explains, “Whoa Mama is basically an expression used to denote a feeling of awe and that’s what we’re aiming at with our design work.”
They have certainly garnered a significant amount of attention in a short span of time, with numerous high-profile campaigns, including an online contest for the Singapore Tourism Board and a website for Nalli Silks. In their cozy, eclectic office, with their dog Fidget at their side, they conceptualise and create brochures, print ads and company logos. “Our focus right now is on print and web,” says Anek. “We like building the image of a company from start to finish and we try to push the client.” “We interact directly with our clients without a middle man,” adds Shaun.The results speak for themselves. The 250-page coffee table book, designed for Ashok Leyland, is the epitome of their design sensibility. Chronicling the history of the company and written by S. Muthiah, the beautifully constructed book preserves the tradition and heritage of the automotive giant, while staying true to WMD’s unique style.
Other aspiring entrepreneurs would do well to follow Anek’s advice: “You should spend a couple of years in an organisation and gain as much experience as you can. It is vital to sharpen your skills before you venture out on your own. However at some point you’ll have to get your hands into it.” He advocates the importance of learning from your mistakes and facing the inevitable challenges of a fledgling enterprise.When they aren’t busy with their design agency, the boys spend their time pursuing other creative fields. “We have a band, which plays blues music,” says Anek, who plays bass guitar. “We also have a screen printing unit for t-shirts,” states Shaun. Nishant, who plays the drums, likes to unwind by listening to music or reading a good book.
So where is Whoa Mama Design heading? “We’re trying to make a foray into TV production and commercials,” declares Anek. Nishant reveals that the company’s long-term plan is to “consolidate the business in Madras, open a branch in Bangalore” and obtain design jobs from abroad. In terms of expansion, they want to add an in-house team for 3-D graphics to their current in-house web programming team, while limiting their employees to under a dozen. Says Shaun, “We want to keep it small so that we always feel like a family.”
- Website: www.whoamamadesign.com
- Ph: 9884274781, 9884104500
Shakthi has just completed her B.Sc. Maths from Stella Maris College.
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