You Will Want Khyati Trehan To Design Your Wedding Card After Seeing This
It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that Khyati Trehan has a knack for compiling visually appealing elements in a way that makes your eyes pop. All you have to do is head to the graphic artist’s Instagram profile to understand how she breathes new life into colours that you previously only considered mere hues on the shade spectrum. You come across a lavender and salmon staircase that folds into itself before stumbling upon letters of the alphabet imagined as fruits in red and turquoise, following which you see picturesque images of Berlin and a much-loved cat with a proclivity for barely concealed glares. It strikes you then that Trehan is no regular student of graphic design but a rather precocious visualiser who specialises in typographical metaphors of various scientific inventions.
Excerpts from our conversation as we delve into her early life and her cute-as-a-button design for a close friend’s wedding invite….
Discovering her penchant for design
“I was fortunate to have attended a school called Mirambika in New Delhi till the 8th grade where the environment encouraged us to flourish the way we wanted to. By exposing us equally to everything, we were left to discover what we really enjoyed and excelled at. I recall my days being dedicated to learning math, history, science and languages with a uniform focus on art, carpentry, theatre and music. I didn’t really know design even existed as a discipline until I heard about National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad through seniors from school who had been preparing for the entrance. I decided to wing it and eventually got through.”
Talk craft to me
“Design, when compared to traditional professions, is still new and misunderstood. Clients are often under the misconception that they can design too because the medium is so visual. They fail to understand that as designers, we painstakingly hone our craft and fine-tune the ability to think in a certain way after several years of education and experience. This is why selling the idea and educating the client about the thought process behind the project usually takes as much time as conceiving and executing the idea does.
Personally, there’s never been a sense of ennui with regard to my profession since I’m always amping things up. Every project demands a different response which means that I have to constantly learn about the various fields that projects belong to, and equip myself with new skills. Design has to respond to the needs of the people that will interact with it, which is why I’m inspired by thoughtful and intelligent work, that is well crafted.”
Looking up at the greats
“Stefan Sagmeister is a designer that every student of graphic design looks up to because of his unapologetic work. He is a genius who is renowned for applying design to his own life. Another inspiration is Satya Rajpurohit, an alumnus of NID, who founded the Indian Type Foundry and put our country on the map in the field of Type design. I would also like to mention Sanchit Sawaria and Prateek Upreti, the pioneers of fresh and bold Indian design who launched the interdisciplinary studio Struckby.”
“For my second classroom Project at NID, I worked on The Beauty of Scientific Diagrams, a series of letters and posters that merged initials of inventors with the diagrams that they had created. I spent more time in the company of patent drawings and scientific textbooks than I did stippling 23 out of 26 illustrative letters. I also enjoyed working on the Royal Roosters’ identity for Randeep Hooda’s polo club during my time at the branding studio Codesign. Lately, I’ve been exploring 3D modelling and rendering, and have created commissioned artworks for companies such as Asian paints and Samsung to name a few.”
A peek into Trehan’s persona
“I recently moved to Berlin to work as a communication designer at a studio called Zalando that is committed to rethinking the fashion ecosystem. I’m also simultaneously working on personal projects that involve 3D modelling and animation. At this point, I just explore the city when I’m not working. There’s way too much beauty and culture to discover here.”
Saying ‘yes’ to the card
“Wei and I used to work together at the Think Tank team for Samsung Research in San Jose and have been friends ever since. One day, I got an email from him saying that he’s getting married, asking me if I’d have the time put together something for the invite. Since we’ve worked closely, he knows my aesthetic and trusted me with my decisions. There was no way I could disagree. This wasn’t a typical design project and wasn’t bound by a tight brief so I spent a lot of time exploring possibilities and sketching ideas. Since Wei gave me the freedom to develop the idea and the direction was more or less up to me, I took the opportunity to get my hands dirty and explore a medium I hadn’t worked with before; paper-cutting.
The only brief that we collectively discussed was that the card should convey the joy of the occasion instead of merely reflecting the elegance and grandeur that invites so often do. This led me to pick the vivid colour palette that transported guests smack into the middle of the couple’s fairytale. The iteration process involved selecting one sketch from the many I’d made, gathering material, cutting paper and layering it with photographing the illustration and digitally editing it. These were scanned and sent as emailers, as well as printed for special invitees. In the end, it all turned out brilliantly but I have to admit that I was quite nervous to be doing this card since they are both from the design field themselves; Wei is an industrial designer and Lining, his fiancee, is an interaction designer.
So far, I’ve only designed wedding cards for people I personally know and care about, and I plan to keep it that way. If you were to ask me about my thoughts on my own invite, I’d have to confess that I haven’t thought that far ahead. I envision it as an emailer or a website that doesn’t waste paper and communicates what it has to succinctly through strong typography.”