Creative Leaders Corner: Arnab Ray – Landor & Fitch India

A quiet little corner of the internet where creative leaders from across the region share their thoughts, their stories, and their insights from the creative design world.

Welcome to Creative Leaders Corner, pull up a seat for some insights from creative world leaders talking about their own creative journeys, and how they lead others on theirs.

This time we talk with Arnab Ray, Executive Creative Director at Landor & Fitch India.

In this series, we will explore what creative leaders miss most about only being a “creative”, the rewards of leading a creative team, working with clients,, the changing landscape of the creative industry, and more.


 

What do you miss about being a creative without the leadership role, and what do you enjoy most about creative leadership?

As a creative, there are moments when I miss the hands-on aspect of being a doer. There was a certain thrill in diving into the work myself and seeing my ideas come to life. However, what I enjoy most about creative leadership is the opportunity to be an enabler.

Working with talented individuals and guiding them through the creative process is truly rewarding. Together, we create work that is worth the sweat and time invested, and that collaborative aspect gives me great satisfaction. And when I see them and their work succeed, it gives me joy.

“Growing up, my father, who was an architect by profession but a graphic artist by hobby, introduced me to the world of logos and graphic forms. His sketches and collection of logos from around the world sparked my interest.”

Was there a particular piece of design work that inspired you to focus your creative talents in the design/creative world?

I have always been captivated by logos and their ability to convey meaningful narratives in the simplest form. Growing up, my father, who was an architect by profession but a graphic artist by hobby, introduced me to the world of logos and graphic forms.


 

His sketches and collection of logos from around the world sparked my interest. While it may sound cliché, the FedEx logo and the SBI logo were particularly inspiring to me. These designs made me want to dive deeper into the world of branding and pursue a career in design.

How do you persuade clients to take creative risks?

Show them. Words will not suffice. Creative risks demand more than promises; they require tangible evidence. Demonstrating the implications and benefits of embracing innovation creates distinctiveness and memorability, ultimately translating into positive ROI – the icing on the cake.

A prime example is Apraava, formerly CLP India, an energy company transcending coal and reimagining energy dynamics. Amidst a sea of inertia, Apraava embarked on a transformation journey.

Utilizing data visualization, we turned the very essence of ‘energy’ into a dynamic visual language. It uses a generative identity system, a first for an Indian corporate brand. An online algorithm that blends real time weather and energy data to create stunning visual patterns, day and night. If energy keeps moving, why shouldn’t the brand? Employees use the technology to customise swag items post launch – every employee gets their own Energy Signature.



The result was a revival of stakeholder passion and commitment, driving the shift towards cleaner, sustainable energy solutions. Clients like Apraava, who embrace transformative visions, exemplify the potency of action-backed creativity. By grounding innovation in demonstrable outcomes, we help reshape industries, leaving a trail of lasting impact and meaningful change.

To achieve this, meticulous research was crucial. We navigated through the branding landscape of both local and global energy players, seeking a shared pain point – inertia. Energy sector branding predominantly remained stagnant and generic. Here, credit is due to our team at Apraava, who entrusted us to forge a distinct expression that truly captures the essence of energy: dynamic and perpetually in motion, embodying its innate vigour – energy in action.

What are your strategies for inspiring and motivating your creative team to push boundaries and challenge the status quo?

I believe that inspiration can be found in all aspects of life, so it’s important to encourage our team to live their lives to the fullest. At L&F, we encourage them to explore various sources of inspiration beyond the obvious, such as travel, movies, exhibitions, cooking, observing, and listening. It’s about going beyond just browsing websites.

Additionally, we bring in brilliant minds from different fields to speak and showcase their work, as their journeys can inspire and fuel our team’s creativity. Creating a supportive environment that allows for balance and “creative gaps” is also crucial in making their minds fresh and more fertile. This approach helps us inspire and motivate our team to push boundaries and challenge the status quo.

What is your take on Generative AI and its impact on the creative industry? How is your team using it?

Generative AI is a fantastic tool that allows for experimentation and brings imagination to life quickly. Our team is extensively using the Mid Journey tool across different disciplines to bring their ideas to various clients. It has been incredibly helpful in pushing the boundaries and fostering a bolder ambition for our projects. Generative AI opens up new possibilities for creativity and empowers us to explore and create in ways we hadn’t previously imagined.

“Our team is extensively using the Mid Journey tool across different disciplines to bring their ideas to various clients. It has been incredibly helpful in pushing the boundaries and fostering a bolder ambition for our projects.”

What advice do you have for young creatives navigating their way into the creative world for the first time?

 My advice would be to stay hungry, stay open and stay humble. Stay hungry for new opportunities, continually seek ways to upskill, strive for excellence, and pursue a wide range of experiences. Stay open to ideas, be willing to experiment and embrace failure as a learning opportunity.

Also, be open to connecting with different people and learning from their perspectives.

Lastly, while pursuing your creative journey, stay humble in your achievements, wins, demeanour, and in accepting feedback. It’s through this mentality of continuous growth and humility that you can make a lasting impact in the creative industry.

What is some design/creative work you’ve done during your career that you are most proud of?

There are quite a few projects that are special and close to my heart as each one of them taught me something new and my teams and I were able to make a positive outcome on the projects. If I have to be really picky then I would name these –

HCL Coffee Table book: ‘Relationship beyond the contract’ project – ITSA Brand Innovations

The metamorphosis went beyond standard agreements, enabling people to transcend anticipated outcomes. This holistic project reverberated within B2B circles while enriching the employee culture, encapsulating our satisfaction.

Cure.fit – Happy mcgarrybowen

My inaugural major project at Happy was sculpting the Cure.fit brand from scratch, in direct collaboration with the visionary Mukesh Bansal. Our strategy meticulously embedded wellness into everyday lives, embracing a holistic and inclusive approach, culminating in the embodiment of an everyday athlete.

Full’r – Landor & Fitch

Embarking on a delightful journey with the Full’r burger brand from Sri Lanka, we boldly defied convention and the cookie-cutter burger approach adopted by larger chains. We embraced the essence of burger enjoyment – unfiltered joy, messiness, and unadulterated delight. Our spirited approach rendered it memorable, etching it as a celebrated milestone

Apraava – Landor & Fitch

Exemplifying audacious client trust, Apraava granted us creative liberty to seamlessly marry relevance and distinctiveness. The outcome was an unprecedented brand expression for an energy enterprise.

This endeavor catalyzed the expansion of our creative horizons, utilizing tech and data to redefine differentiation within the sector.

DTDC and Camel / Camlin – Landor & Fitch

Both these projects can be mentioned in one breath as the nature of the projects were similar and both are special. Breathing new life into legacy brands demanded a fusion of established equity with renewed vigor and purpose. These parallel journeys exemplified the art of strategic brand rejuvenation.


Quick Hits:

Book everyone in the industry should read: I’m not an avid reader honestly and hence not in a place to recommend something to others – much more of an audio visual kind of person and would recommend Abstract – Art of design on Netflix to folks in our industry for multiple sources of creative stimuli.

Favorite show you’re watching lately: Love, Death and Robots – a collection of animated shorts, mind-blowing – sometimes bizarre scripts, super snackable and fresh!

Something you want to learn or wish you were better at: Singing :p

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