The beginning of design in my life.
I've been interested in design and communication for as long as I remember.
Recurring tile patterns on floors would keep me mesmerised for hours, "Where does the pattern begin and end?"The fact that you could recognise printed communication as being from a certain company, without seeing the name, was fascinating to my teenage mind. Lettering, the analysis of how different companies treated typography; How they wrote their name; How I wrote my own name; filled my head and my notebooks.
My doodling and scribbling also filled my textbooks and adorned my desks – much to the annoyance of my teachers. One particular math teacher, at Woodstock School, Mr. Sinclair, refused to issue me a school-owned textbook, and wrote a letter to my parents complaining about my incessant doodling. He added, in some bafflement, that I was even doodling in other people's textbooks! We lived in Guyana at the time, and my father had to order the text from London. He wasn't pleased.
I also spent a lot of time thinking about human behaviour. Why do people do the things they do? Why do they say the things they do? What motivates them? What would they do/say if this happened? If that happened? I realised that there are no good and bad people in the world, there are just people responding to their situations. There are good and bad times in people’s lives, and we all react to those times in different ways, but in the best way that we can.
Alan Pease’s book, Body Language, absolutely fascinated me and I devoured it in one sitting. Then I read it again. And again. My dog-eared and tattered copy still lives on my bookshelf, and I refer to it often.
I wrote a lot. Prose, poetry, philosophy. It probably pissed the crap out of my girlfriends, but I'd write them pages and pages of philosophical nonsense. They were too sweet to complain. I read constantly. Everything from Stephan King to Shakespeare, Kurt Vonnegut to Karl Marx, I read everything. And music. Oh the music! Jazz, rock, reggae, disco, classical, country. Maybe not country. Some country. I still have eclectic taste in music.
I didn't realize it at the time, but I was laying the building blocks for my career choices. Graphic design has been described as 'art with a goal'. And it is that. It is the ability to use both sides of your brain (the creative and the logical) to solve complex business and communication problems. It is about finding connections and relationships between several seemingly disparate concepts, then applying those connections to a visual communication strategy.
My favourite subjects in school were mathematics and physics. I had, in my father's words, "...an engineering bend of mind", and went on to study Computer Science in New York. A couple of years after returning to India, I told him I wanted to open a design and communications studio. He looked at me as if I had a hole in my head and said, "Why have we spent all this money on a Computer Science degree? You could have just as easily have studied design!"
Hindsight, of course, is 20-20. When you look back, it is easy to connect the dots. I've doodled my way through life and have enrolled in art courses all through school and college. When I meet old friends and talk about what I do for work, they almost always say, "I knew you'd do something creative."
So in 1998 I opened TSA Effects.