Saloni Sinha: Merging Concept, Visual Styling and Experimentation

Senior Experience Designer at Frog Design, Saloni Sinha unravels the unique step-by-step approach she applies to her designing and illustrating process. Starting out with experimentation, she progresses to conceptualising and ends with visual styling to produce what she considers the effects of her designing roots.

Known for illustration, Saloni Sinha is a designer by day; illustrator by night; bassist on weekends and a full time dreamer. Her approach to design is rooted in experimentation, conceptual thinking and visual styling. Saloni’s illustration style is often inspired by exaggerated reality, nature and outer space. As Senior Experience Designer at Frog Design, her works have included visual direction, design language systems, branding and UX flows amongst others. Meanwhile, being a music lover, she often contributes her designs to the indie music scene.

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Q. Could you please elaborate on what your role as Senior Experience Designer at Frog Design involves and related projects you’ve worked on?

Saloni Sinha: My role at Frog Design varies from project to project. I’ve been lucky to find myself involved in different domains like enterprises, B2B or B2C markets. I’ve also had the opportunity to work on visual direction, design language systems, branding, UX flows and involve myself in pursuits of organisation initiatives from time to time.

Q. Which artist’s works do you look up to and what do you adopt from them in your approach?

Saloni: I get inspired by many different artists all the time. Some of my favourites over the last few years are John Jurez, MC Escher and Maria Tuiriana. John’s subjects are always out of this world. His usage of colours and minimal look are some things I try to adopt in my style as well.

Likewise, I’m always in awe of and puzzled by Escher’s genius mind. I am not sure if I’ve adopted any of his approaches but it always mesmerises me. Maria has a dark yet adorable and humorous style, which is always a delight to see. I feel quite inspired by her use of organic and traditional mediums, which is a good reminder for me to turn to transitional media as much as possible.

Q. Having worked on various projects across branding, UI/UX, typeface, posters, etc. how do you adapt to the diversity in their nature and demands?

Saloni: Having gone through the foundations of design and having the opportunity to experiment with different disciplines in my design education has helped me adapt to different domains. Yet I feel that most of the time it’s the willingness and staying curious that helps you adapt.

Q. Could you kindly elaborate on why you choose visual styling, conceptual thinking and experimentation as the roots of your work?

Saloni: l usually start with experimenting, which is sort of an open field to play around and have fun. At this stage, I’m not bothered by the end result. Once you have one or two good concepts, you can start to refine and build something intuitively. Lastly, you decide which sort of visual styling would best suit the concept. Normally, I tend to play around with colours and typography to decide a mood. I don’t believe in a fixed process; I feel you can iterate and keep an open mind.

Q. Which have been the noteworthy clients and projects you’ve worked for and could you highlight some valuable experiences you’ve had in particular?

Saloni: Some of the projects/clients which are special two me are:

  • Saptan Stories — a 7-week long collaborative arts event hosted by Aardman Animations (UK) in collaboration with British India. I was really happy to be hand-picked among 7 artists from the UK and India. Every artist had to interpret a story written by the masses. It also felt personal in some sense as I had just gone through a break-up and each line coming in felt like what I had experienced, though with a mix of fantasy in it.
  • Tailor & Circus — I had the opportunity to create a set of design prints for their underwear collection and also to design a sustainable packaging hamper. They’ve been very inclusive about their audience. They are bold in their approach and sustainable, so I feel proud to be associated with their work. I thus got to see my illustration in a different medium, which is always exciting.
  • Album Cover for Amogh Symphony ‘IV’ — The artwork for their album turned out to have a very different take in terms of the look and feel, unlike conventional metal band covers. The art was conceptualised with the title track ‘Birds’, which emphasised feminine freedom and connection with mother Earth.

l usually start with experimenting… Once you have one or two good concepts, you can start to refine and build something intuitively. Lastly, you decide which sort of visual styling would best suit the concept.

Q. In terms of technicalities like colour scheme, lighting, proportion and the likes how do you describe your style and approach?

Saloni: I usually tend to work towards a minimal style. I spend more time sketching and inking before I start to digitise. In most of my work, I try to keep the use of colors to a minimum of two or three while colouring digitally. In my opinion, two to three colours bring good balance and harmony. I add depth by adding some tints and tones while sometimes playing around with unconventional proportions to bring surprise.

Q. If you could determine one thing about the field of art today, what would it be and why?

Saloni: Art can be more immersive with upcoming technologies. People can experiment and combine different mediums to create enriching experiences.

Q. What particular efforts or ways do you take to understand and achieve what is expected by a client?

Saloni: Understand clients thoroughly, making sure they are involved in each stage of ideation. At the same time, give yourself time to refine your ideas. Ideally, you don’t want to show them the entire process of brainstorming since it may expose them to half-cooked ideas and confuse them. Once you have a few directions for them to choose from, you can funnel your design sooner.

Sometimes it will also depend on what kind of client you get — there might be clients who are particular about something, while some give you more liberty. As an artist, though, you can take that lead in direction while still keeping the brief in mind.

Q. How do you choose subjects and the manner of conceptualising them in your illustrations?

Saloni Sinha: My subjects keep changing from time to time. Earlier, I was heavily inspired by the metal culture and dark fantasy, so I naturally made a lot of punk/spooky drawings. Nowadays, with my growing interest in space and nature, I draw a lot of inspiration from the two and amalgamate them with everyday life and fantasy.

Q. What kind of projects do you dream to do and what draws you to them?

Saloni Sinha: I’d love to work on a project related to sustainability and nature conservation that can make an actual impact on our planet. And, for fun, I’d love to make album covers for some of my favorite bands as I love music.

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