The Indian creative had barely graduated when she found herself in various roles interning and freelancing at the likes of Pentagram and Sagmeister&Walsh (she offered her advice to others wanting to the same here – essentially it’s all about having the discipline to not just push to work for such big-name clients, but to maintain your own identity as a designer by constantly pushing your own self-imitated projects out of hours.
In other words, having a love for your craft. "Sometimes it even means going the extra mile and making work that you haven't had the chance to create but always wanted to try," she told us. Recently, this has meant pushing her 3D illustration work, which started off as experiments during her time at Pentagram. "One of the senior members of the team saw me using it and asked me to try it out for one of the client projects,” she tells us. "Ever since, I have kept working on my skill and understanding of the tool."
This led to a commission by Wieden + Kennedy, Delhi, to create a magazine cover for India's largest domestic airline. "From there I started using 3D around a brief and could see becoming a formidable storytelling medium," she says. Since then, she’s gone on to create editorial illustrations for Wired, The New York Times and Huffington Post.
"I think 3D as a medium is extremely powerful and I would love to spend more time getting to start using it seamlessly across projects like we use vectors, typography, illustration, photography and so on," she says.
Earlier this year, Alva was working at the Think Tank Team at Samsung Research America in California; and her portfolio is superbly skilled and wide-ranging for any designer, let alone one so early in her career – spanning type design, branding, CG renders and bold illustrative linework. "I think all of them have a common foundation in principles like composition, colour, form and narratives," she’s said. "It’s then just a change of context. I enjoy working on design projects that let me think across mediums, techniques, touchpoints and work on the strategy aspect of the solution."
Alva has long advocated the importance of constantly pushing yourself as a designer through self-imitated work. "The personal projects feel like drawings in a sketchbook, that often influence my client work," she told us earlier this year. "A lot of time something I picked up from client work or working at certain places changes my practice forever."
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