Cover pic for this post with the text 'On1y The Best', the 'On1y' formed using the On1y logo
My logo for the 'Namami Gange' logo-design contest
The back/reverse of my visiting card

Irfanvertising: Well, Advertising Myself

Irfanvertising LogoIrfanvertising, as most people who follow this blog and especially this series would know, is where I discuss and comment on most things advertising: from branding to design, with special love for logos. Well, just this once, I’ll be talking about my own.

My website for my profile as a writer and ad consultant is now live, and yesterday, got my visiting card made too. Designed it myself (while I’m basically a writer/copywriter, do have a visual sense – coming from being in a creative field – and also do some basic design from time to time). And here I shall be talking of the thought – communicative and visual – that I put into it.


The key element in any bit of communication is the message. My message, or rather my philosophy/motto/slogan/credo as a writer and ad guy is: Insight. Simplicity. I try and look for a key insight to tap into for any communication and then like to keep the communication simple (though no less effective; but when you do both, it pretty much ends up being effective). Since those initials are the same as those in my name (ok, ok, that’s why I chose them), it also ends up being tied very very integrally to me and my work.


How do you depict ‘Insight, Simplicity’? I like certain colours, which proved to work well for my philosophy. Grey for ‘insight’, coming as it does from your grey cells. White for ‘simplicity’, for obvious reasons. And a nice, vibrant blue (specifically turquoise) to hold these together. (Blue is my favourite colour, coming from belonging to the water-bearer sign, I guess.)

My work philosophy: Insight. Simplicity.

Mine is not a company and I don’t intend to initially use my name as a brand name (though, like most people in the creative field, I would love if it becomes so). So, I didn’t want to create a logo out of my name, or as typically happens, out of the initials. (You know, CK, DK, name initial-surname initial.) But I wanted a graphic element – as a visual element on the card and also something I could use as a device or hook later if needed. But what could it be?

Graphic depicting how the dartboard idea led to the creation of a visual element for my visiting cardInsight and simplicity. Together they help you be bang-on. So, hey, a dart-board. But since it’s been used in communication since almost the hieroglyphics, I decided to graphicize it, giving it edges rather than keeping it round. Also kept only two circles (for simplicity) and from the same brand colours (blue-white-grey).

Visual element of part of graphicized dartboard in the top-right corner of my visiting card designBut again, as I didn’t want to use it full-on at the start, have tucked it away into a top corner, as only a visual element for now. If later, I want to use it as a full-blown icon, I’ll move it from its present position to something more centre-stage. When for instance, I make the next 100 cards.


Visual design is one thing. Design – that is, useable design – is another. I had been looking at visiting cards closely for the past few months. And became fairly clear of one thing: while having a very creative card – folds, holes, shapes, and other whoops and whistles – is very cool, it should also be easy to handle.

Photo of a corporate man putting a visiting card into his suit pocket

I wanted it to be easy to zip out and give to the other person and wanted the other person to find it easy to put it into their pocket/wallet (the only places I wanted it to be), rather than they first wowing at the cool card I have with three strings and two folds that they now have to wonder where to put on their person/baggage. User-friendly, in short. And practical: less time engaged in an element of the transaction and more time involved in the actual transaction.


Front (obverse) and back (reverse) of my visiting card design

Here then is the final product. My name, profile and essential contacts on the front (though with a couple obscured for this space), with a corner of the graphicized dartboard peeking in from above. The back has offsetting turquoise with my message, and the work-related social media contacts below.

Now, time to go networking and hand these out.

Screenshot of the thREAD site with the at-present new story on top
Apparently the new Tamil Nadu Tourism logo

Irfanvertising | Enchanting… Disenchanting…

Irfanvertising Logo

Has Tamil Nadu Tourism changed its branding, or is about to? For I came across a new logo and new baseline for the state-run enterprise.

The earlier/present logo is a lower-case ‘t’ forming a type of ornamental umbrella typical in South India, with the baseline ‘Enchanting Tamil Nadu’.

Present/Earlier Tamil Nadu Tourism logo

But this morning, while on my way back from my walk, came across a taxi with a new logo and baseline. Caught my eye, walked back to look at it properly.

New Tamil Nadu Tourism logo

Love the new logo, for its clever use of this letter and sound exclusive to the Tamil script/language (or at the most shared with one other language, Malayalam). In fact, it’s the last letter of ‘Tamil’, and the ‘l’ is actually not an ‘l’, or rather, a very palate-filled ‘l’. In English, it’s written as ‘zh’ and pronounced like a very heavy ‘l’.

Tamil/Tamizh written in Tamil/Tamizh script Illustration of how to pronounce the three 'ls' in the Tamil/Tamizh script/language

The closest sound I can think of in another Indian language is the infinity-looking ‘l’ in Marathi.

The rolling 'l' in Marathi

So, the ‘l’ of ‘tamil’ and the ‘n’ of ‘nadu’ form this letter in the logo. Very tamilian, or rather, very tamizhian. And very clever.

The baseline seems to have changed too, or rather, there seems to be a baseline now. But pity. It’s similar to the Kerala Tourism baseline (‘God’s Own Country’): ‘God’s Living Country’. Waters down the efforts of the clever logo. Why base your promise on that of some other brand/state? You had built a promise – enchanting. Why not use it, for something like ‘Enchant Your Soul’? Works perfectly for a place where people come for things spiritual (temples and Auroville), artsy (Bharatanatyam and Carnatic music), and relaxation by the sea (from Marina to Kanyakumari).

Hope this is a test run then. For that gives them time to fix this.

Logo for Ire, the series on my blog for social commentary