Fractal Ink Design Studio: the torchbearer of experience design
No civilization can do without a solid foundation of architectural philosophy that resonates the idea and collective message of itself. In ancient civilizations, architecture reflected the people's constant engagement with the divine. In modern times the emphasis shifted to the aesthetic aspects of the designs, and the post-modern period drew its inspiration from human experience and nature. It combined contemporary building technology and materials with the aesthetic sensibilities learnt through time and drew philosophical inspirations from figures like Deleuze, Foucault, and Wittgenstein. Architecture today has gone beyond the narrow aspects of modernism and post-modernism with much more focus on environmental sustainability and benefit to the maximum. Architecture develops and evolves from the needs of the society, an education in architecture equips the architect with the foundation of empathy, a structured thought process and a sensitivity towards design that transcends material and medium.
After completing her graduation in architecture from the prestigious J.J school of architecture and the University of Mumbai, Geeta Suthar dabbled in various things while on a journey to discover what gave her the most satisfaction and fulfilment. She worked as an architect, did interior design, taught and wrote. The idea of a firm which could satiate the needs of design, development, research and the strategic needs of industry came when Geeta joined her husband Hemant at Fractal Ink, a studio that was exploring the design arena in the digital world. The current avatar of the firm came into being after Tanay and Priyanka joined hands with the entrepreneurial couple with a collective vision to make an impact in lives of every Indian and putting 'experience design' on the country's map. The firm came into existence with two primary objectives of bringing customer centricity to digital design and building an organization that allows its people to thrive and grow to the best version of themselves. The firm saw its vertiginous rise from a small boutique studio to one of the largest digital experience design studios of India under the leadership of Geeta, who currently handles the business and operations of the firm. She is an avid reader and traveller with an active social life. Her expertise lies in oiling the cogs of design, business, client servicing, finance, and human resources.
Our editorial team spoke to Geeta, to know more about her and the firm in a detailed conversation. Here are the edited excerpts.
Were you born a builder or did you have to learn to be one?
Some aspects of building a company came very naturally to me – people relationships has always been a strength; I understand what motivates people and how to get the best out of them. Inspiring trust in clients and building relationships with them is another aspect of me that has helped tremendously. I discovered an inherent understanding of finance which was a bit of a surprise but scaling a business and implementing processes are something that I have had to learn on the way. But I think the most important thing about me is I honestly don't believe that failure is an option – I will do whatever it takes to do the job and that, I guess, makes me a born builder.
Please elaborate on your business, the services it provides and how are you unique from others in the industry?
We define ourselves as an Experience Design and Consultancy providing Customer Experience (CX) to its customer at every touchpoint of interaction, throughout the journey and the lifecycle of the business relationship. We specialize in defining and planning our clients' entire CX roadmap to designing and executing each intervention as a best-in-class experience along with consultation on digital transformation and how to best leverage the digital medium to meet their business objectives. Our services are available across the Customer Experience spectrum – from User Experience to User Interface Design, front-end development, brand design, and motion graphics. Currently, we are honing our skills by incorporating new age technologies which include AR, VR, Machine Intelligence, Voice based experiences and more. Competition keeps us on our toes and in constant innovation mode. We believe in being partners to our clients and are very committed and passionate about making a difference through design.
Under your leadership, how has been the growth of the enterprise? How do you encourage your employees? What are your responsibilities as the business owner?
The company has grown from a boutique agency to one of the largest experience design studios in the country today. We are recognised in the industry for constant innovation and creative problem solving. We have been awarded the best UX UI design studio of the year – 4 years in a row. Being part of the Dentsu Aegis Network now gives us a platform of collaboration with which we can work on and deliver bigger solutions.
The culture at Fractal is something I am very proud of. We are a studio that recognizes and rewards talent and is very growth oriented. We run several training programs regularly that span across design skills as well as soft skills and run a 'buddy program' which ensures that all the juniors get mentored and ingrained with the Fractal ethos. We also believe in celebrating together regularly. Birthdays are celebrated, as are new project wins or the delivery of projects. Efforts are recognized with monthly awards internally always keeping the spirits of the studio high.
As a business owner, the buck stops with me. The financial health of the company is one of my primary responsibilities, but I am the kind of person that needs to feel involved in every aspect of the business so I am involved from closing new business to hiring. I keep myself updated on projects and keep in touch with clients to ensure the smooth running of the company.
What was your journey like to get where you are?
Life has been very kind to me. It provided me with rich experiences and fabulous opportunities every step of the way. Although there were a few difficulties, the rewards, the accolades, and the sense of having done something remarkable with my life made every challenge totally worth it.
What lies for the firm in the future?
We believe in staying ahead of the curve in terms of what our clients could need or where the future of design is going. In that regard, we are strengthening our consulting and research practices, experimenting with new creative technologies. We are also looking at expanding to new geographies within the country and abroad.
Fractal Ink's work has been recognized and awarded by CII (The Confederation of Indian Industries) for individual projects as well as at a design category level. A leading design magazine awarded the firm as the best UX/ UI design agency in the country four years in a row.
What piece of advice would you give to youth in the business environment?
Be bold. Be humble and aim high!
Believe in yourself! Don't be afraid of trying something new or different and don't give up when things don't go as planned. There are many routes to a destination. Enjoy the journey. No matter the level of success you achieve, there is always something to be learned from those around you. Keep your eyes, ears and mind open to this learning. Your attitude is everything. Work hard at your goals and be determined. Learn from your mistakes and most of all – be kind to yourself along your journey.