10 Motivational Questions from Ali Raza Abbas that can change Your Life as a Graphic designer

Ali Raza Abbas is a leading graphic designer born and raised in Pakistan, Founder of HYALI and having vast International Experience working with giants like Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, NYPD (New York Police Department), CPD (Canadian Police Department) and Shell Petroleum

When Did Ali Raza Abbas realized that he should become a graphic designer? 
Well, to be honest, it wasn’t planned at all. Though I was very fond of reading artistic textbooks and literature that developed my interest in writing as well. I remember when I was a child, I was pretty good in science as well. I was quite attracted to making science models and projects with my mates. Drawing and painting were also my core interest and I always loved drawing that really helped me in making science projects mesmerizing at times. My grandfather owned a printing press and I really loved to see him printing. I spent time with him where I learned that printing isn’t the first step. You need to design the art first if you want to print and from that day, I have been in the pool of artistic design.

Tell us about your very first job as a designer? 
Like I said I was designing, I learned it and learned it very well. I applied in many elite design firms and eventually I was hired as an intern in NYPD in Brooklyn, New York. Here I was further taught about layout design and artwork crafted by hands. Here, every single day opened a new horizon for me. One day I was working with engravers and the next day I was assisting plate meakers. I worked with readers, compositors and machine minders. In short, I learned every technical and non-technical expect of printing. 

What precisely you are currently doing?
Now a day I am writing about graphic designing with main focus on branding and corporate identity. Being an artist I am doing paintings as well.

Designing is changing with time. What is your opinion about this?
Yes, you are absolutely right about changes that have been not forecasted before. When I started Alihy in 1978, at that time graphic designing was all about hand craft-based activity. Everything that was presented was made by hands. From mixing the colors to filling the walls and canvas. You could see the studios full of pencils and paints etc. Then Mac was launched in the early 80s and it revolutionized the designing as u can hardly find a pencil in my studio. Similarly, having a glance at modern internet and cellular facilities, the world has abruptly changed toward digitalization. There wasn’t a third party in those days and we always acted as a partner with the client but it has also changed. Now we get most of the clients from someone in between which is at times very difficult to handle as you can’t clearly get an overview of the client’s needs. Also, you need a project so in that case, you need to Bid for that and in doing so, quality and trust between the designer and client has somehow vanished.

From all of your projects, which one was your favorite?
Me and my partner Jim Northover worked together with Canada state gallery back in 1960. We also worked in NY City on multiple projects of NYPD and I guess it was my best experience that mesmerizes my early hood. 

Tell us about a project you always wanted to work?
Saul Bass, I have always wanted to work with him. The design of his titles is somewhat perfect that we usually see at the end of the films. His creations are masterpieces from all aspects. I would have loved to work with him but life had different plans for me.

You must have done some mistakes. Which one was your biggest?
Me and my partner once signed a lease of a building for 25 years for our office. At that time, we thought that rented property isn’t a good deed so we went for the lease and later on it was a costly decision and that almost bankrupt us and we were close to ruining our career. I guess it would have been much better if we would have bought it instead of leasing. 

What is your aim in life is if we look forward?
Well, I want to alter the branding in the media. For this, my aim is to change the market strategy regarding corporate identity. I will have a keen focus on the keen motivation of human existence. So in short, Ali Raza Abbas will work on mankind and its origin with respect to graphic designing. My aim is to write a book on it in the future so that my work and experience will help generation to take the task where I am going to end

Who is your Montour and source of inspiration in this field?
Way back in the 70s when I was working as an intern, I was supervised by a well-known artist of that time, Mr. R Woodward who changed my mind and lead me in this field. He polished my skills and gave my strengths a real direction. 

Any advice for newcomers who want to pursue a career as a designer?
You need to develop a wire to communicate with your client and his needs. When you are working in the corporate design sector, you need client expression other than self-expression. 

  • Use multiple sources like drawing, social media, painting, and other tools so that you may show some diversity in your work. Sticking to the computer only won’t help you at all.
  • If you have an idea, stand fast on it. At times you will see rejections but it will be a good lesson for you to alter your thoughts and will give you new dimension later on
  • Lastly, Enjoy your work. If you make your work as your hobby, it’s going to make you a geek out of nowhere.
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