Collaboration is overhyped, brands want skills for free: Chandan Mahimkar

Chandan Mahimkar

Chandan Mahimkar believes it is essential to set correct expectations at the start of a project for the value you bring to yourself and the brand.

Chandan Mahimkar, the designer behind @see_mahimkar talks about his lettering journey. While he counts travelling as one of the important means of inspiration, he also shares how collaborating with brands may not be the only source of income for a budding designer.

Looking back, where did it all begin?

Lettering was my hobby since art school days. However as I progressed in my career, I focused more on larger design projects and started a design division for L&K Saatchi & Saatchi India. I reignited my passion for hand lettering during my travels 5 years ago and started to maintain a sketchbook of hand lettering. I started to post my pieces on Instagram and found an entire community of lettering and typography lovers.

What’s in the name?

To see my art — that’s why @see_mahimkar on Instagram.

What is your USP in this cluttered space? How does your content give you an edge?

Well, honesty in the work that you do creates meaningful connections. I share my lettering process via posts and stories. I wrote a tutorial of my hand lettering process as well, which is ranked first on Google search. Besides lettering, travel photography is something I love to post. Travel images with lettering is also a great fusion of 2 art forms.

Please take us through your content creation process. How do you stay relevant and relatable

Travel quotes, motivational words, and cities are my favourite topics to choose from. They’re also specials on @see_mahimkar. Follow these steps-

  • Select a word or quote from the above topics.
  • Sketch it in a simple yet refined style of lettering.
  • Ink it and share the thought & process with my audience.
  • Answer comments and queries of my audience and encourage them to do better.
  • Experiment with my medium for a fresh approach to my passion.

How do you make moolah with your efforts?

Once you have a sizable audience and followers, opportunities come automatically. Make sure you keep doing what you love. Collaboration is an overhyped term on social media as many brands want to use your skills for free. It is up to you to decide your priority. I am an established designer and run my studio in Mumbai.

My approach to collaboration on social media is a win-win situation for both me and the brand, it can never be one-sided. I have always associated with brands and accounts who are in sync with this philosophy and value my skills and the time I devote to a project. Setting correct expectations at the start of a project is essential for the value you bring to yourself and the brand.

How do you maintain editorial objectivity with the influx of brand briefs?

Knowing the objective of @see_mahimkar and clarity of a brief is an important aspect of content creation. Ask questions to get more clarity. Study the brand’s current personality and tone to be in sync with the task. Don’t forget your skills and style in the process, as that is the sole reason the brief came to you. Have simplicity in your thoughts and creation so that the audience can easily resonate with it.

One instance/experience that made it all worthwhile

@DesignSponge approached me and I was thrilled to suggest ideas for their audience. I created 5 visual pieces for them which were inspiring quotations by thought leaders. The response was just awesome, it opened doors for me getting commissioned work. I got assignments from the US for magazines, brands and art/lettering curators.

Weirdest brand brief/request ever

Thankfully, nothing as yet.

Also Read: Influencers should remain true to their niche and stay objective: Monish Shah, Influencer

If not blogging, you would be?

Well, I am not a blogger for sure. Besides my lettering and travel interests, I love to teach and conduct workshops on typography and lettering. I’ve been enjoying it thoroughly for the last 18 months.

A day in your life…

I exercise in the morning for 45 minutes. Then, have a simple tea and breakfast. I start my work at 8.30 AM, reply to emails and queries related to work. Later, I’m immersed in researching a current design or lettering project. There are lots of sketching on my ideas and creating lettering related to commissioned projects. Follows, the Design and branding work on my current restaurant projects in Mumbai. I practice space design as well. Further, I meet clients once or twice a week. I visit an art gallery or meet friends in the evening. The day ends with my family dinner.

Message/tips for upcoming bloggers

Life is what happens in the real world. Find the balance between the online and offline worlds. Get inspiration in music, books, movies and art galleries. Creation requires one to be focused on their skills. Whether it is art, design or photography, the focus is key. Originality goes a long way, stay away from plagiarism.

Your Favorite Influencer

Lauren Hom

The Future you foresee for your Personal Brand

Travelling and teaching across the world.


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