Mridul Sawhney is the young and vivacious creative half and founder of AM Branding Co. along with her business partner and spouse Aviral Rungta. A Fashion Communication graduate from NIFT, she has worked with big names like JJ Vallya and as creative head to Nikasha. Mridul has now gone on to create a niche space with her own venture.
With the world going digital and a heavy reliance on digital and social media marketing, brands are looking to create their need for visual communication aka branding. It not only helps create a unique identity but also stands apart from the stiff competition.
With an exceptional sense of aesthetics and an eye for detail, Mridul believes she is on a mission to refine India visually. AM Branding has worked with the big names of fashion like Neeta Lulla, Monika- Niddhi, Amrapali, Saaksha & Kinni, and many more, as well as help launch many start-up brands too.
The Voice of Woman team had a tet-a-tet with this effervescent Mridul Sawhney. Read on to find out about her experience with working with JJ Vallya, maintaining work-life balance while working with your spouse, and preventing identity theft while maintaining unique branding concepts.
A lot of people are aware of the terms of Mridul Sawhney “brand” or “branding”, but not its actual meaning?
The easiest way for me to explain it to anyone is that a brand is a human being & branding is their DNA which needs to be unique and authentic. Slowly more & more people are becoming aware of both these terms which is a good change, however, it is a long way to go before almost every business/brand owner realises the importance of laying a branding foundation.
Could you please explain and how AM Branding plays a pivotal role in this industry?
AM Branding Co. was founded with the sole aim of contributing to the field of visual communication. We like to believe that our success in this industry was based on 3 core values we adopted from the very beginning – authenticity, honesty and teamwork.
These are our core values which we never compromise on. We have worked with over 35 brands in the last 4 years & each successful project has led to another. Our role is to create a unique visual identity for every brand we work with, it is an overall 360-degree aesthetic uplift where we create a language in sync for all tangents like social media, websites, photoshoots, print & an overall experience.
You have worked with ace designer JJ Vallya, tell us about that experience?
JJ Valaya had offered me my very first job as his executive assistant. I was fresh out of college & had sent him a message on Facebook talking about a branding review on his 25-year-old brand.
He graciously wrote back asking to know more.
There are very few people who take feedback from a 20-year-old kid, but we had a creatively driven conversation & I started assisting him with the various aspects of his role at JJ Valaya.
From scheduling his meetings, graphics, fashion show organisation, styling, sales ideas, etc. I was overjoyed to be at a big fashion house and wanted to be actively involved in learning everything I could.
A few things I took back from my time there was attention to detail, conceptualisation depths and the understanding of all the intensity and pressures of being in the fashion industry.
Work-life balance is necessary to maintain sanity, but when your spouse is your business partner, how do you keep this balance?
The fact that Aviral & I first met through a work project made it easy for us to connect on a professional level and then fall in love. I think we just loved working together and building each other up so much that it eventually resulted in respect & love.
It does get crazy at times as we both are very different individuals – but I like to believe he brings calm to my chaos & all creative beings need that element of stability.
In the age of Instagram, how important it is to build one’s own unique identity and also keep the audience hooked to your page?
With all the content overflooded on the gram, I believe it is important to tell your story the way you would like. Only something unique & different can make the viewer stay a few seconds longer on your post or find you on the gram.
It is also essential to make your page as clutter-free as possible so it is easy on the viewer’s eyes & they are able to retain the information they see.
Identity theft has become a huge problem, how do you keep your exclusive designs for your clients from being copied?
We cannot stop anyone from copying our style & layouts. However, every graphic and visual communication pattern created for each one of our clients is unique.
So far, we have seen a few people copy our layouts & that’s okay because it only re-assures us that we are on the right path. Our focus remains on staying ahead by creating newer, fresher, more attractive visuals every day.
We are very aware of where we spend our energy!
Fashion is ever-evolving, how does one keep pace with the latest trends without burning their wallets?
By selecting your own pace and not going with the flow or what Instagram tells you. If last year of lockdown has taught us anything – It definitely has taught us to slow down in life and spend time, money, energy on things that truly matter and hold value.
Investment has a whole new meaning now for many & I feel the best way to move ahead in life is to evaluate what brings you joy. Once you do that, half of your worries are gone!
There is a popular misconception that a NIFT graduate is a fashion designer but there are many more avenues to pursue. Your pointers for young aspirants?
Oh absolutely, for the longest time people around me did not understand who a visual communication designer is and kept calling me a fashion designer from NIFT. I realised how unique and versatile this field was in the first week of entering NIFT.
I just want students to know that even if people don’t recognise or understand something you would like to pursue go for it with all your heart. As long as it excites you and adds to your vision – keep going, people will follow.
You have worked with seasoned designers as well as new-age designers, how different or similar is it?
The logic behind branding remains the same. It is different in the sense that with seasoned designers there are a lot of restrictions & pre – set guidelines you have to work with, however, if you have strong ideas backed by knowledge, I believe you can work around those guidelines.
I have been blessed to have worked with open-minded established brands who have always given us creative freedom. But I definitely have the best time launching a fresh new brand in the market, it gives us immense joy to see someone’s vision come to life & seeing all communication tangents super refined and ready to fly.
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