Posts by Mahima Kumar

20 / Dubai / Graphic Design Student at SAE

CIU111.3: Balancing Your Passion Alongside Work


Anyone in the creative media industry knows the difficulty in building a successful career in an industry where you have to sell your talent. Creators have to ordeal a number of sacrifices and hurdles; one being the financial struggles dealt by majority of creative individuals to be able to fund their craft as well as the difficulty in publishing outstanding work that is sure to reel in attention. The enemy? Time.

There are a few individuals who are lucky enough to turn their passion into a career from the start, but there are some who need to work jobs for income in order to fund their passion. If you are someone aiming to work in the creative media industry, you would know how long it takes to work on projects as only with enough time can quality of the work created can be retained and when time is not on our side, we tend to lose the quality of our work.


Fig 1. Stock Image

To bring balance, there are a few baby steps to help you achieve a more balanced work and passion ratio, starting with reflecting on your lifestyle and the commitment towards your passion. A lot of people who have compromised their passions for a secure job end up feeling frustrated in the long run. (Shyam, 2012) Once you realise that you are willing to commit, then you move onto organization. Allocate a time slot to working on your passion by creating a to-do list and nurture your passion by grabbing opportunities to help be on the radar. This slowly helps you prioritize your passion more, and you will soon see results from such changes in your lifestyle. “If you listen for it, it will speak; and if you nurture that passion, it will grow.” (Woehler, 2015)




Woehler, S. (2015, March 22). How to Find and Make Time for Your Passion Even When You’re Busy. Retrieved April 26, 2018, from

Shuttershock. (n.d.). Person Painting [Digital image]. Retrieved April 26, 2018, from

Shyam, T. S. (2012, May 10). Choosing between a regular job and passion. Retrieved April 26, 2018, from

Stock Image [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved April 26, 2018, from


CIU111.3: Graphic Design: 2 Reasons Why Collaborating Is Great


They say that it is important to be a team player. If you ever want to learn to enhance your creativity and skills as a creator, you have to understand the importance of collaboration. It is the act of working with others to create anything, allowing yourself to be influenced by the ideas and visions of others. (Staff, 2013)

Within the graphic design industry, collaborations are quite common. Often, it is the case that designers work with other professional designers, or people within their workplace but some designers, usually freelancers do collaborate with their fans too.

“Over so many years we’ve witnessed groundbreaking collaborative campaigns that merged mutually exclusive skills because collaboration ignites creativity.” (Staff, 2013) But how exactly does working with other individuals affect the quality and performance of your design?


Fig 1. Stock Image

When you involve more people, you are automatically open to feedback

The purpose of graphic design is to convey a message and grasp the attention of the public. Sometimes, a sole designer may not be able to view their design from all perspectives or notice the little errors, which is where feedback plays its role. However, when collaborating with other designers, you are open to different views and you get a gist of how others might view the design. And team feedback is generally more genuine as they are all committed to the same project.

More designers, more ideas- a greater learning experience

Having the ability to generate new ideas and a good creativity flow is a must as a designer. But there are always situations where your ideas are weak. This is where collaborating comes in, collaborating allows the other designers you work with to share their ideas which in turn can enhance your design.




Shuttershock. (n.d.). Stock Image [Digital image]. Retrieved April 26, 2018, from

Staff, C. B. (2013, September 12). How to collaborate with other designers successfully. Retrieved April 25, 2018, from


CIU111.3: Does Criticism Affect the Popularity of Music?


Constructive criticism is the judgment of a piece of work where various factors are elaborated on, usually made with the intention to be helpful to the creator of said work. (CambridgeDictionary, n.d.) It is usually given by critics, considered to be experts in the same field of the work, and also in recent times by enthusiasts on various platforms in the form of reviews, which has led both words to merge into one.

In music, despite criticism being fundamental, may not be necessary.  During a lecture, the audio students mentioned how criticism on music after its release, does not matter. I may not be an audio expert, but I do agree with them. Music is an art form that heavily incorporates the use of certain elements to manipulate emotion. (Ahtisaari & Karanam, 2015) It affects the message and vibe given through. But the overall popularity of a song impacted by the decisions made during the making of a song? Not necessarily.

Take Black Sabbath for example. Reactions to their debut self-titled album in 1970 were negative. Critics with the likes of legendary rock critic Lester Bangswere were confused by the their shockingly heavy sound and ghoulish lyrics but despite that “…Sabbath would top their debut in mere months with the juggernaut LP Paranoid, their first record would still go down in rock history as one of heavy metal’s first essential records.” (Wojtas, n.d.)


Fig 1. Black Sabbath (1970) by Black Sabbath

At the end of the day, the popularity of music depends on the public’s appreciation. A negative critique could possibly affect the opinions of clueless listeners but it will not change the minds of individuals that have already listened. If the song brings about an emotion that people enjoy experiencing, they will listen regardless of what others say.




Ahtisaari, M., & Karanam, K. (2015, July 21). Music and Emotion. Retrieved April 25, 2018, from

Black Sabbath [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved April 25, 2018, from

Cambridge Dictionary. (n.d.). Criticism Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary. Retrieved April 25, 2018, from

Guitar [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Wojtas, M. (n.d.). 20 Legendary Artists Who Overcame Critical Bashing. Retrieved April 25, 2018, from



CIU111.3: Understanding The Fear Of Social Media For The Sake Of Your Career


Social media has grown to become a powerful element that is so heavily incorporated into modern day living, that it strongly impacts the way the world functions. Since it has such a grasp on people, it affects the way consumers interact with brands, leading these entities to hop on the bandwagon and become more tech savvy by turning to social media to reach out to their target audience.

As a graphic design student, I recall a discussion had during a lecture, about of the importance of putting ourselves out on social media to grab attention; especially as individuals in the creative media industry. I lack interest in social media and have a fear of drawing attention so this idea was hard to digest as I know the statement is true. Social media anxiety is common and there are numerous reasons for so; fear of judgement, stolen work, attention and more. (Kruse Control Inc, 2016) I do want a successful career, but to help aid that goal I need to overcome this fear by acknowledging the problem and acting accordingly.

According to Harshil Patel, when discussing his fear of judgement on social media, he elaborates on how you can overcome this fear by deriving your focus from “What will people think about me?” to “How can I say my message in the most clear and concise way possible?” (Patel, 2016).

Harshil Patel: How I overcame Social Media Anxiety

Each fear is dealt with differently. They can be dealt with in similar fashion but in relation to their origin. However, the most simple and common steps taken, regardless of your fear, are to change your mindset, have a strategy,  master your tools and resources, and stay consistent with practice- which in time does make it easier to handle your online persona. (Edwards, 2017)




Edwards, H. (2017, December 06). How to Overcome Fear of Failure on Social Media. Retrieved April 22, 2018, from

Kruse Control Inc. (2016, October 31). 5 Real Social Media Fears and How to Overcome Them. Retrieved April 22, 2018, from

Patel, H. (2016, June 06). How I overcame Social Media Anxiety. Retrieved April 22, 2018, from

Strategy Lab. (n.d.). The Crying Kid by Banksy [Digital image]. Retrieved April 22, 2018, from


Design and Art: So Similar Yet So Different

As an artist and an aspiring graphic designer, I understand the importance of knowing the difference between graphic design and visual art.

Both fields exercise ample of creativity and are often confused to be the same, especially when taking digital art into consideration. However, the two are quite different.


Fig 1. ‘The Sawing A Lady In Half Performance” A digital illustration



The purpose of creating art is generally personal as artists are people who use their works as a form of expression. They need to feel inspired or need something, like a dream or an emotion, to provoke the urge to create artwork. Some artists create work not for the public to see whereas some create for the world to connect through and maybe relate to.

On the other hand, the purpose of a designer is focused on helping clients communicate with and attract their target audience. The objective is to help their clients grab their target audience’s attention through works such as logos, advertising, packaging etc. Designers have to create using specifications set by a client or upgrade pre-existing designs- with the intention to appeal to its audience and the product. (Leveque, 2013)


Fig 2. NYC Artist Ivan Alifan standing next to his painting from his “It’s Not Milk” series



The general idea of art is that it has no rules as art is everything you can imagine. It can be created in any way possible. There are no limits- Pure imagination and emotion. Since the purpose of art is personal, artists have complete creative freedom.

However, design does have rules. There are elements that need to be taken into consideration to achieve the results needed to attract a client’s audience. For that, it is important to understand the choice of certain variations of each element for example; the choice of colour and the choice of typography. Choices are made according to what mood is aimed to be set and what the message of the product is being delivered. 


Fig 3. An example of the principles of design being applied the poster for Black Swan (2010)



As mentioned earlier, art is a form of expression and there are no boundaries. This means art can sometimes be vague and allow viewers to interpret the meaning behind the art in whichever way they can. Collectively, not everyone would interpret the same message unless it is obvious. Hence, multiple messages are received from one piece of art. (Roper, 2016)

However in design, the purpose is to communicate with the audience, effectively attracting them towards the brand. To achieve that goal, designers would need to create designs and layouts that put forth a singular, straightforward message, meant to be understood clearly by everyone within the target audience range.



Fig 4. An example of a painting that gave mixed messages, Las Dos Fridas by Frida Kahlo




Black Swan Analysis [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved November 7, 2017, from

Charles Dickens and Batman [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved November 7, 2017, from

Ivan Alifan [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved November 7, 2017, from

Las Dos Fridas [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved November 7, 2017, from×569.jpg

Leveque, E. (2013, July 24). Art vs. Graphic Design: The Debate Rages On. Retrieved November 06, 2017, from

Roper, C. (2016, October 13). The Difference Between Visual Art and Graphic Design. Retrieved November 06, 2017, from

The Sawing A Lady In Half Performance [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved November 7, 2017, from–vintage-graphic-vintage-design.jpg


Gorillaz: Live In Dubai

On 27th of October 2017, I celebrated Halloween a few days early and attended an annual Halloween event, Fiesta de los Muertos; where we got to see the Gorillaz- as well as some other acts live in concert!

As Germaine Greer once said, “The essence of pleasure is spontaneity.” The decision to attend this concert was made just 3 hours before the show and it turned out to be one of the best live music experiences of my life- filled with so much energy, nostalgia and good vibes. Bonus points for it being a Halloween event wheremost of the crowd- were in costumes! Although there were other acts like Stormzy and Carly Rae Jepsen who performed at this event, I will only go into detail on my experience during the Gorillaz set as I attended this event to specifically watch them.


Fig 1. Fiesta De Los Muertos 2017 promotional poster.

A brief on who they are: Created by multi-instrumentalist Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett, the Gorillaz consist of 4 animated characters- Murdoc Niccals, 2-D, Noodle and Russel Hobbs– who together, make the virtual band (Gorillaz, n.d.). Every album they have released can be classified into different genres like alternative rock, electronic, trip-hop making them creativity-wise and musically a very flexible act.

Despite their unique approach in music and ability to avoid repetition, I would not call myself a die-hard fan. They are just another band that I thoroughly enjoy listening to and they have always been on my “Bands To See Live Before I Die” list- from which I can gladly strike them off now!


Fig 2. Gorillaz: Live in Dubai

The set list consisted of 21 songs. However, it was cut down to 19 as Feel Good Inc. and Plastic Beach were not performed. It was a proper mix of their most popular songs and fan favourites such as On Melancholy Hill as well as songs like Saturn Barz from their most recent album, Humanz (, n.d.).

When their set began, I could hear Damon singing “Hello? Hello? Is anybody there?” from their song M1 A1. Very smart choice of introduction to get the crowd to come back to the stage. Next, they played Last Living Souls, a song with a distinct beat, tuneful enough to steadily guiding the crowd back into the music. This was followed by more upbeat songs like Out Of Body featuring Kilo Kish. And Of course, they ended their set with their most beloved song, Clint Eastwood.

One of the more interesting collaborations of the night was on Busted and Blue with Syrian singer, Faia Younan- a heartfelt arabic performance and ode to Dubai but my favourite song of the night had to be of Garage Palace with Little Simz. Unlike most of the songs plays, this song managed to get everyone jumping!

Their overall set was filled with lots of energy, dancing, emotion, impressive visuals, nostalgia and good vibes. Would I do see the Gorillaz again? Definitely.




Germaine Greer Quotes. (n.d.). Retrieved October 31, 2017, from

Gorillaz. (n.d.). Retrieved October 31, 2017, from

Gorillaz Live [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved October 31, 2017, from×710.jpg

Gorillaz Live in Dubai [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved October 31, 2017, from×9&w=1024&$p$f$w=82d6849

Fiesta de los Muertos 2017 [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved October 31, 2017, from (n.d.). Gorillaz Setlist at Fiesta De Los Muertos 2017. Retrieved October 31, 2017, from

Opposites Attract: The Contemporary Colour Scheme

If you’ve read my previous post regarding Alice In Chain’s Rotten Apple, you would recall how I discussed Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell’s remarkable ability to harmonise. But what exactly is a harmony?

It’s the result of the arrangement of components that altogether create a specific aura. It’s often aimed to be the result of most things! Conversations, the general structure of this post and also the combination of colours.


Fig 1. A Nightmare Of Elm Street (1984)

The latter, colour harmony, is the concept of combining colours to deliver certain aesthetics and moods smoothly to viewers and it’s a crucial tool in the works of designers and artists. There are 5 types of colour harmony: complementary, split-complementary, triadic, analogous and tetradic. In this post, I will go in-depth about the complementary colour scheme, also known as the direct harmony. (Rodin, 2016)

The complementary colour scheme is the combination of two colours directly opposite to each other on the colour wheel. It’s the most commonly used colour scheme in media as it is known to be the most effective colour scheme when your work needs to be bold, striking and eye-catching due to the high contrast involved. (Benve, 2017) However, it is not recommended when used on text as it could be too intense for readers.

Fig 2. Contemporary Colour Wheel

Despite being so commonly used in the media industry, it’s tricky to harmonise the two colours as they are two extremes coming together. For example; Blue and orange. Blue falls on the cool side of the palette while orange falls on the warm side. Psychologically, blue represents serenity, coolness and relaxation whereas orange represents life, free-spirit and excitement. (Kolenda, n.d.)

When considering the effect that your work has to make on an audience, the difficulty lies in bringing a balance between two completely energies. Nevertheless, when using the right shades of both colours and using an equal colour ratio, they harmonise and neutralise each other.


Fig 3: Fight Club (1999)

The aura created by your work can differ due to the intensity of saturation. When the saturation is high, your work becomes dramatic, vivid and conspicuous. I came to learn this when doing my own art with this colour scheme. Before digitally altering it, the edge was subtle. I blamed this on the general nature of watercolours. It needed to be loud as my subjects had shocking personas. Once I increased the saturation, there was vitality, intrigue and life. It became a visual treat and did justice to my subjects.

Fig 4. (left) My artwork Manson before digital alteration, (right) After digital alteration increased saturation

If the saturation is too high, it becomes repulsive. Your work would have too much to say; like being caught in an argument. When low/neutral, it’s toned down, mellow and soothing; caters to most of the audience. Too low and the colours look merged into one. It’s dull and the work loses its energy entirely.

Well, regardless of its challenges, it’s one of the more exciting colour schemes to work with and if used wisely, you can create some pretty rewarding work.




A Nightmare On Elm Street [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved October 24, 2017, from

Benve, R. (2017, July 31). Color Harmony: Color Schemes Explained. Retrieved October 23, 2017, from

Colour Wheel [Digital Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved October 24, 2017, from–interior-paint-colors-colour-wheel.jpg

Harmony. (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2017, from

Kolenda, N. (n.d.). Color Psychology: An Enormous Guide. Retrieved October 23, 2017, from

Purple and Yellow Painting [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved October 24, 2017, from

Rodin, R. (2016, June 14). Color Harmony: Why Hulk Wears Purple Pants. Retrieved October 23, 2017, from

Rotten Apple: A Ballad on the Getaway Drug

Back in 1994, in the midst of their rising popularity, Alice in Chains released what I refer to as “an underestimated gem”- their second EP, Jar of Flies. 

A mind-blowing collection of rock songs with a twist; toning it down to be more acoustic, natural yet maintaining the darkness within lyrics and production. According to vocalist, Layne Staley, “For us, it was just the experience of four guys getting together in the studio and making some music.” (Childers, 2017).

Fig 1: Jar of Flies EP

Fig 1. Jar of Flies EP

The EP consists of 7 songs that take you on a journey through the struggles of drug addiction and the band is infamous for the reason that majority of their songs are based on addiction- specifically Staley’s heroin addiction (Karan, 2014). Jar of Flies portrays this issue more intimately and calmer rather through aggression as heard on Dirt. Although every song special for its own reason, there is one song that I tend to gravitate to the most, Rotten Apple. It’s the EP’s opening song and one of my all-time favourites. It’s a song discussing how the song’s subject came to earn himself the label ‘addict.’

It begins with a beautifully relaxing yet complex bass riff. Finger-picked close to perfection and effortlessly. If the feeling of candy melting in your mouth was describable by sound, that would be it. As the bass carries through, guitar kicks in to add more rhythm and bonus harmonica cues adds rawness. Together, it creates a rustic sound, adding to the relaxing nature of the song. Cymbals slowly simmer and light drums are in to set a beat. As the instrumental continues, the song comes together.

One reason why Alice in Chains are believed to be so unique compared to their grunge counterparts is because of Staley and guitarist/backing vocals Jerry Cantrell ability to harmonise- A pair of voices meant to mix. Soon as they sing, the nature of the song evolves to be sorrowful yet tranquil. This intensifies at the chorus and begins to sound psychedelic and somewhat exotic because of the mix of happy and sad chords. It’s bittersweet and this carries on until the end.

The lyrics are woeful, short and vague, adding a hint of mystery to the mix and lots of room for listeners to interpret the message in whatever way they please and this shows how the song could spark up different emotions for everyone.

Despite all its glory, every song has flaws. The song can be repetitive and eventually sound bleak due to it being 7 minutes long with a lack of variety in riffs and chords. Spacey lyrics can sometimes be a bore too.

All in all, this is what makes Alice in Chains the phenomenal band that they are. These well-crafted elements and flaws make Rotten Apple such an outstanding piece of music because of how well every component merges together. It’s one of their more depth-filled pieces with lots of emotion and definitely one of their most popular songs on this EP.




Alice In Chains [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved October 17, 2017, from

Childers, C. (2017, January 25). 23 Years Ago: Alice in Chains Release ‘Jar of Flies’ EP. Retrieved October 16, 2017, from

Jar of Flies EP [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved October 17, 2017, from×600//filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-379136-1152613956.jpeg.jpg

Karan, T. (2014, May 06). With Jar Of Flies, Alice In Chains unleashed an accidental masterpiece. Retrieved October 16, 2017, from