Interview with Mitesh Addhate, Art Director, India

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Mitesh Addhate

Mitesh is an Art Director whose belief in the process of simplifying a complicated thought allows him to form a streamlined message that ticks all the boxes and answers the briefs.

Interview with the 2020 MUSE Creative Awards Winner - Mitesh Addhate

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.

Hi I am Mitesh Addhate, an Award winning international Art director and photographer graduated from Miami ad School and have been a part of Ogilvy New York recently. Let me first say,that I am truly grateful and honored to be a part of this interview.

I have worked on various national and international advertising campaigns as an art director and have been extremely grateful to be recognized and awarded for the work.

Apart from doing art direction, I love to do photography to capture and express stories in different ways.

2What made you become/why did you choose to become a creative?

Advertising has always fascinated me with the power that it holds in inspiring the audience in a matter of just 7 seconds. Those 7 seconds could bring a positive change in the society and start a new revolution. The amazing creativity in those ads enticed me to look more into Art Direction and I can proudly say that I have made the right choice. It feels great to create work that could bring a positive change in the society and I have been lucky enough to be able to do such work. The satisfaction of being able to contribute towards making someone smile even in their tough times through our work is what excites me to work in the industry. It makes me love what I do even more after hearing people talk about the work that I was a part of.

3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.

I am an Art director with experience of working on different platforms for multiple brands. I love to create simple yet impactful work for the brands that makes a difference in the world. I am never afraid of taking risks and thinking something totally crazy while still being relevant with the brands communication or interaction with their audience.

To answer what I do in simple words - "I think crazy and Proceed with Passion".

4What does “creativity” mean to you?

Creativity to me is a tool to simplify our lives. It is a medium to make our lives even more lively. It is expressing or communicating what you are holding inside you in a way you never thought about. It is a weapon to create and bring a change in the world. Doing something unconventional is creativity to me. The "aahhaa" moment is creativity. Discovering a genuine connection with the message is creativity.

The best part about creativity to me is that, it doesn't hold a particular meaning - It is like water. It takes the shape of the container (in this case words or visuals) you pour it into.

5To you, what makes a “creative” idea and/or design?

I believe the process of simplifying a complicated thought with various elements highlighting it makes an idea/design creative. It is about the choice of words and design elements that works as a solution for the problem. Most importantly, a creative idea is formed when all the elements of an idea comes together to form a one single message while answering all the questions.

6Tell us about your creative and/or design process.

My creative process begins with reading a brief multiple times. Followed by lots of research about the brand's past communication, the work of other similar brands. Then I do a little bit of reverse advertising as I like to say - where I pick a previous advertisement and dissect it to understand each elements used in it to communicate. After that I brainstorm with my team and let the idea marinate for sometime. And finally go ahead with the idea that ticks all the boxes and answers the brief.

7What's your favorite part of the creative process and why?

Two parts - Brainstorming and watching the vision come to life.

Brainstorming is where you can let your thinking go crazy and have fun with it. It is the best activity where you get to observe and learn from people's different perspective - which for any creative is like a gold mine. It is very vital for a creative to be a good observer in order to be successful.

This is then followed by the final part of the process, where you can see your vision come to life.

8Describe your creative style and its main characteristics.

When it comes to working, I start with the old school technique and I always carry a pen and a paper. I like to write all my thoughts and ideas in the book, as it helps me with visualizing how I can play with those thoughts. Even while I am thinking, I visualize how a particular idea will turn out, how it will look visually and how it might be received by the audience. Based on thee deadline, I divide my time where I let my thoughts go crazy then I dial it down and finally focus on 2-3 ideas max. It is all about adjusting with the speed of the delivery.

9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your creativity process?

India is as diverse as any country can ever get. Endless capacity and diverse perspective of people at every step. It is not easy when it comes to communicating and satisfying the audience via advertising. There is a lot one can learn from the way advertisers communicate with different people in India. Indian culture depends on a simple mantra - vasudhaiva kutumbakam, which literally means "The world is one family". This mantra and the diverse thinking of the people that I learned while growing up has helped me to understand how people think. It helps me to bring to the table more ways of connecting with the audience than our visual meetings. Because in the end - The one that understands the audience will emerge as the winner in communicating with them.

10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2020 MUSE Creative Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?

I am truly grateful and honored to be awarded the 2020 MUSE Creative award. It boosts our confidence and help me believe more in my work. It assures me that I am doing something right and helps to push myself even more. We creatives/artists are always hungry of appreciation - then may it be via awards or just a simple "good work/ I love what you did there" from the peers or mentors in the industry.

To receive 2020 MUSE Creative award feels amazing and makes me want to create more such exciting work.

11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2020 MUSE Creative Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

The current COVID-19 pandemic situation all around the world has led people to stay at home. Study shows that the number of people facing mental health illness like anxiety and depression or domestic abuse will be on the increase. So, I wanted to create a minimalistic and straight to the point approach that gives a message about the reality to the audience and ask them to speak up and share their story about their mental health.

"Share the Pain" is a series that captures the inner emotions within us. it highlights the importance to share the pain that we all go through, while empowering us to accept the imperfection.

A campaign that uses the power of Nike's "Just do it" message and uses it to create a change in the world by empowering and inspiring people to share their pain. Simply "Just do it".

12What was the biggest challenge with this project?

The biggest challenge with the project was to pick up a topic which needs our attention and create a very simple message that goes across the medium and audience no matter where they are. Another challenge was to create a parallel message / communication "Share the Pain" keep it alive with Nike's already famous slogan 'Just do it'.

I believe I was able to strike that balance and create the magic with the photographs and communicate the message with the same intensity.

13How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?

Winning an Award like the MUSE Creative Awards helps me to push myself even more and create work that will be a part of a creative change in the world. It pushes me to work more harder and make ideas more simple and creative for the audience.

14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?

How a mere 7 second commercial could bring a positive change in the society and start a new revolution.

The satisfaction of being able to contribute towards making someone smile even in their tough times through our work.

Advertising industry allows me the freedom to think crazy and out of the box. I have always questioned why things work in a particular manner and have tried to break the rules or notion of the society.

15What makes your country specifically, unique in the creative industry?

As India has one of the biggest population in the world - it means more diverse thinking and more audience to satisfy. Such a diverse and competitive market can make a creative sweat or turn them into a diverse and brilliant communicator. Our industry has no boundaries and exposure to Indian Market will test creatives, which will eventually help industry to produce more good competitive work that will uplift the industry on a long run.

16Where do you see the evolution of creative industry going over the next 5-10 years?

I believe the industry is heading towards more personal and emotional connection between the brand and the audience. A mere communication about product will not help get the product move from the shelves but rather the communication of how the mission and the vision of the brand and its product connects with the audience will help the brand survive. Our audience is looking for more than just the attributes of the product while dealing with the brand. It is about what the brand believes in and how it aligns with what the audience believe.

With the influencer having a say, the audience has now started presenting themselves and behaving as the "brand ambassadors".

17If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Creative Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?

I want to tell the creatives that are just getting started - to believe in yourself and your work. Nobody knows everything in the beginning, we are all learning new things everyday and working on improving our skills with every work. Give yourself some time and be ready to do what it takes for one to succeed.

Enjoy your journey and your life because after all we are all doing it to have a better life.

18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the creative industry?

There are many resources that could help one explore and look for inspiration to improve their skills.

It does depends upon what you are looking for but platforms like Pinterest, Dribble, or Instagram (to learn new ways of creative communication with audience from the stories), Adweek ans Adage are the sites to keep yourself updated with what's happening in the industry.

Just keep your mind open to things and observe everything around you. Because that's were the ideas are hiding.

19Who has inspired you in your life and why?

The work by legends like David Ogilvy, George Lois, Piyush Pandey inspires me a lot to do something brilliant and yet simple at the same time. Simplicity has what made their creativity speak more volume than other work in the industry. And that's what I strive to bring through my work every time. Advertising is more than art work and the words, it is the emotions that are associated with it which makes a difference between a good work and the best.

20What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

I have always believed that ' If you ever feel like you have something you can share with others'. Build a community, not a competition.

I work with 'if you want to walk fast, walk alone. But if you want to walk far, walk together'. I have always believed in joining forces with creative and working together to build some amazing work. It helps you lean new things and how people work. After all we are all working hard to succeed and we all deserve to succeed in what we do. So just help each other as much as you can.

21Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?

I believe I am going to be counted as one of the biggest names in the advertising industry in the coming years because I am crazy enough to think I can and I will. I am here to be one of the fastest growing creatives in the history of advertising.

Art direction is not a work for me, it is my passion; I love what I do and that's why I doing what I love. I have always believed that we creatives hold the potential to make a big difference in the world through our creativity and work.

I would like to tell myself how proud I am of the journey with all the ups and downs. Criticism and failure have always been my best friends. If you are able to handle them with patience, you will succeed in anything you do in life. And I am a living example of that. Only the crazy ones can make a difference in the world, so don't be afraid to go crazy with your thinking. There will be days when you doubt your skills or even your existence in the industry because things didn't work as you plan. But trust me it will all be better with every other attempt.

Winning Entries


Interview with Mitesh Addhate, Art Director, India

Share the Pain is a series that captures the inner emotions within us. it highlights the importance to share the pain that we all go through, while...
(read more at MUSE Creative Awards)