What is commercial art?
Commercial art or applied art is about applying your aesthetics to solve a particular problem. It includes advertising, animation, art direction in films and graphic art, to name a few avenues.
How has advertising developed in the last decade?
The early nineties was the turning point. Before that, the big agencies were doing rather predictable work. The three top agencies HTA, Lintas and O&M, were then doing maximum business.
From the point India opened its gates to foreign companies, advertising agencies woke up to the idea of coming up with creative solutions to problems — the reason being working with multinational clients who were more clued into international standards.
This was also the time when smaller agencies such as Trikaya (now Gray Worldwide), Rediffusion (Dy&R) and Contract shot into prominence because of their willingness to experiment. The advertising world was getting democratic in the sense that the monopoly of the big players was questioned.
Now most top agencies are part of a business group called WPP. The market is so dynamic that smaller agencies have an edge. Several mid-sized to small companies are eager to work with small agencies for personal interaction and effective performance. Another interesting development is the profusion of design firms specialising in graphic art.
(As told to Pratik Ghosh)