The short answer: Tiffinbox is a communication design studio.
The long answer: Tiffinbox is a tiny communication and illustration studio in New Delhi run by three socially-conscious designers, who apart from designing for their clients, are also frequently motivated to tell stories, of their lives, of their travels and sometimes even fiction.
Two of us (Ro + Sr) started working as Tiffinbox in early 2008. We became a three-member team (+ Dw) in late 2012. We draw inspiration and support from our long association since college days and also from a shared aspiration of walking up mountains. The three of us are Communication Design graduates from NIFT, New Delhi.
What services do you provide?
We like to tackle the design problems from a logical, honest and aesthetic point of view. We also believe in the ethical treatment of all, whether they are our clients, our partners, our colleagues, animals or nature. We like to slot our services under the larger categories of Identity, Print, Digital, Events and Illustrations.
How do you approach your work?
Our approach is usually very organic. We do not always follow the same process though the starting point is always the same: a carefully crafted and considered project brief from the client. If required, some secondary research on the topic comes next. Usually, research before ideation depends completely on the nature of work and also the time and financial constraints. Next, with a mix of logic and intuition, we dive into conceptualisation followed by execution. We stay abreast of trends and happenings in the design industry so that we are better equipped to handle projects of all kinds with an open mind and skilled hands.
“The beauty of working with Tiffinbox's three musketeers is the attention to detail that they bring to the table. You can hear the gears engaging as Rohit patiently gives shape to your rambling brief even as Sriparna cuts to the core of the issue. And when you hear the assenting Dwarka drawl, you can be sure that everything is going to be all right with the end result. Brainstorming meetings with them are fun outings for us. As producers of a children’s lit fest, we wouldn’t have liked it any other way."
~Venkatesh M, Bookaroo Trust
I need something designed within a day or two. How quick is your turnaround time?
We take at least one week after the project is finalised (once a contract is signed, advance paid and brief provided). We only entertain short turnaround times for our regular clients during real emergencies.
How much do you charge for x, y, z?
Our design fee is subjective to the exact scope of work within any project. Thus, estimating a fee without assessing the project in detail will not be possible. It is for the same reason that we don’t have a rate card.
Have you done projects for abc industry?
The answer can be yes or no but we don’t think it matters. We believe that a process when applied to any design problem, can yield constructive results. We approach our projects with logic and creativity that has let us achieve desired results for all our clients. Not having worked for a certain industry is a disadvantage only if we have to design content or chalk up a marketing plan.
If you as a client have a clear vision for the project then we can come up with relevant design solutions. Take a look at the projects we have showcased on this website to get a sense of the kind of designs we have created, which will help you ascertain whether we are the right fit. A bulk of our work has been for the development sector, and we do enjoy it.
"My experience of working with Tiffinbox has been extremely satisfying. Renewables as a concept, to be made palatable for masses in the long run is a task in itself, but Tiffinbox has been conveying it for several years in a very intelligent and interesting manner. The best part of Tiffinbox is, they offer right kind of guidance relevant to brand image, even outside the purview of their assignment."
~ Meenakshi Sarkar, Hero Future Energies
What projects are you most proud of?
Over the years, we have done several projects that we have loved but every time this question pops up we keep going back to the first project the three of us did together. The climate change posters for CMS Vatavaran film festival was one project where we gave several times more than what we thought we were capable of. It was a period of sleepless nights, hard work, excellent teamwork and lots of friendly banter. The result surprises us even today (of course, in the context of the time and situation they were done in).
We also love the identity for Hamoni and the rebranding for Parag (coming soon). Umm, also our long term work with Bookaroo, BTI and WaterAid. Okay must stop before we list all projects from our portfolio.
What are some projects that you would like to take up in future?
• Illustrating a children’s book/ illustrating a book cover
• Branding an airline or a restaurant
• Signage design for a hospital/station/airport
• Documenting an event through illustrated observations
• Designing at least one typeface (someday!)
"... In the course of designing various elements of and for Parag, we have developed a strong working relationship and a friendship. Parag is not just a client for them. They visualise with us the long term goals, the brand strategy and different possibilities for Parag ... This partnership has worked because each of us is free to express what we think openly, agree to disagree and take ownership of the final product. If it’s a design partner you want, look no further!"
~ Swaha Sahoo, Parag
What kind of projects excite you most?
We really enjoy working on projects that are related to nature, society, environment, literature, sports and adventure. We are open to working on varied types of projects, especially the ones that have some meaningful contribution to people, society and the environment.
Apart from the sector, relationships matter to us. The projects that excite us are the ones where the client is more like a colleague than a boss. A friendly relationship goes a long way in ensuring a seamless and fulfilling process. It is extremely difficult to work on even the best possible project if the client comes with a sense of entitlement.
What drives you to come back to your desk every morning?
Deadlines of course! But at a more subliminal level, it is the anticipation of being able to think creatively and in the process produce work that solves design problems and ultimately makes us as well as our clients happy. Being able to make designs that can have an impact on the world, even if in a small way, is also one of the reasons to keep on doing what we do. We won’t be curing cancer or cleaning the air, but we can tell more people about it and also help raise money to solve grave crises plaguing our world.
And what drives you away from it?
Mountains, especially the high ones, as they have the fewest people. When we are not designing we like to take long, hard walks through deep valleys and high passes of the Himalayas. There, we like to push ourselves. We camp, draw, paint, record, watch clouds, count stars and breathe deeply.
How would you describe Tiffinbox if it were a person?
Tiffinbox, in school, was a backbencher. This wasn’t to escape responsibility but to simply avoid attention. Growing up, she realised that her life brightened during the cold months and she really went into a shell during summer. He is that shy friend who thinks more than he talks (at times it does reverse). He would prefer to stay miles away from anything that has to do with networking, because talking about himself is hard, which is why this answer is in third person. She lives simply and works hard, agonises over carefully drafted emails, fosters animals in need, loves food, loves travel, loves tea, loves coffee and wishes that money wasn’t a thing. He tries to learn new skills not directly linked to his professional pursuits.
Tiffinbox is truly happy in the midst of nature^.
^ This scene is inspired by one of Maurice Sendak’s illustrations in the book ‘Open House for Butterflies’. The book is delightful in its entirety, but this one especially struck a chord with all of us. Take a look at the other pages from the book here.
Common answers to some FAQs
• Are you accepting new work right now?
• Do you need/take advance payment?
• Do you make animated videos?
• Can you send us a few designs based on our brief so that we can be sure we want to work with you? *
• Our budget is low and we don’t have a lot of time, can you design a flyer for us? **
• Can you make something that looks like that?
• I just sent you an email, can you reply to that asap?
• Can we meet today/tomorrow?
• Will you work for free?
• Are you hiring?
• Can we meet today/tomorrow? We will get our dog/cat.
• Our budget is low and we have time, but we promise to give you creative freedom and an interesting brief, can you design a logo for us?
• Our budget is low as we are an animal charity, can you design a poster for us?
* That’s why this website.
** It doesn’t make sense for us to be involved in a project in which everything from the budget to time to scope of work is low.
On most days she would have greeted more dogs than people. She is often berated for a messy workplace and disorganised files but is mostly spared given that her ideas are lightning quick and she works at a breakneck speed. The self-appointed entertainer at Tiffinbox (or annoyer, depends on one's perspective, time of day and distance from deadline) she takes humour more seriously than hygiene. Having fostered more than 15 pups in the last three years, she now campaigns only for adoption of Indian dogs. A compulsive learner and stationery hoarder, she often wonders if she will run out of brain space or shelf space first. Inspite of being the third best illustrator at Tiffinbox, she insists on making most of her work illustrative, hence relying on the other two to help her.
Chancing upon clay recently, has given wings to her love of imagination. She loves to create miniature animals, things and places, and sometimes they all come together to tell a story. For one of her ongoing self-initiated projects, she is writing stories, sculpting clay and setting scenes that are based on 3 unrelated words. There will be 25 stories by the end of the project.
Travelling Teadom is her personal photography project, wherein she clicks pictures of all the cups of tea (or coffee) she drinks on her travels.
Star barista at Tiffinbox, Rohit dreams in milk foams and coffee beans. Apart from daily afternoon coffee, his contribution to Tiffinbox is strong concepts, making invoices and keeping everything organised. Silent and steady, he will often zone out during brainstorming sessions, making the others complain that he is off to sleep, but 4 hours later when he returns with an idea, the others go silent in turn. Internally, he was once honoured with Dedication Award when he received an error message from Photoshop which said that a file he was working on had reached the maximum number of layers possible*. He still retains the award and no one is even close to taking it away.
When not ideating about your future project, he's busy making maps, mental and literal, for his next walk in the mountains. Lino printing is a new found passion, into which he pours much of his weekends and comes out with beautiful single colour prints of nature scenes. He is currently working on two of his dream projects - creating an app for trekkers and a special Himalayan Project (more details later).