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Why design sells: Impact of design in advertising unpacked at SLDF 2021

Sri Lanka Design Festival presented by AOD becomes the first major virtual platform of the year for the local ad industry to discuss its future; ad veterans and new leaders will discuss how the Sri Lankan advertising industry is evolving, and where design thinking is needed to fulfil an increasingly important role in bridging brands and consumers within challenging market conditions

Magic Mango Junior Art Director Tehani Walpola

Sri Lanka’s Rs. 151 billion advertising industry plays a key role in fuelling the mass

consumption habits that drive the economy. At its core, maintaining the relevance and competitive quality of the ad industry services, is the process of design thinking. Sri Lanka Design Festival’s 2021 edition takes a closer look at this core process at the heart of the industry, and how it will be used in the future, through a virtual talk session involving several design-based advertisers with local and international expertise.

Publicis Groupe – Singapore Art Director Janath Gamage

The session ties into SLDF’s agenda to provide an internationally viewed platform to the local industries that are connected to Sri Lanka’s much needed post-pandemic economic revival. While the festival’s vision focuses on agriculture, craft SMEs and tourism as the key trifactor to drive economic impact across the island, several other industries including advertising are also given a platform to share knowledge and stimulate industry evolution as their services provide essential support frameworks to many other sectors.

‘Impact of Design in Advertising’

AOD Visual Communications and Motion Graphics and Animations Program Manager Chani Perera

The advertising industry focused session will be presented at SLDF 2021 as part of Design Katha—a knowledge series curated by AOD for building discourse on design and related topics with timely relevance. Titled ‘Impact of Design in Advertising,’ the session will delve into some of the most pertinent topics touching on the application of talent and skill, multidisciplinary conversion, the significance of both digital and traditional applications to drive true consumer interaction, and the range of gender in the ad world. The session will provide young professionals in the ad industry as well as design and communication students a highly informative virtual journey into how the role of design in advertising evolved from the early days, and where it is in the present day, to what it will be in the next decade. With some of the most respected names in Sri Lankan advertising disclosing what the industry expectations are for the talent that they hire, the student and young professional participants of the session will be able to understand the metrics of talent evaluations in the immediate future of the business. The talks will give an insight to why design is so significant to advertising in the process of appealing to consumers at an emotional level, and also discuss the implicit role of conscious and responsible design in advertising. A series of virtuals discussions will complement these talks with interesting topics that will stimulate and engage the participants, with interesting immersions into understanding the brand identity of Sri Lankan graphic design, what Sri Lankan ad industry can own in the global landscape as a niche segment that it has excelled at, how to improve the level of global awareness in the local marketing sector, so that the quality of advertising in Sri Lanka will be significantly elevated.

Panel of speakers SLDF has selected the panel of speakers to reflect a range of ages and experience so that the practices and ideas from back then to now can be successfully projected to frame the evolving symbiosis between design and advertising. The panel includes the veteran Sri Lankan creative director Russell Miranda, the Executive Creative Director of now Dentsu Grant Group who has driven the success of the legendary ad house Grant McCann post its inception by the pioneering ad man Reggie Candappa. Russell’s award-winning career of over thirty years’, during which he branded the national airline, and conducted strategic creative work for the likes of UNICEF, had him working within competitive ad industries in Bangkok, Spain and New York. Russell will be joining the panel with Tarisha de Alwis Mediripitiya— another Grant McCann Erikson alum whose remarkable talent had her representing the country at Young Lions Competition in Cannes, and then to become one of the youngest senior position holders in the ad business as the Associate Group Head of Triad Advertising. Tarisha is currently the Co-Founder of TC, a boutique creative and branding consultancy, based in Sri Lanka where her vast experience in designing brand identities, and building collateral and visual communications become even more evident. Rommel Arumugam – the Creative Group Head at Wunderman Thompson – will be joining the panel bringing in a fresh perspective on what fuels creativity and the inherent connections between design and advertising. Rommel’s journey as a young powerhouse in crafting and design in advertising took him from being a junior art director to being a group head of an international agency, giving him an all-encompassing view of the industry; his views on how the ad industry will be particularly interesting in this light, as Rommel’s roots are essentially design based. One of the country’s well-respected advertising brains who has established a reputation for training ad agencies, marketers and start-ups will also join the panel bringing close to 15 years of experience with him—this is Ralston Joseph. Ralston has been lecturing and mentoring students for over eight years now, training young minds to take on careers involving creative writing, ideation, communication strategy, digital thinking, branding and identity. Joining these seasoned experts in the panel is the young visual communication designer Tehani Walpola who represented Sri Lankan talent at Spikes Creative Academy 2019 in Singapore. The new connections and knowledge that Tehani uncovered there, and her inherent talent that led her to achieve an outstanding first class degree in visual communication at AOD and Northumbria University in the UK, went on to become the foundation of her young and promising career as a designer in advertising by joining the dynamic young independent agency Magic Mango; Tehani sitting side by side with industry veterans like Russell, Rommel, Ralston and Tarisha will add an interesting paradigm to design and advertising from the perspective of a young designer who had a very early introduction to some of the best young advertising talent in the world. The panel discussion sessions will be moderated by Janath Gamage—internationally award-winning art director, currently working for Leo Burnett/Publicis Groupe in Singapore. In 2019, Janath was ranked No.38 in the Global Creative Rankings by the Art Directors Club, and was one of the No.1 ranked creative in Sri Lanka according to Campaign Brief Asia. Janath’s brilliant career includes work with global giants like SK-II, The Macallan, Heineken, Tiger and Olay, and awards like Sri Lanka’s first ever D&AD Impact pencil, ADC Global, Adfest, Epica, Communication Arts, and Tambuli, as well as recognitions from Fast Company, Contagious & Ad Age. Janath’s views and ideas about the international ad industry and the role of design, will shape SLDF’s ‘Impact of Design in Advertising’ session as he steers the conversation between the five speakers. Chani Perera, Programme Manager of Visual Communication Dept. at AOD, is a testament to the Visual Communication Design Programme of AOD, past alumni, Graphic Designer, and Educator, Chani is a hub of exceptional talent and expertise with collective experience of 10 years in both industry and academia. Entering advertising as a graduate, to starting an independent practice, to becoming an educator, Chani is constantly exploring the journey of a graphic designer in the visual communication sphere in Sri Lanka. In her efforts of further strengthening the ad-design collaboration, Chani has been a key role in curating, facilitating and content creating this event, ensuring its relevance to the upcoming young graphic designer to the most senior ad veteran who will join in to witness this forum. ‘Impact of Design in Advertising’ virtual session featuring these ad industry professionals will be freely open to audiences in Sri Lanka and the rest of the world. Held on Friday, 15 January at 6 p.m. (IST), this session requires pre-registration online. For more information, contact SLDF on To pre-register for the event, follow the link;

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Daily FT

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