fresh thinking

World Music Day

Salomi Shah, 21st June 2019

The unspoken language


In most cultures music making is a much appreciated talent. Since childhood, I was exposed to English and Hindi songs. In the last few years, I’ve explored instrumental tracks. They help me focus.


All songs evoke different feelings within each of us. When I came across the song "Now we are free’ by Lisa Gerrard, it caught my attention. I immediately looked up the lyrics, and all music blogs said it’s just gibberish - a made up language.


The same thing happened when I started listening to Sigur Ros, an Icelandic band. Some songs, the language in which they were singing had no meaning. But the feeling they evoked in me was deep.


They use voice modulation and the background music to convey a message, a meaning to the song, an emotion we feel from a song.


Moved by that, I did a little research and read interviews with Lisa Gerrard and Jonsi of Sigur Ros. Both spoke of singing in ‘the language of the Heart’.


I relate to that. I could never explain my design language. I would just let it flow naturally. There was no written rationale, and yet there was meaning to it. In design also, there are many languages. For many projects a designer has to be multi-lingual. But there is that one language which appeals to you the most, which comes organically to you.


In a decade as a designer I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve noticed and consciously made efforts to hone my skills. It’s multiple years later when I’m designing for corporate giants that I have found my language.


I love designing new things from scratch. It’s life giving. You get a concept. You nurture it, put in the right amount of water, and see it grow in front of you.


Design, like languages, has rules. To be honest, I was never fond of rules. Few are. As much as I see the need to have brand guidelines or design application, I found it to be a little claustrophobic. As a dreamer I have trouble with guidelines, even if they are defined by me.


A lot of people ask designers and writers what inspired them.


For me, when asked, like Lisa Gerrard, I design in the language of the heart - an unspoken language.

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