Harsh Purohit on design as a tool for solutions, not the cherry on the cake

Conversations on the Contrary: STIR presents a series of unboxed conversations from KDY 2019, discussing contrarian thinking in design, its challenges and potential rewards.

by Zohra Khan Dec 17, 2019

For brand strategist and copy writer Harsh Purohit, the voice of a contrarian is to stick to one’s own uniqueness and keep at it.

A mechanical engineer with an MBA in Marketing, he is a wordsmith by heart who often photographs to channel his creative nerve. His Mumbai Series – a personal project and an outlet for his dry humour – is a meeting of the two hats. “It’s my take on documenting Mumbai while traversing from Colaba to airport and airport to Colaba as I do that trip like thrice in a week…and then overlaying a context on the photo which is fictional,” he says.

04 mins watch Conversations on the Contrary with Harsh Purohit | STIRworld
Conversations on the Contrary with Harsh Purohit Video Credit: Courtesy of STIRworld

A loner in the company of couples, friends in the middle of a selfie moment, couples seated within palm’s distance embracing their pocket of solitude or a family huddled under a bunch of umbrellas protecting itself from the endless pouring, every frame says a million words but Purohit prefers to say the least. Filter through his feed on Instagram and you will know.

“A couple of years ago, it started as I needed something to do while sitting in the Uber on this long drive, and thought why don’t I exercise my copywriting muscle and make a comment on society,” he adds.

Being from an engineering background, Purohit believes that design is essentially about problem solving. For him, to seek only delight out of design is to just ask for the cherry on the icing. Design’s role today, he believes, is far more than a ‘consume-be happy-forget about it’ state of mind. It is the cake where the capacity of design to impart change lies.

Purohit, the founder of Vadodara-based sustainability advisory Cognito, has also played a vital role in helping large multi-business conglomerates shift their sustainability approach from mere compliance to strategic competitive advantage. He wants to make sustainability in design as intrinsic to design as visual appeal and user experience.

A contrarian himself, Purohit advises young designers to draw from the moments they have been a part of and the stories that they live. On the personal front, he powers through roadblocks by consuming as much sensory stimulation as he can to feed the thought process and continue remaining curious.

(Watch out for more design contrarians in the series, 'Conversations on the Contrary')

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About Author

Zohra Khan

Zohra Khan

A formal education in architecture combined with an avid interest in architecture journalism and design criticism led Khan to professionally venture into writing and research. She has worked in design communication for more than two years, generating content for mondo*arc india journal. When not writing, she kicks back by dabbling on social media for STIR.

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