We are happy to present an interview with Simoul Alva, candidate selected for World Skills – Graphic Design Technology who has won 1st Prize in Mini World Skills Competition at Russia. The Mini Skills competition in Russia had competitors from 6 different countries and is considered to be a crucial stage for candidates participating in World Skills.
Simoul was accompanied in Russia by the Lead Trainer Mr. Anthony Lopez, who has been the guiding force behind all her efforts and progress. During the month of August MESC also invited International Trainer Mr. Wolfgang from Italy to train her on specific areas linked to packaging and conceptualization. We wish Simoul the best for making India proud by getting Gold during the World Skills Competition at Abu Dhabi.
How did you get interested in the field of Graphic Design and decide to pursue a career?
I have been drawing since the age of three. My mother always encouraged me to train for art and compete Nationally when I was in School as well. I decided to pursue to it because of my school drawing teacher. Her son was a student at the National Institute of Design and I was intrigued and soon drawn into this almost parallel universe where we just focussed on looking at things a lot more curiously.
What are some of the challenges you faced in while you were learning and mastering various skills in Graphic Design?
The skill of observation and perseverance. This has slowly come after a lot of training at college, a semester in France, observing people while I travel and reading a lot. I still have so much to learn but keeping myself open and seeking out mentors actively has helped in the process.
What is skill you’ve specialised in, what technologies have you picked up?
I have specialised in Graphic Design. My journey with WorldSkills helped understand the medium of print a lot better. I am grateful to all the mentors who trained me in this process to not just develop my dexterity but also my aesthetic while producing Graphic Design artefacts at such a high speed.
Personally, I am still exploring what is it in Graphic Design that really drives me because I’ve always looked at projects and assignments from a solution point of view. So it never bothered me to use materials or technology often for the first time with Graphic Design as a guiding hand.
Tell us about how you are preparing for the World Skills competition and your experience at Mini Skills Competition at Russia.
My preparation for the World Skills is mainly to beat myself each time I attempt a test project. Do better than myself in time, my knowledge of software and my aesthetic of course. My preparation was multidimensional where I sometimes threw myself into the world of packaging and printing technology with Pragati Offset Private Ltd and sometimes I would find myself lost in the process of trying to make a page come alive with typography, composition and contrast during my time at Itu Chaudhari design. I am also grateful to MESC, NSDC and my expert Mr. Anthony Lopez for bringing Mr. Wolfgang Toechterle (previously Italy’s expert and CEO of MediaMax) to India to training on the technical front.
He was the one who got us invited to the Mini Championship at Russia. My experience at the Mini Championship was a huge learning curve in respect to understanding the environment of the competition. It was great competing against so many talented competitors and practising the WorldSkills decorum under the guidance of the Chief Expert, Mr. Markus. I learned a lot about where I still needed to sharpen myself to be better for the finals.
Tell us about the role of your trainers and mentors in your journey so far.
My expert Mr. Anthony Lopez developed a collaborative program with people he believed in could teach me the best in their area of expertise. He ensured that I had access to some of the finest, experienced institutions and individuals of the country. Each week of my training was an improvement from the previous just because of the input I received from the team at Pragati Offset Printers, Hyderabad, Richa Bhargava (Team Lead and Partner at ICD), Itu Chaudhari (Founder at ICD) and Lisa Rath (Principal and Partner at ICD) at Itu Chaudhari Design, New Delhi, the entire team at Lopez Design, New Delhi and Mr. Wolfgang Toechterle, Italy.
I am grateful to my institute, The National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, for allowing me and supporting me at each step to be a part of such an immersive and enriching journey. I would also like to thank my mentors at Codesign, New Delhi, Mohor Ray Dahiya and Rajesh Dahiya who I trained under as part of my third year internship. I am grateful to my faculty at the Graphic Design department at NID, Mr. Tarun Deep Girdher, Miss Tridha Gajjar and our the director, Mr. Pradumnya Vyas for helping me become capable enough to apply to WorldSkills India.
Lastly, I am indebted to Mr. Anthony Lopez and his team for seeing something in me and honing it to reach this far. There is no one more dedicated or sincere to my development than him. He has worked with me across timezones, medical emergencies, countless weekends and treated me like his family.