Designer Preeti Vyas faced a strange predicament – one that plagues many Indian homes – of growing up in a family full of academic achievers. “My siblings performed quite well in school, while I didn’t,” she shares, with a laugh. “It’s a miracle that I even graduated.”
Preeti was always creatively inclined. “I would write poems, plays and stories. I would create interesting games and make libraries. I even made things out of objects found on the road,” she recalls.
Since the only thing she ever knew then was to be creative, Preeti hoped to join the JJ school of Art upon completing her secondary education. However, to her great disappointment JJ never accepted her application. On a well-wisher’s recommendation she joined the National School of Design (NID), after spending a year at Sophia Polytechnic. “NID was just the right place. It’s a thinking designer’s school. It really liberated me,” explains Vyas, who graduated in graphic design and visual communication.
Soon after, Preeti joined Creative Director Mohammed Khan’s agency. After spending a few years in the corporate world, she gave in to her hippie instincts and lived with a creative community in Cambridge, Boston and later travelled to West Africa to be exposed to the music of the Ewe tribe. “I lived in Togo, a Francophone country, where I also taught children English and art,” she shares. Later she worked for a bit with an Ad agency in New York.
Upon her return to India, Preeti started operating from her family office in Kala Ghoda that was gutted by fire, unfortunately. “I lost my entire portfolio. However, the Taj Group of Hotels, whose magazine I was designing, generously offered me a space to work from,” says Vyas, acknowledged as India’s first commercial designer for publications. Preeti enjoys the privilege of redesigning many publications since, such as Cine Blitz, Filmfare, Femina and Sunday Observer.
In 1997, with the vision to transform the marketplace through strategic integrated design and innovative communication solutions, Preeti founded VGC, one of the top brand and design agencies in the country. “When I started off, I was just one person in the team with a computer then,” she says. Her agency has notched up an enviable client list and established some iconic brands on the way.