Branding legends ask 'What If?' at Kyoorius Designyatra 2014

Ahead of India's biggest design conference, we speak to founder Rajesh Kejriwal about reuniting Wally Olins and Michael Wolff post-split, and more.

In just 11 days, India's biggest design conference – Kyoorius Designyatra – will kick off in Goa. Themed 'What If', the ninth iteration of the three-day event continues its quest to bring together the world's most radical creative minds, with branding legends Ivan Chermayeff and Michael Wolff topping an impressive speaker lineup of leading designers, strategists and creatives.

Expect debate, discussion and design inspiration in abundance as the industry's brightest lights collate in India on 11 September to share valuable insights with a 1,300-strong audience at Goa's Grand Hyatt venue.

This year, Computer Arts has partnered with Kyoorius Designyatra to bring you all the latest news from Goa – so stay tuned. We'll be bringing you daily news via Creative Bloq, plus exclusive interviews and in-depth analysis of the design trends you need to know in issue 233 of Computer Arts magazine, on sale 16 October.

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As the clock ticks closer to September's conference, we took five mintues with Kyoorius founder and CEO Rajesh Kejriwal to find out more about what's in store for #KDY14…

What's your role in Designyatra 2014?

I'm Rajesh Kejriwal, founder and CEO of Kyoorius. Kyoorius is a not-for-profit initiative by Transasia Fine Papers. Transasia has been marketing and distributing fine papers for more than 15 years and we have a team of 250 globally. I'm involved in all aspects of both sides of the company, as well as other businesses in the Kyoorius Group.

What's new for Designyatra 2014?

Designyatra has a different theme every year. Last year it was 'Create Change', and this year it's 'What If?'. We've decided to pose a question to the creative community, and shake up the status quo. What does it take to imagine possibilities where others see obstacles? We're asking people to explore how the world 'could' be, beyond how it is.

This year we are excited about a number of side sessions that will be conducted alongside the talks. Hyper Island have created a workshop especially for KDY delegates. Another session will be about understanding the laws, such as IP, that designers often take very lightly but can greatly impact their work.

The lineup is fantastic. Which speaker are you most looking forward to seeing?

We spend a lot of time curating the speaker line up, and we're excited about each and every one of them. This year we've been really lucky to get so many incredible speakers together – we know what a commitment it is to take time out and fly halfway across the world.

If I had to pick one person it would be Ivan Chermayeff. He is such a warm personality and it will be incredible to hear about his life experiences.

How did Designyatra first come about?

In 2006, the design fraternity were isolated and, I must add, quite insecure. They needed a platform which would bring them together, which would allow for meaningful discussions amongst themselves and give them the confidence that they were an industry – and an industry that can help create positive change. This fraternity also needed global exposure, inspiration and more importantly for the young blood, a place to understand what they can do; where they see their future.

Before we started Kyoorius, I was in the paper business (Transasia Fine Papers) and design was a growing passion for me. I wanted to build relationships within this community and change the level of conversations I could have with them. Instead of being just another paper vendor, I wanted to become a friend and facilitator.

How has it evolved over the last few years?

What started out as: "Let's do this one event and see what happens" has now become one of the largest and best curated conferences in the world. Initially, we were very focused on design but as the creative community in India has evolved, so have we, and you can expect to see a varied mix of disciplines and viewpoints coming together in one place at Designyatra.

What's been your favourite moment ever from Designyatra?

It's hard to pick just one, there have been so many. In 2009, we brought Wally Olins and Michael Wolff together in Goa for the first time since their split in the 80s, and that was truly a rare and poignant moment.

Why choose Goa to host an international creative conference?

We like to think of Kyoorius Designyatra as the perfect getaway for any creative person looking to recharge on inspiration and new ideas. It's a way to bring people away from the cities, their places of work, homes, commitments and comfort zone. Goa is the perfect place for this. The culture and atmosphere contribute so much towards creating the fun, relaxed mood that Designyatra is known for.

What are you most excited about in the run-up to KDY14?

As is the case every year, it's watching all that planning that's been going on for almost nine months finally come to fruition. The last 10 days are an adrenaline rush as we try to get all the details right and push ourselves to make the KDY experience even better than the last year.

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Julia Sagar is a commissioning editor and writer for Creative Bloq, Computer Arts, net, 3D World and IFX magazines. Tweet her @JuliaSagar