Pranshu Maheshwari creates customised invites — of a unique sort. drawing on his experience in the ad world, pranshu specialises in concepts and ideas — not just pretty coloured card paper
In 2009, Pranshu Maheshwari was working with the ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi in Gurgaon, when a close friend, who was soon to be married, approached him for help with an invite. Pranshu’s friend needed an interesting invite for his pre-wedding cocktail party and didn’t want to go with something run-of-the-mill. Having found nothing attention-grabbing enough in the market, he asked Pranshu to turn his creative talents to the project. Pranshu didn’t just create a cute-looking card that gave out the details of the bash — he constructed an entire blind date game that helped the bride and groom’s families interact with each other in a fun way before the wedding rituals.
Soon, an uncle wanted Pranshu to design an invite for his 50th birthday bash; then another friend wanted a first birthday invite created for his son. As Pranshu got greater appreciation from his circle of friends and acquaintances, he realised that there was a need for concept-based invites — invitation cards that weren’t just about pretty colours and fonts and motifs, but an idea that had some meaning to the people who the invites were being made for. So Pranshu set up his own studio in 2010, Inneriver, and has been specialising in creating just such concept cards since then.
Ask Pranshu about how he realised there was a “gap” in the market that was not being addressed, and he says, “The current invite market is highly unorganised and lacks professional touch. Invite manufacturers are always on the look out for the latest invite designs — which they can copy and mass-produce — for so-called ‘print-your-name’ customisation. These invites are just nice looking designs with fancy paper and production techniques. People have no option but to use off-the-shelf, readymade, just-print-your-name invites.”
Pranshu’s “signature” is in the use of a strong central idea in his invites, which then executes in a simple and effective way. For instance, one of his designs for an 18th birthday bash has a box with 17 Coca-Cola bottle caps, and then a Budweiser bottle cap as the 18th. Another invite has been created as a flipbook — so as the reader flips through all the pages in quick succession, the final message emerges. The process clearly reflects Pranshu’s advertising background, as what is being created, is a product uniquely reflective of the client. “Yes, we plunge into people’s heart and create a piece of art.
It’s only after a one-on-one meeting with our clients that we are able to read their mind and heart. We call it our trademark ‘deep-dive’ formula,” says Pranshu, adding, “We do create invites like we create ads. We treat every individual like a brand. It is the same ad agency way of functioning where client brief is evaluated by the agency’s client servicing and planning department and then forwarded to creative department for ideation and execution. We dedicate a lot of time to brainstorming to come up with exciting and engaging ‘hooks’ that are translated into a creative idea (and the invite).”
Since there aren’t too many people doing concept-based invites like these, Pranshu says creative inspiration comes from the kind of work that top advertising and communications agencies like Ogilvy, JWT, Saatchi & Saatchi, Creative Land Asia, Grey etc do. Up next for Pranshu is the formal launch of a wedding invite service. And one thing’s for sure — these won’t be of the regular red or gold, paisley motif sort....