Karishma Kusurkar is a multidisciplinary designer who runs Karishma’s World, producing physical objects such as games, accessories, stationery and books, digital media including podcasts, illustration, graphic and social design and service design including event design.
We spoke to Karishma about her projects in 2019 and her experience running a Kickstarter Campaign.
Tell us about your journey, how did you start Karishma's World?
Having lived and studied in London, I decided to move back to Belfast in 2010. When I had first studied design, it was always with the view of working with a design agency or a company, but after working for a few companies and completing my MFA in Multidisciplinary Design in 2014, I decided to set up my own business.
I started Karishma’s World straight after my Masters, and initially focusing on print and accessories as it felt like the natural direction to go in with my background in digital textiles. Since then, I have adapted the business to becoming more multidisciplinary and I work project-to-project which means I might design a game for one project and something in a different area of design for the next one. I also work on a mix of self-led projects, client-led work and collaborations.
It's been a year since you released your game Espionage, what did you learn from the experience?
Creating my card game Espionage was definitely a milestone in my career because it helped me understand a few totally new areas of design and business: the two main ones being how to create games from scratch and how to run a successful crowdfunding campaign. What I loved about creating Espionage was coming up with the concept and working on the design elements - game play, illustration, merchandise and packaging.
What I found the most challenging was running the crowdfunding campaign. To raise funds to make the game, I ran a Kickstarter campaign for a period of a month, and alongside this I continued developing the game. Self-promotion doesn’t come naturally to me, and it was something I had to do over and over again for a long period of time which I found slightly awkward and stressful!
It was incredibly rewarding - no pun intended - getting fully funded and my friends and family were a huge support throughout. If I were to do the campaign over, I would only set up the Kickstarter campaign when the game was fully ready to go and would give myself more time to comfortably develop the game as during Espionage I set myself a pressured deadline to make and deliver in time for Christmas.
What's one of the proudest moments in your career?
There isn’t one specific moment I think of as a “proudest”, but it’s the feeling I get whenever I take a risk and make something new and then it pays off and is valued and appreciated. I am in my element when this involves being a part of a team as then you get to share the enjoyment.
What projects are you currently working on?
In 2019, my main project focus will be on A Tiny History and Pick & Picks.
A Tiny History is a project about retelling history through the roles visionaries played. It is a collaborative, bold, visual project in partnership with Kylie Chan Illustration and has been funded by the Artists’ International Development Fund. As part of this, I will be travelling to Hong Kong in March to learn more about the creative scene and to work and collaborate with Kylie. The project will be showcased this summer in Belfast and Hong Kong.
Pick & Picks is a startup idea that I began developing last year, initially as new tools for musicians to play with, but it has evolved more recently to becoming a digital platform for musicians to collaborate on and get creative. I developed the initial idea further on Y Combinator’s Startup School 2018 and have started focusing more on the UX element of the project as well as how to commercialise it it in 2019.