Staff Reporters
Dec 21, 2023

Creative Minds: Nabeel ur Rehman wishes he knew his grandparents

Meet the art director who loves analog and has a knack for singing on the spot.

Creative Minds: Nabeel ur Rehman wishes he knew his grandparents
In Creative Minds, we give APAC creatives a long list of questions, from serious to silly, and ask them to pick 11 to answer. (Why 11? Just because.) Want to be featured?

Name: Nabeel ur Rehman

Origin: Delhi

Places lived/worked: Delhi NCR

Pronouns: He/him


  • Art director, Dentsu Creatives, 2022-present  
  • Junior art director, Thumbpin, 2020-2022

1. How did you end up being a creative?

I attribute my current standing not to a single day or individual, but rather to the collective influence of numerous people and experiences that have guided me on this path. From an early age, my journey was shaped by the influence of my father, a seasoned graphic designer who introduced me to computers during my formative years. And then I eagerly delved into Photoshop, honing my skills at just 12 years of age.

Growing up, it was the guidance of teachers that played an integral part in getting me into advertising. Subsequently, my tenure at my initial professional engagement proved to be a pivotal learning experience, affording me the opportunity to master the art of generating innovative ideas and gaining invaluable insights. Each of these milestones has indelibly contributed to my growth, nurturing my professional acumen and shaping the person I am today.

2. What's your favourite piece of work in your portfolio?

I value every piece of work I have done for the knowledge and experience I gained from them. Each creation has its own uniqueness, so it is hard for me to pick a single favourite. However, if I had to choose, I would say “Golu to Bachha Hai” stands out from the rest. The scripting process was meticulous, we had to carefully select the actor, and the shoot and editing took six months. Remarkably, we achieved this feat within a budget of only Rs. 50 (less than $10. The project showcases resourcefulness, perseverance, and creative ingenuity.

GOLU TO BACCHA HAI from Nabeel Rehman on Vimeo.

3. What's your favourite piece of work created by someone else?

One particular campaign that has left an indelible impression on me is the Barbie ad campaign.  Imagine the possibilities when the title is "You Can Be Anything." This remarkable campaign evoked a jaw-dropping reaction as it unfolded with a captivating twist. With its perfect insight and impactful tagline, the ad beautifully narrates a story that effortlessly captivates the viewer's attention. The meticulous execution and attention to detail showcased in this campaign have solidified its place in my memory as a prime example of effective and engaging storytelling.

4. What or who are your key creative influences?

Well, "it depends," allow me to elaborate. I don't believe in confining myself to a specific individual for inspiration; rather, I hold admiration for the collective body of work produced by talented individuals. Anything that demonstrates excellence and quality has the potential to influence me.

In terms of ideation, I greatly admire the work of Nasheet Shadani, who consistently showcases remarkable creativity. As for execution, my influences span across numerous artists across a diverse range of styles and techniques. 

5. What's on your bucket list?

Winning a Cannes Lions, holidaying in Europe, visiting Mecca with my family.

I never had the chance to meet my grandparents, so I don’t know what it’s like to be around older people. But over the years, I have witnessed the graceful aging of one of my respected teachers, “Zaidy sir”. He is like a grandfather to me. I feel a deep appreciation and gratitude for him, and I wish to include this beloved mentor in my future plans.

7. What career did you think you'd have when you were a kid?

I always called myself a soldier, even though I didn’t know where this idea came from. But whenever I said this, I saw a bright smile on my father’s face, giving me a strong confidence that I could make it happen.

8. Do you have any secret or odd talents?

The ability to spontaneously transform a melodic song on any situation. It goes beyond merely singing popular tunes, as I possess the unique knack of converting my spoken words into a harmonious composition.

9. What food can you not live without? What food would you be happy to never taste again?

I used to think that I couldn’t live without haleem, a delicious dish. But that changed when I went to Hyderabad and ate haleem for 10 days in a row.

On the 11th day, I had a simple but tasty meal of daal chawal, and it felt like a feast. It was an amazing experience that made me rethink my food choices.

But that day, I also had a terrible mix of flavors that I hated. The awful combination of choley bhature, sambhar ki chutney, and pomegranate milk juice, made me sick. I still remember that disaster, and how it showed me how different tastes can be.

10. What app could you absolutely not live without? What app do you wish you could delete?

The only things I need to survive are oxygen, water and food. I can live without any apps, but I find WhatsApp very useful for communicating with ease.

On the other hand, there is an app that I think is pointless and annoying: UC Browser. Luckily, it doesn’t come with most phones, so you can avoid the hassle and mess.

Also, whenever I get a new phone, I delete some social media apps, like Snapchat or TikTok, because they waste too much time and distract me from more important things.

11. Analog or digital?

As a 90s kid, I have seen the amazing change from analog to digital technologies. This has changed the way I see and interact with the world. I mostly prefer the digital world because it is fast and efficient, but I also enjoy the analog world.

Using analog devices gives me a chance to slow down and appreciate the physical experience. Even though I like digital technologies, the charm of analog is fascinating.

By combining the benefits of the digital era with the beauty of analog, I can have a rich and diverse outlook, allowing me to adapt to the changing technology while keeping the classic appeal of the analog world.

Campaign Asia

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