Reflect and Present: My journey as a Graphic Designer
I grew up in Mumbai where I did my undergrad in Bachelors of Commerce at Jai Hind College while I was studying to become a Chartered Accountant. After two years, I realized I wanted to do something different. My friend who was studying Graphic Design always spoke to me about the work she was doing and I loved listening to her talk about it. I decided to start studying at Ecole Intuit Lab, Mumbai where I got my Diploma in Digital Design and Visual Communication. What I love about Graphic Design is that every day feels different and exciting because you’re always thinking about new ideas and looking for new inspiration.
At Ecole Intuit Lab the style of teaching was unique, the work culture was collaborative, and the freedom to express ideas was encouraged. The college taught me how important research is and how to conceptualize my ideas. The research involved reading different articles and looking at other designers for inspiration. I realized that a lot of inspiration came from things that I have already done in my life, like watching a movie or reading a book, or observing things around me. I think this is why a designer’s mind never stops thinking. In college, I studied subjects like Branding, Editorial Design, Typography, Digital Design, and Packaging. We used to have workshops where there would be a visiting faculty every year. The workshop I enjoyed the most was by Sarah Handyman, where I learned about the deeper meaning of typography.
While studying at Ecole Intuit Lab, I did two internships. One was at Engrave, Mumbai where I learned how to work with different materials like wood, acrylic, and canvas. I did my second internship for four months at W&Cie, Paris where I worked mainly on a lot of Branding projects. I met people from a completely different culture who spoke a language that I didn’t. Although I had studied French, communicating was a challenge. Nevertheless, I grew accustomed to the style of working and came to realize that design is a language of its own. I could communicate with everyone and we understood each other through the medium of design. While I was living and working in Paris, I also traveled around Europe every other weekend. Travelling inspired me and changed how I see the world which was then reflected in the way I design.
After graduating, I worked as a Freelancer for a few months mainly with startups. One of the first logos I ever designed was for a restaurant, The American Joint, where I got the opportunity to work on all the possible applications from menu card designs to social media. I also did an editorial design project where I made a coffee table book for SaffronStays. Each of their vacation homes is unique and has a different story to tell. I got the chance to work alongside copywriters, photographers, and an illustrator. I realized I enjoyed working on Editorial Design projects the most. My inspiration for grids and layouts has been Josef Müller-Brockmann and his book, Grid Systems.
I then started working at Nykaa Fashion as a Design Executive, where I designed newsletters, website banners, landing pages, animations, and social media posts. It was a great learning experience to work alongside copywriters, brand managers, and the marketing team. I began to understand how design is affected by multiple aspects like copywriting, user experience, and marketing. I also realized that working on the same thing every day is challenging and I would face a creative block. I learned that the best way to overcome was to look at more inspiration or take a completely different approach.
After working for a few years, I decided I wanted to challenge myself more and learn more about design in a different country. Graphic Design around the world is the same but still different and is impacted by the culture of the country. People perceive colors and understand words differently. I enjoy studying and working as a graphic designer because of how vast and multi-faceted it is. I believe that the knowledge that I can gain as a designer is never-ending and there is always something more to learn. In March 2020, I got into Boston University for a Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. I was so excited and was looking forward to it.
I started studying at Boston University in September 2020. This course has impacted my work in unexpected ways. I learned how to create my own visual systems and how making 50 iterations for the same thing could push my design further. I started working with illustrations, exploring more color palettes, and experimenting with type. I am looking forward to next semester that involves a lot of content writing, a skill that I need to develop. I want to start designing outside of my comfort zone, by working with experimental grids, hand-lettering, illustrations, and layering.
Graphic Design has had a direct effect on my personality. It’s more than just about designing, it’s been a lifestyle that I look forward to every morning. I love working on projects from different industries and learning about new companies and technology. It feels so exhilarating to see the impact graphic design has on the world.