Duration: Four years.
Location: Munich, Germany.
Education: BFA in visual communications and graphic design from National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India.
Career path: I studied at a school called Mirambika in my hometown of New Delhi, India, until the eighth grade, where learning was more of a discovery than just lines marked with highlighters in a textbook. We’d make bridges over ponds to learn about architecture, go to France to learn French, and do pottery and carpentry in between math and science. Because I was exposed to the creative disciplines at the same time I was learning my ABCs, I realized early on how much I loved working with my hands. Since then, I’ve worked in every discipline that could stretch my creativity, from type design at the Indian Type Foundry, to branding and publication design at Codesign, to designing user interfaces and 3-D animation at design firm Struckby, to driving innovation in the digital experience of e-commerce fashion brand Zalando, and now, creating impactful design as a communication designer at IDEO Munich.
Favorite project: My college project, The Beauty of Scientific Diagrams, where I fused the initials of scientists’ names with diagrams of their inventions or discoveries. This project will always be my favorite just for the rush I felt throughout those two months of creating it. The most challenging aspect was figuring out how to distort the diagrams to fit each letter so that it wasn’t rendered useless; so if a physical model was made in front of you, it would work as efficiently as the original diagram. Since this project, I’ve fallen in love with the practice of creating meaning by finding relationships between seemingly unrelated things—every object, person and concept on the planet is connected by invisible strings and suddenly you trip over one and that string becomes visible. The invisible string ties this nonpictoral composition to memories of buying butterscotch ice cream for my mum, tasting my first macaron and the smell of vintage stores in Berlin. Apple Japan got in touch with me and asked me to do something similar to evoke the feelings of seasons. I created illustrations to accompany a series of stories called “Best of January” and “Best of February,” which were featured on the Apple Japan App Store’s Today tab.
Work environment: I have only recently joined IDEO Munich; however, based on my experience from my first day, the community brings the space to life—with the teams in the studio and the clients we work with. While the workspace is well designed, it’s also an open invitation to all of us, from different backgrounds and geographies, to contribute to it and make it our own. The collaborative culture at IDEO extends past the physical space; you can tell what project is going on by how the office space adapts to the project and people working on it.
Approach: In my work, I create with an intention to make people feel. Design is a lot more than a job for me—I always make time for personal projects, even if it kills me.
Philosophy: I constantly remind myself that there is no one way to do something right, and this makes me braver. Ideas come from training the brain’s muscles to prevent falling into a familiar groove.
Anything else? Lately, I’ve been drawn to 3-D graphics because you’re essentially whipping up surreal spaces and objects out of thin air. Sometimes, it makes me feel like a wizard. There are so many concepts that can surface just from knowing the capabilities of a tool. Switching between tools in my overall practice also rewards me because I surprise myself with what I end up making. The last tool I’ve dabbled in or the last project I’ve finished always influences the next one in some way.