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Bhavya Ranjan | Solving social puzzles using design

Bhavya Ranjan is a passionate programmer and a skilled artist rolled into one person. Here, she lets us in on her childhood influences, viewpoints as an artist, and hopes for society.

Bhavya Ranjan | Solving social puzzles using design

Bhavya’s professional interests might strike many as paradoxical. In her own words, “I often get asked how I harbour strong passions for both coding and design. Many people identify these as opposites, but I beg to differ. Coding has more to do with logic than maths, and designing demands one to meet expectations rather than follow a technique. And for both, I focus on the expected outcome and logical connections.”

As she recalls her childhood spent amidst a well-loved garden in her ancestral house in Ranchi, her nighttime ritual of solving her grandfather's puzzles, and her passion for Bharatanatyam, her contrasting interests stand justified.

“It was while creating posters for college societies that I recognised my appreciation of art and culture. When my posters kept getting selected for display, I realised that designing was my forte.”

The posters Bhavya has designed so far celebrate her flexibility. The poster for a dance school is a pop of red and a zoomed-in background of anklets. Meanwhile, the poster of a project seeking different human narratives sports freehand-style drawings of ladles - echoing the phrase “cooking up tales” - against a plain white background. “I do not follow a specific technique or shortcut while designing. I focus on the purpose of the design rather than on my personal bias toward a particular style,” explains Bhavya.

Bhavya’s social commitment found purpose when she joined Dristi, an NGO that works with rural communities. At Dristi, she cherished the opportunity to utilise her passion for socially-responsible endeavours. Soon, the young girl from Ranchi packed her life in a suitcase and shifted to Bengaluru, where she currently pursues a PGDP in Design Computation.

Bhavya has a way of creating designs that immediately exude the intended mood of the poster. Everything from the font to the smallest of elements is a deliberate choice.

Bhavya recently worked with aikyam fellows as a design intern, a stint that stands out for her. “The best thing about aikyam is the importance the team places on self-expression,” says Bhavya. “Thanks to the detailed feedback, I was able to chisel my approach and try new styles. The resources I could access at aikyam gave me a sense of the executional aspects of design. And not for a minute did I find the work too demanding or exhausting. At aikyam, I found a safe space that motivated my experimental nature. The social impact aspect spoke to the values that my grandfather instilled in me.”

Bhavya's work for WeLive reflects a judicious use of colour and design elements. The design grabs attention to keywords as well as reveals relevant information without crowding the poster with content.

Bhavya feels that people often assign the work of bettering society to others. “In our incessant hurry, we forget to even pause and look around,” she says. “To urge everyone to slow down and take a breath, I recently designed a photobook that documents the treasures of nature around my place in Bengaluru. As it turned out, it took the residents in the area a bunch of photographs to notice what was right before them.”

The thrills and travails of Bhavya’s design journey have pushed her to tackle challenges. Assuming the air of explaining the answer to a riddle, as she must have done while unlocking her grandfather’s puzzles, she says, “The biggest challenge I face is the occasional difficulty in articulating my ideas into a coherent design. My solution is to wield a pen and paper, jot down my thoughts, and assign certain elements to each keyword. One could say I fight my creative block armed with a moodboard.”

Her ability to carve a middle path between rigid technicality and unchecked artistic spontaneity underlines the discipline in her work. Not being one to overindulge in romanticising art, Bhavya prefers creating over leaving a larger-than-life signature behind. “I always find myself more delighted while I am working rather than when I’m looking at the result,” she says. “More often than not, I pay little heed to praise and end up figuring out improvements I could have made to the design.” Her humility is the very factor that drives her forward along a path lined with pit stops to pause and look around. To aspiring programmer-cum-designers, Bhavya has this to say: never stop exploring and experimenting!

At aikyam, Bhavya helped WeLive Foundation create various design elements (from pamphlets, leaflets, and menu cards to posters and a store name board) for WeLive Organics, an organic food store operated by youth from orphanages under the NGO. Bhavya is eager to contribute to meaningful projects as a designer, and you can connect with her here.

Haneen Naseer profile image Haneen Naseer
Literature, travelling, cats, old books with yellowing pages. When I'm not chattering uncontrollably or losing my way in a new town, I try to write.