10 Indian Graphic Designers

by Rohini Wahi

India has always had a fantastically joyous history of graphic design, from fluorescent painted signs advertising goods on the walls of the smallest villages, to the 1950s practice of auto-rickshaw owners adorning their vehicles in everything from flowers, birds — even popular actresses. And, of course, I can’t forget the kitsch, hand-painted Bollywood movie posters made iconic.

As I travel home to India each year, I love watching the graphic landscape change and evolve. Clever contemporary airplane literature carries the promise of delights on the other side, dynamic new posters dominate the highways, and super cute food packaging references India’s quirks, history and humor. It is a joy to drink it all in.

Here, we take a look at 10 Indian graphic designers — a new generation of global talent drawing from different cultures and varied influences, but still reveling in their Indian roots. —Rohini

10 Indian Graphic Designers on Design Sponge
Indian designer Ranganath Krishnamani's vintage travel-inspired posters celebrate heritage sites around India and "represent the glory and spirit of India." I love how the epic proportions of the monuments are enhanced and how he has captured the personality/narrative of each site with its own unique font. An ongoing project Ranganath is continually updating with new Indian destinations.
10 Indian Graphic Designers
For me, Ranganath Krishnamani's work has something of a Wes Anderson style about it -- this city in the series is magical and luminous, shown celebrating the Festival of Lights.
Meera Sethi is a Canadian visual artist whose humorous works flip the script on street style with her work inspired by traditional Indian fashion. Recent work includes "Upping the Aunty," celebrating the style of the South Asian “aunty” with her vibrant artwork, a Tumblr featuring inspiring Aunties around the world, and the new "Upping the Aunty" coloring book!
Reminiscent of Yellow Submarine-era Beatles artworks, Saif Chowdhury's eccentric, imaginative and colorful work revolves around fantasy worlds filled with beautiful scenery and unique characters. He draws his weird and wonderful inspiration from Korean, Japanese and Indian shows.
10 Indian Graphic Designers on Design Sponge
You could get completely lost in the portfolio of Mumbai-based designer Pallavi Sen and her intricate pattern making -- elaborate, undulating pattern carved on linoleum, screen printed wallpaper and fabrics, and just lovely little visual experiments like her intricate Pattern Pots project.
10 Indian Graphic Designers on Design Sponge
One of India’s leading visual artists, Lokesh Karikar makes a statement with thought, wit and simplicity. His images of ubiquitous Indian objects adorned on posters and trendy t-shirts are striking in their minimalism. This design for notebooks and t-shirts shows a Mango seller tat a sunny Sunday market.
10 Indian Graphic Designers on Design Sponge
This simple and mesmerising artwork 'Colour Combs' also by Lokesh Karikar celebrates indian markets, bursting at the rims with many plastic solutions to simple needs. I just love how all the hues layer and blur together making new colours as they do. You can see his work available to buy here
10 Indian Graphic Designers on Design Sponge
I've always loved the beautifully crude illustrations found within the pages of Hindu mythologies. An artist living and working in Austin, TX, Manik Raj Nakra revisits these ancient Indian tales and puts a wonderfully contemporary and subversive spin on them by mixing a modern and traditional color palette and graphic forms.
Lovely little irreverent watercolors by Manik Raj Nakra -- this one is called "Kill Me Kiss Me First."
10 Indian Graphic Designers on Design Sponge
Traditional Indian notions of hospitality and welcome symbols, combining popular flowers and the Namaste gesture, morph into vibrant pop art posters from Mumbai-based Mira Malhotra.
Mira Malhotra also has a wedding stationery brand Kiss Papeterie that puts a modern spin on Indian aesthetics.
10 Indian Graphic Designers on Design Sponge
I found it so hard to just pick a few of Manju Waldia's intricate and folksy narratives to share with you. Delicately illustrated scenes featuring half-human and half-animal creatures are layered with pattern and soft colors. Perfection!
10 Indian Graphic Designers on Design Sponge
Manju Waldia's "A friendly game of tug of war."
10 Indian Graphic Designers on Design Sponge
Surasti Puri’s watercolor patterned worlds span landscapes, whimsical moments depicting women and children nestled amongst lush foliage, and divers peeking out from behind layers of pattern. But there is something about these pure, watery prints of hers that mesmerize.
10 Indian Graphic Designers on Design Sponge
I love all of Delhi-based Shweta Malhotra’s bold graphics -- like a repeat pattern of giant, sprouting green mung beans and a poster of nostalgic Indian items -- but what I really love, despite not being a fashion girl, is her minimal series featuring iconic Indian starlets in vintage outfits. This piece is of one of the most famous starlets, known only as "Rekha." So cool.

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  • Interesting work, especially Manik Raj Nakra’s. Shweta Malhotra’s illustration style is very similar to the brilliant Malika Favre’s.

  • Thank you for sharing the beautiful work of these artists. I do think I would call them Illustrators though. Many Graphic Designers can’t illustrate, and many Illustrators can’t design. Sorry to nitpick, but there’s quite a difference between these two professions.

    • As a graphic designer, I disagree, many of us *can* draw! BUT, traditionally, graphic design is defined by the marriage of type AND image. I was so excited to click through only to see about 3 or 4 of the images were what I would classify as design work (though the illustrations are beautiful!). Please try again—I would love to be exposed to some awesome graphic designers from India!

  • a nice collection. Loved Ranganath Krishnamani’s vintage travel-inspired posters :D

  • Thanks for this piece – it’s always a little self-legitimizing to see 1) fellow graphic designers and 2) fellow Indians creating such beautiful things!

  • Much obliged to you for sharing the excellent work of these specialists. I do think I would call them Illustrators however. Numerous Graphic Designers can’t outline, and numerous Illustrators can’t plan. Sorry to learn, however there’s a significant contrast between these two callings.

  • Really all the designers works look great..
    Thanks for sharing the list of graphic designers around the India..

    I think still we have few more designers with the latest technology updates..