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Student Spotlight: Vaishnavi Mahendran

Vaishnavi Mahendran is a student in the Graphic Design program who was enrolled in the Color Theory: Color + Culture class this past Fall. She is already developing a distinct style and purpose in her work, creating symbols from elements of visual culture that simultaneously engage in dry and empathetic critique.  Vaishnavi understands color’s capacity as a tool for communication and how it can function as part of her visual language.  The following are samples of work from her Color + Culture class portfolio.

Assignment: Record Cover REDesign. Students were asked to create a new cover for a record they listen to with the added challenge of using only the hue of red, with consideration to its various visual and emotional qualities to express the movement of the music or mood of the record.  Vaishnavi used Reds to reinvent the Blues.

Assignment: Pattern Design + Application. Students were assigned to research a culture through an art or design-based exhibition on display at one of New York City’s cultural institutions, from which to develop a design for a repeating pattern.  Their designs were to feature harmonious and informed color palettes and explore visual rhythm, to finally be applied to a consumer product.  Vaishnavi chose to research the exhibition Free at the New Museum.  From Vaishnavi’s design statement:

“The element of photography in the pattern was inspired by “Take No Photographs Leave Only Ripples” by Clunie Reid and the underlying element of voyeurism associated with the internet & our social networking culture. An Andy Warhol-esque style was employed to the pattern along with images which appear to be unknowingly shot of the subject… The idea was based on the universality and familiarity of certain web icons across cultures & geographical boundaries – thereby blurring the barriers for communication across the globe.”

For her product application, Vaishnavi applied her design to objects of home comfort in a continued exploration of the boundary between public and private.

Assignment: Personal InfoGraph. Students were assigned to create a personal timeline of significant events throughout their lives and to associate colors with those experiences.  From this they were asked to design an infographic representation of an event, memory or recurring theme from their lives, allowing color to function as a key for interpreting the image.

Full + Details:

For more student work from the Color + Culture class, visit our blog: