Every design problem starts with many questions.
The first question that I was asked was: if you could choose one project to work on, what would it be?
For me the answer was simple: I wanted to work on folk art inspired graphics. Why? Because, during college I travelled to a number of Indian States, and wanted to take forward the work that I saw there.
Wanting to do something isn’t enough. The graphics must have a reason. Since we’ve been working with a lot of companies and people in the CSR sector, I wanted to use these graphics for something that was relevant, social and cultural. Then it struck me: with all the talk on right to education and the PM’s teacher’s day speech, I decided I wanted to do something on education.
So was born an idea: making a set of info-graphics, that carried information on education on Indian states and had graphics inspired by folk art of that state.
I chose crafts from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir, West Bengal: these states represented the spread of education across the country (25% percentile across the data set) and have strong folk art styles. For each state, I selected data pm literacy ratios: that is Male Vs Female literacy, students Vs teachers ratio, Primary Vs secondary enrolment ratio and the number of primary and secondary school in a define area. These ratios also helped me show the education disparity within the state itself.
Now came the hard part. An effective Infographic design is one that grabs eyeballs yet can help transmit information. Infographic design is about achieving not only the perfect visual but also providing the information easily. The art and culture based design I worked on also ‘clicks’ with an Indian audience. It is something that we are all familiar with.
For each state, I worked on:
For the Maharashtra Infographic I used Warli paintings as a reference. Warli is an unwritten/unspoken language that is represented in the form of graphics and designs. I thought Warli was perfect for infographics.
Kolam an inherent part of Tamil culture is something that I wanted to use to show education data from the state. Kolam as art form is almost mathematical, and I felt that it would be perfect to show numbers.
The Kantha Embroidery is a popular form of embroidery practiced in West Bengal. It uses stitched geometric patterns made from coloured cotton threads. I wanted to use Kantha for the infographic.
Jammu and Kashmir
I am quite fascinated by the traditional dresses in Jammu and Kashmir and so I decided to take forward that style in my infographic.
In the field of arts and crafts, Rajasthan is one of the richest states in the country. Yet Rajasthan has the lowest literacy rate among all the five state. I decided to use arches from forts as a design element in the infographic.