Connecting the Dots

Swapnil Mathkar
John Howrey
Elaine Lopez


After a decade of education and experience as an Indian visual communicator, I concluded that visual communication in India—especially mainstream graphic design—is still enslaved by Eurocentric standards. A sin of omission of India’s rich history and culture had been committed during the inception of design education and left unaddressed. As a young designer, this lack of representation of my culture was demoralizing and actively contributed to feelings of alienation and discrimination. It tainted my mindset and convinced me to identify Western as superior.

My thesis — Connecting the Dots — addresses and investigates these critical matters —
> relevance of building rich repositories of design,
> cognizant inclusion of vernacular language in mainstream design opportunities and
> the role of cultural identity in a global design community.

My work seeks alternative practices of visual storytelling that stem from my cultural background and interests and unpack present cultural realities. The foundation of my contextual, secondary and visual research is anecdotes from my past experience as a designer in India. Moving forward, these anecdotes help me reflect upon my South Asian roots in a multicultural design world.