Pooja Dhingra is an independent conceptualiser, art director and a graphic designer and has previously worked with Play Clan- India’s first graphic design store, as a creative lead.
She is also the founder of Compassion Contagion, an online archive that has been recording acts of compassion, hope and resilience through art, collages and graphic narratives.
Her work at Play Clan was mostly research and travel based bringing tales from Jodhpur, Banaras, Japan, Nagaland, Bhutan and other places to the forefront. She has also
worked on various collaborations with Paul Smith, Oxford Bookstore, India Art Fair, Tokyo Fashion Week in India, Mehrangarh Museum Trust etc.
As a freelancer, she has designed for non profits such as National Foundation for India; Pravah; Barefoot College,Tilonia; Apnalaya; Room to Read; Communities for Conservation, Khoj Foundation, Communities for Conservation, Canada; WNCB: Work:No Child’s Business; PSBT to name a few. She has worked on projects that address the issues of discrimination and social exclusion, campaigns designed to address early and child marriage, child labor, women’s nutrition, health and reproductive rights of adolescent girls. She has also been designing and art directing festival graphics for India International Centre’s The Festival of Arts for the last six years.
Her personal work revolves around waste management, sustainability, and addressing the patriarchy through humour and satire.
Her work has been featured in the Ladies Finger, Asian Age, The Better India, Khirkee Voice-Khoj Foundation, Mint Lounge and in British Council’s campaign ‘She Leads’ as one of their most favourite women creators from India.
She has exhibited her zines and comics at Bombay Underground Zine Festival ; Gayzi Zine Festival ; The Zine Show at MIT Institute of Design ; TIFA Working Studio, Pune; Art Book Depot, Jaipur.
Why are you a Conceptualizer/ Art Director?
I think I enjoy being a conceptualiser because I like to work on projects that allow me to be experimental in my approach. I have converted lengthy case studies into folk inspired artworks, made graphic novels for annual reports and have researched and simplified Mughal history to create a pack of playing cards. I rely heavily on research to design and feel that a strong concept and good storytelling are essential components for good
As an art director, I get to work on a project from start to finish which involves researching, storyboarding, creating the vision and the visual language based on clients’ brief. I also find it exciting to put the team together- finding artists I can collaborate with to translate ideas into illustrations. Once the illustrations come in, I do the final layouts/ design and also handle the production- choosing the materials and techniques, working with the printing press etc.
Did you attend school for fine art or design or Communications?
I did my B.A. from Lady Shri Ram College and then studied Fashion Communication at NIFT, Delhi. In the course, there was just a short module on Graphic Design. After the course, I joined a design studio and that’s where I learnt everything I know about design.