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Designer Spotlight with Shivani Parasnis

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Get to know designer Shivani Parasnis as she shares her inspiration, musings, and creative path

Tell us about yourself.


Hi there! My name is Shivani Parasnis and I’m a 31 year-old graphic designer living and working in Brooklyn, NY. I moved to the US from Mumbai, India nearly 6 years ago to pursue an MFA degree in Graphic Design after about 5 years of being a scientist! I graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore in 2020, and have been working in the Brand & Creative team at Spotify as a Senior Designer ever since. My design work is heavily influenced by my physical and emotional environments, and I enjoy melding influences of the East and West in my practice. My design thinking is unapologetically grounded in typography, vibrancy, music and culture.


Which design topics are you most passionate about?


My role touches on a bit of everything, but my passion probably lies most in typography. I am an unabashed typography nerd, and especially having learned both the Latin script and Devanagri while growing up, I’ve always had a certain affinity for the way letters, themselves, can be expressive. Typography is my personal playground :)



Do you have any special hobbies / things you like to do in your free time?  


At any given point in time, I like to have at least two hobbies to tinker with. Last year I took up pottery! Though I’ve been awful about visiting the studio lately (sorry Clayhouse Brooklyn). I love making plates and recently made my first successful batch of coffee pour-overs! Other than that, I have also been crocheting a lot! I made a market bag, a bikini for my friend, and am currently halfway done with a sweater vest for myself. I really enjoy thrifting, visiting new cafes, buying plant babies — you know, all of the mandatory Brooklyn designer stuff ;)


Share a project / exhibition / creative person / anything that you found recently and sparked your imagination 


I’ve had the pleasure of working on two very special projects this year. One was for a series of album art for my friend’s new EP and the other was for a short film called The Interns, the latter of which was produced by two old friends. Even though these were both technically “client” projects, it was inspiring to lend my ideas to the work of another creative professional. There’s a certain delicacy in that and I found myself being especially thoughtful, for which I was grateful :)



What’s the hardest thing about being a designer?


The blocks. Not the fun ones from Areaware ( ♥️ you guys) that you can build with, but the kind that make you stay awake all night thinking of literally nothing at all. I’ve struggled with it at times this year – in fact, I gave a whole talk on not knowing what to talk about 🫠 – but ultimately I’m learning to accept that inspiration comes when it comes, so long as I keep looking for it. That, and deadlines.


What’s the best thing about being a designer?


There’s inherently a small piece of me in everything I create :)




Who would you love to collaborate with?


I’m currently working on a dream collaboration which I can’t spill details about 😛but I have always wanted to have my designs on clothing. Lucy and Yak is an all time favourite brand of mine, and I would love to collaborate with them to create some really fun jumpsuits for folks to wear!


Describe your dream project.  


I don’t know if I’d call it my dream project, but I’ve always wanted to design the label for a wine bottle! So any fun people out there with grapes and a goal, hit me up!




Share the last photo you took for inspiration and explain why. 


I got a guava cheese croissant as a little treat a few days ago, and decided to “plate” it on one of the plates I made in the studio, and something about the color palette of the stripes on the croissant against a plain lilac plate set against a textural backdrop of my monstera looked so aesthetically pleasing to me. In my opinion, a plate of food may just be the best form of inspiration one can ask for! And this is proof of that ;)



What's the best advice your received (and from whom)?


Earlier this year, I was complaining about my creative block to my therapist, and her immediate response to that was “Stay creatively blocked, then. The more you try to fight your way out of it, the longer you will stay in it.” It made no sense at that moment, but when I look back at the year, I slowly realized how I navigated that creative block in so many different ways. To see life unfold creatively outside your full-time creative practice, is quite delightful to live through.



What do you do when you feel stuck and uninspired?


Read this blog to see how other designers answer this question… but also, I try to get out of my own head. It seems counterintuitive to step away when you need to focus on something, but sometimes it’s the right move.


Recommend a book / movie / TV series / podcast / playlist to our readers


INSECURE (Issa Rae is my spirit animal), or SURVIVAL OF THE THICKEST (both on Netflix). What do these shows have to do with graphic design? Nothing and everything. Not only did they make me laugh but they made me appreciate the fact that sometimes you just need to trust the process and put in everything you can, confidently. Surround yourselves with good people, and everything else will follow!



Thank you Shivani!

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