Academy of Art University Student Priya Rajan wins HOW Design Competition
Priya Rajan, recent winner of the TRTMSTATBGDSTAUHC HOW competition (stands
for The Rick Tharp Memorial Scholarship That Assists the Best Graphic Design Students to Attend an
Upcoming HOW Conference), has an exquisite capability to take a simple design idea and create
something magnificent, thoughtful and creative. Through her innovative packaging and
promotional materials, Priya has been able to take chocolate and turned it into something sassy and
seductive, she has taken a bone store (that’s right – a bone store!) and turned it into something
historical and interesting, and she’s even taken a periodical museum and marketed it as a place to
time-travel and touch history.
When Priya Rajan submitted an essay about her zeal for graphic design, she gained the respect
and the votes of the judges. As a result, this talented student will go on an all-expenses
paid scholarship to the 2007 HOW Design Conference in Atlanta where she will receive recognition
for her outstanding essay and work.
Here’s a copy of Priya’s award-winning essay:
By Priya Rajan
Who are your mentors and what did you learn from them?
A few years back, I happened to meet an old person I would call aiya. He is like my grandpa.
He has been a huge part in my life ever since. It was a time when I was so lost and confused. I met
him when I had lost someone very close to death and he made me realize that death is a part of life
and it's not the end of everything.
He believed in me more than I did. He has a subtle way of pointing things out to me and letting
me decide. No matter what, he is always calm and listens. Once he said that I should not be afraid
to think and I can show that in my work. As a person he has helped me grow spiritually and also I
am more confident in what I do.
He made me believe in myself and take things easily as it comes. I used to worry for everything
around me but now I care but I also learnt not to let it affect me all the time. I can talk to him
about anything without being judged. He is my grandpa, a friend and a mentor. He will always have a
special place in my heart. I have learnt something very valuable that I will always carry with me—t
o believe in myself and be compassionate.
What drives your passion and inspires your creativity?
I am passionate about people and history—what happened before, how they lived and what they
did. With design, I can learn about anything I want. A huge part of design is research and it is
very exciting to learn about something new each time. The complexity of our minds and problems
inspires my creativity and keeps me trying harder.
How do you think graphic design affects people's lives?
Design is communication. Whatever media or form we choose, eventually it all has a message.
If used effectively, design can contribute to understanding national phenomena. It can make a
difference in people's lives, possibly create awareness and a solution. If there is genocide in
Rwanda, it doesn't mean it happens in another universe. Design can bring the problems close to
people's hearts. It is all in communication. It can help communicate better to cultures that are
opposite to ours, open up conversation.
View Priya’s work below:
Sassy and seductive chocolate bar packaging
Bone Store project
Bone Store project