Behind the Scenes of #GrowTogether with Graphic Designer
Nandhini Mehra — www.nandhinimehra.com
What led you to graphic design?
My journey to graphic design was a very organic one. I was always drawing, was in all the art classes, and decided at 13 that I wanted to go to SCAD (The Savannah College of Art and Design). I didn’t quite know what I wanted to do there, but after my foundation year I decided to declare graphic design as my major, and I have never looked back. Graphic design combines so many things I enjoy — drawing, visual problem solving, working within any kind of industry, and the flexibility to work anywhere in the world!
What interested you about partnering with Calhoun on the #GrowTogether campaign?
This campaign represents community; it represents that we are better, and more capable at overcoming things together. Being able to visually represent that message was truly special to me, after an incredibly (collectively) challenging year. In addition, I love plants and gardening, so to be able to draw flower buds was an absolute pleasure!
First Logo Iteration — Black & White
Green & White Version 1
Green & White Version 2
Tell us about your process for creating the beautiful #GrowTogether campaign designs! What were the elements you wanted to incorporate?
When I was given the proposal for the #GrowTogether campaign, I realized conceptually it needed to represent a rebirth — the brightness, after a heavy rain. We decided the campaign designs were going to represent a “pre-bloom,” so everything would be in a budding phase. It was important to me that all the elements relate to the school, and to the city, so I researched the native New York flora and fauna that blooms in the spring. Once I had an idea of what elements could be present in the branding, I began drawing the buds by hand, and then re-drawing them digitally. From that library of buds, I began drawing out layout options, including a root to show that the Calhoun roots are strong!
What does “growth” mean to you this year?
To me, growth this year means a collective re-emergence. We’ve all gone through this incredibly challenging, yet unifying, experience over the course of this last year, and I think so many of us have emerged more conscious, empathetic, vocal beings. As the world begins to slowly creep back to some semblance of normalcy, continuing to be open to learning and growing as a human being is what I will carry with me.
This colorway makes use of the school’s existing color palette. Being that this logo represents the phase prior to bloom, the color palette is subdued.
This colorway makes use of the Calhoun palette, but not as muted as with the first option. Adding a few non-Calhoun colors to the palette allows for variation, and more visual interest.
This option veers away from the Calhoun palette, and uses more realistic flower colors. This makes the logo a lot brighter, much more playful and more inviting.
What is your favorite flower? Is it featured in the #GrowTogether campaign concept?
I adore flowers, but peonies and Arabian jasmine flowers are probably my most favorite. Neither of these are present in the concept, as they aren’t native to New York — peonies are native to Asia, Europe and Western North America, while Arabian jasmine is native to tropical Asia. Both are delicate, but powerful flowers similar to several of the varieties present in the #GrowTogether campaign!
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
For an artist this is a pretty loaded question, so not to sound too cliché — inspiration truly does come from everywhere! I think my brain is constantly logging interesting visuals, patterns, labels, leaves even, and storing them away in my subconscious to come back to at a later time. Sometimes my best ideas come to me in the shower, and sometimes when I’m sleeping.
Do you have a special hobby you’d like to share with us?
I am an avid baker, and cook! Being in the kitchen is my favorite stress reliever, and though I don’t have a sweet tooth, baking is my happy place. In addition, I love to sing and to play my ukulele!