“It was the first time I imagined what it would be like to pursue creativity for the rest of my life,” she explains. At 18, she enrolled at the National Institute of Fashion Technology in Hyderabad, where she won the award for best graduation project. “And yet, that was only the beginning.”
Later, Sumangla worked in Mumbai, India at advertising company VGC on integration projects for brands ranging from hospitality to fashion. However, she still wanted to know more and decided to pursue a master’s degree in design, much to her parents’ chagrin; his mother is a mathematics teacher and his father is a financial director. However, Sumangla took this as a challenge. In 2017, she was accepted into the Maryland Institute College of Arts with a scholarship. A few internships later, Sumangla landed a full-time designer role at Landor and led projects for Train Technologies, League of Legend, Hyundai, and Wanda.
Unfortunately, Covid-19 affected his work visa. Sumangla was soon fired, encouraging her to apply for an O1 visa instead, “which is granted to people who possess extraordinary ability in their field”. That meant she could say in the US, and she decided to start her own business as an LLC, working as a visual designer and building up a list of clients including Adobe, TikTok and Google. Besides freelance work, she also works as a senior visual designer at AKQA, San Francisco.
Sumangla is quite grateful (and deserving) for her placement in the industry today. It has earned a vital place in the design world, filling it with functional graphics and bold, crisp typographic layouts. At the time, Sumangla was largely interested in still images, which left him with a “sense of restriction” in his approach to finding design solutions. “So I prefer to be multidisciplinary rather than finding a niche,” she explains. “This approach allows me to approach a problem from different angles. I also believe in applying dynamism and multidimensionality to my designs through different software while remaining flexible to respond to clients’ vision.”
To date, the designer has released countless projects that showcase a harmonious blend of legibility and craftsmanship. Unight is a recent one, where she combed through her interests in fine and performative ats. She spent eight years training under Bharatnatyam, which ultimately inspired her to present a series of illustrations that bring “a unique Indian ethnic language in color palette and complexity in illustration style”. In doing so, the designer has projected gestures of Bharatanatyam through a vector style, constructing a joyful and honorable project that nods to the oldest form of classical Indian dance. It was also shortlisted for this year’s long list of World Illustration Awards.
As you can see, Sumangla’s work is vast and diverse, peppered with conceptual meaning, personal storytelling, and an eye for design based on structuralism solutions. We’re excited to see where she goes next, and we’re pretty sure there’s no obstacle too big for her unique graphic eye.