Radhika is a Toronto based graphic designer who runs her own design studio. She designs minimal and unique designs for small to midsize brands helping them build from the ground up. Her work includes branding, packaging, illustrations, websites and much more. She also is the founder of Rara, an accessories inspired brand and born out of love for endangered animals and rare art forms
Radhika, thank you very much for creating this beautiful art for us. Could you please tell our community a little about yourself?
I'm a graphic designer and I've been practicing design for about 16 years. I live in Toronto and I run an independent design studio and by independent, I literally mean independent. I also run a brand called Rara where I design scarves. Each design focuses on an endangered animal and the art is based on a dying art form that needs revival and recognition, merging the two rarities together in order to increase awareness.
Wow that’s incredible, you must be working in so many different mediums. What’s your favourite form to work in?
Print is my favorite form. When I started working on branding, I used to work in publishing, and everything was print. And then so suddenly the entire digital era hit and everything went digital. That whole tactility of branding is really being missed. When I decided for myself to go back to working in print, I thought maybe it was a mistake, but I didn’t stop — I just enjoyed it too much. It’s super interesting, which is what led me to create packaging as well, because you know and feel the different materials you're working with and different print techniques, colours — I really enjoy that.
Yeah, there's definitely something special about seeing your work on something you can feel.
Yeah. Even other stuff that I do on the side , like woodworking. I'm not that like an expert in it, but I think I enjoy the entire process of picking wood, working with it, and working with my hands. So anything like that, like mud or pottery, all that kind of stuff is something that comes very naturally to me.
That's great you have hobbies within hobbies! In this day and age, it's so hard to pick up a hobby and just have it be a hobby instead of automatically thinking, “let me see how I can market this or let me see how I can sell this”.
Yeah and that’s kind of how Rara came to be as well. It took me a year to figure out how to launch it. It starts with doodles and now I just love it so much. It runs on the side, it is my passion project and I’d love to do so much more with it. It’s a very open space for me, it allows me to grow my creativity. And I'm not limiting the product range to scarves only. I’m open to other things and collaborations but I want the focus to be on endangered animals and these endangered art forms.
I want to work with these artisans and communities where these crafts are generationally dying out and actually learn and adapt their art. It's not about only digitalizing art. It’s about spreading awareness. I want the next generation to get to experience these animals like the white rhino and these forms of art.
Speaking of digital art, can you briefly tell us about the art you’ve made for Mary Young?
I've always lived in a city and I recently spent some time on the west coast and did a bunch of hiking — it wasn't a lot and it was something that I could have easily done in Toronto. It's just that I never opened myself up to it. So these pieces they’re definitely about being outside, there’s movement and there’s rest. Because I think they go hand in hand with nourishment. Resting doesn’t have to be sitting down and actually physically resting, but rest can be in all different forms. I think I'm well rested when I go out for a run, because that's when I clear my head. I think I feel nourished with that idea that I'm outside and I'm getting inspired.
As an independent contractor I work on so many different kinds of projects, over different time zones that part of my self-care is that no matter what the weather, I figure out two hours to go outside. Even if I’m just sitting on a bench. I think nourishment generally relates to food and food is a sensitive topic for a lot of people as well, but I think you can nourish yourself in so many different ways. This pandemic has taught us what to do for ourselves. We need to take the time for ourselves to avoid the burn out.