Seeking the Magic in Design: An Inquiry Into Defamiliarizing The Everyday

This project explores the application of the artistic and literary genre of magical realism to graphic design. The goal is to use the genre’s ability to defamiliarize everyday Indian cultural objects in order to reveal the magical in the mundane. Apart from a discourse on design and its role in the everyday, the research also focuses on making an audience conscious of their habitual responses to quotidian life through graphic design. Using magical realist graphic design, everyday Indian cultural objects are morphed into objects worthy of notice and appreciation. These transformed objects challenge an audience to recognize the ideologies perpetuated in a culture through everyday objects.  The projects made during this thesis, “Pigment,” “Paper Cones” and “Clay” are complied in a catalogue titled "Objects That Fly and Float," inspired by Gabriel Garcia Marquez's magical realist story Light is like Water.

The project was included in Design Observer’s first Thesis Book Project, co-sponsored by The Design Observer Group and Blurb. You can also buy the printed copy from Blurb

A street vendor selling food in paper cones in India

Altered/Magical Paper Cones

Conventional paper soap packages found in India

Morphed paper soap package titled “Pigment”

Conventional form of a clay cup (kulhad) found in India

A kulhad wrapped in the designed textured sleeve

A designed and packaged textured sleeve

The textured sleeve in use in a western context, wrapped on a coffee cup

Catalogue titled "Objects that Fly and Float"