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The VCFA MFA in Graphic Design Program Blog

Shruthi Manjula Balakrishna: I Am Not Kidding

January 26, 2019

Shruthi Manjula Balakrishna’s presentation proposal “I Am Not Kidding: Research and Reflections on Childfree by Choice: has been accepted in the 13th International Conference on Design Principles & Practices to be held at Saint Petersburg, Russia, 1-3 March 2019.

“Pronatalism” means “pro-baby.” It is the idea that parenthood and raising children should be the central focus of every person’s adult life. The book, Pronatalism: The Myth of Mom and Apple Pie, defines pronatalism as “…an attitude or policy that is pro-birth, that encourages reproduction, that exalts the role of parenthood.” Pronatalism is a strong social force that glorifies parenthood and includes a collection or beliefs deeply embedded that they have come to be seen as “true.” Thanks to celebrities and the media, pregnancy and the raising of children is glamorized like no other time in the history. Pronatalism leads everyone to believe that they should have children. It also leads people to believe that they have the right to have as many children as they want. It’s time to take another hard look at pronatalism and it’s assumptions. This research project and comic series is the manifesto to ignite a transition into a society that can respect and support true reproductive freedom and choice. I selected a humous approach for design and vocabulary to open the stage for parents, childfree, and the childless. The comic series urges people considering the childfree lifestyle to refuse to “follow-the-pack” because the society expects us to conform to tradition. And to carefully consider the long-term implications of creating new lives and subsequently deciding against is empowering. This project is not against parents. It’s about looking closer at the pronatal situation at hand in order to see the truth about parenthood and reproduction.

About Shruthi:

Shruthi Manjula Balakrishna
Senior Brand Designer, Brand Design, Gensler, United States
Texas, United States

Shruthi is the legitimate love-child of strategy and creativity. with more than 10 years of advertising experience, her background is as varied and diverse as the creative she produces. Sha had a traditional design education from the Art Institute of Colorado and she brings together a variety of creative disciplines and experience – by which she is able to supply not merely design, but rather a crafted product which feels together, connected and harmonized via one creative approach which bleeds the same blood throughtout the elements. Her design sensibilities are heavily inspired by traditional print design and a deep love for diverse cultural history. She has worked with a variety of international, national and local brands, such as Google, Seiko Watch Corporation, Nolte Germany, AIGA, KOA, Jenny Craig, Which Wich, Lyra Health, Man Therapy, Odell Brewing and the Colorado Lottery. She is currently working as a Senior Brand Designer at Gensler and is pursuing her MFA in Graphic Design at Vermont College of Fine Arts. As a design thinker, she believes that there are pursuits more worthy of her problem-solving skills than merely making things look good. She believes unprecedented social, and cultural crises demands designers’ attention. Working on design projects that’s close to her heart, she’s trying to break the walls she has built over the years – as a designer; to learn more – in order to become a better designer; to dig deeper – into the value of good design and most importantly, to challenge the potency of good design.