Ishan Khosla (b. 1976) is an artist, curator, designer and teacher based in New Delhi, India.
Ishan holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of Washington, Seattle and an MFA in Design from School of Visual Arts, New York. He studied and worked in the US for a period of 12 years.
Returning to India in 2008, Ishan noticed that graphic design in India wasn’t very Indian, and that, it tended to borrow from the west. India needed its own design paradigm and that it had to come from within India’s cultural heritage such as crafts.
Ishan could have been a cultural-anthropologist in his past life, and through design, he often gets interested in deciphering his own culture. One such example is The DTP Project, where he becomes the client instead of a designer, and commissions DTP jobbers to design his business cards in each town he visit in India. This body of work represents the “mainstream aesthetic” in graphic design in the country since there are more DTP artists than mainstream graphic designers.
Ishan has participated in a workshop by Droog Lab (Amsterdam) based in Dharavi (Mumbai) which is considered the world’s largest slum. The premise of the workshop was to look at jugaad or improvisation via the informal economy could impact design.
Ishan Khosla is devoted to creating social impact via design. This includes artisan livelihood generation, providing online literacy, educating school children about design and the socio-environmental benefits it can create.
He is also concerned about the moral fabric of the country and believes education should include
morals and ethics classes as well to inculcate values of integrity over money.
Ishan believes that by going for concrete, glass and steel, India is making a huge mistake — since its blindly following western building trends and ignoring the power of mud.