i’m tanvi~

I’m a product and graphic designer based in New York.

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Hello! I’m Tanvi!

SEPTEMBER 13, 2021
I’m a designer collaborating with studios and communities. I help create progressive and interdisciplinary experiences — from web platform to poems. I was born & raised in New Delhi, India but have been living in the U.S. East Coast and the social internet for the previous half decade.

I strive to explore alternative ways of understanding the convergence of the social experience, aesthetics & language. When I’m not designing, I’m reading or gardening with my peers to build solidarity and thoughtfulness.
OCTOBER 11th, 2021


Tools and Tales


I have a fondness of clovers. They are one of the few plants that I’ve consistently found in my surroundings since I was a child, and one of my earliest memory is my grandmother encouraging me to forage, and try some fresh leaves from the garden. If you’ve never had them, they taste like green apple and have a hint of cyanide.

I started by trying to capture 50 different states of the clover plant in a grid. This exploration was an effort to let the abstracted form of the clover serve as an illustration of my thoughts. I arranged them in panels, but later decided to keep the vignettes as stand alone drawings.

Screencaptures from interpolating frames 
Digital Animation
Procreate, Adobe Photoshop
10 fps, 20 frames

The clovers I have sit beside my bedroom window. I wake up to the leaves perpedicular to the stems in the morning and they close up by evening as the sun sets. I wanted to capture the formal qualities of this transition in a stop motion, and did this by drawing each frame at a different hour in the day.

Digital Animation
Drawn with Procreate
24 frames

The three leaved oxalis is a fairly straight forward construction, but the oranic melting and folding of the leaves charms me endlesslely. I wanted to make a pattern or tesselation inspired by the effortless arrangement of the clovers and how they take up space.  

SEPTEMBER 27, 2021


The Sperm Whale

(Physeter macrocephalus)

The sperm whale is a pelagic💦️ mammal with a worldwide range, and will migrate seasonally for feeding and breeding. They are the largest toothed predator.They have big brains🧠️ and really complex social lives💃️, but unlike us they live in a matriarchal culture. They probably even have stronger social and emotional bonds than we do. Young males go off on their own to find a new pod, and then everyone else stays together for life. Sperm whales communicate a lot like us too, physically and with language. But they also have a third way and I think we should consider it like a sixth sense. 

You can think about echolocation like boat sonar 🔊, like a ping goes out and then it bounces off a thing in their environment and then it comes back, and gives that boat, a grainy shape of whatever that object is. Dolphin and whale sonar does this too, and so do bats. But animal sonar also comes back as a physical feeling. In the case of sperm whales, it's really loud too. They make the loudest sounds of any animal on earth, up to 230 decibels. Sperm whales make these click, creaking and buzzing sounds in their nasal passages, and then they amplify and direct them with this big fatty, waxy organ in their foreheads called the melon.

Spermaceti (found in the melon) —
sperm oil, from which the whale derives its name, was a prime target of the whaling industry, and was sought after for use in oil lamps, lubricants, and candles. Ambergris, a solid waxy waste product sometimes present in its digestive system, is still highly valued as a fixative in perfumes, among other uses. Beachcombers look out for ambergris as flotsam. Sperm whaling was a major industry in the 19th century, depicted in the novel Moby-Dick. The species is protected by the International Whaling Commission moratorium, and is listed as vulnerable and/or endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

They maybe even have a different sense of self. In the mid-1980s, a neuropsychologist named Harry Jerison proposed that echo-located communications that are emotional in nature, so like grief or joy, might be experienced by whales and dolphins as more than shared information. They actually might come in as shared feelings, shared emotional experiences. Jerison thought that this might give rise to something called the communal self, meaning that whales and dolphins might not say "I," they might always be a "We." We are sad, we are sick.

I used old cans and a USB cable to strong together something that resembles a sperm whale.The process of creating this prototype, and documenting it with video was oddly cathartic. It was really quite lovely to spend time studying the troughs and folds of this humongous friend.  

The clicking of the cans together is reminiscint of the whale trying to communicate with us. In its empty state, the can-sperm whale is hollow, but it’s teeth remain sharp to remind us that it’s truly the grandest creature on earth. 

OCTOBER 4, 2021


The Hamburger Menu

I chose the ubiquitous Google front page to translate. I realized that the primary affordance apart from the search bar is the Hamburger Menu

    I created a basic prototype highlighting a key element of the hamburger menu: 
    progressive disclosure. I wanted to display this through simple paper architecture and tried various paper folding techniques such as the Muira Ora fold and the Accordion fold. 

OCTOBER 17th, 2021

How are digital social experiences governed?


I used The Board of Innovation cards to analyse social platforms as they exist — not as a coming together of the proletariat but a strategically enforced fog that muddies all other signifiers of hegemony. [3] I looked at loosely three categories: geopolitics, labor, and ethics. There was a lot of overlap but I tried to take my commentary under these 3 notions forward and make a prototype. The technique was quite useful as it allowed me to flesh out my thoughts and approach the problem from different areas (economics, technical, labor and policy.) 

I wanted to further be able to point to what exactly are the elements that create distruptions that I want to address. I tried to find examples of expereinces that I seek to address. 

In my analysis I realised most social sites are looking to algorithmic policing and governance, in order to:
1. enhance the working of their business model 
2. discipline technocratically 

because the internet is an international space,
social sites have their own internal policy and that of the country that they are based in to abide by.

However, international governments are able to coerce or solicict certain behavior from the social sites in order to preserve the ideology of the state in interest of appearances of soverignty.

Social networks such as Instagram also do not have the capacity to parse through text when it’s rasterised and in a language other than English. Taking advantage of a platform without consequences, right-wing platforms encouraged their followers to shoot protestors at sight. Eurocentric, platforms are not built for information to be globally relevant. 

Within the native environment of WhatsApp, the aesthetic choices promote a philosophy of homogeneity, betraying nothing about the original authorship of the text or its source. In the absence of the spectrum of ideology being highlighted with any hierarchy, everything appears neutral. Information that is circulated ends up further radicalising people towards fascism in the guise of building community with those who are familiar to us. The echo chamber is never disturbed. 

The active agency of the receiver of the message is compromised in this situation, you have no choice 
but to receive information. With no way of tracking who has received the forwarded or initially posted information, sending corrective and follow up information and making sure it reaches all the original recipients is nearly impossible.


I made some explorations to explore the aesthetics of the platform I was envisioning by typesetting some quotes from Achille Mbeme. I also created the prototype by evaluating current interfaces and revising them.  


Baudrillard, Jean et al.
The Agony Of Power.
Semiotext(E), 2010.
NOVEMBER 16th, 2021

Digital Media Infrastructures: mess map


How might we critique the functionality of social media platforms, internet networks and chart their impact?

Initially, we started with putting whatever we had in mind related to ‘Media Literacy’ on the board as post-its. We then organised them into groups and I tried to identify the crux of each group (stroke-outlined). We also realised we have roughly two categories of subjects, things that are affects, and their causes. We later relabelled ‘Media Literacy’ to Digital Infrastructures. The new term clarifies out scope more accurately. 

In this process, we discussed how Media can be defined, whether it is strictly digital or includes newspapers, magazines and other physical forms. 


To hone in to my area of interest wrt the central question, I began diving deeper into the question of how networked commons work and what are the popular economic, sociopolitical, ontological critiques. I tried to ‘annotate’ my mess map in a monospace font and recorded my observations in a Bibliography Essay, before adding them to the group’s work. 

NOVEMBER 16th, 2021

Digital Media Infrastructures: socializing! 

Voice Notes



Do you identify with content you see on the platform?

1. We initially free associated all our question in ‘zoom chat’ as a group. We finalised our questions by sorting them into categories and then ‘voting’ on one question that interests us the most.

Once we had finalised our questions, each group (2 people) took up one category. 

The team of two then decided on a methodology for their area and discussed it with the larger group. Some of us even interviewed each other in practise! Our queries and methodology evolved a lot with these test runs.

2. We then went into our particular groups and supplemented them with more queries. 
  • What does your social media feed represent about yourself in general?

generally it is — the thing is because of my frineds random stuff its not what
  • Do you interact with your followers?
  • Do you have a sense of digital community?
  • Do you feel like you see certain 'types' of people on your feed?
  • Do you feel like you share a community?
  • Do you think there is a divide in what is apporpriate for you to share to be in certain groups?


Why do you think your social media looks the way it does

Why do you think the algo tries to push this consolidation of people to you

Why is this your preferred platform for social engagement and does it fit your needs

why do creators and users on this platform have so little agency?

why have users creators not done anything about this already?

mastodon ?

****1. Are people seeing content from people in their area / race/ gender / other kinds of communities?
  1. Does this platform play an important role in strengthening (or weakening) people’s belief?

Follow up questions:
  • What are the frequent types of feed you see on this platform?
  • What types of feed do you wish to see more on this platform?

To fully contend with our hypothesis for this research, I loosely formulated our assumptions. 

People either only see contents from an echo chamber — people who think like them talk like them look like them — what does this do to our perception of our social and digital community? does it entrench class divides? do you people think the internet treats everyone similarly?

Q: have you heard of the MIT project that shows you a different users feed instead of your own? would you want to see something not curated for you and your interests?

To tie our Primary Resseach to the Secondary research, I researched what specific projects and research has addressed our focused inquiry. This also gave us a little bit of insight into what our final solution could look like. 

DECEMBER 7th, 2021

Digital Media Infrastructures: analysis! 





Creating agency for users

1. After perusing through the We quickly realised there are multiple ways to achieve our desired goal. 

We grouped the ‘pain points’ we observed in our interviews together by genre and realised nearly all of them have a common threat — the user is rendered helpless. 
2. Keeping that in mind, we tried to sum up the different observations into a user persona. We decided to go with the Individual Content Creator as its a happy middle between the fiscally engagemed user and a more passive person.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

We categorised potential approaches in decreasing order of the epistemic entanglement with the existing platform:

  1. [Speculative Product]
  2. [Widget Intervention]
  3. [Educational]

This approach was my prefered way to go, as it offers the advantages of starting from a ‘clean slate’, without having to wrestle with what Instagram would realistically permit us to do. That said, after some thought I realised there are other factors that feed into which path we adopt. I tried to imagine a new metaphor for each of the paths to see them with different perspective. 


  • Easy way to encourage people to imagine the options they could have
  • Concept can be designed as a pitch to what an ‘ideal IG would do’

  • Logistical nightmare, How would we get get the widget to work on Instagram? Maybe easier with something like Twitter? Is Instagram Web our target here or the mobile experience?  


  • A good fit considering time constraints
  • Might be easy to do a micro scale intervention and collect more data, do more user interviews to understand the landscape more fully. 

  • Its been done in different capacities before, We could observe how it has succeeded or failed. 
  • Minimum infrastructural resistance, mostly internal. Easy to ‘shadow ban’. We’ll run into the same hurdles we are trying to address re: reach, audience etc.

DECEMBER 7th, 2021

Digital Media Infrastructures: prototype





Distilling a multifaceted problem

In our initial stages, we charted out the problems we wished to address. We quickly realised that there are two distinct requirements for the Individual Content Creator: 
1. a need for art, a conceptual gap that needs to be bridged & engineered
2. tools that address it.

we decided to distribute the work and compile them in the format of a web based product/platform, comrade.


1. [Awareness/ Support Access] Illustrate:

initial notes
Demonstrate the behind the scenes of how certain aspects of the feed work and what drives them algorithmically

eg Awareness (users want to be aware of their options; re: privacy: content moderation)

This could be Interactive too! Twine, figma Asking questions? Images? Data?
We wanted to make space to tackle the non service side of the experience, that mainly serves to educate by giving the people something to chew on and a touch point to imagine a different networked experience.

Some projects we considered that do this include:


2. [Service / UX]

initial notes
Change in the priorities of the existing platform (e-commerce, attention, data collection), algorithms are not self serving but focused on building a public space where users have agency, a different approach. Same UI? Widget that shuffles things up to give users more agency. eg: users can readily provide feedback and are a part of the building/implementations of new features.

We made a feature list and picked three things to focus on. Then, we tried to find analogues in the current digital infrastructure and imagined how we can expand them to our application.

  • open source building features: "issues" pull requests → too many ads → i wish i could easily repost things instead of screenshoting → link to website 10k followers gatekeeping
    → moderation 
bite sized updates on changes in platform policies that affect user behavior etc (labelling, alerts, publishing??) eg. spotify wrapped but for algo-ethics
in built functionality (shuffle button / reset etc.) that encourage different povs on the feed → so you see different content, chronologically instead of algorithm based, organically widening interests

I branded comrade to be fairly straight forward in it’s design. The primary deecision I made was about it’s architecture. The website is decided into two tracks, that inform each other by juxtraposing each others content, and are a part of the same whole. Conceptually, it is an effort to show the figurative ‘back-end & ‘front-end’ of a website hand in hand. theory + praxis. 

DECEMBER 20th, 2021

Digital Media Infrastructures: reflecting



Moving forward

  1. .

The group project was an interesting exercise in researching our topic widely  and then deeply, and then coallessing the points of interest into tangible problems that interact with each other. 
Apart from being an opportunity to explore the theme from multiple angles, it allowed us to have a distributive strategy and have a more holistic approach. 

1. Build out the Cookie Monster
Our guest critic mentioned that the ‘explainer’ section of our project could use attention and fleshing out. We can keep elaborating our glossary, and potentially make it easier to parse through as it grows. Moving forward, we should build out the ‘Cookie Monster’ prototype to be interactive and build out a narrative that supports our thesis. 

2. Elaborate the existing features and add further sub-functionalities
We did surface level illustrations for our features in our present documentation. In the future we aim to elaborate our prototypes and write about the functionality in greater depth.

3. Competetive Analysis and Research
Further, we will conduct research on what other critiques and alternatives exist. 

4. User Testing
Our initial round of users was fairly limitied, I think its critical to expand our research group and get feedback as we iterative further.  


NOVEMBER 2nd, 2021

Time Capsule II: Containers of belonging

Construction Paper,
Mesasuring Ruler,
Xacto Knife

1. I started by thinking of objects that I currently use or have used to store things over time. Going through the pockets of my winter jackets, and finding candy from the past year has always been a delight for me.

2. The second thing I considered was my bagpack — it is worn out and dirty but it holds everything I need and more. It has for 5 years. 

3. Lastly, I thought about evoking the feeling of reading old diaries, blogs, or letters from the summer. In the past I have tried to keep letters from myself or others as mementos for a more nostalgic self.

For my objects, I decided to make a time capsule that is extendable and can be used to store more trinkets — its not precious at first sight but it remains precious to me. My material of choice was construction paper, and I followed this tutorial to help me with origami.

I decided to build the prototype with origami because while the creases on the paper remain, the paper itself can serve another purpose to someone else if it desires to. 


NOVEMBER 8th, 2021

Time Capsule III: On unearthing an old love.


What will the inhabitants do or think in the year 2145? Human beings make sense of the world collectively, through the formation of diagrams, murals, signs for meaning making. Interpreting objects outside of their intended context is a common occurance with the archaeologists of today. Something as fickle as personal objects whose meaning shifts is hard to envision without projecting the thoughts and feelings of the ‘discoverer’ on them. 

I had a few things ruminating while I thought of this project. I drew inspiration for the format from the following work:
A Dictionary of Symbols by Juan Eduardo Cirlot

For my objects, I decided to make a time capsule that is extendable and can be used to store more trinkets — its not precious at first sight but it remains precious to me. My narrative tool of choice is a diagram. 

Subsequently, I decided to embody the monologue of the person discovering the time capsule into the diagram. I ‘storyboarded’ the basic thoughts that might run through their head — from the no longer sharp blade of the scissors, misunderstanding what mints are and fantasizing about a past where electricity is more common place. 

The final iteration chronicles the puzzling nature of the objects and the discoverer’s throughts as they try to make sense of them.

“What am I to do”
“The electrons refuse their indoctrination”
“V = IR” [Voltage = Current X Resistance]
“May I taste it? The poison that once freshened your breath”
“The you we do not know”
“Shall we celebrate — you?”

OCTOBER 25th, 2021

Time Capsule: Dangers of belonging

Graphite Paper,

Adobe Premiere Pro

Adobe Photoshop

Recently, I had to say goodbye to a my belongings and try to find a sense of belonging in new places. In accordance with Jane Bennett’s writing ( see: Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things) I often isolate objects and try to imagine them with narratives that refelct my own thoughts.The three objects I chose represent different timelines of transitions. 

After a period of hospitalisation,my professor took me in and trusted me with her tools — particularly her heirloom scissors — to make work and tend to her gardens. She enabled me to think of them as an extension of myself instead of an object for potential self harm. I made this simulation to demonstrate how context can change the epistemic responsibility of an object — Even the pointed scissors can flock like birds.
"The Magician" by Andrea Cohen


The universal adapter perceives no outside. It cannot understand geopolitical borders, all it really cares about is the trasnfer of electrons. It is a tool of exchange, and dare i say, comfort. It creates no heirarchies — it’s bulky but it doesn’t want to be slimmed down or reduced. It won’t let you be omnipresent, you still have to choose. Is it going to be Europe today or Australia? How many devices will I plug in? It’s a stubborn little brick, but what would you do without it? Even your own home will try to reject you if you’re not prepared to assimilate instantly. There is no forgiveness for those who forget. 

Purely performative. I guess they have a genuine purpose but they are usually handed out as a gesture of friendship. A gift. Look, I will share this with you. You’ll wrap your tongue around it as it dissapates. In a few minutes your body will probably not remember it was ever there in the first place. How many times can I give a mint to a stranger till I’m left with none? These tea infused mints, I could buy them at the store tomorrow, but this pack is special. This pack I bought with you. I kept it in your backpack when we would travel, a little treat we can enjoy in between the mundaneness of commute. Even if we have to wear masks, a harmless little adjustment to pop a mint never bothered anybody. When  you go grocery shopping, do you look at the mints? Can you buy the same things I would purchase without thinking of me? — The me, who clutches at every last memory, before I offer it to someone else.

Thanks for watching!

Reach out for design opportunities or just to chat ~
︎ chronictanvi@gmail.com
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