Akanshya Upadhyay

Nepali designer and artist creating compelling visual narratives rooted in culture, curiosity and purpose.

Recently graduated with a BFA in Graphic Design from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Currently at the National Children’s Museum, Washington DC.


︎︎︎ publication, research, image-making, packaging
︎︎︎ 2023

Thinking It Through

Designers are often seeking autonomy in their work, with the desire to have more control over the creative process and to express their individuality and personal narratives. However, this desire for autonomy can be constrained by the commercial realities of the industry, which can limit the scope of one’s creative potential and opportunities.

To address this challenge, one approach is to shift our perspective towards developing creative thinking that prioritizes personal narratives and autonomy in one’s design practice. This means embracing creativity as a way of thinking, rather than simply a means of production, and putting the individual voice and perspective of the designer at the forefront of the creative process. By valuing personal narratives and creative autonomy, designers can unlock new possibilities for innovation and expression, and create work that truly resonates and reflects one’s unique vision and values.

Thinking It Through is a meticulous collection of prompts, questions and printed matter designed to elevate one’s design process by encouraging critical thinking towards their craft and questioning existing conventions. With thought-provoking prompts and insightful questions, this curation aims to spark innovative ideas and conversations and inspire reimagination of and in one’s creative practice.

︎︎︎ exhibit design, wayfinding, brand expression
︎︎︎ 2023

Celestial System

Exhibit design for Celestial System, MICA’s Graphic Design Senior Show of 2023.

By looking at connections between each student in the graduating class of 2023, Celestial System highlights students’ design projects and their creativity both as individuals and as a collective, bringing together diverse voices and visions in a cohesive and compelling way.

Each student has their own symbol based on their project medium, design values, and their name initials.  The result is unique constellations of students that come together as a celestial system.

Poster dimensions: 44x66 in

Collaborators:  Sierra Faish, Allison Hao, Chaeyun Kim, Xinyi Lu, Ananya Mohan, Anthony Snowden, Chloe Vo, Jenny Yo, Annie Yu

Exhibition Dates: May 12-15, 2023

︎︎︎ website design, code
︎︎︎ 2023

Bao Nguyen website

This minimal and image-driven portfolio for the multimedia artist Bao Nguyen consists of project documentations, captions, and multimedia content on easy to navigate webpages. 

Design and development by Akanshya Upadhyay
Website hosted on Cargo

Full documentation coming soon

︎︎︎ publication, writing, research
︎︎︎ 2022-23

 The Sound Of 

An explorative archive of my memories of different sounds, in complete textual form. The absence of any sound experience creates space for readers to auralize my descriptions in their own imagination. 

This project idea started with heavy research into archiving and collecting data, as well as methods of presenting an archive. and led me to think about the value of information once it becomes part of an archive. The intangible nature of memories made me question and challenge what an archive could contain. This zine arises as a result of exploration of memories of sounds. 

Sparse layouts and minimal content on each spread visualize scattered memories gently revealing themselves. The zine is printed entirely on translucent vellum based on the delicate and layered values of memory.

︎︎︎ brand identity, campaign design
︎︎︎ 2022

UPTURN Dubai Festival

UPTURN is a concept for an annual festival that celebrates the history, culture, and progress of the city of Dubai over the past years.

The festival dentity takes most of its inspiration from Dubai’s lively atmosphere, as well as Arabic motifs and typography. By combining traditional and contemporary stylistic elements, UPTURN sets up a familiar, hopeful and upbeat ambience for people to enjoy themselves and their city.

︎︎︎ exhibition design, creative direction, curation
︎︎︎ 2022

 Not (Just) A Problem Solver 

We curated, designed and installed a collaborative exhibition at MICA, showcasing student work that explore and challenge the familiarity in graphic design and deconstruct traditional design narratives. 

Does design always need to solve a problem?

Collaborator: Chloe Vo, MICAGD Department
Exhibition Dates: Nov 1-20, 2022

︎︎︎ web design, interaction
︎︎︎ 2022

 Guggenheim KIDS!

Landing page design concept for Guggenheim Museum’s microsite for children and their digital experience with the museum.  Through the use of typography, color and shapes, the design appeals its targeted audience by providing a sense of trust, clarity and playfulness. Micro-interactions throughout the page add a dynamic layer that keeps children curious and engaged.

︎︎︎ brand identity, illustration
︎︎︎ 2021

 Muri Muri Chatpate & Snacks 

Muri Muri Chatpate & Snacks is a restaurant concept serving Nepali and other light South Asian meals, with a special menu of popular Nepali snack Chatpate. The restaurant’s name comes from the translation of “rice puffs” in Nepali: muri.

The creative direction of this brand takes inspiration from the snack itself by utilizing an illustration of common chatpate ingredients. The logotype has a slightly tapered look inspired by traditional hand painted signs in Nepal and little illustrations suggest playfulness and enjoyment that comes with spicy food.

︎︎︎ motion graphic, typography
︎︎︎ 2021

 Youre Wrong 

Typographic motion graphic video of The Onion’s, “Here’s Why You’re Wrong”.