EMERGE: Passion Projects are a Privilege

Shantanu Suman

Shantanu Suman

Whether you take on additional work to help build your skills or as a part of your side-hustle—it’s exciting to have the opportunity to work on a project that you are passionate about!


Pursuing passion projects is a privilege, and not everyone has the opportunity to chase their passion and express themselves with equal determination. For people who are walking the tightropes in their day-to-day creative job, there is practically no room for error. They simply can’t give up the stability of a steady job in favor of passionate pursuits. And those of us who are a bit more fortunate, have the luxury to slow down, reevaluate, and indulge in endeavors using resources such as time, money, support, knowledge, and of course, the privilege to fail. But we hope all attendees come away from this event with the drive to invest in their own passion projects, understand what it takes, and how important it is to dive into your interests.


Shantanu Suman has had an exciting professional life through which he has experienced both the pressure of walking the tightropes as well as having the comfort to explore passion projects. Ever since he moved out of his parents’ house in a small town in India half his life ago, he has lived in five cities across two continents, spent seven years studying graphic design, and almost double of that practicing and teaching it. And only in the past seven years, he’s had the privilege to indulge in passion projects. “I understand that my story can’t be the story of everyone who listens to it. I also know that I am at a point in my personal and professional life where I feel fortunate to take care of my everyday needs and still be able to carve out time for my passion projects.”


During this special EMERGE presentation for Midwest Design Week, he will talk about his struggles, successes, failures, and privilege while exploring projects that were passionate undertakings.


About the Speaker


Born in a small industrial city in India, Shantanu Suman currently works as Assistant Professor of Visual Communication at Ball State University. Shantanu is an educator, art director, and graphic designer with a keen interest in Hindi typography design. Before getting his MFA from the University of Florida, Shantanu worked in the Indian advertising industry for several years and won multiple awards including Cannes Print Silver Lion, D&AD in-book, Clio Bronze, and Asia Pacific Adfest. In 2012, he collaborated with friends to make Horn Please—a documentary film that narrates the story of the Indian truck art.


As a graphic designer, Shantanu has worked with a wide variety of clients ranging from small start-up businesses to international organizations. His design work has been featured in multiple print and digital publications including Uneven Growth – Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Communication Arts Design/Advertising/Typography annuals, Graphic Design USA annuals, Print Magazine, LogoLounge, CNN Travel, The Dieline, Designboom, Uppercase, and Creative Review. Check out his work on his website.