Meet Ragni Agarwal ’99
“Art has always been a big part of my life.”
Ragni Agarwal ’99 is a graphic designer and illustrator who shares her passion for mental health and body positivity through colorful original prints. “Most of my work comes out of personal mental health work. I have depression and anxiety, two of the most common mental health issues yet very few people talk about it and the realities of dealing with it. Feelings are my biggest inspiration and I want people to feel like they are being heard. If I’m feeling a certain way, I’m sure someone is also feeling this way also. It’s such a crazy time and I feel like anything that can bring people together right now can be helpful.”
Ragni (aka RAGIMATE, a blend of her nickname Rag and the word animate) has always liked graphic design and technology. She took art classes as a child and at Webb worked on the student newspaper creating layouts and getting a first taste of graphic design. She also remembers teaching herself HTML in her dorm room. In her late 20s, Ragni moved to San Francisco for grad school; it was a big transition and she turned to art to help get through the difficult time. “It started more as a hobby then I began sharing my work with family and friends on social media. The pieces usually came from what I was personally feeling or going through mentally, or what was going on in our world. My younger sister, who is also an artist, also inspired me to pursue this as a career.”
Her advice to young creatives wanting to start their own business: “Just put yourself and your work out there. The more you do, the more people it will resonate with. Today’s technology and the social media digital world is a great way to get exposure. When I graduated, there was no tool like social media, etc., so you had to be extremely brave and resourceful to pursue a creative career. Now it’s so easy to build a website. I use Squarespace. It’s easy and user-friendly and there’s an e-commerce add-on. Also, make sure you are doing quality control on your products. Testing is important and your product must be high quality. Most importantly, be yourself because people want to hear something that is authentic to you and your story. There is power in vulnerability because it empowers other people to be vulnerable, too.”
Currently Ragni is VP of Design at a tech startup and a freelance graphic design and branding contributor for various fashion and lifestyle companies. She was a Webb boarder and member of the Dorm Council. She has fond memories of teachers Diane Wilsdon and John Ball. After Webb she earned a BA in Journalism at Boston University and an MFA in Graphic Design from Academy of Art University. Ragni is now based in Santa Monica and welcomes Webbies to visit her website and follow her on Instagram.