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Shruthi Manjula Balakrishna

Cohort 4; Design Director, FÖDA

Navigating the Post-Pandemic Landscape: Investigating the Influence of Service Design Artifacts on Fostering Brand Trust in Fine-Dining Restaurants


Shruthi is the legitimate love-child of strategy and creativity. With more than 15 years of experience, Shruthi’s background is as multifarious as the work she produces. Since 2006, she has been many things: a strategist, a brand manager, a student, an educator, an award-winning designer, and a creator of acclaimed projects for Google, Colorado Lottery, eBay, University of Texas, Austin FC, Odell Brewing, Houston Symphony, TOWWN, and Kevita—to name a few. Her diverse portfolio of work has been recognized by Dieline, Lürzer’s Archive, GD USA, Graphis Design Annual, The One Club for Creativity, Art Directors Club, and AIGA.

Today, Shruthi has evolved into a creative who observes, listens, investigates, and experiments through design. Her design sensibilities are heavily inspired by human-centered design and a deep love for behavioral psychology, philosophy, and anthropology. Having partaken as a speaker and judge at multiple festivals, conferences, and schools, Shruthi is also a Doctor of Design scholar at North Carolina State University, investigating the influence of design on consumption patterns during and post-crisis through theory and empirical evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Research Interest

Shruthi has an interest in the following areas: Service Design, Emotional and Psychological Impact of Pandemics, Brand Trust in Hospitality, Phenomenological Research, Multiple Case-Study Design, Crisis Management in the Food and Beverage Sector, Interdisciplinary Studies, Cultural Influences on Dining Innovation in Fine Dining, Sustainable Practices in Hospitality, Consumer Behavior in Luxury Sectors, The Role of Ambience in Dining, Tech Integration in Hospitality, Narratives in Branding

Student Research Areas

Primary Research Area: Human-Computer Interaction, Digital Design & Communication
Secondary Domain: Engaged Social Design and Organizational Strategies


Shruthi is currently located in Austin, TX.


  • MFA, Graphic Design, Vermont College of Fine Arts
  • BA, Graphic and Web Design, The Art Institute of Colorado

Personal Websites

Committee Members

Area(s) of Expertise

Strategic Brand Design & Management, Human-Centered Design, Design Philosophy and Anthropology, Behavioral Psychology in Design, Design for Consumption, Interdisciplinary Design Approaches