All My Money Goes To Corals

Designer and coral conservation activist Nayan Ganegoda aka the Reef Chief on channelling his creativity to save the oceans

Nayan Ganegoda is a young graphic communications designer based in Colombo. His fresh approach to graphic design and zeal to make things better through his creativity is channelled through a wonderful personal calling that has the potential to save one of Sri Lanka’s most important natural treasures- our coral reefs. An ardent advocate and activitst of our oceans’ conservation, particularly of the corals, Nayan introduces himself through his gaming alias ‘Reef Chief.’ “As a creative, I love to keep myself busy finding the next challenge to work on. In my free time, I dissect other design projects and consider how I would approach the same brief. Fun fact: I am a reef junkie, I love the ocean and #allmymoneygoestocorals”

Discussing how he made his way into creativity, he says he was exposed to design since his younger days and older sisters who were designers themselves. “I was interested in art and had a passion for design, but at that time, I didn’t have any idea how to even draw a cat. I feel fortunate that both my sisters were into art/design, which to a great extent, influenced me to become a designer. Both of them studied at AOD, and I too saw myself joining the design world from there.”

Nayan’s talent was recognised by international creative directors scouting for outstanding young creatives when he won a design competition hosted by the global design firm, Jones Knowles Ritchie. The project involved developing a hypothetical brand for water retrieved from space, and Nayan’s project entry won giving him a once-in-a-lifetime chance to intern at John Knowles Richie in Singapore. “It was a life changer for me because it expanded my mind to see how a global design studio works and inspired me to do more of what I love.”

After this Nayan started to combine design with his hobby and calling of propagating natural coral in the oceans.  “There is a current critical problem of dying ecological systems. I think people need to start to learn and be more aware of coral bleaching and how it can be overcome through coral propagation.”

However, it wasn’t easy. Nayan had to invest alot of time and energy into first hand research, because the existing community and people who are interested in this topic are a handful. But, this never stopped him.In fact, Nayan is now more driven than ever before to make a significant change through the cause. He plans to reach out and collaborate with leading coral advocates ‘Chasing Corals’. “I would love to collaborate with Chasing Coral, a team of divers, photographers and scientists whose objective is to document and reveal how the oceans are changing.I would love to use my skills as a designer as well as the insights I gained from my final major project to contribute to their already great efforts of this team to reach and inspire more people.  He encourages likeminded people to learn more about this issue and watch their documentary, “Chasing Coral” on Netflix or visit their website at

For Nayan, these kinds of possibilities are the best things about being a designer and the ability to make an impact on society through design, where a simple idea can change a life. Nayan sees design as solving problems. “Through design you can develop a functional solution, which at the same time makes itself appealing to a larger audience by being visually and emotionally appealing. This is what I was trying to do with my work on the corals as I mentioned earlier; developing a design related solution to the existing problem of bleaching of corals.”



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