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Carve a career in design

Payal Chanania
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Designing is simple – craft something that is useful and pleasing to the eye! But this is easier said than done. It is very difficult to execute! Everything we use has been designed by someone at some time. Be it the clothes you wear, the bag you carry, the computer you use, the car you drive, the chair you sit on, the magazine you read, the mixer in the kitchen, the table cover or your child’s toy.

Correspondingly, the field of design covers a broad spectrum of career options that are brimming with opportunities. From popular fashion, textile, jewellery and interior design to the ubiquitous industrial, product, packaging and public utility design to the graphic, animation and game design to the unusual floral, toys or visual merchandise design.

Career function

Design is a vibrant and dynamic field where change and innovation are constantly under way; creative freedom is the name of the game. Designers get an outlet for their creative talent as they play with materials, colours, shapes and textures while applying principles of design to create various items that are both attractive and functional. That is, convenience, comfort and utility are as important as style and aesthetics.

In the process, designers generate ideas, evaluate their feasibility, conceptualise the design and then find ways to make it tangible. Technical mastery of tools is essential – be it fabric, metal, plastic, glass, ceramic, circuits or software.

Education

Design entails special training and qualification – be it Bachelor or Master of Design or even diploma courses. Post graduation programmes allow students to choose their discipline and gain specialised knowledge. Familiarity with computer-based design tools (CAD) is becoming imperative as well.

India boasts of many top design schools that offer various courses with on-the-job training and internship as well. CEED and NEED are the common qualifying examinations.

Apart from this, aspirants should build up an impressive and compelling design portfolio. They need to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technology too.

Is it for me?

Design necessitates artistic talent, aesthetic sense and design aptitude per se. Innovation, creative ability, and eye for detail, drawing and visualisation skills coupled with practical approach is rudimentary. Communication, presentation and problem-solving skills along with some commercial business expertise will stand aspirants in good stead.

Designing is hollow without the ability to understand client or user requirements, like who will use a particular product and how. Gauging practical market needs is equally essential. Again, designing is teamwork as designers have to work in conjunction with many others – marketing and strategic planners to name a few.

Job prospects

Design offers tremendous prospects with great demand in a multitude of sectors like engineering, manufacturing, automobiles, fashion, interior designing, architecture, entertainment, advertising, IT and so on. Career options range from some pretty staid ones to creative and outright revolutionary ones. For instance, industrial and product designers shape everyday mass-produced goods like lamps, umbrellas, ceramics, switches, buttons, sofas and toys to circuit boards, home appliances, medical equipment, electronics and even aeroplanes. Package designers create the packaging required for different goods from milk boxes to stereos. Fashion design is not limited to garments and includes shoe design, accessory design and so on. Visual merchandising is concerned with designing shop fronts, boutique displays, etc.

Then there is film and video communication design, exhibition (spatial) design, IT, software and user interface design, information and digital design, photography, advertising design, etc. Manufacturing companies, corporate houses, design firms and consultancies and even Government of India agencies employ designers on a regular basis. Job positions generally start at the junior level involving routine work moving on to senior designer, design supervisor, art/creative director and even design department head positions.

Experienced designers can be on their own by freelancing, working on contract basis or even setting up their own design studio.

Some opt for teaching and join design schools as faculty.

The field of design is very lucrative (depending on speciality, employer and personal flair) and is getting very popular over the past decade. Competition is tough and one needs extraordinary talent to carve a decent place for oneself.

Designers who can come up with new ideas and products while closely monitoring and reacting to changing customer demands will radically improve their prospects of success.

In essence, your work is your calling card – it speaks for itself!

Finally, design is an extremely challenging, rewarding and exhilarating field. The satisfaction of seeing your ideas take shape before your eyes and your creation come to life is unparalleled.

So, use your technical mastery to reshape the world around you – you are only limited by your imagination!

Payal Chanania

faqs@cnkonline.com

Where to study?

National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad http://www.nid.edu/

IIT Delhi, Mumbai, Guwahati - http://www.iitb.ac.in/, http://www.iitd.ac.in/, http://www.iitg.ernet.in/

Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore http://srishti.ac.in/

DJ Academy of Design, Coimbatore http://www.djad.in/

SRM University, Chennai http://www.srmuniv.ac.in/

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