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Story of Design – Design Day talk

On Saturday 20th April, I gave a talk on Design Education in India at the Design Day Event. The event is a curated, monthly, free for all event that serves to act as a platform for designers to meet, interact, network and engage in conversations around design. The theme for the last one was Design education, and every month the theme changes around one aspect in Design.

PROLOGUE OF THIS TALK We as designers often wonder,why is it that we have so less design schools in India, in spite of its rich legacy in crafts and culture. Where are we now and what is the future of Design education in India ? Do we really understand what is Design and the professional practice of design?

Story of Design from Kshitiz Anand


Embracing Failure

Designers are one lot on the planet who are often subjected to face failure. Many of them however do not take it in the right spirit. Call it the ego that drives us, or the question to our subjective viewpoints, either ways it is something that is not right and needs to be taken with a light heart. It is something that when seen as a constructive criticism thing, can do wonders for the growth of the designer.

I remember when I was in my final year of my design education at IITG, in the seventh semester, I failed miserably at a course that was worth 24 credits. That was perhaps the largest setback that I got. But that was just academically. There are numerous incidents that one comes across as a professional designer that exposes you to failure. It could be a result of a client interaction or a misalignment with the views of the team you are working with.

Every incident made me realize the value of embracing failure in its true spirit. I started to talk more about it in my talks and lectures that I gave to varied audiences across India.

On Failure

I am of the firm belief that Design education today needs to build this aspect of Embracing failure in the school itself. I often talk to my students about this and in the last Final Diploma project class, we had a nice discussion around this.

At the end of it, we fail because we are Humans, and Designers by virtue of designing everything that is Human Centered, it is but natural that we would be exposed to failure. The sooner we learn to embrace it, the better it is.

Also I feel that, this spans not only to designers, but to a . . . → Read More: On Embracing Failure

On Design Education in India - notes from the DDEI Conference

Design in India is going through interesting times. While there is the huge demand of designers from the industry, there is a crisis in terms of quality resources graduating out of the existing design schools in India. In a country of 1.2 billion people there is only around 45-50 Design schools and institutes. (Compare this with Beijing which alone as around 120 Design Schools, Seoul – 80 Design schools, Singapore – 40 Design schools). Today more people are aware of the role of design and designers in their organizations and the products and services they create. However the quality of designers that they have to choose from remains a concern of many. —- Here is the gist of the conference taken from my notes I took during the conference. 1. There is a huge need for Design education to reach out to the other 80% of the Indian population that do not have access to Design education presently. 2. How does Design education come out of its elitist image, and be affordable to a wider audience. 3. Where does India get the faculty to teach Design? This is been a major concern across all Design institutions in India.  How can the teachers be trained as processors who make more socially responsible designers / people. 4. Can the language and grammar of Design in India be around the notion of Innovation for Improvement and towards building an inclusive development of society. 5. Whether the original “India Report” (proposed by Charles and Ray Eames for the establishment of National Institue of Design [1961]) is being followed in the present state of Design education in India is debatable. Many feel it has deviated. 6. Design was at the helm of development in the 1960s (Nehru’s Vision), but then fell behind in the race with engineering and management schools. 7. Design . . . → Read More: On Design Education in India – notes from the DDEI Conference

Designer's Dilemma: Which conference to attend?

It is really interesting to know that every major city in India now has atleast one Design conference. As a result of this, we designers are often confused on which to attend! Some of these conferences also rotate from one city to the other. What conference to attend depends a lot on asking yourself, what you want to gain out of the conference. For some networking is always on the agenda. For some it is just to soak in the creative positive energies that flows during this conference.

I was just going through the details of two of the upcoming and interesting conferences in India. I wanted to give some information about both. If you were to attend just one, I would recommend the Goa Project. That is my personal opinion based on my profile and interests. For the record, I am going to be attending both of them.

1. India Design Forum. (March 15th, 16th in Mumbai) The India Design Forum- a private registration only program features two days of talks by highly acclaimed design experts from around India and the rest of the world. Going by the past experience of me attending it last year, I know that The India Design Forum is more on the lines of an international (and elitist) event.

India Design Forum 2013

The need for such an event in India is important. However one thing I did not like about this conference is the inability to ask questions to speakers. The format is such that you just hear from “designers”. If that’s the case, I am often wondering, we do that anyway through the videos we see. Though nothing to give away from the tremendous networking opportunity the IDF provides.

If not for the IDF, people in India . . . → Read More: Designer’s dilemma : Which conference to attend?

Hartmut Esslinger’s – Advice For Designers

Just came across this talk by Frog Design’s founder Hartmut Esslinger to designers.

Hartmut Esslinger – Advice For Designers from frog on Vimeo.

If you are interested in Design Strategy and understanding how it holds up with the Businesses, you should also check out his book “A Fine Line: How Design Strategies are shaping the future of Business” do that too.

It is available on Flipkart too.

Interactive Design Trends for 2013

Recently I came across this very interesting slide deck on the trends in Interactivity and Interaction Design for 2013. It is a very nicely done presentation.

Definitely worth a checkout!

Trends in interactive design 2013 from Prophets Agency

The Aha moment

Last night, at exactly 00:01 hours, I had an Aha Moment! A moment of epiphany, where I knew exactly what was needed. I was working on a logo design project and trying out various options and explorations. The moment the Aha moment occurred, i knew this was it!

Aha Moment: a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension. A moment of clarity.

A smile captured my face, and the next couple of hours were spent doing the design. It was a moment where I was sure that the design that I decided upon as a result of that Aha Moment would be the one that the client selected. It so happened that the client did select that very design.

Designers are known to live by intuition. With more experience , the intuition becomes stronger and often they are able to come up with designs in a shorter turnaround time.Do these Aha moments come as a result of long churning by the subconscious mind on the designs, or does it arise from a totally blank slate. Does it occur in the influence of something or does it just come by.

I asked the same question in my class in the TCD program today, and asked the students about it. Got a lot of interesting expressions! Many laughed at the entries. But in the end they relate to it.

The Aha Moments

I would love to hear from more designers on what gives them their Aha moments!

Does your Design create Superheroes?

What is good design is a topic of discussion that has been going on for a loonnnng time! Here’s a nice short video that illustrates a nice answer to this too! Enjoy!

About the video: User experience designer ‘Aral Balkan’ is interested in how bad design frustrates and infuriates us — and how good design can make us feel like superheroes.

Redesign of the AA logo

The new American Airlines logo

So the latest news is that American airlines has gone a change in their logo and an overhaul to the branding. The old logo has been in use for around 45 years, and that goes to show its timelessness! A classic in itself, it has stood test in time. So now all eyes would be on the new logo and whether it can do as good. In the times that we live in today, it is easier said than done. Many people these days value Brand experience more than just a visual identity.

A branding redesign exercise is often associated with a change (for the better) customer experience spanning across the passenger services, in flight services, and the processes of doing other things. It would indeed be interesting to see whether this redesign in the Brand creates the value of the corporate overall as well.

One will always be cynical about change. As designers however one is entitled to their subjective opinion, fit to be passed as a judgement. It is a good thing that they released the video, as it is good to know the story and aspirations behind the change.

My opinions on this Redesign? I am always apprehensive of the redesign of the logos of  large corporates. Any high profile company’s change of logo and brand reminds me of the Gap logo redesign fiasco. Because the old logos have been around for so long, it is often challenging for people to accept the new one. Moreover, it is also due to the fact that the level of understanding visual languages amongst the audience these days has gone up. The logos themselves are reproduced and used on many more places than it used to earlier.

I personally think that . . . → Read More: Redesign of the AA logo

What keeps you alive?

I am a person driven by passion. I love doing things that inspire me towards being a better human being. I think that is a characteristic that every designer should have. In the classes that I take, I often ask the students to bring some soul into their work, and also drive their work with passion. It is this passion that keeps one alive and moving.

I recently came across this quote, and I loved it. It embodies the exact thought I had about people being driven by passion and doing things that truly inspires them. I created a poster out of it, to continue my love for Graphic Design as well.

What keeps you alive?