On Teaching Design

One of the things I have been doing lately is teaching more and more. There are two aspects to it. One is the love for teaching, and the other is more of a duty to be a design evangelist and in a way increase the popularity and acceptance of design profession.

Teaching to me is a very difficult thing to do and in a way the most challenging. It is also a world wide notion that the way Design Education is imparted is not up-to mark with the current trends and that it needs to change.

I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to get associated with different avenues to see this dream fulfilled through the different avenues I am associated with.

As I head the operations of the design school, it allows me to get a more holistic point of view on design, in terms of what goes into designing a comprehensive program with proper learning outcomes.

At another design initiative I teach at we look at teaching Design to senior technology Professionals, who are just being introduced to design. This is challenging, since the participants already have a lot of experience.

Talking about design

One of my research areas has been to see how the principles of design can be used in the improvement of quality of education at the primary school level too.

I am excited over these initiatives, and I look forward to writing more about this in the days to come!

On Design & Business

Of late, I have been having lot of discussions with Entrepreneurs who speak the language of the business, and often I am trying to convince them on the value of design.

Also in the Business School that I teach Design, it is always to hear the impressions of the participants on the design aspects.

I came across this interesting video that talks about the times we are in today and the value that Design has for businesses. It’s a must watch.

Design the New Business – English subtitles from dthenewb on Vimeo.

Designing with Intent

What’s your intent

In today’s class we discuss the notion of Designing with Intent. It is a simple concept (well, no concept as such), but serves as a good guiding tool when looking at the design from the human centric approach.

I see this as a corollary from the User Centered Design process and the emphasis on the intent part.

The usage of the word intent of-course makes it appear a bit stronger.

I made the students of my class do this simple exercise of mapping their diploma projects to this intent. The discussions that followed were interesting.

As is the case with a lot of my classes, I often showcase Videos in the class. As designers,  getting to listen to these thought leaders is often interesting and gives a point of view that is then discussed. I use these videos to encourage the art of Design Criticism which is something I want all my students to become good at.

For this class we saw the TED video by John Hockenberry, where he claims that we are all designers and that the only thing that we should focus on is the Designing for Intent.

Why User Experience Matters – talk at Honeywell

Last week I was invited to the company Honeywell Technology Solutions, to give a talk on User Experience. I chose to touch upon the fact that User Experience is important and how every company should get a team for UX, engage with UX designers or atleast have the entire company believe in UX.

The topic for my talk thus was “Why User Experience Matters”. I loved the discussions that followed after the talk and was a great joy to see the participants enjoy the section on the Arial Vs Helvetica quiz. At the end of the day, everyone agreed that UX is important and how even small things like Fonts and Typography play a huge role in the UX process.

Here is the slide deck from the talk.


Design Day #8, Bangalore 18th May

I have been a huge proponent of the Design community in Bangalore coming together regularly and interact with each other. Often this happens only over projects, but the need to just come together more informally as well. Bangalore really needs a Design event that happens on a regular basis. There are two things that I am a part of and facilitate.

One is the movie+design nights that I host at my place from time to time, and the other is the Design Day event organized by Aashish Solanki and his team.

For those not familiar with the event, here is more about it.

Design Day is held on the third Saturday of every month, and a theme of Design is selected. There are two talks followed by a JAM session for an hour. The whole thing starts around 9:30 am and goes on till around 1:30 pm. The talks and JAM sessions are related to the theme.

The event is open to Designers and non-designers who share a passion on design and perhaps want to learn something about design.

The upcoming event is on the 18th of May and the theme this time is typography, something that I really enjoy!

Design Day Poster

You can register for the event here It is FREE, though registration is must for arranging the logistics and arranging for passes to the Microsoft Accelerator office where it is held!

I spoke on the theme of Design Education at the last edition of Design Day. You can view my presentation from the same in this earlier blog post .

See you on the 18th!

Design your own Whiteboard at home

With as low as 20 Rs .

Almost all homes in the apartment complexes these days have glass doors and windows. We thought to put it to some better use. We have been contemplating to buy a whiteboard, but did not want to mess with the walls so thought of using an alternative. Simple idea, but pretty effective to make up to-do-lists and do quick discussions.

Creating the base, cleaning glass door from the behind

Placing sheets in the back of the glass door

Tile the sheets properly to avoid any gaps in between the sheets

Put white sheets behind the glass

Come back to the front and start writing on glass. More sheets, larger white board

Write on the front side as a normal white board! Your White Board is ready!

Your Windows 8 inspired tiled whiteboard

Use the tiled structure for managing different tasks and projects

Total project costs: 6 A3 sheets : Rs 12 1 cellotape: Rs 8

Total Rs 20 only.

. . . → Read More: Design your own Whiteboard at home

The history of Typography

One of my favorite topics in Design is Typography. I could spend hours surfing beautiful types and their stories. I must have watched Helvetica quite a few times and have often made a lot of effort in the presentations I make to ensure that they look nice by selecting the right type.

Here’s a nice short video to showcase the history of Typography.

It’s a must watch!

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