Written by Anandi Raman Vig, a first-year design undergraduate at CEPT university, Ahmedabad
What is design
Well, frankly speaking, it is near impossible to explain all that design stands for, in a few sentences. It holds different meanings in different circumstances. It means identifying a problem or need and developing an innovative solution. It means observing and recognising the scope for improvement in an already-existing object or process. It includes planning out a strategy to maximise efficiency.
At first, this may sound overwhelming for someone trying to explore this creative field. However, stay with me, and I will help you understand all that I found necessary when I was in this phase.
Broad kinds of careers within the field of design
Design is a vast field in itself and has numerous specialisations.
Few of the commonly heard ones include Graphic Design, Product Design, Interior Design and Fashion Design. However, the list does not end here; it just starts. Game Design, User Experience and Interface Design, Animation Design, Web Design, Exhibition Design, Textile Design, Set Design, Service Design are the comparatively lesser-known fields under the umbrella term of ‘Design’.
Narrowing it down to a particular specialisation
As mentioned above, there are several fields within design, and it can get a bit confusing to choose which one to pursue.
A simple way to go about this is to start by talking to as many professionals from the field as possible. Try interacting through career fairs or webinars. Get to know what exactly is it that they do, and this way, you shall get a peek into their lives as a designer. Design is a vast field, and it is not possible to understand what it truly means in a short time. Hence, people often allow themselves to explore this mammoth profession while pursuing their undergraduate degree.
By the end of the bachelor’s degree, one has had ample exposure to the field and is better positioned to choose a specialisation for further study if one wishes to go for masters. Another essential thing to remember here is that several colleges do not choose a specialisation at the undergraduate level, instead offering a general Bachelors of Design degree. This is also a good idea as it allows students to understand various aspects of design as a whole.
What skills should a design aspirant work on. Are there any prerequisites to entering this field?
A designer is someone who combines art, technology and engineering to come up with a practical solution to a need. Thus, the first quality that an aspiring designer must nurture is observation. Observing little details of everyday life helps identify the scope for a possible design solution. Dedication and hard work, no doubt, are prerequisites to all fields.
Creativity is another aspect that comes with this field. These qualities can be developed over time with regular effort. However, if there is one thing that cannot be developed, it is passion. Passion for looking at mundane problems, not as problems, but as opportunities for innovation. The day you can identify this passion within you, that’s when you will know, design is the field for you.
Process of admission into a design college
This process usually starts as soon as you are clear with what you wish to pursue higher education in. It is a good idea to have some clarity by the end of 11th grade, if not sooner.
The good part about this field is that there is no such subject requirement in senior secondary education to enroll in Bachelors of Design program, except for a few colleges like IIT Guwahati, where you need Physics, Chemistry and Maths. Other than that, you are free to take whatever subjects you like.
The Central Board of Secondary Education has recently introduced Design as a skill subject at the senior secondary level. You can consider it while giving your stream options.
It is an excellent idea to research the colleges offering Bachelor of Design degrees and have a broad picture of whether you would like to study in India or go abroad. I will mention a few design colleges in the next section but would recommend you find out others too, as I can’t list all names here.
Admission to most design colleges is through competitive exams. Thus it is advisable to identify the exams you wish to appear for, based on the colleges you hope to get admitted in. NID DAT, NIFT Entrance Exam, UCEED are a few of the entrance exams for Indian design colleges. Keep track of when the application opens and other important dates.
As for the preparation for these exams, one thing which should be understood immediately is the fact that each exam pattern is different and it is important to understand these patterns before starting the preparation. Each exam looks for different skills in a student, thus again, it is critical to identify the exams you wish to give and prepare accordingly.
Once the exam is done, merit ranks are released, based on which you apply for admission.
Design colleges in India and abroad
These are just a few names that instantly come to my mind, so I recommend you do some research about design colleges yourself too!
Design colleges in India
A) Government-owned colleges
- National Institute of Design ( several campuses)
- National Institute of Fashion Technology ( several campuses)
- Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay
- Indian Institute of Technology – Hyderabad
- Indian Institute of Technology – Guwahati
- Indian Institute of Information Technology, Design and Manufacturing – Jabalpur
- Delhi Technological University – Delhi
B) Private colleges
- CEPT University – Ahmedabad
- The Design Village – Noida
- Pearl Academy ( several campuses)
- UID (United World Institute of Design) – Gandhinagar
- ISDI (Indian School of Design And Innovation) – Mumbai
- Srishti Manipal Institute of Art, Design and Technology – Bangalore
Best design colleges abroad
- Rhode Island School of Design – Rhode Island, US
- Pratt Institute – New York, US
- Parsons School of Design – New York, US
- Royal College of Art – London, UK
- The Savannah College of Art and Design – US
- Lasalle College of the Arts – Singapore
What can I do right after reading this article?
Well, it is never too soon or late to start preparing. Continue your research about the field and colleges, and alongside, take out some dedicated time for preparation. Being up to date with current affairs and general knowledge is key for almost all entrance exams.
Keep a sketchbook handy and sketch whatever you see around you, a view or an object daily. Brush up 10th-grade Maths and English, for it often comes in question papers. The key here is regularity, for consistent work does go a long way! Happy preparation!
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