Metamorphosis I – Design School to Design Firm

December 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

“Design is the method of putting form and content together. Design, just as art, has multiple definitions; there is no single definition. Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.”  – Paul Rand

This quote sums up the entire picture so well. There is a constant evolution around us and design being an integral part is constantly changing. In that case how can we have few definite set of principles summing up the entire process. I think the design school of today faces this as its biggest challenge. Any other subject has its basic principles rock solid. A formula once derived and proved goes down in history and becomes the base of everything. Imagine what would happen without the e = mc². The problem is in design there can seldom be such magic formulas.

The institutions have a defined routine and process which introduces the students to the ‘then’ basic principles of design. But its only a matter of time before the same process might be termed as ‘old school thinking’. Like noted training for the war can only train you of the estimated activities and consequences but it can never prepare you to deal with the real time decisions. Similarly a practice match can never bring the thrill of the real tournament when the whole nations heart is beating with yours.

During college years the student only have to cater to their mentors and guides. In a firm they actually face the real clients and the whole concept of hypothetical projects becomes a fairytale. In that case the clients who are not design trained become the guides. The tricky part is to manoeuvre them along with keeping up the satisfaction of oneself in delivering the needful. To strike a balance sometimes becomes very difficult as what appeals to the client might be defying one’s own design sensibility. This is the most challenging part for a student once they come out of the shelter of the institution and have to present their ideas to the client, a ‘non designer’.

The ideal scenario is when you can blend your requirements into a visually appealing sensible art. This can be mastered only by experience as an idea which was highly praised by the design mentors in college might fall flat with the common public.  Getting mass approval from the target audience can only be learned with time and opportunity to perhaps fail a few times.

To sum it all up the challenges in design is what makes it most interesting. The fast paced profession brings a sense of adrenalin rush as you crack your brains for each challenge trying to outdo yourself each time.  Eventually its the only profession for which you get paid for all the doodles and scribbles you made during class hours. But probably you learn it best only once you are in the soup yourself. Design teaching in college just gives you the recipe. The quality of the dish depends on your culinary skills.

Happy Cooking!


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