So what exactly is product designing? Wikipedia states that ‘product designing is to create a new product to be sold by a business to its customers.’ One can either design a product as per the demand (e.g., designing trophies and medals for national sports events) or create completely new products never seen before (e.g., the selfie stick is a new age design, mobile rings is a new product that has just hit the market). Also, evolution in products is the mind work of a product designer. For example, the change in the outer look of desktops or laptops, from box like to sleek, through the years is an outcome of product designing. In a way, product designing involves designing ‘human scale’ products.
Product designing is a relatively new area of expertise, considering that other design and engineering subjects have been around for ages. Few institutes in India offer this course. National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad; Department of Design-IIT, Guwahati, are premier institutes offering different specializations in this course. The first two specifically offer Product Designing. It is fortunate that another premier institute, Vogue Institute of Fashion Technology (VIFT), Bangalore, is planning to include Product Designing course in its mainstream from June 2017. Founded in 1996, VIFT has been ranked as one amongst top ten designing colleges in India by India Today and Outlook magazine for consecutive years.
‘Learning by doing’ is the objective of this 4 to 6 year course. During this course, the student, through a various mix of subjects like science, art, technology, CAD, has his mind trained in a way that he is able to think out of the box. Ample assignments help students to visualize, analyse, conceptualize and synthesize ideas and turn them into tangible products or inventions. The student in fact gets to see his designs through CAD or 3D models. This helps him in understanding the practicality and usability of his products. Product design also requires a great deal of understanding of both materials and manufacturing techniques. He is expected to stay up-to-date with developments in his field. The subjects in product designing, like technical drawing, CAD, materials and manufacture processes, history of design, ergonomics, problem solving, prototyping, projects, etc. encompass all these aspects to help in this cognitive growth. Numerous specializations are offered in this course, which one can chose as per his interest. For example, NID offers through its bachelors and masters programme specializations in Furniture Design, Lifestyle Accessory Design, Product Design, Toy & Game Design, Transportation and Automobile Design, etc. Vogue Institute of Fashion Technology offers a bachelors degree in Visual Arts (Product Design).
The scope of this course is very wide. Every second thing that a person holds or sets his eye on is a product. Automobile companies, organizations dealing with consumer durables, consumer electronics, personal products, all need product designers to design new variants or evolve existing ones. One can work as design consultant, design educationalist, product designer, environmental /spatial designer, industrial designer, furniture designer, lighting designer, toy designer (depending on the specialization). The average salary in India for a beginner could range from 3-5 lakhs. Alternatively, one can excel as an entrepreneur as well.
So folks, enter the world of the Product Designer – the one place that doesn’t limit your thoughts!!!
– Ritu S. with inputs from Nikhil Baveja
(Nikhil, founder of Nickel, has experience in retail store design, exhibition design, product design, etc. Ritu has been associated with various reputed colleges in Goa, Bangalore and Vadodara as faculty in the field of fashion design).