15 August 2013

Is M.Des best for you ?

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Common Entrance Examination For Design (CEED) is an All India Entrance Examination conducted yearly for admissions to Masters in Design (M.Des) at IIT's and few other leading institutes. The exam is usually conducted by IIT Bombay on behalf of Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD), Just like GATE for M.Tech. The exam is meant to test candidates basic design ability.

Note : You may also watch my video tutorial at the end of this section

M.Des is basically a post-graduate program for aspirants looking for developing skills in design and creativity. When I came to know bout CEED for the first time, I was thinking that M.Des is All about regular engineering design which covers numerical and analytical analysis, a must for any R&D sector in India as well as abroad. I was excited, but later I found that I was in WRONG perception.

Friends, Remember that the “Design” what M.Des refers to is different from “Engineering Design”. M.Des is all about design, innovation and developing of new idea, product and so on. Precisely it involves developing a new concept or remodeling an existing one. Say for example if you mention designing a car, it means designing the exterior and interiors of the car, structure/looks and styling of the car, AND NOT about designing for efficiency, environment-friendly as well as latest technology. 

The later part will be taken care by engineers and R&D team of the project. But there will be a regular co-ordination between the teams and of course designers are the one who develop and generate the concept from the scratch ! If you are totally interested in technical part, then I may say that M.Des is not correct option (In this case you may look for M.Tech). Although design courses at IISC and even at IIT Kanpur are exceptions !


Okay, I came across many design students who are always striving to prove that Design is everything and Engineering is nothing ! Yes, wherever possible, they try to criticize Engineering. I don't know why they have that grudge. That's why - I would cover the actual definition of 'Design' as per a true Engineer or scientist context - I mean what it mean by design to a true engineer who has good engineering skills, and not any ordinary degree holder !

Design can be stated as the process that involves any one or combination of the following (as per the Engineer)

  1. Interpretation of process (theoretical evaluation)
  2. Making the theory go practical
  3. Applications of concepts
  4. Usage and application of Engineering tools - formulas, concepts, calculation techniques, methods etc
  5. Innovation of new things - concepts, theories, formulas that are used in practical applications,
  6. Analyze a complex situation - like say estimating the stress factors of structures etc
  7. Efficiencies, graphs, outcomes
  8. Most importantly 'A design process' means a check - that should be carried to verify whether the estimated concept meets the need - I mean whether It is practical or not

And lot more to mention in this list. So, in this way a true engineer interprets the term design and there's no wrong in doing so, because he/she is technical minded. This article has been especially written for those who are getting confused between actual engineering design and the normal design - through CEED or NID. You have to agree with me the fact that every field is inter-related. Even medical is related with engineering and also the so called design. No stream is unique or something like that.

If a PG design student (whom did his bachelors in Engineering) claim that Engineering is boring with no lateral works; and say Design is ever best - then you should understand that he/she has not taken the right choice before. Without any interest, he/she might have joined B.E (to get some degree) and after joining other alternative course, complaining that it is not good although he/she is not understanding that he/she had no taste in that field. So, he/she might actually mis-guide you and wants to make you follow in their own steps. Like I said, everybody has their own taste.

So, If you are a die hard engineer (or engineering student) and wants to land in the beautiful world of Engineering Design (that can be considered as a part of Research), then skip this M.Des without any thinking and just go for your other technical higher studies - MS or even M.Tech's. 

On the other hand - if you are not capable of handling the technical part or if you fear for the technical aspects of any stream and wants to land in a path where there is very less involvement of engineering problem solving - I mean if you dislikes the engineering way, then M.Des might be a best option; provided you have interest and passion for design. Of course, you still need to have good engineering aptitude skills. Indirectly - almost everyone have some mathematical aptitude skills - That works very well in Design.

Okay, the below picture shows how an Engineer perceive a car

The next picture shows how a designer visualize a car. Now, you should be able to understand the difference. right ?

source : carscarnew blog

Many design students say "The ratio of designers to engineers being 1 : 100". Well, this statement is absolutely true and I can say the ratio could also be 1 : 1000. But the fact is one should realize that the ratio is very less - not because there are few designers but because there are very few requirements in many industries/fields. 

So, At this point, I will suggest you to first look into your interest and preferences. Make a comparison table and list down the possible advantages and dis-advantages in opting M.Des or M.Tech. Also be keen to competition as well as career opportunities. Decide whether the preferred selection suites you or not. You are the best judge for your decisions. Even if the seniors (whom are doing M.Des) say that design is superb, awesome or everything, it's up to you to decide whether that is true or not. What they say is their perception. Some like pizza and some doesn't. Same applies to any career. You have to check whether what they say are actually true or not and decide. You can even join design forums in Facebook and learn more about the subject.     

On the other side if you are really good at sketching/Art, creative ideas and likes to be involved in Product designs with little concern for technical aspects, then you are lucky to choose M.Des.

Here is my video discussion regarding this topic for your reference

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You may also watch the video


  1. any idea regarding Portfolio Creation ?. How to go about it and what should be their ?

    1. Hi friend,

      Sorry for late reply.

      Portfolio is like a resume, difference being - resume involves describing your skills and talent in written format, while portfolio showcase your skills pictorially (especially design and artistic skills) in the world of aesthetic design and arts. It's a way of communicating your creative works designed by you. Portfolio are the preferred formats for getting admissions as well as placements in design and art areas.
      You may include your hand works (pencil, sketching, coloring, oil paintings, creative paper works) as well as digital works as part of portfolio. As per my knowledge; one may represent their work in book, spiral bind or even in simple plain papers (A4, A3, A2 and more sizes). Its like your portfolio itself should be speaking about yourself without the need of you !
      This is what I know about portfolio, hope this helped you and once again sorry for replying late.

    2. Hi Sir,

      I haven't made it to NID, NIFT and IIT's and here's something I've found could you please throw some light on this college?

      UPES-School of Design Studies, Dehradun is accepting applications for M.Des., B.Des. and BFA programs for the academic year 2014.

      Programs on Offer
      M.Des. Transportation Design
      M.Des. Industrial Design
      M.Des. Interior Design
      M.Des. Product Design
      B.Des. (Bachelor of Design)
      B.F.A. (Bachelor of Fine Arts)

      M.Des Programs
      Eligibility Criteria for M.Des Programs are as follows;
      • Minimum 50% marks in Higher & Senior Secondary level (10th & 12th) and B. Tech/B.E. in any discipline / B. Arch / BFA 4 years / B. Des / Interior Design / Applied Arts with minimum 50% marks.
      • UPES DESIGN TEST (UPES –DAT), in case a candidate is not having a valid CEED 2014 Score.
      • Presentation of portfolio followed by interview

      Portfolio requirements:
      • Drawing, sketching and rendering by hand using a variety of techniques and media including color markers and color pencils (10-15 pages)
      • Digital work (software) – Drawing, sketching, and rendering using digital media, tools and techniques (2 dimensional, 3 dimensional)
      • Physical Model / Prototype - fabrication / construction

      B.Des Programs
      Eligibility Criteria for B.Des. (Bachelor of Design) Programs are as follows;
      Exam Pathways
      1. Minimum 60% marks in class X, XII and XII PCM (Physics, Chemistry and Maths).
      2. UPES Engineering Aptitude Test (UPESEAT) + Design Test followed by Centralized Counseling

      Non-Exam Pathways
      Board Merit
      Minimum 80% marks in class X, XII and XII PCM (Physics, Chemistry and Maths).


      JEE Main Merit
      1. Minimum 60% marks in class X, XII and XII PCM (Physics, Chemistry and Maths).
      2. JEE Main cut-off Rank to be announced (on UPES website) after the declaration of JEE Main 2014 results

    3. Hello Rahul,

      UPES is one of the latest institutes of India; I can say - it is one of the fast growing institute. But the placements details of that institute are not yet known, If you couldn't make it to any of IIT's, NID or even NIFT, then you are left with some private institutes as well as UPES. I could only tell you that before opting for any private institute, just go through the institute fee structure, placement records or if possible reviews from concerned alumni or seniors. Otherwise, if you are not willing to join them, then you could wait few more months to give the next exams, More details about optional institutes have been listed here - Preferred institutions for M.Des

      Good luck !

  2. Sir, Thanks a million for the earnest effort you have taken in comprehensively publishing this material which would be quite handy to CEED aspirants and also help them in taking a correct decision as to whether it is a course of their choice. Great , selfless work, thanks again.


    1. ha ha,
      Glad to read your comment, Thanks friend :)

  3. Sir May I know the refernce books for UPES in M.DES

    1. I'm not sure about UPES Ajay, may be the design pattern would be same as that for CEED, So I guess preparation would be just like we do for CEED exam. Anyway please confirm this and prepare.

    2. nice information sir thank you very much
      please throw some light on doing mdes after btech ece and scope.?

    3. Hello Vineet,

      Scope for mdes students is likely to be same, regardless of whether you are from ECE, Mechanical or all other Engg. Fields, the only thing matters according to me is what you learn and what you do while pursuing M.Des. So, just erase the mind frame of stream and look into your interest. If you ask me, I would say that the so called Design is best suited to Engg students from the following specific fields - Mech, Civil, Computers and IT. I suspect the design capability for rest Engg branches. The above said fields do cover something related in their course module. Anyway, better to pre check your basic design skills by solving some design questions. ECE does has good future and of course they have wide scope.
      I advice you to check that and if you are running out of options, then look for M.Des. Let me know your ideas :)

  4. Dear Bhanu Chander,
    Please I have a great problem here, Please suggest me a suitable idea my friend,..
    I am a mechanical engineering student, i love my course ..and i will become a good engineer one day, but i also want to do M.des because It is the course i dreamt of since my childhood (beleive it or not),I chose Mech after getting inspired from leonardo davinci`s mechanical drawings..
    so coming to the point , is there any way i could be using my BE Mech expertise and M.des All at the same Time , I am really proud of my engineering and i am also desperate to do Mdes.I dont want to lose either of them when i am working in future
    . Please Friend HELPPP !!!!!!!

    1. It's a bit complicated question. The education system in here is like we will deal with any one or (to the least extent) a partial overlap of the subjects. Let me tell you one thing, when you opt for M.Des, then you are welcome to implement your BE skills to design anything (that would seems practical instead of just designing without knowing the constraints and practical limitations like most does :P). When it comes to M.Tech or MS, I have seen many projects and hands on works, that requires pre-aesthetic designs doing on solid works or any other softwares as well as (in rare cases) prototypes.
      So, if you are really going to have hands on experience, then while doing MS or M.Tech you could have the possibility of dealing with both, provided you are at IIT's !.
      And again, don't expect to have both in your way while at work ! When you land in a career, then you would be restricted to any one of the two, as the two are on complete different track. So, choice is your's !

  5. Hi Bhanu Chander
    I am B.tech Mechanical Engineering Student
    I want to make my carrier in the field R&D in mechanical engineer designer and have passion
    in creating or modifying any product with more efficiency.
    Means want to design not only new product but also feasible in reality.
    So which way i should choose M.Tech or M.Des.
    If you advice me to M.Tech then tell which stream will be better to fulfill above requirements.

    1. Hello Shashi kant,

      I saw your message in G+ also. Since you have good hold on software's that help in building models and products, better if you watch for some technology related course, I mean either you can go for M.Tech or MS. Although M.Des is also an option, but let me tell you that you will have more freedom to work on software when in MDes than in M.Tech, but I suspect the R&D behaviour ! There are many good number of branches like Mechanical Design, Engineering Design etc which helps students to work on software's etc. If you have are interested, You may try to get into Engineering Design department of IIT Madras through Gate for masters, that course is really good to get hands on experience. You may also check for other Mech Design courses, but make sure that you land in IIT's, the reason is you will get good freedom to work on it !

  6. hi
    i have completed my bachelors in electrical and electronics.I am realistic artist , i would like to know can i apply for ceed.i have studied lots of subjects related to machine design in my bachelors.

    can i use charcoal pencils for the exam
    or color pencils
    can i use eraser and ruler for the exam?

    1. Yes, yo ucan definitely apply for the exam, infact you can use all those media (drawing materials) that u listed. Although, Machine Design topics are less importance in mdes, still u are gud to go, since u know about design n realistic sketches !

  7. hello sir
    thanks for the wonderful information you've given here.
    you mentioned
    "If you are totally interested in technical part, then I may say that M.Des isnot correct option(In this case you may look for M.Tech). Although design courses at IISC and even at IIT Kanpur are exceptions ! "
    how different the m.des course in iitk and iisc are?
    are they same as mtech course?

    1. No, they are not equivalent to m.tech even though little tech oriented. They cover vast design topics that is not covered in mtech

  8. Hello sir
    This is shashank from bangalore
    I am in my final year BE as a mechanical engineer
    Sir i hav a doubt related to it,
    As i m good with few cad softwares and i am also diploma in product designing but i even want to model or design cars then create them on my softwares

    So what should i opt for
    Will i get any chance to use my both skills anywhere

    Should i go for m des or should i opt for m tech then later try for m des

    Or if there is any iits or any other institutions that offer these kind of course for both design and then modeling on softwares plzz suggest

    I love technical courses but i also love sketching or modelling

    I want to use both at same time is it possible plz help regarding this

    Thanku sir

    1. Bit tough to explain, I didn't find any course that holds both of your requirements, but ya mdes course is like you will work with some software's (i'm not sure, how many of them and in what depth) but certainly you will have both hands on experience on design as well as with softwares (particularly mobility and vehicle design courses and PD/IXD). M.Tech is bit different, you won't be having manual or hand made sketch design, rather you can work with software's (intensively - in depth!) to model something, for modelling part I could say that Research is very good, you can also choose between M.S (Research in India) and M.Tech, in M.S you can focus on a particular resrach topic and dig in depth just like P.hD, MS is considered a minor of P.hD, right now i'm perusing MS in Engg. Design in IIT Madras. M.Tech is totally course related and is meant for those looking for jobs, in that project is just a part and might be similar to btech final year project (might not be in depth).

      So, with this bit of info, I think u can now make a decision! all d best :)

  9. Thanku sir

    Just one more advice i need
    Can i go for m tech or m s in eng design
    And after that m des
    Is it a good option??

    And plz just xplain once the major difference between ms and m tech specifically for engineering design
    Thnks a lot for ur time sir:)

    1. I have already explained the diff in the above comment ! and don't expect everything at desk, do some work and search from your side, if u didn't get the solution, they u can consider asking someone, coz it's ur career n u need to decide which suits u by going through the syllabus, course structure, placements etc. Do a survey, it's not an hour decision!

      Doing ms/mtech and then going for mdes is not a good idea for me, coz again u r doing masters- which might waste ur time, design institutes apart from mdes also offers phd for design, u can consider that. Again do a survey!

  10. really an awesome blog....quite useful information !
    Hi I am Manish....keenly interested in M tech design, pls suggest best 3 institutes in india to pursue this course.

    1. You mean mdes ?
      for mdes IITB and NID are top institutes, apart from that you can choose IIT Kanpur, Guwahati and other IIT's in order. You can get the list of institutes offering mdes here -
      Preferred institutions for Mdes in India and Abroad

    2. NO...I meant M tech in machine design (engineering)....

    3. im not much keen abt mtech design, athough I can list some according to my knowledge
      IIT Delhi, IIT Madras, IIT Mumbai

  11. after BE in Civil Engineering ,I would like to go for M.Des in Architectural and planing....kindly inform me which entrance examinations will have to be appeared.

    1. As far as I know there isn't any MDes for Architecture, it's called M.Arch and M.Planning instead. IGBC AP exam is what I know fro engineers with BE in Civil as background. Apart from that I know UPES and other private and state universities offering MArch the details of which u can find with simple google search. Also check UPES DAT entrance for entrance into School of Planning and Archi.

    2. Sir,what is IGBC AP exam?Pls inform...

    3. Simple google search will give u d details!

  12. Hello, Mr Bhanu Chander Sir.
    Your blog is very Helpful. Thanks for the information.
    I am Rohan Gosavi from Pune. I am BE Mechanical with 1 year experience in Mechanical Design and the 2 years of experience in Industrial Engineering & Deign.
    I want do masters in Industrial Engineering & Deign in India and I found some MDes course in Industrial Engineering.
    After my search of MDes (Industrial Engineering), I think IIT Pawai provide this course & also seen their syllabus.
    Can you please provide some information related to MDes-Industrial Engineering and comparison other MDes course.?
    Is it same as MDes-Product Design, I mean only aesthetic sketches and drawings.?

    1. Hello Rohan,
      You already have work experience in both fields so you must be knowing which one is good for you and which has scope. You can also share few of your work experience and the scope in both fields, if you have some really worthy things to discuss. That would solve many students doubts here.

      Anyway, IITB id good for Industrial Design and is the among the top list in India. You can verify the course content in their offical IDC website to get insight into what actually they will deal with. PD and ID are same in some sense, but ID is preferable esp for you, keeping in mind your experience. You may check about their structure here - Different design streams explaine

  13. i understand people shouldn't compare and as a marine engineer and a mechanical engineer i agree with your points but as a mature individual you did the same, indeed an engineer looks at the vehicle differently so the doctor look at the body differently, but then what will happen to people who believe in beauty. We need functionality as well as beauty too. Both can't leave each other. I respect you and doing a great thing but don't become like those who proves their superiority.

    1. I think you didn't read this page properly. The whole content of this page is to relate the streams and to make aware that no stream is independent and is not related with other - be it is medical, engineering or design, many streams are related esp design and engineering. I believe, telling facts doesn't need proofs and nobody is superior here, we are still learners :P

  14. I am doing electronics and telecommunication engg. I have to apply for M.des at NID or IDC. can i know which branches are there for ENTC engineer for M.des?

    1. Let me repeat again, it doesn't matter which branch u are from, your interest matters! And also don't restrict yourself to what you studied earlier, try to be flexible and able to learn different facets of design. That is how designers need to be - I mean inter-disciplinary nature. So, instead of asking me or anyone, check your interest, go through their course content and see which stream you can pick up with time. Good luk.

  15. Hi,
    So somewhere in the post you started drifting away from explaining the difference between Design Engineering (MDE) and a Design (M.Des) course. I find your article completely biased because you just came across couple of designers who did not accept or respect views on Engineering. But how are your views different ? You are biased too. MDE and M.Des offer two completely different things. And M.Des is for people who are more into visualising things than looking at the efficiency of the product(taken care by Engineering).So, it's important for you to understand that they go hand in hand.

    1. Exactly that's what I wrote above. mdes is for people more into visualization and design engineering is more into kind of things like efficiency. I've clearly listed this above along with two images. Engg. I don't know whether u read that properly or not!

      Students from engg. background often confuse design as something that is more technically related. No wonder many people thanked me for making them aware of the difference personally taht they chose not to get into mdes! I also got confused the first time when I came across mdes. So, inorder to make clear of the difference, I made this post. And yes, I came across some design students (not couple but almost many) whom are much biased. In order to calm them and tell that no field is higher or lower, I was forced to be biased :P
      Hope that answered you well!

  16. hi bhanu sir,this is akash ,your guideline in ceed prepation stand very usefull, please guide me which color material will i used in exam and kind if ketching tool i used

    1. Actually you can carry almost any drawing media to the hall. But restrict yourself and carry limited color media that will help you apply in less time. As far as possible avoid acrylic, water colors or even oil paintings. They might destroy the paper given, as I observed that the paper is not that thick to bear. Mostly try color pencils, crayons etc

  17. Hello Sir,
    I am an ECE student, and I really need your advice that if I should pursue M.DES. or not. I have been working as a graphic designer in the college magazine and few other places since two years and I love it but I always have a question revolving my mind that if am making the right decision or not. I also keep thinking that that if I am thinking in the right way(like a designer) or looking at objects in the right way or not. Engineering is cool but I think its just not my area. Sir, It would be great if you could guide me in a better direction.

    1. You already started loving mdes, then u don't have to hesitate :)
      I feel like u r already interested in design, just go ahead, I agree many engineering students doesn't like the engineering way. If you are satisfied with GD, then just go ahead.
      But make sure that you choose appropriate design institute, which will help you with course as well as career wise too.

  18. really awesome blog sir.
    it was very helpful. thanks for the information.

    dear bhanu sir,
    i am a mech engg student.
    i love techical courses but also love sketching too.

    without confusing any further i just want to know which of the two( m.des or metch) has good scope in future ..
    nd which will make me good money :P
    coz i thnk i can adjust with any of the two.

    which one i should opt for good future(with good salary of course :D) :P ...

    1. If u do MTech from IITs, then remuneration-wise MTech are some what better compared to MDes. MDes do have good future always and you can be on the top when you excel on the desin stream with your ideas. If u r kind of that guy, then even mdes can be chosen, but remember, mdes guys are not just ordinary ones! you need to be competent in that pool. Now, you decide.

    2. thank you so much for your guidance and time sir :)

  19. hello sir, i am a graduate in commerce and I'm looking forward to do SDM . I need your advice as i am totally not from the designing field as well as i am really bad at it. In SDM would it really matter if i am not from designing back ground ?and please guide me how should i prepare for the entrance and the interview.

  20. Replies
    1. ok, I think for you SDM is good. I also belive that SDM doesn't need that much design skills at the beginning. But, beware!
      Since SDM course is offered by NID and not other IIT's through CEED, you need to write NID exam, the question paper of which is mostly common and hence you need to have design and sketching skills! So, better if u either prepare for design and sketching or go for any other institute offering SDM but without much needing design skills like NID does.

  21. Hello sir,
    I have a query about which design stream to choose referring to national institute of design exam.How to select the right choice

    1. Stream selection completely depends on your interest and availability based on your rank. By now, you must have seen ur interest - based on ur habit right from ur young age. The work/sketch that u did the most as ur hobby or the one that interested like say product sketches etc will help u choose ur interest. Or try solving some design question and see which one interests u or which u feel u r better at.

  22. Hello sir.. i am currently doing architecture (first year)... i am looking to shift to a design course which is also a bit technical i.e. industrial design.. so is IIT a good option for me or should i complete B.Arch and then apply for M.Des??? will my b.arch study help me in the enterance exam for m.des???i don't know what to do???any advice?? please help!!!!

    1. Doing Industrial Design is a good idea, but the thing is leaving your current role and jumping to a new one is a bothering thing. If you're already in good institute doing BArch, then just go ahead and complete it. Remember BDes is again a basic design course and will not cover any specific design stream as such, but only give fundamental and various facets of design field. I believe MDes is much better to take since it's design specific and could help u build your career.

      Again, getting bdes seat in IITs and even top private institutes is not an easy thing, since very few top institutes provide bdes, that too limited seats and the competition is like hell! very high from the last one year. So, unless you r really very good in cracking uceed, there in no point in dropping ur current course and aiming for the exams. If you've tried any previous paper of uceed, u would have understood your level.

      What I recommend is continue with ur BArch thing, and do well with that, meanwhile make it a habit of doing sketching and designs whenever you get time as well as make urself aware of design awareness. Slowly as you build urself within the next three years, you would be directly ready for CEED/MDes, with good rank. By the time you graduate ur barch, u might get interested in architecture itself or do mdes. You know our interest changes with time!

      Think about it, these r just my views. It's your decision u know!


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