18 August 2013

All about M.Des Design streams

       There might be a number of design streams available, but you are probably gifted with some hidden talents that prove to be suitable to one or more of the design fields. Unless you know about all of the fields, you cannot get a clear picture of your likes. I therefore wish to bring to your knowledge about the basic pattern, area and functionality of each design stream (especially for M.Des). 

You can also go through the examples as well as companies; which may help you chose your field of interest.

Product Design (PD)

In a developing country like India where there are large demand for customized products, almost all the products are undergoing regular changes in product design, appearance, size, functionality as well as usability.

Let me clear this by bringing Apple strategy, Apple released its first version of iPad mini last year. Definitely it proved a hit, but in spite of its popularity, Apple further aim to develop new product (2nd generation iPad mini) and of course the users are waiting for this. Almost all the sectors were engaged regularly to deliver newer, user-oriented and Eco-friendly products, thus demanding more product designers.

Let us see the definition of Product Design. PD is the process of creating a new customized product to be sold by  a business to its customers. It starts with ideating a product idea and goes all through the process of concept generation, prototyping, modelling, sketching and mechanisms.

In a broad approach, product designers conceptualize and evaluate ideas, later turn them into tangible (which you can touch and feel) inventions and products. They need to have design perspective and innovative skills. The product designers role is to combine art, science and technology. There are good institutions supporting PD stream with good faculty and facilities in India.

Examples :

1. Design of a TV, Air cooler
2. Design of i mac by Apple

3. Sony concept bracelet computer by Hiromi Kiriki

4. Rocking wheel chair by Mathias Koehler

Companies : 

Note :  companies list were given so that you would go through them and check what actually they design

Industrial Design (ID)

Industrial Design is mostly related to product design and the discussion for PD also applies here, except that only some institutions provide the course. Often this field is confused with product design.

ID is the use of both art and science  focused to improve the aesthetics, ergonomics, functionality and usability of a product. It may even be used to improve the product's marketability and production. As an industrial designer you need to create and execute design solutions for problems of form, usability, ergonomics, brand development as well as marketing sales.

Recently ID became a broad term inclusive of service, software and PD. Designers usually get associated with craft design and ergonomics.

Examples :

Products like Apple's iPad  iPod and iPhone were examples designed by celebrated Industrial designer - Sir Jonathan Ive

Companies :

Animation Design (AD)

Well, most of you might have seen Hollywood movies like How to train your dragon, Wall-E, The Lion King and many more to mention. These movies were created where it is difficult to show the plot with human or in other words where humans are incapable. The base idea is showing of extra-ordinary visuals and dimensions with the use of graphical computer technologies. This is where designer creativity reveals. 

Animation designers are more than a creative group, working either individually or in teams to create visual media. Animation is the art of creating a sequence of image (sketched or computerized) in order to create a motion, which can be observed as illusion. Animation does have a relation with Visual Communication, but recently got separated. The most common method of presenting animation is as a motion picture or video program.

India seems to play  a major role in the international framework of animation production in the coming years. Many of the animators working in top animation studios like Pixar and Dream Works hail from India. There should be no wonder here as India got good institutes and courses related to animation. The important thing to be noted here is India as a hub for best creative, innovative and conceptual designers like you (lol...). Definitely this field helps you shape your career path if you are like a conceptual being with a zeal and passion towards creativity.

The AD program in India expects the students to assume direct responsibility for nearly all aspects of the film making process by exposing to IT capabilities and other engineering disciplines right concept to drawing, shooting, camera etc.

Examples :

1. Films, cartoons, advertising etc.
2. Making of Kung Fu Panda 2 (posted by cinemapopshot)

3. Making of simple walking animation (posted by TheMrGoman)

Companies :

Toonz Animation, Paprikaas, Maya Ent.Penta Media etc

Mobility and Vehicle Design (MVD)

Although India doesn't have best institutions for this study, the courses provided by the Indian institutions were good enough for those aiming for automotive design. However, institutes in India focus mainly on studies related to understanding and identification of the transportation needs and issues facing the country as well as developments in other countries and identifying creative solutions. But the thing worth noting here is analyzers look automotive sector as a fast growing field in India. The fact that many international auto players were setting up design studios in India strengthen this.

In some Institutes Mobility and Vehicle Design was also termed as Transportation Design. Both of them mainly deal with the development of the appearance as well as the ergonomics of the vehicle. Trust me this design field will definitely prove to be interesting and you will enjoy more if you have Mechanical or Architectural background with immense design passion.  

Let me clear more by bringing you an example; say you are designing a car, it means developing the concept from scratch, coordinating with other departments (say engineering, R&D) for possibilities, modifying for new concept, re-analysis, developing a model and prototype and finalizing the concept.

Automotive Design in this context is primarily concerned with developing the visual appearance or aesthetics of the vehicle as said earlier, though it is also involved in the creation of the product concept. You will be going through a number of hands-on experiment experiments and assignments as a transportation design student.

Examples :

                               (Source : supercar-sketches.blogspot.com)

                                            (Source : topspeed.com)

Video 1 - BMW car design process 

video 2 : Audi vehicle design process

Companies :

Visual Communication (VC)

VC is communication through the help of visual aid and is described as the deliverance of ideas and information in forms that can be read or looked upon.

As usual I will clear the topic by bringing you with some examples. Say you are driving a car and you come across the traffic red signal on the junction, the moment you see the red signal, your leg shift from accelerator to brake. Nobody told you to stop, not even did you see any written board, but the signal made you automatically stop your vehicle.

When you see a car with the above symbol, immediately your mind starts wondering that the person sitting in the car might be someone belonging to royal family with class facilities. You went to purchase an electronic good and you will identify the products with the below symbol as those belonging to Apple products.  

Now what does the above examples mean? Instead of dealing with verbal or other forms of communication, we are communicating with visual forms, that when looked upon by us would give the clear idea of what they intend to tell us, that too in an instance. You may feel that, this is not that much important as a career path, I only gave some simple examples just to make you understand. But think yourself; every organization has got a unique brand representation that will clearly tell you about the nature of the brand. Even this form of communication sometimes represents the status.

This form proves to be the most powerful communication in marketing as well as sales division. VC is everywhere today. In a country like India, where we expect more developments and changes to be taken place in the very near future, VC plays an important role.

As the name suggest, VC deals with eye contact or visual contact of the product, and is primarily presented or expresses with two dimensional images. As a VC student you will be given a chance in various design methods, aesthetic aspects and generating methods and processes for solving communication problem. Students may specialize in one of the many areas including signs,, typography, information visualization, exhibition design, photgraphy, animation etc.

Examples :

1. Signs, typography, drawing, graphic design, illustration, color, electronic resources, skype, webinars

2. Power of VC - funny video (posted by Pratik Ghosh)

Companies :

Creative Labs, Leaf Design etc

Interaction Design (IXD)

All of the Design streams focus on users. Ultimately it's the end-users who are going to enjoy your designed product. But likely other design streams give importance to innovation also. IXD in this context is specifically concentrated on the user. ID is a mix of product and visual design, and deals with digital things for people's use; Wikipedia defined IXD as "the practice of designing interactive digital products, environments, systems and services".

let me clear this with an example. Say if you want to design a mobile phone for elder people, you need to consider the term "elder people" as mobile phones designed for teens and children's may not suit for elders.

IXD is heavily focused on satisfying the needs and desires of the majority of people who will use the product. What clearly marks IXD as  a design field as opposed to a science or engineering field is that it is synthesis and imagining things as they might be, more so than focusing on how things are. IXD is more or less related to User Interface Design.

Learn more about - User Interface Design principles and general rules for CEED exam

Examples :

1. Video : Link
2. Nokia 888 concept - Link

A very good website detailing more about IXD - Link

I hope this article helped you. Now you should be in a position to answer your question “which stream is to be chosen by me?

Leave comments regarding any additions to be made in this article. 

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  1. Very useful post with clear points...

  2. great content. it is quite useful

    maybe you can add this too


    1. Great to see the link you shared.
      Thanks for sharing dosth :)

  3. really great information
    could you pls tell about graphic design and,,,how it is different from visual communication?

    1. Graphic design is a part (or subset) of VC. Both are almost on the same track in the sense; application of images, word, type etc. The biggest difference being - In graphic design, some additional techniques, methodologies, composition, typography as well as the design ideas/process (by which the visuals are created) are used instead of traditional method of visual communication.

      Visual communication in part or whole relies on vision and is primarily presented or expressed with two dimensional images, it includes: signs, typography, drawing, graphic design, illustration, Industrial Design, Advertising, Animation color and electronic resources. (source:Wikipedia)

      Common uses of graphic design include identity (logos and branding), publications (magazines, newspapers and books), print advertisements, posters, billboards, website graphics and elements, signs and product packaging. (source:Wikipedia)

      Hope this helps, check more here - Everything about Graphic Design

      Hope this helps !

  4. Hi Bhanu, Firstly i would like to thank you for putting such useful information for aspiring designers like me.
    I cleared my NID Phase 1 and Phase 2 but i am in the Waiting list (number 6). Would you, by chance have idea of how many waiting list students get through each year.
    I would really appreciate if you could reply.

    1. I don't have any idea about NID and it's process, you could refer to prospect students for further help.

  5. Hello sir.... Could you please tell me what could be the courses at iits for those who want to become interior designer....

    1. There isn't any course related to interior desing in IIT's as far as I know. However NID has one course 'Furniture design' that might be of interest to you.

  6. Bhanu, would like your opinion on the following.. I'm planning to pursue m.des and am very interested in mobility design, though for matters of placement and practicality, I wish to pursue product design. Are chances of a placement good if I go for mobility design in India ?

    1. I'm actually not sure about placement scenarios. Only alumni or prospect students can give you better idea about the on goings related to mobility design.

  7. Hi,
    First of all thank you for making such a wonderful blog for us. It is very useful for the ones who are pursuing design as careers.
    I have one doubt regarding the criteria in iitb m.des. I am a 3years graduate in animation currently pursuing mba in design management. The criteria never mentioned about 10+2+3+2 education. As I am no btech or b.arch graduate I am doubtful about my admission in the institute. Can you please help me out in this matter?

    1. ceed eligibility criteria lists that (10+2)+3+2 candidates are eligible which should be a good news for you. I think you are eligible for the exam.

      You can chk pg.8 in this brochure - http://ceed.iitb.ac.in/2017/CEED2017_Brochure_1.4.pdf

      As a double cross check write to ceed people, they will reply to u, here's their id - ugchr@iitb.ac.in or call them @ 022 25769093

  8. This is a really helpful blog for people like me who have no clue what to do after their b.arch. Thanks a ton !!!

  9. from where I can get old M.DES NID entrance examination papers for last 10-12 years.


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