Build a Design Career: World University of Design VC on courses, institutions, finding mentors

‘Graphic design, fashion design, interior design, web design – the industry stands as a vibrant and diverse field’

Sanjay Gupta, VC, World University of Design (Image: WUD Sonipat)Sanjay Gupta, VC, World University of Design (Image: WUD Sonipat)

Team Careers360 | January 18, 2024 | 03:58 PM IST

By Sanjay Gupta

In today’s dynamic world, the design industry stands as a vibrant and diverse field, offering a plethora of opportunities for individuals to explore and excel in. For young students aspiring to venture into the dynamic and ever-evolving field of design, the possibilities are boundless, although the journey ahead might seem a bit overwhelming. It is crucial for budding designers to identify their personal interests and aptitudes, explore the diverse educational avenues available, and find the ideal launchpad for a rewarding career.

Design careers and growth

Design, as a field, is not confined to a singular avenue. Instead, it encompasses a wide spectrum of disciplines, including graphic design, fashion design, interior design, industrial design, web design, digital products, animation, user experience (UX) design, and much more. This diversity presents a vast scope for students to find their niche and channel their creativity.

The allure of the design industry lies in its rapid and sustained growth. One of the most remarkable aspects of a career in design is its exponential growth trajectory. Design’s significance has transcended its conventional realms and now permeates almost every industry. From technology firms harnessing UX/UI designers to enhance user engagement to healthcare institutions utilising design thinking to improve patient experiences, the integration of design is omnipresent. In entertainment, design plays a crucial role in creating immersive experiences, while in education, it enhances learning through interactive interfaces and instructional design.

In the era of digital transformation, companies are recognising the pivotal role design plays in shaping brand identities, product experiences and customer engagement. As a result, the design industry is experiencing an unprecedented surge in demand for skilled designers across sectors.

As technology continues to advance and globalisation continues to expand horizons, the need for creative minds who can blend aesthetics with functionality continues to become even more pronounced. The design industry’s growth trajectory is projected to outpace the average growth rate for other professions, indicating promising and dynamic career paths for aspiring designers.

Design Jobs: Interest and aptitude

Embarking on a career path in the design industry is a significant decision that should be rooted in a deep understanding of personal interests and aptitudes. One’s talents and interests must align with one’s aspirations. Young aspirants should take some time to introspect and identify their innate talents and passions.

Whether it’s a penchant for storytelling through visuals or an interest in creative expressions, such as sketching, painting, digital art, or even crafting; engagement in hobbies like photography, coding, or even experimenting with DIY projects; a natural curiosity to solve puzzles or challenges creatively; an affinity for problem-solving through innovative solutions; or an eye for aesthetic harmony, recognising and nurturing these inclinations build the foundation for a fulfilling design career.

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Interacting with professionals in the design field or seeking mentorship from established designers can offer invaluable guidance. Attending workshops, design-related events, or even online courses provides exposure to the various facets of design and can help young graduates understand if the challenges and opportunities within the industry resonate with their aspirations.

Right educational path

Choosing the right educational path is pivotal to shaping a budding designer’s future. Across the globe, there’s an abundance of options, each offering unique programmes and specialties in the field of design. Aspiring designers face the daunting task of choosing the right institution to nurture their talents and acquire skills.

When selecting an institution for design education, students should meticulously assess several critical factors that distinguish a remarkable educational experience. The selection process demands a discerning eye for institutions that can provide a holistic environment conducive to practical learning and professional growth.

Design institutions in India have historically been stand-alone institutions. Mainstreaming in university education happened only recently.

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Opting for a university specialising in design offers the advantage of a broader spectrum of resources, including diverse courses, interdisciplinary collaborations and extensive facilities. Such universities bring together a community dedicated solely to nurturing creative talents, fostering an environment conducive to exploration, innovation, and holistic development.

Among universities, there are also omnibus universities offering a multitude of subjects, and there are design-focused universities concentrating solely on nurturing creative minds. This singular focus allows for the creation of an atmosphere that nurtures creativity, allows a deeper immersion in experimentation, and fosters a deeper understanding of design principles.

A design-focused university with a well-structured curriculum that aligns with industry needs and incorporates practical experiences, robust, well-qualified faculty from good institutions, the availability of state-of-the-art facilities and design labs, international linkages, industry collaborations, and ample opportunities for student exposure and activities emerges as the ideal choice.

Institutions that prioritise student exposure through internships, workshops and real-world projects, significantly augment the learning experience. Such institutions not only equip students with theoretical knowledge but also provide a fertile ground for practical application, creativity and networking. The emphasis on holistic development, industry relevance, and global exposure ensures that students are not just graduates but well-prepared professionals ready to meaningfully contribute to the dynamic world of design. Design and India’s growth

Budding designers must choose wisely

Embarking on a design career is both exciting and challenging. It is crucial for budding designers to choose institutions that prioritise interdisciplinary learning and hands-on experience, enabling students to become versatile, innovative and ready for the industry. By identifying their interests, carefully assessing educational options, and selecting institutions that offer a comprehensive and immersive learning experience, aspiring designers can lay the foundation for a rewarding and impactful career.

This journey aligns seamlessly with the broader context of design education’s pivotal role in shaping national thought processes and contributing to India’s socio-economic growth. The recent recognition of design’s significance, as evidenced by the Art, Architecture and Design Biennale in Delhi and the ministry of culture’s focus on creative industries during the G20 Summit, underscores the profound impact of design education on a global scale.

As nearly 300 universities embrace design programmes, the emphasis on creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving becomes increasingly integral to the nation’s development.

In this dynamic landscape, design education emerges as a driving force, not only nurturing skilled professionals but also fostering innovation, entrepreneurship, sustainability and a competitive edge in the global market.

Sanjay Gupta is a thought leader in the field of design education and vice-chancellor, World University of Design, Sonipat

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