Who needs Design coaching?

It all started with coaching for getting into the engineering programmes at IIT. Considering that a few thousands are chosen from an application pool of few hundreds of thousands of students, coaching centres started cropping up in every city’s street corners, ostensibly to coach these aspirants to get into IITs. Now, medical colleges, law colleges, architecture colleges as well as design institutes have their own entrance exams for aspirants, therefore necessitating the arrival of centres ‘coaching’ students to crack these exams and get into sought-after colleges of repute.

828754-surat-fire-takshashila-commercial-complex-pti-052719In this connection a tragic and heart-breaking story was reported from Surat in India, this week. A coaching class on the fourth floor of a building, caught fire killing more than 20 innocent students, who were being coached for a career in Design.

Several things are so wrong in this story that merits attention by the Design community. We have scant preparedness for fighting fires in commercial buildings. Fire extinguishers are not easily available and /or noticeable by users. Fire escapes are not designed and made for Indian buildings. Signages for exiting during a fire are not easily spotted. Fire clearance for buildings are sought and given without a thought and for a bribe. We have tall buildings but most fire-fighting equipments are not tall enough to reach these heights. Designers design materials and ads on inflammable materials like ‘flex’, that add to the fire. And in this particular case, designers would have been involved in coaching students, paying no heed to all the above.

There is another important thing. Why do we need ‘coaching centres’ for Design?

In Design, entrance exams are conducted to choose the original thinker, the uniquely talented, the quirky creative and the rare gem. How does anyone ‘coach’ somebody for that? If anything, ‘coaching centres’ fit everyone into templates, that defeats the whole purpose of a unique character.

And yet, these coaching centres are mushrooming in illegal basements and fourth floors of commercial building, ostensibly to train students to get into prestigious design institutes.  As far as I can see, the major purpose of these centres are to create and distribute the database of design aspirants. They become focussed target for private design institutes to peddle their programmes. The centres are only successful in building the database. The good ones make it on their own mettle and the mediocre ones are peddled off to mediocre institutes as a part of the database.

Designers who teach at such centres and design institutes who encourage this should do some soul searching.

Otherwise, there’ll be no one to stop the fire.

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Thinking of a Design Career?

It is that time of the year.

Children having finished school tend to go from pillar to post, trying to get admission into a course they are keen on.

Invariably, they settle for a course that they are found eligible for and kill their passion in the process. It is at these times, I wonder when will our governments wake up to the aspirations of the young adults of today. I am also inundated with calls from parents and their wards about the merits of various design schools in the country.

If you have just completed your school, you are probably one of those, wondering what to do next. While some of your friends are seeking admission into professional design programmes, you are still in a dilemma about exploring something new.

Are you considering a career in Design?  Know what you want.

You have probably nurtured an ambition to design new automobiles. You may wonder who designs those fancy apps on your mobile phone? You imagine your bedroom space to be different and stylish. You are stunned by the fancy dress your cousin bought in the mall. You are impressed with the design of a website you just visited.

If you see yourself in any of the above scenarios, you are probably creative enough to follow your passion and explore getting into a career in design.

There are other pointers in your daily life that tells you that you are ready for a creative career.

You have always been told that you are creative, or you are one of those with ideas for every problem.

You are thorough and detailed.

You pick up a pen to draw an idea to explain.

You enjoy making things or taking things apart.

You have always been told that you are stylish.

Your friends consult you for ideas on their dress sense.

You love colour.

If you are all this, or even some of this, you should explore a serious professional career in design.

If you have not made it to the big institutes, do take time to check out the smaller ones. Some of these are better suited and more contemporary.

If you are passionate about the future, don’t settle. Remember, only dust settles.