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I am Rathindra Dolai from Kharagpur. After completing my schooling in Kendriya Vidyalaya, I chose to get into National Institute of Fashion Technology, Bhopal. I am currently working as Product Designer in Enlighten Living Pvt. Ltd. You can find more about me here.
Who is a Product Designer?
A Product Designer is one who has great versatility in terms of both thinking and executing an idea. Product designer has a keen eye to look into day to day products and their usage as well as think how to make it easier to use than what it was before. They just try to make things much simple and aesthetically appealing.
How it all got started for you? What motivated you to become a Product Designer? How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and cool career?
From my childhood I loved sketching and making something new. But during my higher secondary school, I got attracted towards Joining Indian air force. As I didn’t get chance for it, I opted joining NIFT and learned product designing which I did it with love, passion and full energy.
Joining NIFT doesn’t mean that you are going to be Fashion designer. It has various categories/subjects in terms of designing like Product design, Graphic Design, Photography, etc. As I always loved to create new products, I choose product designing as my core subject.
What is your typical day like at your organisation?
After reaching office at 10 am, first thing I do is go through my job checklist. Followed by the assignments, meetings and follow ups. That’s how my typical days goes. But sometime to break the monotony, I start my day with physical product designing work either on software or in machines like rapid sketching, rapid prototyping, gesture drawings, etc. That helps me keep motivated towards my work and not getting bored of the routine. Therefore before starting anything you must plan it out clearly.
Why do you think your current company hired you?
As I have worked in various large and small firms, I got different kinds of knowledge. Which includes practical material handling and in depth knowledge in design process. Further all these helped to learn how to fill my knowledge gaps. These are the factors that made my company to hire me.
Can you tell us about your career path?
After 12th (PCB), i joined NIFT (Fashion & Lifestyle Accessory Design). After graduation from NIFT, i joined as a junior product designer at Zen Design Solutions, New Delhi. My next job was at C2C Invent LLC. I currently work as product designer at Enliven Living Private Limited.
What steps did you take to land in your present job?
I did short period internships as assistant designer at various design firms.
Some design firms had proper machinery involved for in house product making process. Working in small and big firms had totally different challenges to deal, like manufacturing process, material, designing process, trend study, research, etc.
While working in small design firms, I learned basic manufacturing and designing process. And in big firms with proper designing process and research materials I learned different kinds of situations and challenges altogether. After learning all different scenario, I landed up at Enlighten Living Private Limited with all my experience and learning. Hence working as Product, Graphic and Media marketing designer.
What do you wish you knew before you started preparing for this career?
The things that I wish I had known before coming to NIFT are, I should have followed some big designers, should have had some basics knowledge about the design world.
There should not be a regret in your life. Use your weakness as a weapon. Always look for opportunities or create opportunities. Just think positive. Don’t let anything hold you back.
The thing that I learned from my career after starting my job is that, nothing comes easy. You have to earn it by work hard. Working hard for your passion never goes in vain.
What things would you do differently in preparing for this career?
I would work with people who are more experienced or who have totally different thinking style. I would also like to work with big and small design firms. Because every place has its own working style and challenges, which helps you understand various situations and working environment. Above all the different kind of design methodology.
What do you love about your current role?
All of it. Until and unless you do something out of love, you are not going to enjoy it. And yes, There are many factors like pay, work life, demand in future, etc. But for me, work life comes first and then demand in future. Somehow all of them related are to each other. All we have to do is just compromises sometimes.
What are the challenges you face in your career?
Typical challenges faced by a product designer are mainly with the product design sketches, product details, ergonomics, etc. Because there are situations when the design or concept is not so clear to the client even after explanation. Therefore, a good product designer must have great knowledge of perspective drawings, technical drawings and lines, and 3D knowledge.
After that comes the material selection for the product manufacturing. We need to consider material
- that are eco friendly.
How do you like to spend your free time?
How was your experience at NIFT?
The experiences that helped prepare me most are sleepless nights, bringing ideas to reality and learning from my mistakes. My experience at NIFT was extremely good, although I didn’t expect anything before joining. But after getting into the race, I learned a lot and enjoyed the journey of 4 years.
Would you like to mention anybody who supported you the most through this whole journey and how?
First of my parents, who did so much for me. Especially my mother, who has always supported me and was there by my side and kept encouraging me for my work.
Then comes my faculty Mr. Soumik Halder, a great mentor and friend. Always ready to help me grow, make mistakes and correct them.
My colleagues Mehtab Mallick, Ravindra Kr. Mahto and Nisha Mehta. They played a huge role during my whole journey. We kept pushing each other to get better and better and helped each other whenever needed.
What are the skills required to be a Product Designer?
- Material handling
- Maths basics
The most critical factor for being successful in this career is, you have to learn from your past mistakes and don’t repeat those. And always try to learn more from the previous mistakes. Don’t stop until and unless you reach there.
What do you think potential recruiters look for in a fresh Product Designer?
Recruiters always look for the minds which are hungry to explore and know the job of how to design a product and its execution. They don’t want the fresh product designers to get lost in their daily design routine. Instead, they want them to come up with everything new and make creative products.
How do I know if a career in Product Designing is for me?
There are no signs or indication. If you are curious to know how things work and have thought of making it more aesthetically appealing, you can take up product designing. The field will suit you, if you love to handle things and use it in different manner as well as know how to make the best out of waste. When you love creating products and make things beautiful and easy to use, you will automatically start seeing the world from a different point of view. Because they are the people who have totally different way of thinking. They know how to utilise and how to do it.
What is the future of Product Design in India?
There are lots of scope in product design in India. There has been increase in Product designers for various design firms. A product designer can perform jobs like media marketing, concept development, research and development.
Product Designing courses are generally expensive. What are my options if formal education is not an option for me due to financial reasons?
Yes, Product designing courses are generally expensive nowadays.
- One option that I would suggest you is, take educational loans. Don’t hesitate, do the possible things to attain your dreams. And after getting into college, keep track of various schemes and scholarships, so that you can pay back.
- Other option is to apply through CEED exam or GATE exam. This is not so easy as compared to other entrance exams, so you must work hard to crack it and get into a good product designing college.
Thanks to everyone who helped me grow to achieve my goals.