The diversity of nature, people and everything in between, throws open vast opportunities as well as challenges in addressing problems faced by users in their day to day life, from the smallest to the biggest needs.
Krattiika Gupta, our next pathbreaker, Masters student in Integrated Product Design, aspires to design products that can make a difference to the society through solutions to real world problems.
Krattiika talks to Shyam Krishnamurthy from The Interview Portal about exploring different streams of design through projects and internships before honing in on product Design driven by the desire to understand how things function in the real world !
For students, whether it is a toothbrush or a watch or a furniture, product design always has a scope for improvement through better design from an end user perspective. Go for it if you are observant, understand different perspectives, and ready to bring a change
Krattiika, tell us about your background?
I was born and brought up in Jaipur, Rajasthan. I grew up always listening to engineering and medical as professions in my family. Knowing little about these 2 streams, I always tried to place myself in these 2 professions but I couldn’t find myself enough. As a child I was always much of an explorer, I always had a hidden love for making, breaking, exploring and inventing new stupid things. But I did not know what place crazy people like that had in the world, which made me curious about how people like me could contribute to the world and make a difference as much as science and commerce does.Then I came across the term product design in my 8th grade and I instantly knew that was it. I was highly intrigued to scrutinise every aspect of it and to choose it as a career option.
What did you do for graduation/post graduation?
I am currently pursuing my masters in Milan at Politecnico Di Milano after getting my bachelor’s degree at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore.
When I first learned about the several different streams in design, I was eager to try out different things and explore as much as I can to make a decision and to define one discipline as my career. I learned and studied graphic design, film making, pottery, painting, textile design, drama etc. After 1 year of exploring I knew Product design was something that held my interest the most. And 3 years later I graduated as a Product Designer and Visual communicator.
What made you choose such an offbeat, unconventional and cool career?
When I was lost in my 10th grade and I was trying to understand what I wanted to do, I used to read a lot of articles in the newspaper and watch a lot of shows to understand what was happening globally. That’s when I came across an article of a girl who had been selected to a design school that took only 70 students all over India. And that’s when I learned and researched more about it. I joined a preparatory design school to prepare for the exams.
And while learning about design, I always used to pay attention to the products, people, nature and was inspired by everything that surrounds us. And the attention to details led me to find myself in my profession and my subject.
How did you plan the steps to get into the career you wanted? Or how did you make a transition to a new career? Tell us about your career path
During my undergraduation, I always tried to intern at studios and firms in my winter and summer breaks to gain experience and to understand how things are made to function in the real world.
In my journey of figuring out what I wanted to do, I personally like to taste my options before finding my favourite one. And so I did, I worked in the field of sustainability, healthcare, furniture design, lifestyle accessories design, graphic design, safety and fitness products design etc.
In my undergraduate thesis project, I wanted to challenge my learnings and do something outside of what I had already done. So I designed a game for kids with visual impairment and it was one of the projects that got me to question my abilities and learnings and change the perspective of the world that I belonged to.
I also interned at 5 different studios while studying and before getting a job as a Product designer. The experience was very insightful and I got to work with huge clients including Pepsodent, Surf excel etc. I got to design products from sketching to manufacturing and now some of the products are ready to be sold in the market. Some of my projects that I worked on were – Watch design, toothbrush design, packaging design, robots design etc.
But then there came a time when I was lost again, I needed a change of scenery, a change in life and just a change in general. I decided to go back to Jaipur and started applying for masters.
I gave my heart and soul in my applications and within a few months I was accepted to the world best school of design – ROYAL COLLEGE OF ARTS also called the HOGWARTS of design.
I was very thrilled but I also knew that I wanted to fund my education by myself, so I chose to go to Politecnico Di Milano instead, also the world’s 5th best school of design in Product design.
I took an education loan and also got a scholarship in my second year. I am learning and growing a lot professionally and extremely glad to be here.
How did you get your first break?
When I was working in my first job, constantly feeling that I was not good enough as compared to the others around me. I decided to get out of that zone and give my 100% in everything I did. I got an opportunity to take part in European product design competition. It was where I had the full responsibility to do something good and surprise everyone.
And so I did, my design was awarded as the gold category winner (first prize) for European product design award. And from that day on I never stopped.
The product designed for the competition was a product packaging to store butter. Instead of the regular carton packaging, I was intrigued to use origami for folding and easier storage. This gave a new dimension to the regular ideas of packaging design and also improved the usability of the product.
What were some of the challenges you faced? How did you address them?
One of the main challenges that one faces right after graduating is facing the real world. And that hits different people in a different way. In school, no one teaches you what the outside world is like and what it might bring upon you. But once you are out there, you are all by yourself. You make it or break it, it’s up to you.
You just need to remember to learn from each failure and success. We don’t have to save success for just big things and big times, success can come to you in small parcels everyday if you allow it.
Tell us about your experiences doing your masters in Italy
I am in my 3rd semester of M.Sc. in Integrated product design. As a product designer, I solve real world problems. Such as problems faced by users in day to day life while experiencing the world around.
I am working on projects related to the space station, where I designed lights and a gym station for the astronauts. I also worked with Ferrero to design Kinder joy packaging and toys design.
To be a designer, you need to be observant, ready to understand different perspectives, and ready to bring a change etc. And one of the most important qualities that a designer needs to have is being empathetic towards nature, people and everything in between.
How does your work benefit society?
Product design makes life easy and meets the smallest to the biggest needs of each. My experience in design has covered the dimensions from a paper cutter to a gym station design and that pretty much defines the diversity of products that have a scope of design or a space for improvement.
Tell us an example of a specific memorable work you did that is very close to you!
Ray – A light design for the astronauts in the International space station. The design brief was to design lights, but we realised that shadow is what makes the light so beautiful and so important in our day. And that’s how the idea of Ray came into being.
It’s been selected at the European space agency And now will be prototyped at the Swiss space centre.
Your advice to students based on your experience?
GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO FAIL BUT DON’T GIVE THE PERMISSION TO NOT TRY !
Looking forward to graduating in person and not online.