Motorbikes will always be the coolest machines known to mankind, through a stellar combination of style, design and engineering !
Aiyappa KS, our next pathbreaker, Motorcycle Designer at Revolt Motors, is part of a team that ideates and designs electric motorcycles from concept to production.
Aiyappa talks to Shyam Krishnamurthy from The Interview Portal about transitioning from a career in Amazon to a career in Design after doing his Master’s in Mobility and Vehicle Design from IIT Bombay.
For students, keep your aspirations high and never compromise on them, because they will get you to where you want to go !
Aiyappa, tell us about your background?
Hi, I grew up in Coorg district which is in Karnataka.
I did my entire schooling from Navodaya Vidyalaya, Coorg. I was always interested in sports and art.
My dad is a teacher and mom is a homemaker .
What did you do for graduation/post graduation?
I did my Mechanical engineering for graduation and Masters of Mobility and Vehicle Design ( M.Des ) from IIT Bombay.
What made you choose such an offbeat, unconventional and cool career?
I was driven by personal interest. I attended a workshop by SATHIYASEELAN G sir which gave me an idea of design as a career path.
I was strongly influenced by my seniors who I met during my internship, though I was mostly self driven in the initial days.
I also did internships and attended a workshop by IISC Bangalore which was a quick 2 day workshop on how styling design studios work.
Meeting people helped me to understand this career path (design) and also learning from failures.
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
I have been really interested in cars and bikes since my childhood. I learnt about MDes , specifically transportation design through word of mouth from a faculty member. I attended the IISC workshop to learn more , and found out that there is this exam called CEED . I appeared twice as I couldn’t get through in the 1st attempt.
The exam is called CEED ( Common entrance exam for design ). If you make it through the exam, there will be studio tests and interviews. Yes, one has to make a portfolio which is mainly to gauge the students’ thought process and skills . There is some kind of a requirement to have a few ideas, projects or some inclination towards vehicle design in order to enter into the particular stream though it is not mandatory, as the panel will check for one’s thought process and understanding .
My first job after my BTech was at Amazon Development Center, Bangalore as TRMS analyst.
I was also preparing for my masters (MDes) side by side.
Finally, the journey to my current career path started after getting into IDC School of Design, IIT Bombay
How did you get your first break?
Hard work , consistency and belief are more important in a field like this. My first break was getting into college followed by a design internship in Revolt motors and an Internship in TVS motors.
I am currently working in Revolt Motors where it all started for me.
What were some of the challenges you faced? How did you address them?
My main challenge was not having enough knowledge about this particular field. I addressed it by doing self research and talking to seniors and other people .
My second challenge was keeping faith in myself even after failing the exam, that I could do it without any coaching.
Managing time was the third challenge. I was working while preparing for exams. I had to be really focused and study after work to make it happen.
Where do you work now? Tell us about your current role.
I work as a Motorcycle Designer for Revolt Motors. We are an electric motorcycle company
As we are in an electric vehicle market which is relatively new, a lot of problems have arisen, mainly around working as a team to make any product a success in the market.
Any idea starts from sketches, a lot of sketches. Based on these, concepts are developed and few are finalized from them. Sketches are refined further and one final match is selected, which is made realistic using digital platforms like photoshop. Further, clay models are made based on the sketch . All the aesthetic changes are made in clay as per the designer’s ideas. Clay is scanned and CAS (Computer Aided Styling) data is used to make a 3D model in Alias software. The 3D model from alias is then worked upon by the engineering team for thickening of parts and to meet production and engineering requirements. A prototype is made through this process to check if parts are feasible and for fitment check. Several prototypes and iterations are made for check and testing before giving a go ahead on production . We also make prototypes and show models for Auto shows.
What are the skills required for your role?
Skills required are mainly design thinking, problem solving and creativity !
The technical skills required are sketching , digital rendering , 3d modeling and ability to use visualization software.
What is a typical day like?
A day in a designer’s life at work is a lot of brainstorming , teamwork , problem solving , sketching and hands-on work.
I love everything about the job as I have always been fascinated about vehicles and I love riding motorcycles.
How does your work benefit society?
Design is all about creating products according to customer needs and solving transportation problems, and transforming dreams into reality.
Tell us an example of a specific memorable work you did that is very close to you!
I was part of a motorcycle launch in the early stages of my career.
Your advice to students based on your experience?
Dream, work hard , do what you love and stay consistent . Fail but learn from your mistakes and do better than yesterday.
To be the best in my field and build bikes .