Designers are contributing to the entire visual world around us; they are helping conceive and shape products and services; they are creating communications for companies of all shapes and sizes; they are improving workspaces and influencing how we use buildings; they are helping build better public services and work processes; they are creating the interfaces for all digital devices we use; they are of course creating the clothes we’re wearing and the furniture we use.
India’s annual consumption of design services last year was estimated at Rs 3,400 crore and is expected to grow 400% in the next 4 years. Design has therefore emerged as a mainstream career option. This fast emerging sector has brought in a lot of opportunities that far outstrip the supply of design professionals. India currently produces about 1,200 design professionals a year against a requirement of 7,000 to 8,000. Design and creative industry in India represents a vibrant, varied and dynamic sector that is growing at a phenomenal pace.
Career-wise four broad design-domains can be identified i.e. communication, Fashion, Interior and Product Design. All these design streams require use of applied art in combination with applied science to improve the aesthetics, ergonomics, and functionality of designed products or spaces. They are therefore attracting students from across disciplines i.e. from science, commerce & arts background to look for a career in design.
Fashion Design as a career option has really evolved in the last decade. The Indian Fashion Industry is now valued at 300,000 crores and is projected to grow rapidly. Designers can specialize in a particular market segment, such as haute-couture – the design for high-street outlets or ethnic fashion – design based on traditional crafts. They can focus on a particular segment such as womens wear, mens wear or kids wear or specialize in a product category such as knitwear, footwear, sportswear, accessories, jewelry or costumes. Textile design is closely related to fashion design as also is Fashion marketing/promotion, Fashion merchandising, Fashion Retail and Fashion Innovation.
Interior Designer picks up where the architects leave off. They are the ones who design all that empty space that architects create. They help plan space allocation, traffic flow, building services, furniture, fixtures, furnishings, finishes, comfort, safety and aesthetics of interior spaces. Careers in interiors have really exploded as their services are needed everywhere whether it’s the new corporate headquarters of Infosys, or Sachin Tendulkar’s new home, or areas such as restaurants, hospitals, hotels, airports, malls, retail spaces, exhibitions, fairs or reality show sets.
Communication designers work towards creating ‘effective communication’ in everything – from web pages to digital icons, annual reports to corporate logos, from maps and diagrams to album and book covers, from product packaging to digital interfaces and more. A decade back, communication design was about advertising only, but today it can lead to a really wide range of careers in Art direction, Brand management, Content strategy, Copywriting, Creative direction, Information graphics, Instructional design, Marketing communication, Fashion Communication, Signage design, Information architecture, Editing, Typography, Illustration, Human-computer interface, Web design, Animation, Ambient media, Visual identity design and Professional skills as applied in the creative industries.
Product design or Industrial design covers a much wider domain covering all mass-produced, daily life goods such as consumer durables, toys, FMCG, automobiles, helmets, furniture, kitchen or table-top products, phones or specialist products such as medical equipment. As these are complex products, product designers usually make their careers in large corporations, as part of a team, coordinating with others to shape products. Besides all automobile companies, all consumer goods companies like Titan, Philips, Bata, Bajaj, Whirlpool, Videocon, Electrolux, BPL, Godrej, Tata, Usha, Crompton, Tanishq etc, and private design firms employ product designers.