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SOP - For MDes to RISD

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“A picture is worth a thousand words”, a well-known adage that stands true through time. Graphics were used to communicate even before we could speak, and its omnipresence intensifies with the rapid advancement of technology-from the home screen on our mobile phones to the billboards on the streets. Graphics are timeless, they are here to stay.

I started out by sketching cartoon characters as a schoolboy. As time progressed, I acquired a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering which gave me exposure to machines of different shapes and sizes. I was intrigued by how design made the most complex machines easy to use. These experiences pulled me towards graphics and designing. Now after 3 years of gleaning experience in this field, I am eager to earn a master’s degree in design.

I was introduced to Adobe Photoshop during my final year at college. Impressed by how comprehensive a software could be, I marveled at the way it offered the freedom to design whatever one imagined, without inhibitions. Eager to start using Photoshop I started taking tutorials online. At first, I learnt image retouching and color corrections but soon took advanced tutorials on compositing, matching lighting and coloring desaturated images. Initially I designed as per the tutorials, but after spending hours on reading blogs and looking at designs and compositions, I started applying my knowledge to make designs from scratch.

During my final semester I got placed as an intern at Skrilo, a firm wherein I had to work on design templates for their mobile application using Photoshop. However, I got a job at Aptara Inc., right after graduation, where I had to re-write user manuals for automobiles. My interest towards design kept me from continuing at this job. Within 8 months, I quit my job at Aptara and started working for Skrilo again. I now had greater opportunities to work on designs and embraced them. I took a course online - “Introduction to Graphic Design” at Lynda.com. This course made me see how vast the field of Graphic Designing was and taught me the significance of planning my designs on paper first.

I also recognized the importance of feedback for designers. Sharing my work with designers on social media has really helped me witness the evolution of a design with criticism. My job required me to design mobile ad banners for a mobile application. I learnt about the specifications of designing for android devices- choosing the right fonts, colors and the specified sizes of the different components on the screens. Working with different teams also taught me to study design briefs and make designs tailored to meet specific needs.

Enjoying every aspect of being a graphic designer, I started taking tutorials more often, learning about the latest features of Photoshop and studying design in general. After having worked on four different versions of Photoshop, I decided to take the Graphic Designing Specialization course by CalArts on Coursera. During this course, I got to work on hand drawn sketches, icons, design briefs, color theory and typography. With an insight to the German Art School Bauhaus, I also learnt about the history and origin of design along with the different designers and typographers, whose designs are popular till date. The culminative Capstone Project gave me the opportunity to test all the skills I had learnt so far. For this I got to build a complete Brand Identity from scratch, including its logo, logotype and color scheme. After this course I had gained a better understanding of how brands work in the real world.

 I had now worked on it all, except for illustrations. Drawing sketches on a computer is lot more challenging than doing it on paper. Therefore, I have been taking online courses to learn Adobe Illustrator for more than a year now.

I have gradually grown into a designer and being a Mechanical Engineer further helped me develop a blend of the creative and analytical mindset. In addition to the state-of-the-art labs, peer led critiques, research partnerships and valuable faculty mentorship, I am enticed most by the curriculum of the Graphic Design Master’s program at the Rhode Island School of Design. It is balanced to prepare designers for the future, while giving us a strong hold of the traditional practices- thus embracing the timelessness of design. I believe that an opportunity to study design at RISD will enhance my skills and open an ocean of opportunities that the field  has to offer.

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