By Saadia Peerzada, UG 22 The Creators is a series of profiles of Ashokans who are
By: Nishka Mishra UG’22
The Creators is a series of profiles of Ashokans who are actively involved in different creative fields including, but in no way limited to, music, photography, creative writing, and visual or performing arts.
When one thinks of design and technology, the mind is immediately flooded with thoughts of canva, photoshop, and robotics. While this may be so, this intersection explores a lot more than what meets the eye. From thinking about the design of a Formula 1 car to that of Ashoka’s architecture, Beyond Design is a venture that has carved out a unique space for learning about this intersection within the Ashokan community. In this interview with Beyond Design’s founders, they reveal the ideation, problem-solving, and insights that have accompanied their progress so far.
For everyone to know more about what Beyond Design is, could you describe what this initiative stands for?
We like to think of Beyond Design as a collaborative space for learning and implementing design. Our projects are often geared towards exploring intersectionality, primarily the one between design and technology. We wanted to create a space where people can teach, learn and come up with their own ideas and work on it. The freedom we provide as a collective will enable our members to build a vast repertoire of skills, and gain valuable exposure to the thinking and design process. We’re like gamers in a sense. We analyze our strengths, and try to improve upon our skills while ideating, strategizing and working on one project after the other. We believe that experience is as invaluable a tool as any, and will prepare us for the real game—the outside world!
Design and Technology (DT) is an interesting intersection to explore. Why is it important to build a community centered around this, especially in the Ashokan space?
Design and technology is one of the most up and coming fields. Frankly, we were a bit surprised that a design venture did not already exist at Ashoka . Since design at its core is about ‘thinking’, the holistic education that Ashoka University offers is invaluable. Design helps encourage creative thinking, a skill that is indispensable; the amalgamation of design with technology is revolutionizing the way that products and projects are built. Ashoka encourages original and creative thought, and we provide a space for Ashokans to channel all this creative energy into making and working on futuristic projects. We, at Beyond, hope to offer Ashokans a platform to collaborate, learn, and build their portfolio.
Are there any learnings in DT that you believe are very relevant in a university student’s daily life, regardless of whether or not they’re well versed with the field?
For us, Design is simply a thought process. It is about spotting problems, exploring different fields for inspiration and coming up with innovative solutions. At Ashoka, we are taught to employ critical thinking in our academics, and it is a tool that is very relevant to design as well. A critical thinker will be able to spot possible flaws and suggest remedies. Design as a field is very fluid and it integrates seamlessly with any field and adds important insights to it, much like our holistic approach to academics. Building solutions to solve real problems that affect humans while keeping in mind the delicacies of human interaction, imparts a deep sense of empathy which is a very useful skill to possess.
From what I’ve understood about DT, creativity acts as this mediator by which ideas develop into reality. What is your take on this?
We live in a world surrounded by design and we don’t even realize it. Literally from the shape of your favorite coffee mug to your favorite social media app, everything is a product of design. A Formula 1 car and a leaflet are designed using a similar process. Much of it has to do with observing things and people around you. Creativity in design is basically being able to enhance user experience by utilizing resources in the most efficient manner. Design is intelligence made visible, and creativity helps mould intellect in the best possible manner.
Is there any essential resource or insight that you believe someone interested in this field should know of?
Beyond Design recommends:
- Anyone interested in the field (at any level of proficiency), the documentary ‘Abstract’ – made by Netflix – is a must watch. It documents the journeys of talented designers at the top of their field and gives a good look into the intricacies of design. Season 1 is available for free on YouTube and is great!
- Another resource to look into is Behance.net. Behance is an Adobe initiative that aims at collating work from a vast variety of design fields and in the process, granting people exposure to the fascinating world of design.
- Even otherwise, design is there in the most obvious places. I mean, just take a closer look at our campus architecture!