It is a myth that, work for designers ends at the table. A lot happens after a concept design is finalised and sent to engineering or manufacturing. It is at the manufacturing level where one truly understands if a product will be good or bad. Industries where prototyping is absent or used scarcely, constantly face product issues. For a good designer, travelling to the manufacturing facility is crucial. Being present during prototyping and tooling trials helps maintain design integrity.

Don’t be in a box and you would never have to think inside one.

Vyasateja Rao  

Travel Introduces You to New Cultures

Identifying cultural traits is important when designing for a demographic or a region. When we worked on projects in school, we made a lot of assumptions. However, in the real world, it is important to dive in, immerse yourself and understand the cultural diversity. This is especially true when in a region like Asia where most of the manufacturing happens. Our Creative Director Vyas believes in the importance of understanding culture. He claims it helped him recognise and also predict potential usage scenarios easily; a foresight that goes a long way in perfecting product design.

Travel as a Designer 1

Start Young

One of our young designers, Nihal Aarons, recently travelled to Chennai to oversee and inspect a project. We insist to have the designer present during prototyping and final production phases of each project here. When asked about his experience, Nihal said, “My first time travelling alone, for work, to a relatively new city was a different kind of rush – a mix of exhilaration and stress. Where Chennai’s hot temperature and long distances contributed to the stress, learning to adapt without knowing the language and calling shots at the factory was exhilarating. Nonetheless, my first experience of travelling alone for work was a great learning opportunity.”

Nihal’s first visit brought back memories for Vyas of his early days as a designer. He said,“I started my career working as an engineer who travelled 0% to a designer who travelled 65% (all within the span of a year). Interesting as it was, while working at a Detroit automaker when I was young and needed the practical training on the job more than ever, I was stationed at a nice comfortable workspace in an AC room and when I was supposed to have had all the practical knowledge and sit at a desk – I was traveling the world visiting factories and sweatshops. Life is unexpected and I have gotten used to that after 12 years of constant change.”

Travel as a Designer 2

Every Minute Counts

An excessive work traveller himself, Vyas said, “Travel used to be extremely stressful at first but once I got used to the people and the place it was a lot of fun. Work travel is different compared to a vacation. Here you make the most of the time you have, making every minute productive. Furthermore, it is important to understand your responsibility to your employer/client, who is paying for the tickets, putting you up in a good hotel (hopefully) and paying for your meals. You owe them the results you promised. At the end of it all, once you have ensured your standards have been met at the factory if you have a few hours at hand you can always visit the local sights – provided you have the energy and haven’t fallen prey to jet lag, the change in food, and environment.”

Travel as a Designer 3

Stay Out of the box

Travel is very essential for a designer to develop an understanding of the world and the consumers we design for. In design school the phrase ‘Think outside the box’ was a fairly common one, but you can only think outside the box when you are not in one.  Our designers claim that some of their best ideas were born on the road in a cab, or in a hotel room. We believe travel gets you out of your comfort zone and puts you in a completely different environment which forces you to think differently.