Design Education and My Career

Disclaimer: This is another self-reflection. 

Let me introduce myself. I was graduated with a bachelor degree in Product Design (or maybe you can call it industrial design as well) and Alhamdulillah finished my master's degree in Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship program, focusing on design sector. People may see this is another kind of a right track, but if you ask me what I mostly do in my working hours it would be far from designing a tangible product. 

This reflection occurred to me because I will start my teaching gig at a university, in a product design engineering program. In what sense I can share my knowledge to my students when I think of myself as a general designer, even more like as an illustrator nowadays. I have studio classes to tech, first one is fundamental design class, focusing on two-dimensional visual composition. The second one is the three-dimensional modelling software lab. To be honest, this is what I'm worrying the most. I'll come back later about this.

Back in my uni days, I remember my first year was like hell when we did lots of sleepless nights, drew bare-chested constructional workers' figures, and the so-called first year orientation to enter the faculty level of student society. The rest of my undergrad journey, I can recall the days when the lecturers were not present and we played so many games until studio hours finished. It was not so pleasant, but let's just pick good moments to remember. 

Present time. Some of my friends are now working in digital products, such as apps and e commerce. Some of them are in graphic design industry (including me). Some of them are in entirely different industry (one of my friends is now working in an insurance company). Some of them are working as full-time moms. Only a small fraction of them are working as industrial designer in manufacturing industry. 

Talking about design is somewhat tricky. People will assume design generally as visual communication designer, or at least "you must be good in drawing". Except for fashion design and interior design, most of design professions remain a mystery, even for me. Now we have UI designer, UX researcher, interaction designer, service designer, lighting designer, motion designer, web designer, game designer, furniture designer, automotive designer, and even the terms of product design now is shifting to the digital realms. 

Having a name of your profession may matter, but I would prefer myself to be a designer who solve problem within my capacity with creativity. It's rather hard to explain but I prefer to use some examples of my works to make people understand. I love making illustrations and I love doing design research. I love seeing my design on a real product on the hands of customers. 

If you ask me know, what are the most important subjects in university (and what I can still remember), my answer will be this: fundamental studio classes for first-year, design projects, design research methodology (I think it has something to do with design thinking approach), and modelling software lab which I never knew it would be useful now because I have to teach that class. Personally I like studio classes because I love working with my hands, such as making manual rendering (although my car sketches are still sucks), and making manual 3D models (resins, clay, and mixed materials). I enjoyed taking classes from Crafts program, like tie-dying and crafts making. Well, things may change because I don't know what will happen later in my life, so I won't say this and that as not useful. 

I'm (re)learning to use a 3D modelling software, this time is called Fusion 360. I think I enjoy making the props and aligning the objects to make a beautiful picture LOL.

Economically speaking, I can't say much. Many people go to college are expecting to get returns, such as big salary and better future, and there's a question "is this program worth it?" But time-wise (which I believe is even more valuable than money), if I could turn back time, I would choose to attend visual communication design classes than the elective class of applied physics, anti-corruption class (it was a nice chance to sit in with other engineering students lol), and crafts classes. My adventure to the other side of the world for one year student exchange was indeed fun and eye-opening, but didn't do much for my design profession career. Or maybe I was not that interested at that time, and preferred to be an adventurer instead of a real designer?

I'm writing this piece as a reflection and a refreshment before I start composing some materials to teach. I aspire to give more inspirations and will have them to explore the vast world of design, which I'm still exploring too! I want them to have a resilience and adaptability in this fast-paced industry. I'm not saying a digital product is better than a tangible one, each of them serves some purposes and is linked to each other. I hope they can find their ikigai and enjoy their uni years without any regrets. 



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