He went on to pursue a Diploma in Communications Design from NID, and then, MSc in Design Management from University of Salford (Manchester, UK) where JD majored in Design Strategy. His biggest takeaway from NID was this creative confidence:
“…everything was possible, nothing was prescribed. Design had a place in the world, for better, for greater good. And this has stayed with me like a deep, unshakable belief — what a Jedi Knight might call ‘The Force’ — even if my own definition of design has evolved so much since the NID days.”
He says that shifts in his life and work happened because of three things:
1) The morbid fear of boring, repetitive work.
2) High tolerance (or irrational bravado) for risks – to start afresh, learn anew.
3) Relentless curiosity.
“The combination of these three things, – JD admits, – meant that I kept sensing and seeing the meta-level shifts that our discipline was going through. I had the option of staying put, but I have always been an early adopter. I moved from print to pixels, from designing artefacts to designing systems, intangibles, experiences, and even organizations. I moved from the logo-centric idea of brands to embracing the brand as a sumtotal of experiences.”
Today he’s a Venture Advisor, which is a brand new title at SAIF, a Venture Capital (VC) firm in Bangalore. Looking at SAIF’s portfolio, you realise they’ve made some wise investment choices and are respected by founders. Jay has done two kinds of projects: designprojects and ‘instil-design’ projects:
“‘Instildesign’ projects are about creating teams, creating ecosystems that in turn will excel in design — I am a facilitator, a choreographer. In India, we talk a lot about design projects, but rarely about creating ecosystems, and culture, teams within larger organizations.”
To fall in love with the problem, – is his design mantra:
“Designers (like any other discipline) tend to fall in love with their solutions. Understanding a problem, or opportunity, via user stories or shadowing users is a great way to get closer to the heart of what really matters. Falling in love with your problem means you continue to reframe it, refine it; and continue to think about better, faster, sharper ways of solving it. Design is never done – in the digital space, a release is a brief stop; when instilling design – teams, goals, objectives are always work in progress.”
However, he has a lot of excitement about the future, seeing many designers as co-founders. SAIF has invested in a company (YourDost) where the designer is the CEO. These are the new role models and possibilities are huge.
“The marriage of data and design will get stronger, – JD believes, – and we will see multiple sub specializations mushrooming and getting their long due recognition. And newer titles too. Hopefully, it will mean the end of the oft-quoted line: “So, are you a fashion designer?”
His advise to all young designers is:
“Don’t work for likes – we write our work on water. Digital designs start to look dated soon, start to look out of context. New devices, new OS, new paradigms will appear. Hundreds of talented new designers and thousands of new posts will dwarf your work one day on Dribbble and Behance. Who knows, maybe there’ll be a new Dribbble or Behance.”
Read this story in POOL 71.