A practicing designer and design educator, Kumkum Nadig handles the two tasks with a dexterity born out of years of experience.
Kena Design was born in 2007. In Sanskrit, ‘Kena’ means to question, it is small boutique design studio offering services in branding, publication design and marketing communication design. Kumkum and her team have designed more than two dozen books and publications in the past 10 years, ranging from large format coffee table books and speciality books to experimental books.
“Practicing and teaching are connected, – designer believes, – but face different concerns and contexts. As a practitioner one tends to work intuitively, take short cuts and skip a lot of the steps in the design process; whereas, as a teacher one needs to elaborate an idea, explain it from every possible corner and context, and break down every task into small steps that are very transparent and achievable. And it was this challenge that got me hooked to teaching.”
A year back Kumkum took on the responsibility of Dean of the School of Design, Business and Technology at Srishti, sharing the deanship with her colleagues Girish Prabhu and John Mathew.
She believes, that:
“It is industry that needs to value the role of design in their products, services and marketing functions. It also needs to learn to value designers and provide an environment at work that nurtures creativity. We need to create opportunities for greater communication and interaction between industry and academics. Students’ learning is complete and well rounded only when they get an opportunity to learn from teachers who come from the areas of research as well as practice. Industry also needs to be willing to provide internship and training opportunities to fresh graduates and not expect them to be productive from day one. This process needs to be formalized in collaboration with academic institutes so that there is clarity of purpose at both ends.”
Kumkum hopes that future generations of designers learn to balance the global and the local more effectively:
“I see them being able to bring in multi-disciplinary as well as inter-disciplinary processes and engagements into their work. I look forward to Indian design emerging as a strong, versatile, empathetic and responsible practice that gets integrated into our culture, affecting the lives and mindset of people from all sections of our society.”
Read this story in POOL 86.