Thursday, July 11, 2013

The World of Designing With Computers

Careers in Computers and Information Technology
Careers in Designing

It is true that the profession of designers has come a long way in the last decade. It has received public recognition firstly as a part of our economic and cultural life and secondly as business, or design industry. However, one can still perceive formidable challenges for those trying to pursue a career in design. The contribution of 'industrial' designers is not as widely known as it should be. The reasons for this are that most people are familiar with engineers and architects as people carrying out more challenging design based activities. Industrial design, however, refers to an activity that has to do with products and objects that are used to fulfill practical functions. It is impossible to dissociate the term design from the term manufacture.
In design it is the application of creative and artistic skills to a practical end. Designers work within technical, manufacturing or budgetary limits but ensure that, the design serves the purpose it is intended for. Designers work to a brief, but they are creative people who must be left to develop their own genius. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Design is divided up into a number of separate areas: Graphic design and Textile design are two dimensional while three-dimensional design includes industrial design, product design, fashion and jewelry design, interior and furniture design, exhibition and theatre design, etc.
Graphic design originated as design for the printing industry - books, posters, magazines, but has expanded into other areas and it now includes photography, film and video, and all kinds of visual communications.
Textile design relates in particular to manufacturing industries.
While artists and designers skills are alike, artists work shows self-expression while designers work is aimed on problem solving and practical tasks. Designs of products, environments and systems aim at the customers ' needs in terms of comfort, aesthetics, efficiency, safety, reliability, economy, etc. Designers often have to put restraints on their creativity as they work towards deadlines. Professional designers need to be creative but the amount of creative or original work they can be involved in varies. It is essential that designers have technical knowledge appropriate to their discipline, and commercial awareness of markets.
Areas designers work in
Design finds application in a number of different fields. Industrial designers develop and design products like cars, home appliances, computers, medical, Office or recreational equipment, children's toys, etc. Designers combine their artistic talent with research they do on product use, marketing, production methods, and materials to create the most functional and appealing design and to make the product competitive in the market.
Graphic designers work in visual communication design. They work through print, drawings, pattern, photography or a combination of these. Graphic designers work for ad agencies, in printing and publishing, commercial packaging, design research, TV and film companies etc. Fashion designers design apparel and accessories. Fashion designers may be self-employed and design for individual clients. They make fashion trends by establishing the line, colors, and kinds of materials that will be worn each season. Others cater to high fashion department stores. They design original garments as well as follow the established fashion trends. Most fashion designers, however, work for apparel manufacturers, adapting men's, women’s, and children’s fashions for the mass market. Textile designers design fabrics for garments, upholstery, rugs and other products, using their knowledge of textile materials and fashion trends. Other designers may be working as even exhibition designers, craft designers, etc.
Interior designers plan space and furnish the interiors of private homes, public hotels and theatres.
They develop designs; prepare working drawings and specifications for interior construction, furnishings, lighting and finishes according to the clients' needs and tastes. Interior designers plan spaces that meet accessibility standards for the disabled and elderly also.
Set designers design movie, television and theatre sets. They study scripts, discuss with directors and conduct research to determine appropriate architectural styles.
PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF DESIGNERS
Industrial and visual communication designers must be creative and artistic with a good imagination.
They should be able to think in a clear; logical manner, analyze problems and come up with original solutions. They need visual imagination and should think in three-dimensions. They should be able to express their ideas through drawings. They should have numerical ability to enable them to calculate dimensions, etc. They must be capable of intricate and detailed. work for drawing and constructing models good color sense, appreciation of aesthetics and sensitivity to ergonomics (the study of the relationship between people and their environment).
Designers should be amiable, good at communication and should be able to get on well with colleagues.
Skills in persuading are necessary to present ideas and arguments to other members of the design team.
THREE DIMENSIONAL DESIGNS
This category of design encompasses a wide range of materials and industries. It is concerned with products, objects, things. In 3-D design there is craft or studio based design, and there is industrial design.
Industrial Design
Product design/ceramic design/furniture design - In manufacturing industry, traditionally, the engineer who designed the working parts of a machine also designed its exterior and, without any art-based training, did so more or less according to the shape and size of the product's parts and the demands of the manufacturing process.
Rapid growth in consumer spending and growing competition for sales led manufacturers to see the possibility of designing products which not only look good and can be sold on appearance, but can also be more efficient and convenient to use.
Increasingly now, designers are working with design engineers to produce designs for goods, keeping in mind the appearance of items, convenience, safety, efficiency and ease of maintenance. New development in design have also been possible because of technological developments and new materials, e.g., metals, plastics, rubbers, etc, are more flexible for the designer's needs.
Craft design - Designers have technical knowledge of relevant handicraft or manufacturing processes, for example firing, decorating, carving, inlaying, molding, engraving and glazing. They work for designing of ceramics (ornaments, tiles, etc), jewelry, silverware, metalwork and pottery, glass (glassware and stained/architectural glass) and furniture. Design is usually for mass-manufacture, or possibly for production through traditional methods by designer crafts persons.
Designers may work with potters and jewelers to create products that have a wider appeal and a more competitive pricing. Some work for the film and advertising industry, making anything that is required for the purpose of creating a special effect. In addition to being visually creative craft designers are their own technologist, production manager, marketing expert and salesman, book-keeper and buyer.
TWO DIMENSIONAL DESIGNS
Visual Design
Graphic design/animation design- Graphic design is really the design of communication and has developed considerably from the days when it was known as commercial art. Graphic designers work with print, pictures and patterns on flat surfaces. They 'layout' words and pictures on pages for books and magazines, in advertisements, posters, sales brochures, product packaging, TV program title sequences, and the sides of mobile vans.
The aim of graphic design is to effectively communicate information through visual means. It is a broad heading covering a number of different disciplines.
Typography is an essential element of all fields of graphic design. Specialized areas are lettering and calligraphy. Most illustrators concentrate on specialist subjects, e.g., fashion, nature or cartoon. Many designers specialize in particular skills or in types of media; for example, magazines or TV technical illustration work for scientific, medical or engineering subjects, for reproduction in manuals and text books demand precision. Animation is based entirely on drawings which, when photographed, produced a three-dimensional impression.
Basic knowledge of printing and image-producing techniques is essential. Designers must know how to use space, color, lines and shapes. The work is as much technical as creative. Designers have to understand the technicalities of printing processes, photography, color reproduction, type with all its varied fonts, sizes and weights.
More and more of the everyday work of the graphic designer is done on computer system.
NATURE OF WORK
Industrial Design/Visual Design/Graphic Design
The activities involved in three-dimensional designing begin with design research. Designers work on briefs from the marketing department who research what the customers want and which designs will sell. The designer may work on modifying existing products or parts of products, rather than creating wholly new ones.
The designing process implies the application of creative talents to produce rough sketches to outline ideas, keeping the design within available production capabilities. The designers then selects the shapes, colors and materials for products keeping in mind the functional aspect which must suit the lifestyles of customers and ensure product efficiency.
Designers use technical knowledge and liaise extensively with other experts to ensure feasibility and cost-effectiveness. Designs may have to be modified and adapted a number of times before they are acceptable. Technical constraints may often compromise the original concept for a product. Once designs in the form of rough sketches have been approved by management, detailed working drawings are prepared. Computer aided design (CAD) systems may be used. Accurate models of products are also made for testing. In addition to supplying production staff with working drawings showing exact dimensions etc, the designer may have to provide written instructions. The designer should be available to solve problems relating to adoption ensuring that the end product; as far as possible, conforms to the initial brief and agreed requirements.
EMPLOYMENT AVENUES
A large number of designers working in industry and commerce are working in graphics/visual communications. Many of them specialize in one particular field such as advertising, publicity, and packaging. The main areas of employment are as follows:
Advertising - Graphic designers may specialize in poster work, preparing lay-outs, TV advertising, shop display, etc. Normally graphic designers work in teams of two in ad agencies. The team has an art director and a copy writer. Their skill is in originating ideas which promote products in imaginative and existing ways.
Publishing and printing - They are mainly doing typo-graphic work, illustrations, technical illustrations and photographic work for books, book jackets, greeting cards, magazines and journals. Commercial firms and industries need graphic designers for advertising, packaging designs, etc.
TV film and video companies - Graphic designers design opening titles and credits. 'They may illustrate in animation or for educational program. This field of work is being increased by the spread of more and more sophisticated computer animation systems. The principles of animation are the same, but new technology allows a designer to put together sequences of movement much more rapidly.
Publicity materials- Another and less well-known side of the advertising industry concerns designing of brochures which describe products to potential customers or a whole variety of give-away material; carrying the company name, logo and slogan.
Illustration - Illustration is a specialized area of graphic design that concerns the drawing and painting of images that will appear alongside text in a book, poster or magazine. An illustrator gets briefed by the editor on the kind of style required and the subject matter.
Photography - Photography will be dealt with later in this section but it is as well to realize that photography is just as much a part of graphic design as illustration. It is simply another way of producing pictures, and freelance photographers, who want to work in publishing or advertising, build their career in exactly the same way as illustrators.
Basic Training Program
The foundation year (1st year) involves an introduction to the basic skills and conceptual abilities necessary for a designer. Inputs during this year include freehand drawing, geometry (plane and 3D), model making, and introduction to materials, color, graphic composition and design process. Taking off from a theoretical base, the emphasis is on learning through actual practice, experience and exploration of media and phenomena. At the end of the first year, students are given their streams for specialization based on their preference and aptitude, and their performance during the foundation year.
Specializations
• Product design - The product design program aims to produce professionals who can handle design and development of products of both industrial and small scale sectors (e.g., consumer goods, automobile, packaging, etc.). Students are exposed to real and simulated work conditions in the form of projects in which they demonstrate their learning, application of theory and their creativity and innovation. Theory courses include technical drawing and illustration, engineering materials and processes, technical sciences, ergonomics, photography, computers and model making, along with assignments in form, space and aesthetics. The major projects include simple product design in plastics, control-display interface design, techno-aesthetic detailing, lighting, packaging, electro mechanically complex product and systems design.
Furniture design - This discipline involves the design of furniture for different domestic or commercial applications and can be extended to the design of system furniture and storage devices, structures and exhibitions. Some of the theoretical courses in furniture design are shared with product design. Some specialized inputs include furniture technology, wood and metal joinery and prototype making. The major projects include simple furniture design (wire products), outdoor furniture, and craft design, folding furniture and system design.
Textile design - Textile design involves the design of printed and woven surfaces for applications like, garments and apparels, furnishings and interiors. Students are introduced to various techniques of surface design and decorations, fabric structure and construction and are also given practical experience in weaving, printing and dyeing methods in both craft and industrial sectors.
Visual communication - This programmer aims to turn out professionals who can communicate through a variety of media in different sectors that might need their services (like social developmental communication, advertising, film making, corporate presentations, print/publishing, etc.)
Some of the important courses in visual communication are elements of composition, layout and typography, letter design, color, photography, illustration, DTP, printing technology, packaging, symbol design, exhibitions and elements of video, animation and audio visuals. After the third year, students of communication design take up major projects in areas like graphic design, video programming, animation and exhibitions for specializations.
TEXTILE DESIGN
Textiles and yarns are of many kinds and are used for making garments, furnishings, 'carpets, towels, lace, net, embroidery, etc. Fabrics may be woven, knitted or printed. Designers specialize in designing fabric for men's suit, ladies' dress or furnishing fabrics. Textile designing is a very technical subject today as a combination of methods is used. The Indian textile designer today has become prominent in the world market as he has skillfully blended the traditional textures and dyes the modern market needs.
Creative ability and good technical knowledge is essential. The textile designer must have knowledge of yarn making, weaving, knitting, dyeing and finishing processes, including the knowledge of different types of looms, knitting machines, printing processes including block, stencil, roller and silk-screens.
NATURE OF WORK
Textile designing involves design research. This involves an understanding of what the customer requires and which designs are likely to sell. Fashion and design trends are important and so are popular colors, yarns etc. Trends in the trade have to be forecasted since a product may take a year sometime to reach the market. Having studied current trends of fashion, designers apply their creativity to produce designs to suit the market. Rough sketches are used to outline basic ideas.
The designer takes into consideration the use of the fabric, its durability, weight, texture, etc. Sketches are transferred to detailed technical specifications, to be put on machines, looms or printing tables. The specific construction of designs is presented on graph paper or through CAD (computer aided design) systems.
Technical translations are used to produce samples of cloth. The designer works in liaison with technicians and technologists, making necessary adjustments to the designs. The design manager and sales and marketing staff select samples from the range for the market.
It is vitally important for textile designers to keep a breast with the market through trade fairs and visiting clients. Effective presentation, of their work determines the overall success of the design or the designer. Designers may be involved in adaptations and modifications relating to the color, price, after designs are sold.
PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS
Designers are creative people and very talented. They have a flair for the work they do. They have a good eye for color and ability to work with details. Innovativeness is essential. Designers should be fashion conscious and able to anticipate customers' requirements. Technical knowledge is a prerequisite. Designers need the ability to communicate effectively and should be able to persuade and influence people. Since the work is as much concerned with selling as with creativity.
EMPLOYMENT AVENUES
Textile designers have scope for employment with' textile manufacturing industries. They also work with cottage industries, small scale industries and as entrepreneurs, with a growing market for exports of textiles, textile designers find employment with export houses as well as large scale industries catering to the national and international markets. Many textile designers work as free lancers offering their designs to various industries.
ADVERTISING
Advertising involves the process wherein a message is designed so as to promote a product, a thought, an idea or even a service. The concept of advertising has assumed a dynamic form with the use of the various mediums of communication. From the newspapers, magazines, posters, neon and fluorescent signboards, billboards to the commercials on TV advertising has come a long way. The work is formidable as it spearheads process intended to attract, modify, change and influence public opinion. From the local business to the multinational firm all need to advertise. While politicians, social organizations, government special groups need to advertise their motto, national airlines, automobile manufacturers, food and consumer goods manufacturers have to reach the consumer. Styles for advertising vary. Specialist products and services are often advertised through trade magazines and exhibitions. Lately mail-shots, handbill circulation, special offers have become every popular. There are still other ways of advertising. There are window displays, display on telephone directories, transit signs on buses, rickshaws, lamp posters, banners, etc.
Advertising, as an effective medium, uses a variety of techniques to create effective advertisements. A basic appeal is at the heart of advertising. Slogans and product characters are created to catch the attention of the viewers. Most winning advertisements would encompass factual information with emotional appeal. The advertising industry has three rnajor sectors. The business or organizations who wish to advertise the media who provide the medium for advertising and the ad-agency which creates the ad to suit the needs of the firm.
The description of the process which an ad goes through in its creation and the people who make this possible has been described in the next section.
NATURE OF WORK
The link, between the client who wishes to advertise and the media where the ad appears, is the ad agency where the ad is created. Various skills are required in the preparation of an ad-from identifying the purpose of the ad and the clients need, the identification of media, the creative inputs, to the verbal catch phrases all needs skill and expertise. Hence the people in an ad agency are specialists. They are the Account executive and the Account planner in the client servicing departments, the media executives and planners who buy space in the media and the creative executives or the copywriters and visual producers who create the ads.
Accounts Executives
In advertising 'the account' is the client. The business of each client with the agency is referred to as an account. An ad agency handles assignments of a number of clients. A client's business is assigned to a team of people from the ad agency with the Account Executive at the head of the team. An Account Executive may be handling the business of a number of non-competing clients at the same time. The Account Executive supervises his team of people drawn from all departments while planning, scheduling and executing the assignment.
Before a campaign is launched research on the client’s business methods, the product to be advertised is made. With this background information there is a meeting of the creative media and marketing divisions along with members of the client's team. The objective of this meeting is to define the use of the product, and the target users as well as other competing brands. After all the information is assimilated the agency team prepares a draft brief with recommendations. These are presented to the client by the Account Executive. The brief and budget are discussed and after finalization the work begins. The Account Executive motivates guides and coordinates the activities so that deadlines are met and the client’s expectations become a reality.
He spends a lot of time keeping the client updated on the progress. The Agency's Director too has to be kept informed. This is done directly in smaller firms but in larger firms there may be an Account Planner or Director.
Account Planner/Director
The Account Planner is the main planning executive who works in partnership with the client on long term account planning. He knows what is happening in the market place, the attitude of the consumer towards the client's as well as the competitor's brands.
 Media Executives
The main task of the media executive is to place the advertisements where they will be seen by the right target audience keeping the budget in mind. Hence this job requires planning, research and buying space in the press or time for commercial radio and television. In large agencies this task may be allocated to ~ two or three different specialists. There may be media planners and media buyers. In small agencies the task may be handled by the same person.
Media planner has access to up-to-date information about each advertising medium. This includes the readership and circulation figures for newspapers and magazines, viewing figures for different times of the day, listening audience figures for commercial radio stations, etc. They are also aware of the various locations for hoardings and bill boards.
Working on the brief from the media executive and using some or all the above media sources, the planner creates a detailed media plan, showing which media are to be used, when, and the costs involved in each for each medium to maximum appeal for the target group. It is through the selection of the right media that a good media department can save large advertisers money as well as give credibility.
Media buyers buy advertising time./space-for the agency's client. They work closely with the media planner if the two functions are often carried out separately.
Television and newspaper advertising are expensive. The media buyer's expertise is in negotiating the best possible deal for the client. The commercial breaks with the most viewers are the most expensive and so also the newspapers and magazines with the highest circulation figures. There is severe competition for the most popular slots. Hence besides a lot of negotiating, the job entails detailed record keeping of transactions and calculations to ensure that a campaign stays within the stipulated budget.
Creative Copywriter and Art Director
Copywriting and visual art work go hand in hand and this is the work which goes on in the agency's creative department. The real ad is created here by the creative team. Briefs from the
Account Executive outlining the target group for the advertisement and information about the product, followed by discussions with the account planner, along with research material, and perhaps a meeting with the client put the creative department to work.
Copywriting involves providing words which are read or heard in advertisements. This may include slogans or jingles or detailed text for catalogues, brochures, leaflets and journals. Copy writing also takes the form of scripts for television and film commercial advertisement.
The essential skill of the Copywriter lies in interpreting and understanding the mind and needs of the target audience and the characteristics of the product. They must identify what it is that would make people want or need the product being promoted. The Art Director and the Copywriter together then work on an idea that should catch the attention of the public and put the selling point of the product across. Many ads are discarded, reincarnated and created. The final product is a team effort of the copywriter and art director with each having suggested alterations to the other.
The more successful creations are then shown to the creative director who in turn may suggest further modifications. Final drawings are then produced and shown to the client. Once-the client accepts the concept the layout is modified and the details filled in. The design and copy is sent to the production team for typesetting, photographs and drawings for printed advertisements or filming for television commercials.
Ad Agencies may have their production team which includes Photographers, Printers, Typesetters, Television Producers, etc. But since the work is very diverse most ad agencies coordinate with freelancers or established production units for the task to be completed.
WORK ENVIRONMENT
Ad Agencies are based within office settings. Accounts Executives, Account Planners, Media Executives, Art Directors and Copywriters spend most-of their working time in agency offices. Account Executives have to travel extensively, visiting clients and suppliers. While staff, travel occasional to attend meetings with clients, or visit locations during film production. Ad Agencies are very busy places and often work is on till late hours.
PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS
People in the accounts or client servicing, i.e., the Account Executive, Director and Planner need to be adept at negotiating. The ability to communicate easily is vital. They face the challenge of competing in the market with other agencies; hence need to have drive determination and tremendous physical and mental stamina. Sensitivity to consumer behavior, trends and human nature are important for success in advertising. They should be able to assimilate the client’s requirements and in a lucid style prepare briefs for other departments. The ability to get along with others and get the work executed by all departments is specially required.
Media Executives, Planners and Buyers must enjoy working with others in an integrated team. They should be able to interpret and absorb a great deal of information.
Media buyers spend most of their time negotiating over the telephone to buy space or time. Attention to detail is needed and they should be able to keep a careful record of all transactions. Numerical ability is needed for keeping to the budget allocated.
The creative people need a good visual ability, language/artistic skill. Copywriters require literary ability but an interest in commercial success which comes from understanding what motivates the target audience is important;
Writers must be able to work, to a strict brief, within restricted space and in limited time. Advertising must follow legal requirements and rules hence considerable creative self-discipline is needed. A feeling for words, economy of style and imagination are needed.
The Copywriter works with the art director, and the creative director. The work can be very frustrating particularly when an idea is rejected by the art director or amendments made by the creative director and the client. This can often restrict the imaginative capacity of the copywriter. The openness to stand criticism is absolutely essential.
TRAINING
The client servicing is generally handled by post graduates in Business Management. The job needs business skills; hence graduates from any stream with some training in business administration are generally preferred. An advertising qualification too is useful. The creative people, particularly the visualizes, i.e., the Art Director and his team are selected from Art Schools or Design Institutes.
Bachelor of Applied Art course teaches the prospective creative artist the use of mediums like photography, graphics, and visual communication. Courses in Mass communication are also useful. Media Planners and Buyers have to be acquainted with the various mediums, price, etc. Courses in management, advertising, marketing, public relations are useful for this department.

The production people come from Art Schools and film and TV Training Institutions. The field of advertising is open to students who have passed from Art Schools, Management Schools, Design Schools, and graduates from reputed institutes with a rich co curricular record and those from advertising courses or mass communication courses. Here you will find courses in Advertising. Readers can refer to the relevant courses in the areas mentioned in other relevant chapters of this book.