Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Jignesh Khakhar: On DCC in Bangalore

Image: Jignesh Khakhar at the DCC class presentations on various days in Bangalore.

The Design Concepts and Concerns (DCC) course was conducted for a two week period from September 25 to October 01, 2008 at NID's Bangalore campus. DCC is perhaps one of the longest running courses taught at NID. It is taught by Professor M.P. Ranjan, who conducted the course for 41 students from three disciplines at NID-Bangalore - Information and Interface Design (IID), Design for Retail Experience (DRE) and Design for Digital Experience (DDE).

The theme for this year's course was 'food'. Three groups investigated the theme in the context of three southern states - Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

The course introduces students to design, design thinking, design process, design opportunities, to mention a few. Most importantly, in my opinion, it forces students to ask the question: what is design, and what is their role as a designer? These are complex questions and require a lifetime of deliberation. Students are pushed into the 'deep-end of the pool' and forced to swim or stay afloat. Thus begins their journey, or 'design journey', as Professor Ranjan calls it.

There are two significant challenging aspects to this course: One is to represent their ideas. Various metaphors are employed to represent data, and it is often a challenge to map the data to a particular metaphor. This time, a number of metaphors - kite, word, tree, metro map, etc - were employed. Some were more successful, others were not. It is quite a long and challenging journey before a representation becomes a visualization, an act of insight. The other challenge is to work in a large group. This involves 'managing' relationships, time and space. The nature of the course has changed over the years to enable and encourage students to work in collaboration with each other, something they will inevitably have to do in practice.

The final exercise termed 'me board' was an act of introspection. This was perhaps the most challenging exercise, as it required students to 'peer' into themselves. To my mind, this requires a high degree of honesty, akin to 'searching for the truth', and then representing it in some 'form' - an indelible proposition indeed. However, some of the presentations in the form of collages were remarkably interesting and provoked me to question the nature of such representations and their relationship to painting. Perhaps I may find some answers in the future.

Finally, the Design Concepts and Concerns course remains a very intriguing, interesting and enjoyable journey, both as an observer and a participant. Its significance and impact is one students are bound to realise much later in their design education and professional practice.

Posted by: Jignesh Khakhar, NID Bangalore Centre

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