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9 Things You Need To Know About A Career In Design

By Saloni Maheshwari:

I have a lot of friends who hear about my profession and think,“I would love to do what you do!”

I love the enthusiasm, but I don’t think that a lot of people really know what designing involves, especially when you choose it as a profession. Your profession in design could be of various kinds like interior design, graphic design, product design, architecture, photography, web design, fashion design etc. They are all separate fields for which separate skill sets are needed, but they all seem to be professions that are ‘labelled as easy’. This sickens me, simply because designing isn’t just clicking a button or two and out pops a design. The illustration isn’t just “drawing pictures” and photography isn’t just about having a camera. Each one of these professions requires skill and talent.

1. Be Yourself

Being yourself – this is what everyone wants in this independent world. You can be yourself, have independent thoughts, make your designs, enjoy your profession – which other courses might lack. Be confident about what you do as an author, designer, photographer. Then develop a personal approach and introduce it to your creative work.

Your work should never be about you, it should be able to expose you as a designer. As your work becomes more well-known, you will get hired for your traits. And as far as your personal work is concerned, don’t be afraid to tell your story. No one else is going to do it for you.

2. Power To Turn Your Thoughts Into Reality

It is a field where you produce what you think. Your thoughts become your design, your design becomes the reality for many others. Everyone may have ideas but it is the professionals who use their thoughts and turn them into designs while others let go.

3. Think Out Of The Box


When you choose design as a profession, you have to have a good imagination, and you also have to think outside the box. Designers shouldn’t be perceived as professionals who just make ‘visual magic happen’ where user-experience is always expected to be fruitful. In design, there really is never a right or wrong answer to anything. You simply have to determine what is right for each client and each situation. You have to have a good eye for colour, and be able to set a mood. Concept is the key and you have to be able to come up with a solid concept in order to develop anything at all. Market research is also involved while creating a design, so designers aren’t merely pushing buttons on their computers all day.

4. Feeding ‘Bookish Knowledge’ Is Not Compulsory

Few people look for academic excellence while a lot of them focus on the professional background, portfolio. But more than anything else what people look for is creativity and people skills. However, a formal degree in design could come to your benefit and increase your value as a designer. But the real knowledge comes from practising and enhancing your creativity.

5. It Won’t Be A Boring Office Job


Designers have to move around, a little more than other professionals! Meetings clients, coordinators, suppliers, doing on-site work, reviewing the completed work, designing ‘plan-revival’, updating the existing design – you have a long list of reasons to get out of your office. So if you are a person who dislikes boring office jobs and likes creative jobs where your ideas and spirit would be appreciated, designing may be your thing.

6. What Matters Is Experience, Not Degree

Your degree does not matter in this field, it only matters for the sake of knowledge but not for your job. You won’t be getting a job by showing higher grades, but the portfolio you have made throughout may help a great deal.

7. Develop Your Own Firm, Be Your Own Boss


Who in life wants to work under a rude boss? But people have to as they may be unaware of other options. Designing is the best option where you can create your own office, be your own boss, work in any place of the world, be cosy in your bed and work online. But for creating your own office, you have to be experienced enough.

8. Live In The Practical World

Could you ever understand the reflection of light had you not seen a mirror? Just reading about a phenomenon is not enough even though it may be explained in the best manner. You actually got to see it happening in front of your eyes and not just hear about it from somebody else. Training and exercising are meant to improve your skills which cannot be obtained by just equipping yourself with theoretical knowledge. Field trips, projects, experiments -don’t they interest you more than books, assignments and lectures? I’m sure they do for many of you because they are much more interesting and engrossing than reading the regular books. Practical education is way more interactive than mere theories. Designing is all about getting practical knowledge, learning new things, thinking in accordance with your client.

9. Be Your ‘Own Kind Of Creative’


I believe that each of us, as adults, still has an opportunity to be creative – our ‘own kind of creative’. You may not have it in you to write a book, but maybe because you want to write a blog, or an article (or two!).  Maybe you can’t cook, but you can bake. Maybe you can’t draw or paint, but you can strip the engine of a car and put it back together again. And maybe you can’t devise, write and deliver a whole new training project for your organisation but you can create the processes needed to make sure it gets rolled out successfully.

Don’t fall for anything that convinces you of your lack of creativity. You have always had the ability to be creative. You just need to unravel the desire again, dust off the right side of your brain, rediscover your inner creativity and go forth and create something new, better, inspiring, innovative. Enjoy!


Image source: Ethan Miller/ Getty Images
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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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