I was invited by Metvy Learn to give a talk on starting a career in Design. These are some things the talk covered.

Title slide for the talk

Title Slide

About me

Hey! My name is Gyan. I’m a multidisciplinary designer, and I like fonts, cats and technology.

I have a master’s in Interaction Design from IDC School of Design, IIT Bombay, and I am currently a user experience designer at Microsoft. I have also previously worked with Google, Zomato and over 30 startups and small organisations on design projects.

What is design?

When I was at design school, pretty much every professor I had asked the class, “What is design?” Every professor had a different answer. I still find this a hard question to answer, but my personal definition has become design is finding problems, thinking about them, and finding creative solutions.

Types of Design roles


Project living spaces for the human being: buildings, parks, public squares, houses.

Industrial Design

Projects industrial production objects for human use from a spoon to the body of a car or the fuselage of an airplane, through furniture, tools, artifacts.

Graphic Design

Reproduce significant visual messages: logos and brands, posters, magazines, book covers, websites.

Fashion Design

Design and make clothes and clothing accessories: clothes, shoes, jewelry.

Textile Design

Combination of some methods of Graphic Design with some others of Industrial Design and Fashion Design, consists of conceiving and configuring fabrics and patterns for the textile industry: prints, yarns, embroidery, fibers.

Interaction Design

Focused on the design of digital interfaces and software.

Interaction Design roles

UX Researcher

Conduct studies to learn more about user needs and behaviours.

UX Designer

UI Designer

Career ladder

IC v/s. Manager track


How do designers fit into the triad?

Design seat at the table

What should you look for in an early-career design job?

  • existing team, you want someone to be able to mentor you,
  • if there are no other designers you will end up having to teach yourself a lot of things. this is great if you want to fast-track your learning.


A design resume should be a single page, and should explain at a glance why you would be a good fit for the role.


Dummy projects

Don’t decide the output format at the beginning of the project.

Don’t limit yourself by assuming you can’t handle a medium. Designers are problem solvers, you can solve problems with different tools. Don’t hammer and nail.

Going to Design School

Do you need a design degree?

No, you don’t. That’s not just me saying that, the industry is happy to accept designers who studied engineering, architecture, business, or pretty much anything else. You can be self taught and have a fantastic career as a designer.

Design used to be quite insular, tech not so much.

What does design school help with?

Not just the craft, skills,

Critical thinking, deeply understanding the problem. “Invisible skills”

Design thinking is thrown around a lot.

Skills as a result of experimenting with tools.

Self taught route you can also focus on these things. Do justice to the problems you are solving.

Read about unrelated things. Philosophy. Society. Culture. Read about the world to be a better designer.

Case study recipe

  • tight narrative
  • every part of the case study contributes to the narrative
  • breadth depends on context.
  • portfolio site doesn’t need to have 100% context, just enough to hook someone in. you’ll talk more about it in the interview anyway.
  • if this was a book/movie, how will you keep audience hooked till the end?
  • surprise, twists?
  • Document your work obsessively!
  • Make sure images are clear. Don’t put illegible “process” photos

“Don’t make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both, don’t hesitate to make it beautiful.” - @Daniel Burka