The Adroit Designer: Charu Choudha
Apr 10, 2017 | Gyan Prakash Sahoo
The first edition of Roots witnessed the footfall of 12 pioneers from the fields of public speaking, art, music, poetry, travel, photography, designing and filmmaking, who have etched unique marks of their own and proved that passion, given the right direction would indeed achieve your success. Charu Choudha, a lead UX designer in Zomato, was one amongst them. On 2nd April, she presented her seminar and had an interactive session on Designing for Products in the conference hall of Department of Computer Science and Engineering.
The event kick-started at 3:45 pm with Charu introducing herself and describing how she decided to take up a career in this field after completing her degree in design from NIFT Mumbai. She then explained about an article she came across regarding ‘Design Superpower’ and how one can improve his/her designing skills, which included doing a lot of work and being self-aware. She then moved towards sketch noting and doodling and explained about the do’s and don’ts of doodle making. Her project in Zomato was to create a set of visual elements that align with the UI kit tone and boost the usability of the app, and this mainly involved focusing on three basic elements i.e. Interactive elements to represent the buttons and controls, Clarifying to visually explain some functions and categories and Engaging to have an aesthetically pleasing and entertaining features. Accordingly, she designed the icons using different shades and software like Adobe Illustrator, keeping in mind to provide a universal language to connect all the cuisines. The event ended with an interactive session where the audience asked various questions and had their doubts cleared.
Post-seminar, Team MM got in touch with Charu to have a candid conversation with her. Following are the excerpts:
MM: Tell us something about your childhood. What inspired you to pursue in the field of designing?
CC: I did not exactly realise that designing would be my cup of tea until I was in school. I had a passion for drawing since childhood. Being a girl from Madhya Pradesh, there were hardly any who knew about a career in designing. Somehow, I came to know about these design colleges and then realised that designing could be a worthy profession if you indeed work hard for it.
After joining NIFT, there were a couple of designers who inspired me a lot like my all time favourite Stephen Siegmeister, Jessica Heish who is a graphic designer at Brooklyn.
MM: Since you are mostly involved in making doodles, so how do you get ideas to make a doodle for a particular situation?
CC: For me, doodles are a way of expressing myself. I get ideas of my own when I pick up a pencil and start drawing. It is my visual memory which helps me a lot in making the doodles.
MM: Describe your journey after you graduated from NIFT, Mumbai.
CC: I graduated from NIFT in the year 2014, and hence I am pretty young to have experience (chuckles). After my college, I worked for some time at Adobe. In NIFT, we had a course related to Communication Design, but there was no department for Product Design or any course related to it. Since I was more interested in product designing, I did a lot of freelancing during those days. I learnt a lot during the freelance work, but after joining Adobe, it even helped me in learning more and honing my skills over there.
Then I shifted to Zomato and am working over here for the past one year. I have worked on very interesting projects here, and I feel lucky that I never got bored during work. The environment over here is very fast-moving, and I also learnt to work fast. I worked for designing the whole icon kit for Zomato and previously worked for a membership plan of Zomato called Zomato Gold. This has been launched in Dubai and Lisbon, and we received a good response for this. Now plans are in the pipeline to launch this in India.
MM: What are your plans in the near future?
CC: That is a difficult question (laughs). Whenever I look at others work, I feel like I have missed some aspects of designing. I have a big bucket list of things that I want to do.
MM: What message would you like to give to our readers?
“I was really excited to be here, since it was the first time that I have been invited to an event like this. I really find people over here to be passionate about designing, even more than those in designing colleges. This kind of environment is very good and it is very rare to maintain this. I wish good luck to all of them and I think they would do really good because they have the interest which is the key to success.”