Delineating the Idealistic Designer: Mahesh Marath
Design has become an integral part of our life. User Experience (UX) is one of the primary factors in the marketability of a product. Users prefer products that are easy to work with and are simpler to navigate. This makes UX a prime component in any business with competition in the market always rising up.
The Technical Society of Student Activity Centre launched its first-ever edition of TechX, engaging the most influential and brightest minds in industry. This event had its first set of session on 11th March. Mr. Mahesh Marath, Design Head of ThinkDesign, Bangalore, one of the best design-studio of the country had an interactive session at TIIR Auditorium. Monday Morning had an opportunity to have a brief conversation with him. Here are the excerpts from the same.
MM: How was your childhood and when did your passion for design develop?
Mahesh: (Laughs) My uncle was a photographer and his work lit the first spark for creativity inside me. His photographs were an inspiration as they boosted my interest in this field. Once I had that passion, I was looking for opportunities to make myself better and I got Industrial Design for my undergraduate studies.
MM: You have always been associated with design based fields since college days and there are some who find the passion for design while studying non-design related courses in college. So, do the people from design background have an edge over the others?
Mahesh: You obviously need to put in a lot of effort towards learning from your side if you are pursuing a career in design, and that is true for all fields, not just design. Certification is not the only thing that would certify you as a good designer but the skills that you have are what gives you an edge. There are very good designers who are from a non-design background. As I had already mentioned in the session, you should be a team player. Those who are from a design background and choose a career in design, they definitely have an edge over others. And always remember,
Never fall in love with your design. Be ready to re-iterate your solution for optimization.
MM: You have done MS from Coventry University, UK. How was your experience there and how is the course different from M.Des that we have here?
Mahesh: The course that I did at Coventry specialized in ‘New Product Design’. As the name suggests, it focused on new products and its design. That was a course which was unavailable here. The primary reason I choose that course over M.Des was that I cleared their test.
MM: What motivated you to migrate from the field of product design into UX design?
Mahesh: I have worked as an Industrial Designer for quite some time and have developed over 50 products; some of which have been made into the manufacturing chain and are in the market right now. I switched to UX design, as it was a natural progression and a strategic decision because the opportunities were better in this field.
MM: The designers who work with you have greatly applauded your business strategy and management skills. What do you attribute these skills to?
Mahesh: You cannot say you are a good designer but a bad manager. These skills go hand-in-hand in present day scenario. One needs to be observant and learn by observing others. This is a continuous learning and there is no single course or structure that will make you a good manager. It is critical for designers to understand business and business folks to understand design. These skills go together.
MM: You worked on Test Rig Design for General Motors. How important is the engineering knowledge for a designer who works on such projects?
Mahesh: In the project that I worked, engineering knowledge was very critical. I had to make the rigs that would test actual vehicles recreating the scenarios in the test condition. This project clearly required the engineering skills but design aspect was also vital. Creativity is definitely required to work in these areas.
MM: India is a country with wide diversity in languages we speak and there are many who are illiterate. What is the strategy for making a design that suits all?
Mahesh: There is no single formula to make a fool-proof design. At first, you will have to get into the intricate details of the project itself. And you will also have to define what is fool-proof design for the project you are working on. You should always question the design.
MM: Having worked on multiple projects, what are some of the projects that are very close to your heart?
Mahesh: There is a solar lantern project that I have worked upon for IOCL, is one of my favorites. Personally, I learned a lot from that project and the product had a value of its own that no other product had then.
MM: You are proficient in five languages, how did you get an opportunity to learn these?
Mahesh: I had friends who spoke those languages and I have stayed in different parts of the country. So, my knowledge of these is because if my travel and friends.
MM: What does your usual day at work look like?
Mahesh: It’s not a 9-5 job. Mostly, I work when I feel like working. Designers usually work on projects, but now that I am the Design-Head at my company which has some added responsibilities for me. My present day involves overlooking the team and managing them.
MM: How was your overall experience coming to NITR?
Mahesh: This is the first time that I traveled to this part of the country. I have been to Delhi and places in North but I have never been to East before this. I am really enjoying the trip and stay here. The weather is good which I had anticipated to be otherwise.
MM: What message would you like to give to the NITR students?
Mahesh: Take care of the skills that I told earlier because those skills would give you an edge over the others.
Be a team player and learn management skills as design and business go hand-in-hand