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Product & Interface Design

Eventually everything connects - people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality. - Charles Eames

Essentially all products and services are interfaces between the functions they perform and the people who use them. For example, a pen is a tool for writing and good design makes the act of writing easier, pleasurable and allows you to think about what you are writing, rather than the pen itself.

The traditional or industry definition of a product designer is someone who has a sound working knowledge of material, technology and form and is able to use it to create products that can be manufactured in an industrial set-up, products that are user friendly and ‘innovative’ in a market sense.

Today the product designer has a broader vision, as someone who is able to study a given situation, in all its complexity and contexts, understand and articulate issues in a multi disciplinary way, and come up with solutions that are appropriate, and address as many of the contexts as possible.

The final product therefore is not only market or client led, is not an innovation for the sake of doing something ‘new’, but is an intervention addressing a genuine need.

Systems and services become important as it becomes essential to use our resources well, use the products we have to better effect, be more inclusive of people and skills and find ways to reduce our carbon footprint.

The kinds of studios that we offer comes under four broad categories

  1. Design Process – Methodology and Tools, Principles, Ideation, Product detailing
  2. Research – Users, Market, Material, Technology, Understanding of processes, structures and their applications
  3. Systems Understanding– Mapping systems, Product Positioning, Service Design
  4. Communication – Drawing for Ideation– Digital and Hand drawing, Documentation, Basic Model-making, Proof-of-concept Models, Prototyping


Product Packaging

Packaging design focuses on understanding packaging as not just a mere tangible evidence of a product but as a source of engagement with the user. The course facilitates the exploration and analysis of the packaging of various brands to come up with additions/alternatives. It will cover the understanding of packaging around the areas of graphics, material exploration, experience, interaction, customer retention and sales. This will lead to the understanding of incorporating packaging design for the current market and innovative/futuristic packaging ideas on a global scale.

Packaging for a Bakery.

Form and Semantics

Form is an important element of 3 dimensional design, and in this studio students go through a series of exercises to be able to create and manipulate meaning and language in abstract 3 dimensional forms. Being sensitive to elements and understanding what makes up formal qualities helps a designer to design products that are functional as well as satisfying in the longer term. Form is also closely linked to materials and technology available and students get an understanding about using appropriate materials and detailing to enhance the final product. 

Transforming 2D for to 3D.

Crafting with Metal

Indians have known and worked with the art of metal work for almost 5000 years from now. Traditionally, Indian craftsmen have been using different metals like iron, copper, silver and alloys like bronze, bell metal, white metal etc. to produce items such as pots, pans, utensils, photo frames, and sculptures of deities, mythological figures and animals.

This course offers first hand interaction with local metal crafts and craft community, basic understating of craft hierarchy in India. It allows us to explore different aspects of metal craft and techniques, like texturing, cold forging, hot forging, how to operate tools and machine to derive fascinating metal objects.

Understanding basic metal working processes.

How Things are Used – Understanding Ergonomics

What makes some things easy and pleasurable to use while others are tiresome and difficult? Why are some work places more comfortable and more conducive to work?

Ergonomics is the science and art of making things more efficient and comfortable for the user, through the basic understanding of the human body, measurements and fatigue. If adhered to, it helps one to: ‘Work smarter, not harder’ and ‘fix the job, not the worker’.

An ideal way to explore this concept of ‘designing to complement strength and abilities’ would be to make a simple tool that makes a task easier to perform than before, is comfortable, sustains that comfort over a long period of use and does not tire the user.

Design process for knives that are effective and easy to use.

Design Charettes

Transformer Furniture

Transformer furniture involved the creation of furniture that could have multiple uses that adapt to changing environments, situations and needs. The intent was to create an affordable and innovative alternative to low quality, use and throw furniture and to create a model that was flexible and enhanced the use of the space.

Students first chose a space. After considerable user and spatial research, they came up with 3 primary uses/needs of the space, which could be incorporated into their furniture design. They collated these uses into a single mobile unit which had attachable/detachable, sliding, compartmentalized elements.

Students were able to come up with simple mobile units that satisfied users needs. Prototyping and testing of the final ideas completed the Charette.

Simple folding transforms this furniture for many functions.


This charette was in collaboration with UCAM, a company that specializes in the manufacturing of precision CNC Rotary Tables for Machine Tool applications.

This project began with the aim of providing UCAM with a skin or a body for their new Rotary table, with the intention of making the product prominent enough for an international market and also to showcase the large technological leap the company had achieved in terms of precision and speed in their new products.

Keeping in mind the constraints and design elements they had specified such as precision, rigidity, dependability etc. students at Srishti came up with designs that addressed all these parameters and more elements that turned up through their design process.

Working on these aspects students visualized parts of the machine that portray all these keeping in mind the material and technologies that can be used. For example- A slight extrusion that follows the circumference of the circular disk, marked with notches for calibration. This gave an overall sense of precision to the product.

UCAM was happy with the result, making the final version based on the student’s work and they introduced the new product in IMTEX 2015, an international exhibition of machine tools in Bangalore.

Iterations for the Turn Table.

Final Turn Table at IMTEX 2015, Bangalore.


Model Making

Making is an intrinsic part of the creative process. It acts as an eye opener and helps in the idea validation process as well as helps create a visual and tactile understanding of an object. The process of making models and prototypes will clarify connections between the object and its user in order to examine technical aspects related to the form and function of a product before translating it into actual materials.

This workshop explored different kinds of materials that help fast and cheap model making including paper maché and fiberglass.

Prototyping and understating scale and material.

Design Strategy
Designers almost never work alone, they work as part of an enterprise with a large team of various professionals. The success of a product or system does not depend on the product alone but many factors in its ecosystem. Design strategy is the link between business and design. Design thinking is increasingly used by businesses and start-ups to expand and stand out in a crowded market. It helps companies determine what to make and do, why do it and how to innovate contextually, both immediately and over the long term. Understanding design strategy helps to create product ranges that are very likely to succeed.

Classroom exercise to understand how systems work.

Examples of Projects:

Second Life

This was a project proposed by the Frugal Design Lab, as an exploration of how we can creatively reuse and recycle while creating livelihoods. We worked with Drishya, a school for urban poor to collaboratively design and come up with ideas for reusing waste. Students from Srishti and Drishya worked together to create products as well as livelihood systems to recycle waste like paper and e-waste. How can Paper Mache be upgraded using different mixes and compositions, how can discarded batteries be reused, how can water be harvested in a small scale? – These were some questions explored.

Co-creating and experimenting with material and structure.

MPE 2013

Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013 is an interactive exhibition designed to make mathematical concepts more relevant and easily understood by all.
The year 2013 has been observed as the year of Mathematics of Planet Earth (MPE).
The International Centre for Theoretical Sciences (ICTS) and the Centre for Applicable
Mathematics (CAM) of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, in collaboration with the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum have organized an MPE
2013 exhibition, which was designed and executed by Srishti Institute of Art, Design and
Technology. Students and faculty from Srishti worked with faculty from CAM to create content, design the exhibits and put together and produce a public exhibition to explain concepts of Networks, Structures, Optimization, Waves and more. Using a mix of games, toys and interactions, the exhibition attracted large numbers of people of all ages and from all walks of life.

Visitors at the MPE 2013.