June 19, 2015

Success Story : Shashank Arya (IITK)

1 JUNE 2015

It’s a dream come true for me to write my success story. Years back I was reading such motivational stories of others, now it is my turn to pass-on what I experienced and gained through this wonderful journey, from being a just another, B.TECH guy from a conventional UPTU college, who saw a dream to achieve something enormous one day, with his few skills and super self-belief to this day where I can proudly say yes I have done it. It’s my pleasure to share some unseen, unsung, untold and hidden things worked behind my success.

Mechanical engineer, from B.B.D.I.T Ghaziabad, third year it was I still remember in workshop I was sketching something in copy when Mr. K. K Gupta my FM faculty saw me and said that magical 4 words, that changed my life, CEED exam it was. That evening to next morning all I was thinking exploring and wondering is CEED, yes this is the thing I was looking for, this is I always wanted to do, this is the thing, where I can see myself and where I can convert my skills into profession. First and last things I came to know about, to fully gear me up for CEED and after CEED things was teacupblog.com and stuffyoulookblog.com, it’s a home for design aspirants like us, containing everything that going to help you in every aspect of this journey.

2014 attempt, I failed to qualify CEED but cleared NID there I got real exposure to the professional level how designers are look like and how do they do it, meeting faculties, NID students, other students came for interview there at that time, shown me the write way to work upon and my areas of improvement. Sad part was, NID also ended up with failure, nevertheless I was taking back with me so many key things that ultimately going to help me for CEED 2015.
Now I am coming to things what I planned, done, learned and implemented them over my preparation, regarding different landmarks that every one of you will go through from the day you start your preparation.


Download previous paper just go through them well focused especially ’13, ’14 and ’15 year as it contain new pattern. Try to extract the examiners point of view, areas from where PART A questions are coming from different aspects likewise culture, technology, automobile, about daily things all of them just compare the questions with things happening on same level this yearand try to pre-assume what can be asked on same domain this year, search everything, about everything coming to your mind, that can be asked this year related to various dimensions that PART Agenerally covers. Be focused in those 3 hours of examination save your answers and check, read questions carefully and complete what you know first.
For ex. This year it was asked a logo which was IIT Hyderabad so now u search all new government bodies and universities and other logo in recent year, which can be asked, related to something in design happened in it.
Consequently, try to cover whole paper like this and prepare every area PART A asked from, search and write as much as you can, Google everything in relation to domain of PART A.
PART B needs daily sketching practice, your daily design aptitude thinking, improve your observational skills, try to pictorially represent whatever ideas comes to your mind. Solve question of previous year as many times as you can, GOOGLE designers portfolios and see how they represent their design concepts, least usage of words in expression, read and watch short stories, and most important try to improve your timing of sketching, writing representing and such things each and every day.


Your portfolio should represent yourself, there’s nothing like good or bad portfolio it’s always about smart, genuine work with your belief and passion in your own ideas. Mark my words, panel in interview is too smart, never copy something from anywhere and never try to befool them.
Have 10-15 of your best work like design concepts, random sketches, photographs, poems, anything you think would help you to show your creative side.
Representation in work is what impress them, it’s hard to believe but handmade colorful work are more liked everywhere, so be yourself have confidence in what you know. Don’t try to learn any new software or something like that in that time before interviews, after exam enhance your known skills and compile best work and practice its representation like why, how and what, about every single entity in your portfolio.


Things related to your background would be mostly talked about inside that haunted room, like your engineering. Just be confident over what things you know, talk to yourself, about yourself a night before interview know your positives. Knowing yourself well is the key to crack any interview. Your justifications about anything is only yours, try to be the best version of yours. Don’t listen to anyone, don’t copy anything, any lines, create your own, describe your passion and your journey enthusiastically. Don’t just say, S H O W them what you think, what you feel, through your words, remember those 15 minutes, each line you say should be related to your designer mind. Again any answer to a question is neither right or wrong, what matters is your approach in it, with real and positive state of mind. For questions you never listened about frankly say ‘I don’t know’ is best answer. Lastly, have a good knowledge about each and every single line you have mentioned in your portfolio and some behind stage things like technology, material, inspiration behind it and future improvements about all of your design concepts.

FOR ex. If u say 100 times “I am a good boy…” people don’t care, but if u say it like that “I helped a poor old lady on road” it ultimately shows you’re a good boy so don’t just say, show everyone what you feel and what you have done to be there before that panel.


IIT KANPUR Panel was 5 member from design, aerospace, mechanical departments and I was mainly asked technical questions from any subject (fluid mechanics) of my choice, from engineering and simultaneously two member from panel were watching me and my portfolio carefully, which they had taken earlier. I was given tasks to done on paper like, sketch a mobile phone and design an experiment, to test the laminar flow of any fluid. Lastly asked me why designing, what skills you have in you, and why product design and over.

Finally, all I want to conclude to you people is to believe in you, your skills, have a great confidence about making it possible, fight for your dream if you really want to be on top one day, extract good things that can help you, from different resources nature, TVads, animals, incidences, be boundless free yourself and start thinking like you are a designer and practice this thinking. It’s a long term thing, but can be achieved. Practice, patience and lots of hard work in right direction, under supervision of various mentors like Prasanna Gadkari sir will definitely make yourself successful. Dream it, work over it and achieve it.
I will feel immense proud to help you all personally catch me in below addresses enclosing my portfolio. All the very best, work hard.

Shashank Arya

June 11, 2015

Success Story : Sagar Kathrani (MIT PD)


Hello friends
Sagar kathrani here,
An amateur artists, very amateur mechanical  engineer  :p .I always had  a mixture of engineering  and  art in my mind which  has made  me a design aspirant.
Designing is the only thing I love to learn and enjoy. Scribbling works , design of isometric views  and  sketching  them  out  freehand ,I like all  this stuff.
Engineering was never  my cup of  tea ,   with  many kt' s and all :p
but this failure taught me a lot and made me stronger.
And I strongly believed what my brothers used to say always  ,"where there is a will, there is a way!"
Simple  thought  but  countless  impact !.          

From  where  you  came to know  about design  entrance  exams?

 I  had   kept a painting  exhibition in  my college during  my second  year of  engineering.
Visitors   appreciated  my work and chief guest  told  me  give ceed  exam!   I searched  about  ceed and  other  entrance  exam s and  luckily found a ceed  group on facebook   guided  by Prassana  sir and Bhanu  chander sir  ,their  blogs are enough  to give a complete idea  about  design  exams and  preparation tips  along  with  portfolio preparation and   interviews.

CEED and NID 2015

I started practice of  sketching daily life products and studied about the materials ,manufacturing
process  along with its purpose and aesthetics.
 I highly focused on sketching which is not required actually.
Concept and  ideas are more  important. Sketching  is  just a tool  to convey  your  ideas.
My part b  was  very  nice , attempted  all questions nicely but I didn't  clear  part  A, so part B was  just  a  waste for  me.
This  time  NID  paper  was  simple but  tricky , Scored 59 but didn't qualified for product design.

MIT 2015

Luckily  cleared  DAT and  got  shortlist for studio test and interview. This year around 140 people were  shortlisted  and  it  made  me  nervous because of  less no. Of  seats and  more applicants.

Studio test
We  were  ask two questions
1. To  sketch  a  vacuum  cleaner  with  two views , along  with  dimension s ,material  and manufacturing  process
2. Make  something  creative  using a  A4 size  paper.
I  made  a lamp  shade (u  can  see  in my folio)

It  was  my  1st  interview  was damn  nervous!  And also a  last  chance to get into design school.
 Interview  Panel was great!  They asked  about  my  engineering   and why  you  want to  get  into  designing.
My  product  design  work  added  in  folio  were  the  ideas  I got  in  real  life observation  and incidents  which  made  them  impressive.[multi-angled  umbrella and foldable stretcher].
Originality   and  amateur  work  was  my  key  which  worked out.

They  want  someone  they can  mould  into good designers. so keep your  cup empty , also prepare  your  portfolio carefully. I also made  a  mock  up model  of  foldable stretcher , was  inappropriate, but that  showed  a passion and  interest   in  learning  more about  product design , they also asked my b.e  project ,  how  did I fabricated. it, materials , manufacturing  process  and  purpose of  it.

Along with product design work I added a huge collection of other design work as paintings ,rendering, logo design , poster design , shirt painting ,photography ,doodle diary  etc.  It showed the  versatility  in  using  various  mediums.
Overall  all  went  great and  finally got  selected  at  MIT. Thanks a ton to my parents and friends who   helped  me  always to  get  through. And a big  thanks  to IIN. :p
All the best to all design  aspirants .Good luck!


June 08, 2015

Success Story : Kavya Gandhe (NID PD and IISc)

Hi Design Aspirants,

I m Kavya.  I am a Mechanical Engineer from BITS with a goal of becoming a good designer. I have prepared for CEED and NID. Didn’t get through the first time but successfully got into both IISC Banglore and NID Ahmedabad both for Product Design for the second attempt.

So first point, believe in yourself and don’t lose hope. I prepared while I was working at FMC technologies. So this preparation doesn’t need much time. Two hours a day is enough for this. I am not much of a writing person, so I’ll make this short.

For CEED part A/ NID paper one:
For the general knowledge browse as much as possible on the net. Google maatha is always there. Keep a separate notebook or a folder in the computer for this. Better to have them along with their pictures.  List of
Musical instruments
Indian designers
Famous paintings
Art forms
Automobile designers
Graphical designers
Authors and books
Dance forms
Indian animated movies
Colour theory
Government symbols/logos
Printing types
Prototype types
Animal skin texture
Golden proportion/ ratio
Manufacturing processes
Some analytical thinking

CEED Part B: Then for the drawing part, daily practice is very helpful. Rough sketching of daily life objects increases your observation and drawing skills. First practice drawing objects, then hands, then human body and go to Perspective drawing and sequences drawing. Sequences like:
Making of coffee/tea
Making of paper boat
Making of paper kite
Washing of clothes
Hosting a flag …..
Perspective drawing of:
Bus stop
Railway station
Cricket stadium
Public mela
Traffic jam
Rainy day
For the portfolio keep your best 10 or 15 works in them. Take your other work too, in case the interviewers have time for them too. Keep your best first. Make sure your portfolio is unique. I made my products to make it unique. You can use simple stationery and hardware like aluminium sheet, wires and so on for that. Drawing your concept is completely different from making it. As it needs more thinking, patience, interest and hard work, the interviewer gets more impressed.
Give your interview in a happy tone. Express them how much interest you have in design. I recommend you to apply for only one branch for an institute. Or else you will get stupid questions like: Why did you choose the other branch? Or Which branch interests you more? I had to encounter this situation at IDC Bombay when I gave interview for both Industrial Design and Transportation Design. So to avoid all these, Choose one and be confident about it and do the interview well.

All the best. And best of luck too.

Success Story : Ceeyus Vareed (NID DGD)

Hi friends, ...I am Ceeyus Vareed an engineer from Kerala who made it into NID Digital Game design this year (2015).

I come from a rural town in Palakkad , Kerala. Art , writing ,science and making games were a few things that I enjoyed since childhood. 

My passion for making games started in CMI Public school Chalakudy. I joined there at class 5. Back then I used to be one of those silent types and found the 4 free periods in the afternoon especially boring. I wanted to do something but i never had many topics to chat all afternoon ...so one day I considered introducing a game (hand cricket) which was often played by kids back then. 

I introduced it there and it began to spread like wild fire. By that day evening whole school was  playing it. There were teams , cardboard trophies and even championships!. A sports meet was going on the ground whereas an even bigger meet was going on in the viewers area! Things looked pretty well but it didnt last long. After 2 days playing hand cricket was banned.  We were once again back to boredom. 

It was at that time that I asked myself ,"teachers have banned hand cricket...what if i make a whole different type of game?" ...this thought started a chain reaction. Teachers would ban a type of game and i will come up with a totally different type the very next day and so on...towards the end of 4 years i had invented around 24 unique game types. Each day we would play around 10-12 games of a single type! those were fun filled days!, but...

Little did i know that 12 years later ... , these childhood games would play the key role in my NID interview!


My Portfolio had 5 main projects and 3 minor projects. I had got selected for both NID digital Game Design and MIT Product design so I had split the projects as 3 for Game design and 3 for Product and 2 general projects like art and photography. The whole portfolio was done in power point. It was a bit too long (over 80 slides) and the panel only went through only 7 slides! Luckily I had prepared the hard copies of childhood games project , all artworks and photographs. They glanced through all of these.

You can see my online portfolio at: http://behance.net/ceeyus

Things that I added in my portfolio...

For Game design:

1) childhood games collection.

Reasons for adding this:
a) something unique to me
b) creates interest and shows passion for game design since childhood
c) Sheer quantity (I literally filled the entire conference table with them)
d) Sheer depth and details in each sample.

2) Code breakers : A unique game event that i organised for Dristi tech fest 2012 inspired from Dan brown's writing style of combining facts with fiction.

Reasons for adding this:

a)Heavy detail and complex project
b)Really did it and not for showing for NID interviews
c)Displays a lot of my skills like level design , team management, event organisation, model making, Photoshop, art, programming and story telling.
d)Something interesting and unique to me.

3)Powerpoint Game: A game that is developed using MS power point, has a back story and an attempt at making a game out of a graphic design principle.

a)Showcases my skills in using power point and digital medium for game design
b) Story telling and sound engineering skills
c) Very Unique and surprising medium for game design

For Product Design:

4) E space Project: A device that enables tetraplegic patients to communicated and interact with their environment; award winner 2nd place at IEEE GHTC 2013 San Jose, USA.

a) International award winning project
b)Depth of research, testing and effort taken.
c)The project that led me into the field of design ...it taught me that for making a product that people will use , you need to focus on user experience and product design.
d) Shows skills in technology, engineering, electronics,etc.

5) Elf set : A design innovation on head sets , along with a lot of form ideations.

a) Focus on form rather than function
b) Very good product sketches and marker renderings.

6) Experiments: 2 form based experiments to develop a new type of thermocol texture and light patterns.


a)Shows my interest in experimenting and exploring new things.

So what should go into your Portfolio?
For game design you can add things like board games, card games, or even computer or android games that you have developed. Further you can show off your character design skills or programming skills as an add on. Make SURE that you add projects with SUBSTANCE. Don't just keep artworks and sketches. Make sure that its unique and interesting and makes the interview panel Remember you. It should also reflect you as a person. Also be ready to defend and justify your work even to the tiniest details like background colour and fonts.

I had my interviews in the morning section. It began with a simple self introduction and small talk. They asked for my background, what did i do after graduation, etc. I also explained why i want to take digital game design and my story regarding how i found out about this. They asked me what do i plan to do after nid and also why join nid. There weren't many questions regarding my portfolio.

There were 3 people in the panel , one man and 2 women. I grabbed their attention with my portfolio; showcased my work and  they seemed to be quite impressed (except the only male staff). He seemed to be disinterested and didnt pay much attention to my portfolio.He was always looking away. He tried to test my integrity and character by subtle provocations as well. He was quite strict in the time duration and asked me to get the portfolio presentation done in 4 minutes!...

"Hmmn..this guy must be that psychologist!", I told myself.

 Boy... did I get that wrong !...he did have a doctorate in psychology but he held the most important position in the interview panel as far as DGD was concerned! I got freaked out upon discovering this...I didnt show him much of my work ...he only saw one third of a project and 3 starting slides of my digital portfolio...he seemed so disinterested ...

"Oh my god!...I wont make it into NID...I didnt even clear the 2 job interviews I had taken as a back up plan...man i am screwed! ", so many worries surfaced in my mind 2 weeks after the interview. They grew and grew as the day of the results inched closer and closer.

And then it happened ...NID results came out!.

Fortunately ...my worries were just worries....they vanished when i saw the result ...I managed to get in !... there was no "yahoo" only relief and shivering legs; that seemed to calm down as i came back to reality.

Interview Tips
1)Prepare a script
2) Go through the common interview questions before hand and prepare good positive answers.
3) Be bold at times and be honest as well
4) Try to have the interview in the morning . People are more receptive at that time.
5) Make it memorable for them. After the interview, they should keep talking about you/your work ...be that interesting !

I would like to end by saying that:

"Every adversityevery failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit." - Napoleon Hill 

Just because you didnt make it into NID/IIT one time or even many times does not mean that its the end of the road. Prepare back ups before hand. Do get a job. I didnt do this and it placed a lot more stress on me. Having a stable jobs gives you the freedom to have multiple attempts at CEED or NID. It reduces parental Pressure , gives experience and income and most of all supports you till you make it! Also keep looking for 
opportunities, explore , experiment and grow !

Thanks a lot for all the help Prasanna :)... you are so dedicated in helping others...you inspire me!

wishing you all the best!


Ceeyus Vareed