August 20, 2018

Porag Gogoi's Unique Career story!

Hello Teacup People,
I am literally sipping on a cup of tea while as I am writing this. Haha
I passed out from NIT Silchar in 2015 and worked as a Civil Engineer for a short while. Like all my fellow designers here, I too dreamt of learning design in one of the NID’s or IIT’s and eventually working as a designer. I applied for NID exam 2016  while I was still working but I could not make it through.
After working for about 10 months, I left my god forsaken civil engineering job I came back home, jobless and  feeling very existential. A huge storm of peer pressure started mounting over me over the career choices I was making. My parents and relatives weren’t happy about my decisions.
 It was probably about that time when I discovered Teacup blog and the growing community of fellow designers. I read every article, every success story in it and slowly the doubts about my career went away. I was more confident than I ever was that I wanted to pursue design as a career. I packed up my bags and came to Guwahati from my hometown. My target was very clear- find a part time job (hopefully as a coaching teacher) and prepare for all the design exams for the next year (2017). For practical experience and building a believable portfolio, I also started networking and marketing myself a little bit- The plan was to acquire any design assignment I could get and complete it free of cost, and after a few such free projects, start charging a little bit.  No sooner, I ended up with a branding project  for a small startup in Guwahati. Time passed soon, I appeared CEED and NID and was very confident this time.
Unfortunately I could not make it through this time too. I consulted with Mr Prassanna in detail about this. One thing I was sure about was that I wanted to be a designer, the only question was whether preparing for the next year would be a good decision. I was disheartened, but on the other hand I already had an average if not good portfolio. Mr Prassana had a look at it and suggested that I should start looking for jobs as it is technically not necessary to have a degree to be a designer. He helped me out with a directory of design companies and startups back from his IIT days. I sent emails with my portfolio attached to all of them. I did a quick google search and also mailed to another 50 or so companies in the Northeast looking out for freelance and full time opportunities. In just a matter of weeks I ended up with enough projects to keep me busy 15 hours a day. With every new project my portfolio increased and my chance of getting into a big firm increased manifold. I even ended up developing a product for a Beijing based entrepreneur.  I eventually ended up with a job offer I liked and decided to move to Delhi. I took some days to complete all the freelance projects I had in hand and personally made visits to all my clients to let them know I was moving to the Capital. It was on one of these visits , I ended up discussing the possibility of starting a creative firm in Northeast with a client. The client (now my partner) was a veteran entrepreneur in the region and seemed very interested in a venture like that. I took a week to decide.
While money and family opposition was definitely and had always been an issue, but the opportunity of learning everything about design, entrepreneurship and the challenges surrounding starting a creative firm myself overshadowed everything else. With a little haste, we started off with a team of 4 people (all of whom are my partners now) on 9th of August 2017, and now a year later, we have expanded to a team of 15. My career has never been more fulfilling. I lead a team of 15 people and we work closely to solve problems through design thinking. It is sometimes a struggle but I love the challenges and the competition. I still work more than 12 hours a day, although, ironically lack of time for myself  was the reason I left my civil engineering job.
So that’s it guys. That’s my story so far.
On a serious note though, I am still learning and I am not sure I can be of any guidance to all my fellow designers here. But one thing is for sure. It is very important to market yourself. I am sure your designs and ideas are great but as long as no one knows about it, it is worthless. And also, you do not need a design degree to be designer. Don’t be disheartened and or abandon your dreams because you could not get into your favorite college. All the books and resources are available in the internet, buy them or search for them and start learning. Contact businesses, mail them, let them know that you are looking to learn and contribute. Learning your skill is only 50% of the job, the rest still comes down to marketing.
Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Prasanna. His advice was the single most  important career help I have received so far. I can’t thank him enough.
Check out our website at
You can mail me at
I am also on instagram @lifeofgogoi

July 24, 2018

Experience of Muhammad Sufyan Shaikh for IITB

Hello to all the budding designers out there. I would first like to thank Prasanna Sir, for creating this blog and allowing me to share my interview experience in Industrial Design at IDC, IIT Bombay via CEED 2016. I was not selected in IDC- so just thought to share mistakes which I made so that you all would avoid the same and crack the process.

CEED 2016:
I applied for CEED 2016 and just studied in class and no practice/study at home. I prepared for Part- A the night before the exam. I cleared CEED with AIR- 142 and 42/100 in Part B. I was excited and started preparing my portfolio after the results. I collected a few of my artworks and photographs and that’s it. I just applied for IDC IIT B only and I had submitted the application form on last date with the tasks given in it. I was called for the DAT and interview for Industrial Design. Excited again!

We were asked to design a family phone charger with multiple ports in it. That had gone pretty well.

Studio Test:
We were asked to design a stationery organizer for 10-12 year olds. I had found the test challenging and was unable to generate any ideas. I started sketching whatever came in my mind without keeping in mind that I have to make a 3d model too. It became difficult for me to make the model and in the end I had nothing but cutout pieces of the model which I was not even able to assemble. They were taking our photographs during submission of answer sheets and models. I was standing with my broken model and the photographer said me to smile! I was like dead from inside with a fake smile on my face. AWKWARD!!!!

I went inside and wished them morning. There were 4 panelists. One of them was just sitting on my extreme right and didn’t even spoke a word. He just observed me and I thought maybe he is the psychiatrist but later I realized he was a faculty too. The first question-“Why design?” I answered them in a nervous tone that I wanted to make lives of people much simpler and comfortable (I was not satisfied with my own answer). They asked me about the application task of good and bad design example from India- Why I thought it was bad. I had chosen ATVM machine for bad. They asked me for my portfolio and I gave them my file in which I had all the artworks and photographs. One of them asked you have only graphic works? They were finding works from product design. One of them saw a Bajaj Avenger paintjob modification from my portfolio (image is attached below) and asked me what was the paint I had used- I had forgotten the name of paint and after giving a minute of thought I told them ‘Aspa’. They asked what I had made in Studio test- I had made the same model a night before interview at my home and showed to them. One of them asked if I had applied in other streams or other institutes. One Sir had even asked if I had joined any coaching- I honestly said yes. It lasted for 15 minutes and they asked me to leave. Before leaving I asked them if I can put the assembled model on the table- they started laughing and said no- thanks and I left the room with embarrassment.

·        Coaching: I had applied for coaching and was too much dependent on them. You don’t need it. Blogs like Teacup Blog are more than enough. Just observe stuffs around you and keep questioning yourself from design perspective, out of curiosity like when, where, what, why and how? Everything will fall in place.

·        Time: I had done poor time management and last minute execution of tasks and studying. Take application forms and tasks mentioned in it seriously. Think and read properly what is being asked- jot down the points and act accordingly.

·        Practice: I didn’t practice sketching and previous year’s papers. I became overconfident about my sketching. Design is not just sketching; it’s much more than that. You must practice, practice and practice a lot.

·        Sketches: I had wasted my time in perfecting the sketches in paper. You must be able to create sketches and represent them in a self explanatory way quickly, since time is the constraint. It must be neat, proportionate and able to communicate your ideas. That’s it.

·        Applying for one institute: This was the biggest blunder I had made. Apply in multiple institutes and streams as per your stream interests. If you want it strongly then you will make it by at least increasing the chances of cracking the process. If you are passionate, you will clear every hurdle which comes in your way. And you will enjoy it.

·        Interview: Be honest to panelists. Listen to what they say carefully, take a minute to think, it’s OK! And then communicate. Never react to questions, just respond by being yourself. I was only reacting. That’s bad.

·        Portfolio: I had just included my artworks and nothing else. Don’t just fill sketches and artworks. Identify problems around you and find solutions. Show your flexibility and variety by working with different streams, tools and materials. Take at least 2 copies of your portfolio in hard format so that you don’t miss to show work to the panelists. You don’t know who is interested in what. Narrate a story behind your idea and process.

This year InshaAllah, I am aiming for CEED/NID 2019 again. Wishing new aspirants luck and wish me luck too! You can find my few artworks and contact details below. Feel free to contact me. And not to forget- Thank you so much Prasanna Sir for this blog

Instagram: @sufyan_art

June 27, 2018

Success Story: Shaurya Verma (IIIT Jabalpur)

Hi All

Finally after trying for three consecutive attempts for CEED and NID, I find myself capable enough to write this.

In my B.Tech (mechanical) I got to know about this (M.Des) from my batch mate who was already joining IITD for the same. I went home I researched whole night and it was like something I always wanted to do but was not aware of. It was like I felt different very often that I have to do something else … at times I used to just look out the window at 4am … just observing things around memorizing more than a normal human does .. I could connect all that to this exam. I researched the previous papers and found them very interesting. I gained knowledge of perspective and proportions from my friend and worked a lot on line quality.

CEED 2016
It was my first attempt; it was on 10th December I guess. My center was somewhere in Ghaziabad(I stay in Delhi). I was tensed the night before and couldn’t sleep more than 15 min. Adding  to that I took sleeping pill at night and as a result I was very sleepy in the exam hall. The results came I cleared part A but scored and ultra low 17.5 in part B.

NID 2016
NID was fun. The exam was quite easy. I just couldn’t draw human facial expressions correctly which was of 10 marks. Result was 55.55 (not qualified for product and transport)

CEED 2017
I had joined job at Capgemini due to parental pressure. So gave CEED 2017 and result was 32 in part A… the cut off for part A was 34

NID 2017
I made a smart move and chose Ceramic and glass design with transport (ceramic has lowest cut off). I got staggering 62 out of 100 still didn’t clear transport but cleared ceramic (RANK 2). But the panel could easily identify that I am for transport and rejected me.

CEED 2018
I had made my mind that this would be my final attempt. While wasting 14 hours a day at job I still practiced sketching in company’s library. I was admired at office for my sketches. Finally the day came and I was again sleepless. Finally at 4 am in the morning I could manage to sleep for two hours and this fuelled my confidence. This time the center was within delhi too. I carefully attempted the part A . Avoiding negative marking and then came part B. I read the transport question first but it was slightly tough. So I went in with the product design. My target was to get 50+ in part B. because in earlier years this was enough to get a rank close to 100. Result part A 41 part B 52.6 overall score 49.7 Ceed rank 251(general).

NID 2018
It was same story as nid 17. I got 58.6. AIR 5 for ceramic and glass design.

Remaining part:
I got call from IITD, IITG and IIIT Jabalpur.

IIIT Jabalpur
We were given four different question papers. We had to finish it in 1 hour. One paper was about different types of chairs. Second was a bit about structures. Like why we have hemispherical structures in buildings. Third was creative one. We had to write which is the funniest commercial you have seen and had to sketch things pretty fast too. Fourth was very interesting IQ test. It had questions like – what if committed is not a crime but if attempted is a crime. I wrote suicide ;). Finally interviews were a mere formality. My interview took place at 10pm in night post dinner. Everyone was very over loaded with models practice works etc.  just like I was but I didn’t take anything inside because I knew they would be tired so I only took my printed portfolio and my sketchbook. One guy was viewing portfolio and rest were asking questions. They asked me why I wanted to do this course and leave my job. They said we don’t have transport faculty, I said I am okay with product. The results were out and I got in.

The studio test question was very tough. But I didn’t give a look to the choice questions which were quite easy as compared to the first one.  In first problem we had to cool a 6m x 6m room without using electric power and also had to incorporate humidity control feature. In interview they asked me about my studio problem. I came up with the idea of earthen pot based cooler but they said how do we control humidity from that and I was silent.

The studio test went well. We had to sketch the exploded view of a wrist watch without using any of its original parts. I don’t exactly know what went wrong here everything was almost perfect. May be I didn’t make eye contact with the panel.

What aspirants can do  

For CEED practice previous year papers again and again with time limit. The only way to go is self improvement. Study about materials and manufacturing it helps a lot. I suppose everyone who writes CEED exam has ideas in head but time limit is the only constraint. During exam I would suggest investing 70 percent of time in finding ideas and 30 percent in sketching is the best way to go.

A good rank can get you a call but not a seat. Studio test holds a lot more significance than interview and portfolio. So make sure you give your best for the studio test. For Portfolio keep it very short and precise. No panel would turn more than 6-8 pages.

For improvement in sketches find yourself a critic; one who is already gone through this process.

SPECIAL THANKS TO -: Anubhav Kardam(IITD) and Prasanna Sir

“The wolf on the hill is never as hungry as the wolf climbing the hill”


June 22, 2018

Success Story: Manushi Kaushik (New Media Design, NID)

Hey people,
I am Manushi, will be joining New Media Design Batch 2018 at NID.
First of all, I want to thank Prasanna sir for all the guidance and support.
He is the greatest mentor you will ever need for this journey.

My Background
I am a B.Tech graduate in Electrical Engineering from YMCAUST, Fbd.
Got campus placement and worked at VOLTAS for 2 years. 
Resigned from the job last year and did a scholarship residency program at Germany as an interaction designer.

So, I had failed attempts before getting here and realized that my approach for the exam was wrong. I prepared for previous attempts by locking myself in a room and just practising though I did not leave any topic but still was not able to crack. On retrospective, I realized the reason for failure was my wrong approach. The only thing you need to do for preparation is get going, meet people and be as much aware as you can.
I jotted down these 3 main areas to work on for preparation- 

1. Design Thinking/Process
This I felt was most important and kind of difficult to understand as it can not be learnt in a day by reading just literature.
So, for this, I took part in various national level design/ innovation/prototype competitions, went to design camps, did hackathons and stuff. And brainstorming there really helped to understand the design process and also have hands-on experience on it.
I strongly recommend the aspirants to go to these places since you will be meeting more creative people and innovations happening around will boost your ideation process.
Also projects you do there help you while making the portfolio.

2. Sketching
Now here, especially all NON- arts/design/architecture or any related field graduates you need to remember that you will be competing with people who have studied sketching for 4/5 years, so your natural strokes have to be fully practised.
So this time while preparing I, fortunately, got a fine arts graduate who taught me sketching from scratch the way he learned in his college. And it did polish my natural strokes to a good extent.
But I absolutely agree with people for whom self-practice is is totally a personal choice based on your skillset.

GK and Aptitude
For GK..all the links and material in this blog, Manorama year book, daily newspaper, online articles on design..the more you read the better.
For Aptitude, I purchased General aptitude books from market available for other competitive exams like bank exam etc. just to stay in touch with basic reasoning and maths problems.

Portfolio and Interview
From my past failed interview experience I realized I will be competing with the best in different fields so portfolio really need to stand out from projects to presentation to everything.
Prasanna sir helped me a lot in compiling projects and also adding new stuff for versatility. It did help a lot in the interview.

For the interview I was just as true as I could be, most of the interview was about my previous projects. They asked mainly about the whole design process behind the solution and why I made that particular product.

So after this whole experience, all I can say is don't prepare for this exam keeping in mind fixed syllabus and topics but work on your own self as a designer and explore as much as you can. You can not afford to leave any stone unturned. Go through all the links and material in this blog thoroughly and read as much as you can.
This surely is a beautiful journey.

All the best