June 25, 2014

Success Story : Vivek Aryan (IITG)

 We are glad to publish the success story and experience of Vivek Arya, who made it through IIT-G this year.

Hello friends.

I am Vivek and I made it to IIT Guwahati M Des program this year. I wanted to share this experience of mine because I think that it might prove helpful to people like me…who don’t have a design background or experience, or very good sketching hands, or a very good CEED rank…but do have some genuine ideas, a will to watch them getting materialized…and above all, imagination.


I am to get my graduation degree this July from a Central University in Chhattisgarh in Mechanical Engineering. I have never had any formal training in sketching or painting, but right since my childhood, I have been drawing things, making silly contraptions and breaking every toy apart to see what’s within it and how it works. My sketching technique is totally wrong, but I somehow manage to generate the effects which I want to. So, if you have been doing these things in your life, M Des is for you. Next most important thing you need is intuition. If you follow your instincts and listen to them, you are good enough. I mean to say, if you have to sketch something in perspective, and your hands automatically draw the lines without any measurements or bothering about angles, or you can see all the six faces of a cube in your mind only, by toggling and rotating it, you have it in you. And sorry to say, these things cannot be generated in one by practice…these things come naturally, these can only be perfected by practice. 

CEED Preparation Tips

Now, let’s come to CEED. For the first part, you need not to prepare anything at all or very little…a month is enough. It’s basic GK and visual perception, and if you keep your eyes and ears open and have that intuition thing in you, you will make it. The second part is somewhat tough…for you need to sketch in it, and sketch it fast. So practice free hand sketching in whatever style and medium you like. I wrote CEED hanging in sleep, having traveled in bus whole night to reach Kanpur in morning. A free mind is the thing you need for the second part. Keep it open to any idea, sketch fast…and concentrate on the mandatory question of your choice. If your concept in that question turns out to be good, your rank will shoot up. I got general rank 237 in CEED, which is not very good. Try to be within 150. If you are opting for product design, try to draw the product in its exploded view. Don’t bother about coloring or painting it beautifully…it’s not any embroidery test after all. Your idea should be clearly visible. If you want to have a still better idea about CEED and how to crack it, refer to the success story of Anumeha Rai, a college friend of mine, who cracked IISc, without whose valuable tips it would have been really difficult for me to crack this nut.

Portfolio Tips

The next most important thing is the portfolio. You need ample time to prepare a good portfolio, which I did not have being a fresher. I prepared for GATE too, then there were college tests, our HOD grilled us in project submission and then there were the end sem exams and some unprecedented events which prolonged it. For interview at Kanpur, I had only two products to show. I could not get selected. For Delhi, it was four…again rejected. But for Guwahati, I was ready. I knew that it was the best I could get with my rank, and it was a do or die situation for me. Finally, my portfolio had 6 products and the number of pages in it was 16...and this very humble portfolio got me selected. So here are some tips which I think you might find helpful while preparing yours:

  1. Originality of ideas is the main thing. Never borrow any idea. How so ever bad, or ridiculous, or infeasible it might seem to be, stick to it once it comes to your mind. Try to make it better.
  2. You can make a number of products but it is at last those one or two products which strike them and which get you selected. So, the first impression of your product must be so attractive that it compels them to look into the details. So, do the best sketching you can to draw the final conceptualization of your product and keep it on the first page with a short description. You can describe it part wise on the next pages. Give every product two or three pages.
  3. Design small products…like a case, or a jug, or a juicer, cellphone. But bring in something new with it and it should be feasible.
  4. Detailing is the single most important aspect of your portfolio. The parts and assemblies and processes should be so well labeled and described that the panel does not find any need to ask you how the thing works.
  5. Don’t bother about the visual appeal of your portfolio. I saw a lot of fancy 100 pages, beautifully printed and spiral bound portfolios being rejected there. I stuck to pencil sketching. I wrote the description with 6B pencil, and I cut and pasted the printouts of the CAD drawings I had prepared on those papers of A4 size. One of the pages even got smudged due to bad quality of the glue….but still, it worked.
  6. Believe me…exploded views work. Pencil drawing attracts. Charcoal makes them say wow. Cad adds extra spice. But at last, it’s the originality and detailing which will get you through. 


      Design Aptitude Test (DAT)

Next is the DAT. I was very frustrated after rejection in Delhi, because they did not even bother to have a look at what I had made. So this time I had decided that selected or not, I will do only that thing which pleases me and not someone else. I had nothing to lose…the maximum they could do with me was to reject me. And I really enjoyed the DAT of Guwahati with this attitude. There were two questions and in both we were asked to draw. In the first question, there was a figure of a hand pump and we were asked to create an environment around it. In the second question, we were supposed to choose three to five words from a wheel of 20 or so words and to do something creative, like a sketch, a painting or a poetry with those words as theme. So to tackle this type of questions, stick to your instincts. Think, and do whatever your heart wishes to…do the first thing which comes to your mind and your mind can reason, because you may be asked to explain it in the interview. Always keep the perspective in mind and that how much it allows you to draw in the sketch. Do the best fast sketching you can. Don’t bother about colors…your sketch should convey your idea. If you have enjoyed your DAT, you have done it right. 

IIT-G Interview and selection

And finally, it’s the interview. The panel in Guwahati was very supportive and I was really enjoying being interviewed by them. Never get shy…speak up whatever you want to, they will let you. When you are asked to explain, take your time, and describe things coolly. Prepare every aspect of your products well and be ready to answer. Don’t waste your time between DAT and interview. Rather use it in preparing the explanation for your DAT drawings….what, why and how. Prepare a secondary portfolio to showcase your pervious creative works like sketches, paintings, photographs and do show it to them. They even ask questions from that, and who knows, something in that might interest them enough to be impressed by you. But keep it short…15 pages maximum, we don’t have to bore them. If you have a sketch of Madhubala in it, you must know who she was, why she…and so on. Be confident on what you have with you. If you are not from design background, like me, you will get to see a lot of nicely prepared professional looking portfolios, three or four in number with each guy. You will meet guys with work ex…talking things you won’t understand. Don’t get frustrated…I was a little, with my little A4 size file, with the sketches of my hands which have never got any training in formal sketching. But even if you have a portfolio in a leaf file, all hand sketches, all black and white and only five products to show… take it from me, you can do it. If you are from a Hindi background, and are not that fluent in conversational English, do use Hindi where ever you need to (my background is that of Saraswati Vidya Mandir). I used it to describe the ARDHA-NAARISHWAR SWAROOP of Lord Shiwa. Be honest…don’t try to fool them ever…you can’t. Enjoy the interview…smile, laugh, answer their jokes, impress them…come out smiling. If you have it in you, you will be selected.


I hope all this babbling may prove to be of some help for the CEED aspirants to take the upcoming CEED examinations. Feel free to mail me at: thevivekaryan@gmail.com , thevivekaryan@outlook.com .

Have confidence in yourself…if someone like me can do it, you all can.

Best of Luck.


abhi said...

awesome :)

Indrajit said...


Shashank Arya said...


Sahil Sharma said...

If this is how it goes... its Natural..

Prasanna Gadkari (M.Des in Product Design from I.I.Sc. ) said...

Hi Sahil,
Vivek had one of the better interviews, maybe you can go through the rest of the stories and find out if rest of them follow the same flow. If you need, we can hold a mock interview for you over Skype :)

Vivek Aryan said...

Hi everyone...
Prasanna is right here, that i had a better interview...but not totally right. Later on, studying a whole year in IIT G and working on a project in IDC, i have experienced the environment of both the places. Only these two places, among all IITs do real design, and have a faculty totally dedicated to design.
It depends on the interview strategy of the institute what kind of interview you will be facing, and that, i n turn, depends on what kind of people are taking the interview.
IIT G people have a strategy of taking this kind of interview only. In one of our classes, sir (i wont take name), was telling us that we don't believe in discouraging. At last, we know whom to select and whom to not...but why to break the morale of a student who is not getting selected? And frankly speaking, IIT D and IITK people do only that, telling every other student why he/she cant be a designer ever. :D
Yes, i had better interview....but so did everyone else who was there. I just wish the panel of every institute could be like that. But its not so, so yes, one needs to go through other posts too....and pay more attention to them only.
Once again...the right advice Prasanna. :)

anuradha said...

hello sir my english is not gud,can we use only hindi in interview?

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