April 27, 2015

Success Story : Anjana Mahalakshmi (Interaction Design at IDC)

Hello everyone,
I am so happy to write about my experience of getting selected for Interaction Design at IDC. One day writing my story in this blog was as much a dream, as was getting selected to IDC. I have been working as a graphic designer now for almost 3 years after graduating as an engineer in 2012. I had to choose between engineering and architecture back then after class 12. I took up engineering, but continued designing all through college by being part of the arts and design team of my college (Sastra university). This blog and Prasanna have been of tremendous help in my entire process.

I appeared twice for the exam, once for CEED 2014 and then 2015. I cleared CEED both times but this time had a better rank and score. I was working and prepared for the exam side by side. Just started observing logos, icons, cars on road. Started sketching whenever I got time. Working as a designer helped me to be in touch with this field. But for people who need so time off, consider taking a few months to prepare. Or just prepare everyday for a few hours without straining yourself. 
Please note its about enjoying, not proving yourself to anyone. 

Tips for Cracking CEED, Part A
  • Solve previous 10 years papers for an idea first.
  • There is no syllabus or prescribed book.
  • There is also no set method to prepare for CEED.
  • One needs to be aware and look at everyday activity and things with a design perspective and increase observational skills.
  • Please enjoy the process of preparation for the exam. Make it a fun activity, sketch daily, try making neat and fast sketches.
  • Do not join any coaching classes.
  • Identify your convenient style of sketching(be it cartooning, detailed sketching, painting…) and practice it whenever possible
  • Start drawing just about anything you see or can imagine (auto, horse, eagle, man, duck, bucket, flask, cup, spoon, …)
  • Slowly improve your perspective drawing.
  • Draw exploded view of day to day objects like scissors, mender, Swiss knife etc.

Few Topics to cover while preparing
  • Screen resolution concepts
  • Image formats
  • Video formats
  • Indian animation films and film makers
  • Indian Artists (also all time famous international artists)
  • Aspect ratio
  • Famous comic Strips(newspaper, magazines)
  • Car designs(start observing cars on road)
  • Pictogram (sports, logo, recent event)
  • Reflection concepts (concave, convex)
  • Lens, Mirror
  • Basic photography(shutter speed, motion capture etc)
  • Surface area problems(shapes, formula)
  • Identifying animals, birds from distinctive features
  • Indian geography to an extent
  • Indian festivals, dance forms, dressing styles, music
  • Musical instruments (indian mainly)
  • Evolution of things(camera, telescope, periscope, car, cycle)
  • Different types of vehicles
  • LOGO(banks, recent speculation, cars, famous products)
  • Animal skin textures, Tail, foot prints, horns
  • Material science(basic manufacturing process)
  • Recent film and direction
  • Famous designers
  • Famous monuments
  • Basic aptitude problems 
  • Recent news

*This section has negative marking. Hence attempt only questions you are perfectly sure of. It is completely ok if you answered only a few, you just need to clear the cut off. 

Links that were helpful
http://logopond.com/ (for inspiration)
http://www.flipkart.com/seeds-ceed-english/p/itmd93b5zkzdvrzk (the book is really helpful for material science and basic concepts) 

Part B
This section requires one to draw real quick. Every year the pattern changes. The paper is for 100 marks generally. It has questions for product design, animation, interaction design… Thinking out of the box, with a little sense of humour and swiftly sketching it down is the key. Any medium is accepted. I used only pencil. From my 2014 test experience, I had decided in advance to attempt the 50 marks question first to manage time. So we get 2 hours for this section, and I answered the 50 marker in the first hour and the remaining questions (adding to 50 marks) in the next hour. It was easier this way. 
*Set timers while solving the previous year ceed papers, and work on the areas you feel you are slow.
*Answer questions you feel you are comfortable with first and finish in that order. Do not waste time thinking or looking at the big set of colors the other candidate is using.
*explanations to a few questions can also be written in pencil.

The Application Form
After getting your rank and score start applying to IITs for the courses you want. It is highly recommended to decide what your preference is before attempting CEED. The form itself is like a test. Take it seriously, for people have missed being called for the interview due to negligence. Once again enjoy the process, do not keep it for last minute and do the assignments with full commitment and sed it to IDC. 
I being a graphic designer in an IT firm, applied for Visual Communication and Interaction Design at IDC. Fortunately when the list for interview and DAT was displayed, I had my names in both. I already had a portfolio. I took 5 days to update it. But it is essential to start making your portfolio immediately after writing CEED. 

DAT(Design Aptitude Test)
Like mentioned by other candidates, DAT is similar to part B of CEED. The test duration is 1.5 hours for 100 marks. Here also the medium of design does not matter. What matters is the approach to the problem with the time given. After reading the question, think for sometime, come up with a solution that could be different from other solutions and clearly present the same. 

The Interview

I had both my visual communication and Ixd interview on the first day’s afternoon slot. My turn was also pretty close for both these. Finally when my turn came for Visual communication, I was called for the Ixd panel also. I requested them to wait and rushed in for visual communication interview. There were 2 panels. My panel had really friendly people. One person mainly interviewed me, while the other 2 members scrutinised my application form, and DAT solution paper. I had taken a 10 page book that I had designed, illustrated and printed along with my digital portfolio. The portfolio had working gif animations. videos and stuff that I had done. They were pretty impressed with all my works and asked for more when I showed the websites I had designed(I had connected to their wifi before the interview). I also maintain a blog and write poems occasionally. They were interested in all that since I had included snippets in my portfolio. They finally asked me what other interviews I was appearing for. When I said Ixd, one of them told me I would fit Ixd perfectly. He asked me for choice and I said Ixd. They wished me luck and I left with a smile. 

After visual communication interview I rushed to meet the Ixd’s waiting panel. They smiled and said hello Anjana with such enthusiasm that all my tension vanished. It was a smooth interview, rather discussion of my portfolio. The first page of my portfolio was a logo branding I created for myself and if one is capable of capturing the attention of the panel in the first 5 mins then they are interested to see more if your work. They were more interested in the websites, its coding, responsive views of it and the wire framing. Since I was working in this field they asked me questions based on website designing mainly. Then they asked about the font I had used in my portfolio(Papyrus). They asked how my visual communication interview went and asked me for my choice. I said Ixd, They said good and asked me to leave. I thanked them and was about to leave when the usher came and asked me to wait, since the other panel also wanted to see me. I walked in with confidence and a smile by now. This panel had 2 senior members who were very chilled out. They saw the portfolio and discussed about specific pages from y website and after a while started speaking about coffee, dosas and hotels in Chennai(me being form Chennai). They said good job and I left. 

I had an amazing interview luckily and had such a wonderful experience through out my CEED exam process because I had decided to enjoy it :)

All the best everyone. 


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