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Designing Course in India: Which One to Choose?


How many types of Designing Courses are there?

Here is a list of design streams offered at various design institutes: 

Interior Design: An Interior Design programme prepares the students with the knowledge & skills to create functional, safe and aesthetically pleasing interior spaces. Some of the common subjects taught include Design Theory, Studio, History of Interiors & Architecture, Furniture Design, Lighting, Furnishings & Fittings etc. Various courses are available for students to pursue, ranging from short term certificate & diploma courses to B.Des & M.Des degree programmes. Usually, all design colleges provide a course in Interior Design. Students can pursue a career in Interior Design specializing in Residential, Corporate, Hospitality, Healthcare & Institutional Design.

Furniture Design: Furniture plays an important role in creating a pleasing Interior Design space. For the same reason, it is often taught as a module in Interior Design programmes. Many Design Universities also offer Furniture Design as a separate programme of study. Some of the common subjects include Ergonomics, Aesthetics, History of Interiors & Furniture, Materials & Finishes, Manufacturing Techniques etc. Students also learn to integrate furniture with the overall design scheme of a space.

Product Design: Product Design involves the process of creating products for the target audience & providing tangible solutions to their problems. The procedure involves research, ideation, prototyping, testing and manufacturing. Product Design Courses provide a comprehensive education in design development & product manufacturing. Some of the subjects taught during the course include Human Centred Design, Materials & Manufacturing, Sketching & Visualization, User Experience and Design Management.

Universal Design: Most products, systems & environments around us are designed for an average user group. But, the concept of Universal Design is based on the principle that design should be inclusive, and should cater to the needs of all individuals, not just a select few. Spaces need to be designed keeping Universal Design in mind, so that people with disabilities can also live their life to the full. The course is relatively new in India & as of now, few design colleges offer specialization in the above domain: One of them being NID, which offers M.Des in Universal Design.

Retail Design: Retail Design is an important module taught during the Interior Design programme. Some universities are also offering it as a M.Des specialization. Retail Design deals with designing a shopping space like a mall, boutique or shopping centre in a way so that it proides an enjoybale & convenient experience to the shoppers. Some of the subjects taught in Retail Design course include Space Layout, Ergonomics, Signage, Display, Lighting, Marketing & Materials.

Exhibition Design: We all have been to Exhibitions: it can be corporate displays, trade show booths, museum exhibits or art installations. Exhibition Design shares many similarities with Retail Design, as both aim to create engaging & immersive environments. Both the domains rely on space planning, branding, visual communication & target audience analysis to create effective spaces. While both the disciplines share some similarities, there are some key differences in their time frame, purpose, sales focus, audience & design elements.

Design Courses are also available in Fashion DesignKnitwear Design, Textile Design, Accessory Design, Footwear Design, Graphic Design, Photography Design, Animation DesignInteraction DesignInformation DesignFilm DesignGame DesignNew Media DesignToy Design, Ceramic Design, Strategic Design, Urban Design and Transportation Design

Indecisive about which Design Course to choose?

How to Decide?


In the last 15 years of my teaching career, I’ve seen many Design Aspirants pondering over one question:

“Which design stream should I choose?”

“Which one has the best potential?” 

In most of the cases, students have gone through a career aptitude test and the results have been in favor of design discipline.

But design education offers many sub streams like Interior Design, Fashion Design etc. 

NID offers 19 design disciplines for M.Des program and 8 for B.Des program.

As the students feel inclined towards more than one field of design, the confusion arises.

Visit: 5 Worst Reasons to be a Designer


My sincere advice in this case:

  • It is difficult at the preparation stage to fully ascertain, which design discipline is good for you.
  • If you are good in one discipline, it is very much expected that you might be good at others too. It is very unlikely to find a designer doing well in one stream like animation design but not in the others, maybe graphics.
  • Design is not something that can be compiled in study books. It’s more of an endless self-exploring journey. A designer may have reached worldly success but inside he/she might feel, as if the journey has just began. I have seen students switching streams from UG to PG courses and mostly it is possible to switch streams. For example, one of my friends chose Toy Design for Masters after pursuing a Bachelors in Architecture Degree. Another one switched to UX/UI after doing B.Des in Interior Design. But in some streams, this possibility might be difficult and not allowed by many colleges. For example, if you wish to pursue M.Des in Transportation Design, then there are certain pre-requisites to apply and not open for all aspirants.
  • The more you explore and work in various disciplines, the more you understand what your inclination is towards and what you excel at. This is the very reason why majority of design institutes have a foundation year where they introduce the students to fundamentals of design, and observe where their true strengths lie. Accordingly the students are provided with the discipline they most resonate with, from second year onwards.
  • Don’t go after a discipline that looks cool or the one that offers the highest paying jobs. Go for something where you can give your best and do 100% justice to the chosen field. You might anyways find good earning opportunities, if you are good with your work.

Do Read: What if I Do Not Crack NID?

More to Explore...

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If you still have 3-4 years at hand, before you apply for a Design Programme, you can give a try to the following:

  • Start reading books on various design disciplines and about designers who have made it big in their respective fields.
  • Attend some online courses in your niche.
  • If you can find people around you who are studying or working in your chosen discipline, try to meet them and learn more about their work. Have a look at their portfolio and talk to them about their work responsibilities. This will help get better understanding about your chosen niche.
  • Browse and network on online design portfolio websites like Behance and Coroflot. 

You may like to read: Should I try again for NID Next Year 

Hope the above advice helps

Good Luck!!

About the Author: Meet Anu Handa – Interior Designer turned Edupreneur, Blogger and co-founder at Mosaic Institute of Design. Anu has spent 15+ years training Design & B.Arch Aspirants for entrance exams.

Her online platform, helps the next generation of Design & B.Arch Aspirants get the right career advice, choose the most apt design streams, help them prepare for the entrance exams and choose the best college.

She has been the lead blogpost writer at since 2009. Her educational background in Interior Design, Urban Planning and the English Language has given her a broad base to cover a range of topics in her articles.

Passionate about Design Education, she likes to write about Design, Architecture and related fields on online platforms. Aims at challenging the conventional & age old teaching methodology.

Read more on Anu Handa


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