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NID Syllabus


NID Syllabus 2024

NID DAT Syllabus is not officially released by National Institute of Design.

But based on the previous year's NID entrance exam pattern, we have taken out the important topics for NID preparation.

DOWNLOAD FREE: NID Previous Year Papers.


NID Exam Pattern 2024

For both B.Des and M.Des programmes, NID conducts Dat prelims and Dat Mains entrance exam.

NID Exam Syllabus for DAT Prelims & DAT Mains is different.


NID first phase exam (NID DAT Prelims) is a written exam consisting objective (MCQs) & subjective questions having text & visuals. 

Those shortlisted in Dat Prelims are only eligible to appear in Dat Mains.

NID DAT Mains consists of tests in different formats such as drawing/sketching, hands on model making, group discussions, which vary for B.Des and M.Des courses.  

CHECK: NID Eligibility

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NID Design Aptitude Test Syllabus for DAT Prelims & DAT Mains, details as follows:

NID B Des Syllabus

Syllabus of NID: Design Aptitude Test (DAT Prelims)


1. Outline for Beginners

Most Design Aspirants have an inherent sense of Aesthetics.

It is markedly visible from quite a young age, where the candidate has a strong awareness of what looks good together & what does not.

For example, what kind of shoes go with a certain outfit or what cushions to choose that go with your sofa set. 

This quality can further be developed by a formal introduction to local and foreign art & culture, what ornaments and motifs have been used by various civilizations etc.

The study of Natural & Geometrical Forms also helps.

You may find that, in most of the cases direct questions are not asked in the exam.

But these topics build a strong foundation on which a solid design career can flourish. 

  • Sense of Aesthetics  
  • Art and Culture 
  • Ornaments & motifs 
  • Picture Analysis 
  • Natural & Geometrical Form 


2. Drawing Fundamentals

The topic of Drawing is essential for any Design Exam.

Drawing is the medium, through which you can communicate your ideas, solutions to the examiner. 

Some questions, but not all, may be asked in the entrance to judge your drawing quality.

So it is crucial to work on your drawing skills with practice, practice and more practice.

The following sub-topics are important, but by no means the only skills required.

  • Memory Drawing
  • Human Figures
  • Expression & Emotion
  • Foreshortening & Perspective
  • Lettering
  • Principles of Composition

You might also be interested in: 

NID Entrance Exams NID Placements
NID Admission Process About NID 

Are you preparing for NID?

 Prepare with Mosaic's NID Entrance Material

3. Colour Terminology

Colours infuse life into Design.

Questions related to Colours have been asked on numerous occassions in NID Exams.

These can be direct or indirect questions.

  • Mood, theme & colour inter-relationship 
  • Usage of colour in Compositions 
  • Colour Psychology & Optical Illusions 


4. Design Theory

Though all the below given topics are taught in the Foundation Year of most Design Colleges, still fundamental knowledge helps when you appear for NID DAT Prelims.


The easiest topic to start from the list is "Good Design vs. Bad Design"

You can simply start by analyzing objects around you on basis of usability, aesthetics etc

You can also rate them on a scale of "1 to 10"

This exercise can be made more interesting, if you suggest ways/solutions to make the object more design friendly.

  • Inspiration & Design Development
  • Design Awareness 
  • Elements & Principles Of Design
  • Measurements, Scale & proportions
  • Colour, Pattern & Texture
  • Form & Function 
  • Theme Development & Colour Associations 
  • Good Design vs. Bad Design
  • Innovation in Design 


5. Creativity - Observation - Imagination

There is more to design exams than evaluating candidates on how nicely they can draw !!

The questions are framed to judge a candidate's creativity, imagination & visualization skills, observation, etc. 

Some candidate's are naturally gifted in the above skills, while others need to work hard to develop them.


The early you start, better for you!! 

  • Creativity: Add something to your answer that is above average. Add a dash of creativity: that is where the toppers score more marks. Merely drawing the correct answer is not enough. In order to score those 10-15 marks that toppers score, you need to add something that is interesting and which sets you apart from the rest.
  • Observation Skills: To understand more on the type of questions asked in the exam related to observation skills, let's take a question from NID B.Des DAT Prelims 2016 entrance: 

    Ques. Which shape will match the cross section of a Ladyfinger ?

    (a) Octagon    (b) Hexagon        (c) Pentagon           (d) Septagon 

    The answer to the above question is not difficult to guess.....

    Ladyfinger is a very common vegetable, and basic observation skills will suffice to answer this question.

    To find the answer and explanation to the above question, you can read "How to Increase your observation skills?"  

  • Doodling 
  • Drawing Inspiration
  • Innovation
  • Lateral Thinking
  • 3D Visualization
  • Visual Logic
  • Exercises on imagination  

6. Rendering

  • Pencil & Colour Rendering
  • Understanding Light & Shade
  • Presentation Techniques


7. Storytelling

  • Story pictures 
  • Story Writing Skills 
  • Creative thinking & writing


8. Knowledge

Kowledge here is not meant by bookish knowledge, though sometimes questions may be asked from books.

It broadly means the knowledge you have gathered from

  • Observing your surroundings
  • Being genuinely interested in design
  • Reading the Newspapers
  • Doing things on your own
  • By just being curious about your surroundings


9. Problem Solving Ability

This means the ability of a student to solve real time problems.

Let's understand this topic better with the help of the following question.

The question is taken from one of the previous year papers of NID B Des Dat Prelims

Ques. You have to survive on Rs 20.00 (rupees twenty only) only from 5 AM in the morning to 10 PM at night on your own and away from residential places. Describe your plan for the day and how you spend your money. Give the break-up in detail (5 marks)

Some pre-requisites to answer the above question:

  • The candidate should be aware of the prevailing market food prices. This also means that the candidate is self-dependent to make day-to-day decisions
  • Also the candidate has some real time experience in solving such problems 

To know the answer to the above question, you can read my blog post on the topic "Tips to Answer NID B.Design G.K. Questions"

10. GK and Current Affairs

Let's pick one more question.

This time from NID B.Des DAT Prelims 2015 entrance:


Question: Solar Eclipse is new moon then lunar eclipse is _________

Answer: Cramming GK books will be of no help in such questions.


As you can understand from the question above, such GK questions are not found in books

This is more of observational knowledge.

You can read a detailed article, on how to solve such questions, "Tips to Answer NID B.Design GK Questions"


11. Analytical and Logical Ability

Questions from the above topic are part of all competitive exams in India, and NID is no exception.

Candidates should prepare well for the above topic, as it's quite scoring.

But keep in mind, that the questions are less in number and the difficulty level normally, is not very high.


12. English Comprehension

You may find a question related to English Comprehension in the NID Dat Prelims Exam, but it is not a certain occurance.


13. Understanding basics of Science: Laws, Theories and Principles  

You need not study rocket science to prepare for this topic. This is not very difficult, if you are curious by nature and if you've paid attention to science lectures in school.


14. Graphics & Pictograms   

Questions related to logos, graphics and pictograms are often asked. It is a subject worth preparing as this is a reccurring topic in the exams. 

NID B.Des Syllabus

Syllabus for NID: Design Aptitude Test (DAT Mains)


1. Model Making

It involves making of 3-D models using the given materials such as clay, wire, string, different kinds of paper, thermacol, cloth etc.

Practice working in the above materials. 

For Example, In questions involving model making, you can be given clay & asked to make an object with or without watching it. 

2. Audio Visual Exercises

In such type of questions, the candidate has to listen to an audio or may be shown a video clipping for a minute and then he/she is to answer a series of questions based on them.

You can be given a clip to listen. 

You have to identify that voice and also write some comments on what you have heard.

It can be common household noise eg. sound produced by zip, flush, phone etc.

Same with the video.


You can read more about NID Audio Visual Test on the blog "NID Studio Test"

3. Doodling

At times, questions related to doodles are asked in NID B Des Dat Prelims.

Doodles don’t follow any rules.

It need not make any sense.

You can draw anything you wish to. 

Its fun to do and not difficult also. 

4. Previous Year NID Studio Test Questions

Getting acquainted with previous NID Studio Test Questions helps with preparations.

I've compiled NID Studio Test 10 years papers in 2 blog posts. 

You can have a look "NID Studio Test Questions I" and "NID Studio Test Questions II"

5. Material Manipulation

NID B Des Studio Test mostly carries a question on Model Making.

The candidate is required to make models using various materials like clay, thermocol, cloth, cardboard etc

Material Manipulation involves creating, sculpturing and embellishing effects on different materials in order to achieve varying & unique appearances. 

So, practice, practice and practice handling the above materials aptly.

6. Meeting with past successful students / Interaction with NID Alumni

They have already treaded the path you seek to travel.

Meeting aspiring designers studying at NID/ alumni's is always inspiring.

You may have a 100 "What's" & "How's" going in your mind regarding your choice of career, entrance & college.

A small meeting, online or offline, can infuse fresh motivation to your preparations.


NID M.Des Syllabus

NID 2024 Syllabus: Design Aptitude Test (DAT Prelims)


NID M.Des DAT Prelims constitutes of two parts:

  • CDAT - Common Design Aptitude Test
  • Domain Specific Test - In this test, questions are asked based on the specialization the candidate has applied for.


NID offers 19 disciplines for the M Des Programme.

CDAT exam is common to all disciplines, but Domain Specific Test is different for all streams.

For Example, candidates who've applied for Graphic Design or Animation Design courses, will have to write the exam for Communication Design as Domain Specific exam. 


Here, we'll discuss the syllabus for 3 Domain Specific Exams.

The knowledge about the below mentioned sub-topics will be more applicable in the Studio Tests.

If you have completed your Bachelors in the Specific Domain, you must be familiar with the syllabus.

For others the outline is provided below

1. Interior Design

  • Design Problem Solving
  • Engineering Drawing
  • Material Study
  • Exposure to World Art & Architecture History
  • Basics of Construction
  • Introduction to Plumbing & Lighting

2. Apparel Design

  • Fashion Illustration
  • Introduction to Pattern Making
  • Introduction to Draping
  • Introduction to Garment Construction
  • Exposure to World Fashion History
  • Accessories
  • Introduction to Textiles, Traditional Textiles
  • Fashion Terms
  • Surface Ornamentation 

3. Graphic Design

  • Fundamentals of Visual Composition
  • Layout Design
  • Typography
  • Advertising & Campaign Design
  • Digital Imaging & Printing
  • Interactive Media

(Note: Based on previous year papers of NID, we have compiled a course outline for DAT Prelims & Dat Mains exams.)

NID M Des Syllabus

NID Entrance Exam Syllabus 2024: Design Aptitude Test (DAT Mains)

For M Des Dat Mains, NID conducts Studio Test along with Interview & Portfolio.

Here, we'll focus on Portfolio and Interview

1. Interview

It is a face to face conversation between the candidate and interviewers.

Keep yourself in a relaxed state of mind and dress up in a presentable manner.

The interviewers are looking for intelligence (intellectual and emotional), communication skills, honesty, passion for design, genuine interest, ethics, energy, imagination etc. from the candidate.

Justify why you deserve to be in, if asked but do so smartly, confidently and very important honestly.

Try and be as natural as possible.

The interviewers can quickly make out if the candidate is faking or covering up.

2. Portfolio

Portfolio is a compilation of your best works, arranged in an order to show your interests and talents.

It plays an important role in the final selection.

A candidate must carry a collection of his/her original work which may include manual drawing and sketching, photographs, computer layouts etc.

A candidate must have complete knowledge about his/her work and all the work must be presented creatively.

You can read more about Portfolio Making at "3 Reasons why you should make a Design Portfolio?


The topics for NID Entrance Syllabus have been provided above based on the questions asked in previous years papers.

NID does not provide detailed syllabus for NID Dat Prelims & Dat Mains for both B.Des & M.Des exams.


If you need help with NID preparations, do check out Mosaic's NID Study Material.

Good Luck & Take Care!! 


Q1. What is asked in NID entrance exam?

Ans. For NID B.Des Dat Prelims, the entrance exam has both subjective & objective questions. The paper pattern is very different from other competitive exams & does not follow a fixed pattern. The exam has questions to measure a candidate's creative & observation ability, drawing skills, imagination & visualization, storytelling skills, logical reasoning, problem solving skills among others. 

Q2. What is NID Ahmedabad Syllabus?

Ans. NID conducts a common DAT for B.Des courses for all its campus offering B.Des, the same happens for M.Des courses. So, the entrance exam syllabus does not differ from campus to campus.

Q3. What is asked in NID Interview?

Ans. A candidate might or might not be asked questions related to design. There is no fixed pattern. Through the interview they are trying to find out what kind of individual you are, your personality, your communication skills, how passionate are you for design, etc. In short, they want to make sure, you justify the seat offered to you. So, dress smartly, speak confidently, but be your natural & honest self. Good Luck! 

Q4. What is asked in NID?

Ans. NID does not provide syllabus for NID Dat preparation. But, going through the previous year papers of NID, we can take out the important topics. You can have a look at past papers of NID here.

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