How I Stepped into the World Of Design

I thought today I’ll share with you the interesting journey that led me to become a designer.

Most of you don’t know that I started off my career as a Physics graduate who got more and more interested in design. After graduation, I went for a diploma in 2D and 3D animation where I learnt about animation cycles, sketching, 2D/3D animation & editing programs like Flash, 3D Max, Maya & Combustion. I took a liking to 3D Max and completed our class project which was based on the story of Troy at the end of my course.

I then moved on to working at Arena Multimedia as an instructor for 3D Max. I taught about 15 students in 3-4 batches. It was a strange experience because most of my students were my age 🙂 After 1 and a half year I became certain that I did not want to teach any more. So I sent out a few resumes and landed a job as an animator with a company that was making an animated version of the Indian epic ‘Ramayan’. Here, my main responsibilities were sketching characters and then making them look realistic in scenes using frame by frame animation techniques in Adobe Flash. It’s funny, but here what I was paid was just enough to cover my gas expenses to get to work everyda!

3 months later, I heard of a company called Aims Digital that was hiring Flash designers to design e-learning courses. I applied and got a call back. I was now hired with a salary that was more than 3 times what I was getting paid. Aims had two different departments – one for e-learning programs & second for web & graphic design. One day, as I was busy working on some Flash slides for an e-learning course, I heard that the lead web designer there was sick and there was a webdesign job with its deadline by the end of the day. I don’t know how, but at that moment I felt I should give it a shot and so asked my supervisor. He was more than happy hoping this might just get him out of trouble. I designed 7-8 website layouts and unsure of how they will be received, I presented them to my boss.

He loved them! He thought my style of design was internationally appealing and unique. So the next day, when the lead web designer returned, I was told to sit next to her everyday and learn the principles and techniques of web designing. With focus, observation and practice I kept learning more and more about this wonderful line of work that would one day become my passion and the core of my own business.

“My SpotRunner job proved to be the best I’ve ever had (Only second to running my own business!).”

And before I knew it, I was in charge of an overseas web UI project! The company was named – Weblistic (which was later acquired by SpotRunner, LA, USA). I was now comfortable and earning much more that I’d expected maybe 1 year ago.

A few months down the line, the director of the overseas project/company I was handling came to India and spoke to me about his plans of starting an India division. He also offered me a position to now work directly for him.
I accepted happily as this new position and company meant a fantastic exposure to international businesses and people. Oh yeah, and my salary was doubled (another solid reason, hehe). My work here had nothing to do with animation but it was more of brand design & website building/management. It was the first time I worked closely with an experienced and highly skilled team of coders. By this time, with my experience and practice, I was more than comfortable with brand design, print design as well as website design & development.

This job proved to be the best I’ve ever had (Only second to running my own business!). It came with perks, on site opportunities, excellent co-workers, beautiful location and infrastructure. I enjoyed working there for 1 and a half year after which unfortunately SpotRunner decided to close down their newly acquired India division. This happened during the recession period.

As it happened, this was exactly the kind of push I needed to start my own business. The idea was cropping up for a while now at the back of my head and I decided this was the time to take my leap of faith.

So I did. And I have never looked back since then. It’been wonderful working for myself. I enjoy the flexibility as well as the responsibility. There’s nothing like running your own company and working towards a solid reputation and profit for yourself. Plus, the freedom to choose the work you want to do is priceless.

It’s Your Turn!

What do you do and how did you start it?
Is what you’re doing related to what you’ve studied?