Monday, April 8, 2024

Strate School of Design, Bangalore Offers Holistic Learning Experience For Product And Transport Designers

By Manu Sharma

Qualified designers are in short supply in India.  A study indicates that our country annunally produces only one designer, when compared to one thousand enginners. Even though, today the number of designer schools has picked up, but still only a few design schools offer career-oriented courses.  One such institute is the Strate School of Design, Bangalore which offers specialization involving creating visually appealing products that are also ergonomic, user-friendly, and meet market needs. Thomas Dal, Dean of Strate School of Design, Bangalore, in a candid interview speaks on various topics including the school significance in India and also on diverse and holistic learning experience for product and transport designers. Excerpts

1. What is Strate School of Design and what is it's significance in India?

Strate School of Design is a leading French institute. Founded in 1993 in Paris, the school offers design programs for aspiring students. It's one of the most reputed colleges for design in France. Having over 23 years of experience in the field, it has been ranked among the 60 Best Design Schools in the World by BusinessWeek/Bloomberg. Our parent institute, partners with a leading higher education institute, to bring its advanced, design program to India.  We transitioned to India seven years ago, setting up base in Bangalore in 2017 with the first batch enrolled in 2018. We have nurtured a combined bachelor's and master's program, graduating our inaugural cohort of 18 students, all successfully placed within the industry. We comprise a skilled design team, and is our pride lies in being the sole campus in India.

Strate schools worldwide excells particularly in transportation, interaction, and product design. Our inclusion in the QS 200 underscores our standing as a prestigious institution. Strate Bangalore mirrors its Paris counterpart, with an 80% alignment in curriculum and pedagogy, adapting to Indian regulatory standards under the University Grants Commission. We emphasize hands-on learning and industry collaboration, distinguishing ourselves from licensed institutions focused solely on certification.

Unlike many design schools in India focused on quantity, we prioritize quality education with smaller class sizes, ensuring personalized attention and tailored learning experiences. Our ethos is rooted in the belief that design is not just theoretical but requires daily practice and mentorship, akin to honing skills in athletics.

2. What courses are offered at Strate School of Design in Bangalore? 

Some of the courses offered includes - Integrated Master in Design (M.Des) with specializations: Product, Transportation, Interaction And Brand Identity & Visual Communication Design Programs. The duration of the full-time course is 5 years. All students, irrespective of their chosen specialization, will participate in the same curriculum for the first two years. It is in the third year that their interests begin to take shape as they begin to delve into the nitty-gritty of their specialization. Regarding admission there is no entrance test involved in the admission process. The eligibile student needs to be a graduate, class 12 or equivalent with an aggregate of at least 50% marks, submission of the application form is followed by Interview with the faculty or Dean. 

3. Why is it so important to study Product and Transport Design? What do students study in these courses? 

 In terms of Product Design specifically, this school excels and has a curriculum that covers a range of topics such as design thinking, user research, materials and manufacturing, and prototyping. The program also includes hands-on projects that allow students to apply their learning and gain practical experience. Product Design is an exciting career path for those interested in creating quirky, functional, beautiful, and useful products. In India, there is a need for product designers who are able to innovate and create new items that people want to consume. 

The course also involves a comprehensive curriculum that covers material design, 3D and 2D modelling, sketching, and other techniques involved in product design. Besides core subjects, besides includes soft skills training sessions to ensure students are ready to face the industry at a global level. Workshops, seminars, and projects further acclimate students to industry trends. 

Likewise, another course that has risen interest among the students is the Transport Design. It focus is on creating innovative vehicles that solve problems in the transportation industry. It also considers concepts such as style, comfort, branding, safety, and function.

4 What job prospects does Strate offer Indian students on completion of the course?

It is interesting to note that product designers are in high demand in many industries across India. Companies are looking for designers who are able to add an innovative spin to their products and create a demand. Many companies that dabble in product design offer internships spanning from 6-8 months to art and design students pursuing their degree. Looking ahead, in alignment with the New Education Policy 2020, we are transitioning to a four-plus-one model, offering a four-year bachelor's honours program followed by a one-year master's. Additionally, we're introducing short courses to cater to industry demands, particularly in emerging fields like interaction design and executive design education for corporate leaders. Our strong industry partnerships drive real-world projects, with students benefiting from internships and collaborations with leading companies across various sectors, including transportation, product, and interaction design. These internships provide invaluable experience, preparing students for successful careers in design.

We have established partnerships with numerous companies, some of whom prefer to remain undisclosed due to the nature of our collaboration. However, I can disclose the names of those with whom we have open relationships. Notably, Tata Motors is one of our prominent partners in the transportation sector, as evidenced by the numerous projects showcased on our website. In transportation, we have also collaborated with TVS, Hero, and Alstom on various initiatives. 

Furthermore, in the transportation sector, we're involved in a confidential project concerning VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) electric vehicles. This groundbreaking project, capable of transporting four individuals, is slated for launch later.

Our industry interactions span across various sectors, including larger companies like Titan, Infosys, Tata Elxsi, and global majors like ANT Audiovisuals, Sodexo, Decathlon, Carrefour and Michelin, focusing on interaction design. On average, we undertake around ten projects annually with such companies, providing invaluable industry exposure to our students across their academic journey.

In conclusion, our partnerships and collaborations encompass a diverse array of sectors, each contributing to our students' holistic learning experience.

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