Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Career Specializations with CAD

By Savitha Hira

Where once pencil to paper and the ubiquitous sketchbook were a norm, computer aided design tools are continually breaking new ground, rekindling the enthusiasm for out-of-box design sensibilities...

Learning special software to help one fine tune his designing skills is a common occurrence today. In fact, a lot of complex geometry or ‘happenings’, as they may be referred to, are actualized with the help of highly developed software tools. And veteran designers from the old school, one way or the other, depend on young software operators to see their efforts realised. Moreover, this phenomenon is equally prevalent across the board - in architecture, product, furniture and automotive design among others.

Mr. Jayakumar, director of Mantra Academy and INNOFAC, a design and innovation consulting firm throws light on how developing a certain skill set can be an antecedent to good design capability. With a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and Masters in Product Design from Coventry University, UK, Mr. Jayakumar has presented research papers in various international design conferences and conducted workshops for students pursuing design education.

As the director of Innofac, Mr. Jayakumar is involved in customer-centric solutions that incorporate varied aspects of design thinking, participatory research and business anthropology. Heading the Mantra Academy, which is a creative training institute specializing in training CAID (Computer Aided Industrial Design) software such as Autodesk Alias, Mr. Jayakumar is involved with courses that foster Automotive and Product Concept Modelling using the software.

“Unleash your creative potential,” is the bold invite that guides aesthetic sensibilities to fruition at the Mantra Academy, Bangalore, India. The institute is said to be the only one of its kind, and also assists in providing placement services in automotive and product design domains. 

IAnD in conversation with Mr. Jayakumar on what these software skills and the institute have to offer...

1.      How important is it to develop specific software skills to further a career in design?
Ideas are created in the mind and acquire a visible form on paper through sketches including manual renderings. The need to master design software is accentuated by the fact that it helps in timely conversion of product ideas into a 3D model and creating photo-realistic renderings or animated models. It also facilitates virtual testing, iterations and effective communication with stakeholders.

All these are compelling reasons for any wannabe desirous of pursuing a career in design, to incorporate specific design software skillets as part of their arsenal.


2.      What qualities should one look for in a student prior to guiding him/her to this specific skill development?
The strong bias for contextual understanding, curiosity and lateral thinking are the qualities that educators would look for, in this specific skill augmentation.

3.      Is there a retirement age for a design professional?
The idea of retirement age is an oxymoron for a design professional. Only mental fatigue can retire a design professional.

4.      What is the ‘edge’ over others does a student get when he/she graduates from an institution like Mantra Academy?
Mantra Academy is the only institute in India that specialises in training students for automotive and product digital modelling using Autodesk Alias software. The educators are hard core professionals with hands-on experience in the industry. The students get a flavour of the industry, thereby combining theoretical knowledge with practical acumen. The students are put through stringent certification processes, to ensure that an alumnus that graduates is top notch.  We believe our students are our brand ambassadors and we strive to provide a transformative experience at all levels.



  1. Good question! I think the fundamentals of design (2D or 3D) don't change: form, shape, mass, color, white space... these are critical in their respective fields. CAD is a tool to help realize the vision, so it is a good thing to "add to" the package -- in fact, I reckon it is almost essential -- but it is of no use in the absence of a sound design vision.
    Posted by Dean Richardson on LinkedIn Group: Product Design in response to IAnD's discussion thread:Is a career in design incomplete without CAD? Read here and leave us your responses...

  2. After reading this, just one things to say. Out of this world.


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