Pankti Porecha, maintained a consistent above 80 WAM (Weighted Average Marks), and topped in M.Des or just Master of Design at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) this year. She has also already secured an attractive job at a graphic art studio back in India. She talks about her inspiration, course and future plans
Q: Parents in India are still wary of their children pursuing Art & Design as an unviable or professionally not-so-promising profession. What do you say to that?
A: I grew up in a creative family; my dad’s an architect, my cousins are pursuing the same field, and I was always encouraged to explore different creative outlets. While applying for design school, it was nice to see so many students trying to get formal education in art and design. Social media and changing technologies have brought new jobs which has made parents slightly less wary of the creative careers.
Q: How are the avenues and opportunities expanding for students of Art & Design?
A: Social media and technology have brought out so many new career opportunities; VR and AI being among the latest mediums to explore and create in. I looked up ‘Design in India’ Reports which talked about the big gap between supply and demand of designers in the present economy. After moving back to India, I’m discovering different festivals, events, conferences similar to those in Sydney. Awareness and participation in such activities is also on the rise and I do believe everyone has an opportunity to collaborate at various levels and keep growing in the industry.
Q: What helped you choose this course, and what has your experience been at University?
A: I did my undergraduate studies in BMS (Bach. of Management Studies) and by final year of my degree I had made the decision to transition towards branding and marketing; and learning graphic design to facilitate the creation processes. I came across an impressive UNSW ad in the newspaper and attended a meet at the faculty seminar shortly after. That’s where I met Vaughan Rees, the Associate Dean. My research showed that UNSW’s M.Des offered a decent mix of courses in all aspects of design and foundation courses in multiple disciplines. I didn’t realise it then, but I now know how important and beneficial it is to have a multidisciplinary approach when designing anything. I got to study under really fun tutors and with highly creative fellow designers. The teaching format was quite new to me but it was easy to grasp.
One of the best parts of Uni life was the Art & Design campus: the space was a perfect blank canvas for students and we had our own library, student lounges, studio rooms and Macs. The environment facilitated my thinking process. The university eschewed end term exams in favour of more practical assignments.It wasn’t always nice to have 4 assignments due in the same week, but our tutors were always available to help and dole out advice on academics and careers performance, amongs other things.
Q: How did you land a job so quickly, and what are your expectations for the next few years?
A: I moved back to Mumbai within a week of completing my classes. I had already been applying online for jobs but really doubled my efforts after getting back. I also went for ‘The One Club for Creativity’s Annual Portfolio Review Night’ in Mumbai, which helped me see what sort of competition I had and what the industry demands were. Some studios had internship opportunities which I was willing to do, to at least get my foot in the door. One such studio accepted my application and I was hired as graphic design intern for a period of 4 months. I assisted in branding and editorial projects which was my area of interest. A few months later, I was asked if I’d want to continue as a designer on the team. I got my offer letter on my graduation day to continue as a Junior Designer on the team.
So in all, I spent a month applying for jobs, 3 months interning and then got hired as a Jr. Designer at SIXOFUS Design studio. For the near future, I plan on growing my skills and knowledge in typography, illustration, and packaging as these are my areas of interest. I want to work closely with suppliers, clients, and partners to understand the industry better, and find my niche in it
Q: What would you say to students who have a talent and interest in Art & Design?
A: I’d encourage students interested in creative careers to research the different disciplines, institutions, practitioners and resources locally and globally in their areas of interest. It is always a good idea to start learning basics through YouTube tutorials. Find friends or mentors working in the same discipline, who can help you improve your portfolio. Learn to receive and give feedback, and when a feedback seems particularly harsh, sieve out a valid point and let the rest go. Believe that your tutors have your welfare and make the most of the class time you get.
I’d also say that don’t let your curiosity fade away: let anything and everything inspire you. We’re never done with ‘studying’ and ‘learning’. I may have finished my Master’s in Design and know how to make logos, but I’m now learning how projects happen in real time with real clients.
High-achieving students are also supported by the ‘Future of Change’ scholarships, offered exclusively to Indian students: https://www.scholarships.unsw.