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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Design Anecdotes from IISc - I (Who will Bell the Cat)

Design anecdotes from IISc will be a series of comments, stories and suggestions from my seniors at IISc or my experience. I hope to write something on this time and again.

Here goes my first post (Shared by Sunny Bairisal, 3rd sem MDes student at CPDM, IISc Bangalore)
We all know about the funny story "Who will bell the cat?" A group of rats wants to get rid of the problems they face because of the cat who kills and eats them coming out of nowhere. So, as a gist of their discussion they want to put a bell on the cat's neck which will warn them of him approaching. And, when all of them are very happy of the solution achieved, one guy came out with the question "Who will bell the cat ?" 

Well, the story ends there. But, how the hell that can be related to design or more specifically to product design? Design is defined as '"the general arrangement of the different parts of something that is made, such as a building, book, machine, etc." in the oxford dictionary. In the real world, however, design is related with problems in most of the cases. Necessity is the mother of invention and when we have a need, we design a solution for that. It is not so easy, because problems are subjective or that they don't express in a way that we need this specifically. People from a long time wanted a faster, cheap and convenient way of communication. But, nobody asked for a mobile. It is the task of the designer to identify an objective in the need and for that he will have to identify problems first and design the problem in such a way that it leads to an objective,a definite goal. 

If you can identify the problems and you can associate the problems with an objective solution, half of the design work is done. Conceptual part of product design is often associated with construction of an objective problem where you express the solution of a need with a physical shape. Or, if you know who is the CAT !!

So, if you can perceive the CAT, you can design a bell or more appropriately you can design a way to BELL THE CAT. Identifying problems is the first and foremost step of design and if one can master it, he/she is a step ahead in the path of becoming a good designer.



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I am a student [Master of Design - Product Design and Engineering] at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. I completed BTech (Mechanical Engineering) from NIT Silchar. My native place is Sipajhar, a small place with rich cultural heritage, in Assam. I am interested in designing products and systems for a better life. I like to collect quotes, read books,blog and surf net, dance and sing Bihu songs and write poems and articles. I don't like to talk while I am eating. But above all, I want to be happy all the time. Contact me at m2n037[at]gmail[dot]com
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