Introduction to Design: Session 1

Just because something looks good doesn’t mean its useful. And just because something is useful does not make it beautiful
— Joshua Brewer

Shape. Size. Color. Texture

Day 3 ended on a high-note as our artists-in-residence worked towards exploring new material – material that was definitely new and to some extend even a bit scary.  With an objective of selling maximum at exhibitions, there were times that this very objective held back their creative instincts.

With a distinct desire to learn something new, by the end of Day 3 the artisans were itching to learn more. Even in the feedback sessions, Padma ji referred to the session on Aims and Objectives and mentioned that if in the days to come things such as packaging, new design, pricing etc were covered – she would be more than happy.

With that note, we started Day 4 with the first session on ‘Design’.

What is Design? What does one mean by Design? Does drawing a clock with border classify as a Design? What are the various things that go into ‘Designing’ a product? What does one notice when we look at a product?

Such loaded questions were thrown around by Medhavi as she started Day 4 with an Introduction to Design. Getting them to suddenly think in a manner that they were not used to was challenging but slowly and patiently they started talking and responding to such questions. Design was then broken down to four basic elements – shape, color, size, and texture. It would be interesting to note that at the end of it all they start viewing each every object in these four elements. A simple way to help them understand the concept of shape was to ask them to look around and pick up things that resemble a particular shape. Shapes such as circle, square, rectangle, triangle, oval, etc were discussed. While discussing rectangle as a shape – the artisans were asked to look around and pick up things that they thought resembled the shape of a rectangle.
(Objectives identified: book, door, trunk, and table)

In between shape and color, we discussed the very important perspective – a technique of depicting volumes and spatial relationships on a flat surface. This is when, Raghav stepped in and showed us how the image or an object changes as our view of the object changes. He drew chashme from all different angles and with that the concept of ‘drishtikon‘ was explained.

Next up was Color! Playing with colors is fun – but one tends to forget using the appropriate colors to depict the mood or the theme, we tend to forget to explore the various shades of colors – we get fixated on what sells and limit our selves to blues, greens, and reds. This session thus primarily focussed on how the artisan can break away from this paradigm and explore various possibilities color as a distinct design element can offer.

“Colors can be categorized into : primary, secondary, and tertiary”

“Every color has not less than 100 variations and the great thing about color is that you can make your own color, you can make your own variation!”

“Even more interesting is to know that each color has a distinct meaning and I am sure that the meaning changes as we move from north to south and east to west in our Country.”

flooded with new information! :)

Homework for Tomorrow(ie Day5):

Exercise 1: Conceptualize a design for a product that you (the artisan) would like to work on. Make a rough diagram of what would you like to make, mention the dimensions, the texture(material to be used), what paint you would use, and where would you like to integrate your traditional art form on it. For instance: If you (Heera Didi, Madhubani Artist) want to make a JUG, what would be the dimensions of the product (size – big, small, medium), what material would you use (textures and taking from the material exploration session), and lastly where would you do your painting (all over/on the handle/one the bottom).

Exercise 2: Understand the gradation in colors. Taking two colors (eg: red and yellow) explore the possibilities of the various other color/color shades can be formed using these two colors.


Looking forward to what Day5 entails! :)

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