It’s jury time once again

28 Mar

As a design teacher, I have often been requested for tips from students as to how to prepare for the semester ending juries. Reflecting upon my observations as a jury member in several juries at both undergrad and post grad levels, both at NID and other design institutes, I am attempting to put together my thoughts here.

From the semester 5 jury of Sonakshi Botham, UG Graphic Design, October 2013. NID

From the semester 5 jury of Sonakshi Botham, UG Graphic Design, October 2013. NID

For the non-design readers, Juries are like an open viva at the end of the semester, in which the student presents all her academic work done in that semester. There are several courses, which the student has already undertaken in the semester, each one of which is evaluated by the course faculty. There is display of selected work done in various courses. The students often chooses to support her defense with an on-screen presentation (the software does not matter, whether it is keynote, or pdf or powerpoint). The jury comprises of three-to-four faculty members, often with an external member from the industry, who review the presentation. They often also ask leading questions to understand the overall learning of the student. At the end of the jury each student is evaluated on a predefined set of parameters.

Coming back to the point of how should the students plan their juries, which is expected to give a clear understanding of the overall learning in the semester. There are four major things to ponder over —

Awareness. What have you done? What are the courses you have taken this semester? What were the learning objectives and what kind of assignments did you do. These assignments (done individually or in a group) become the basis of articulating your learning. It is important to be aware of what all you did.

Comprehension. Understanding of new knowledge in the specific domain of the various courses. It could cover aspects of printing technology at one level to cognitive aspects in a course like word and image. Needless to say, this acquisition of new knowledge is always in the context of previous knowledge and understanding of the domain subject. Thus it is important to comprehend what are those layers, which have been added this semester.

Reflection. To reflect upon not only what and why you did, what you did, but also how you did it! How are the three aspects of objectives, tasks and technique are related to each other? How are the new experiences connecting to the previous knowledge base, skill sets and cognitive understanding? Reflect upon the value added while going through the process of doing all those assignments.

Realisation. This could be understood at two levels. First, a realization of why the new learning is relevant to the context of your chosen discipline or future profession. Understanding not just how you did what you did, but also of taking critical decisions of what you chose to do. Second, a realisation of your own strengths and peak points. There must have been some courses with which you struggled, while others which left you more excited and enthusiastic. At the same time an identification of the opportunities of improvement (rather than weaknesses).

preparing for the jury ~ PG Graphic Design Semester 4, March 2013. NID

preparing for the jury ~ PG Graphic Design Semester 4, March 2013. NID

The second part is how should one prepare for the jury?

Well, to begin with, timing your presentation is very critical. Please note how much time you have. Leaving aside the five to seven minutes for feedback from the jury members, plan to give enough time to each course. Talk about the overall learning citing examples from different courses.

Proper planning prevents poor performance. Prepare your presentation well in advance. Run a spell check but don’t depend fully on the software. (often ‘from’ is read as correct, when you wanted to say ‘form’). Be careful of typos. If you are going to use someone else’s computer ensure the fonts are installed.

Rehearse before the final show. Read aloud your presentation and time it. You could also use digital devices to record your own rehearsal. This will help you not only to sequence it the way you want to, but also help you in editing the the presentation. Talk about the key points which you want to share.

Revise your basic fundamentals. It is on their shoulders that all new learning rests. And unlike other disciplines, in design, the learning of previous semesters is not to be forgotten. The terminology, the jargon, the theories etall.

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Ensure you have all your assignments in well presented and labeled folders. Just in case you may need to share some details, or the jury may ask for explorations.

Arriving at the destination is as important as the journey. Talk about your final product, but also share the process, as this will help the jury understand your reflections on why you took the decisions which you took.

Make sure the analog display of assignments / sheets reflect your attention to detail and ownership towards your own work. Right angles are right angles. Period.

Teaching happens in the class, but learning is not restricted to the classroom. Draw from relevant experiences of your extracurricular activities, and relate them to the learning objectives of the courses. Make connections.

Be objective and not judgmental. A jury member may have conducted a course for you, but in the jury his/her role is very different and specific. They are doing their job.

Last but not the least. It is not a pitch you are making to a prospective client. A jury is a learning situation. After your presentation is done, listen to the jury’s feedback with patience and humility. They are not your enemies, but your mentors who are helping you to grow as a design student.

Oh Yes, and one more thing — have conviction on yourself and faith on your capabilities.

“As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don’t know
We don’t know”

— Donald Rumsfeld, from

Good Luck to all my students !


in the Print Labs. March 2014

19 Mar

in the Print Labs. photo credits: Aman Bhardwaj

It’s been almost two years now that I have ignored this blog… not deliberately though. Many things kept me busy at work and at home — some interesting stuff has happened with a couple of calendars, new logos and exciting classes at NID…
I am going to be back soon after this hiatus, and watch out for updates… pretty soon

[photo credit: Aman Bhardwaj, GDPD student Graphic Design semester 4]

The last cup of tea

18 May

It is so strange – that feeling that Dad is not there with us any more, is something which is so strong… He is gone, but his presence is felt all around.

Tea Cup Coversations

When I make that morning cup of tea, and sit with the newspaper, I remember him each day… He was very fond of drinking tea and used to cherish his three cups of tea everyday.

Each doodle or sketch of a tea cup I draw, Dad, is for you.

conversations with Dad

This one is for you, Dad

Love You Dad

23 Apr


Dad left for his heavenly abode on the night of 18th April 2012, after a brief, intense battle with Glioma (brain cancer). He left very peacefully at around 11.45 pm (at home), with me and my mother and my wife at his bedside at that moment.

A believer in hands on approach to solving problems, he was born in village Mahichal, Multan district (now in Pakistan). The entire family moved into India during the 1947-48 exodus following the partition. A self made man, he did his mechanical engineering at Mathura. I am proud that he was at Nangal, building the Bhakra Nangal Dam in the late 50s, before joining Steel Authority of India Limited at Rourkela Steel Plant, Odisha.

He was an animal lover and we had the spectrum of pets at home from cows to hens to rabbits and parrots, not to mention several dogs. He liked to spend his free time tending to his plants in the small kitchen garden we had. I remember the roses he grafted, with a red rose on one branch and yellow on the other. I owe my understanding of Botany and the plant kingdom to his passion for gardening.

A methodical person, he made sure I knew how to clean the spark plug and replace the spare wheel, before he taught me how to drive a scooter.

A loving Dad, he always encouraged me to pursue my dreams, even though he had other thoughts for his son.

Love you Dad !!!

it’s been a long time

29 Nov

and there is very little time left for the current year to end.

Times have been hectic with several significant things happening – both at professional, academic and home fronts.

I promise I shall come back soon and be more regular in my posts. Meanwhile check out this picture taken by my student, Manoj Naorem during the visual identity classes.
I quite like this picture – nicely cropped and captured just the right moment.

re-fresh :: hand book binding

16 May

Summer vacations in between the academic year. Though the students are not on campus, there is ample administrative work to be finished. But I am so glad that I could take out some time and return to my old love for hand-book binding. It will not be wrong to say that I am returning to it seriously after almost a year (barring two large notebooks which I bound for my routine use – more on these later).

Meanwhile, enjoy the preview – there are five or six different designs – most of them stitched, but all in limited editions of 20 pieces (max 24), with customised hand drawn covers. All of them use uncoated paper and card including handmade paper.

Do watch out for the full batch to be released at NIDUS early june.

musings of a lamy pen

25 Mar

ink (lamy) on 80gsm uncoated natural shade

a cup of tea and conversations

25 Mar

back to the drawing board / lamy and pikpens bold marker

the order in madness

9 Feb

I have been rather quiet for sometime now. It is not that I was away from the battle field.

several interesting things have happenned. The annual Convocation, My presentation at the international Vision Plus Conference

Radha Pandey, a hand-book binder from Delhi coming in and taking a two week workshop at NID (more on that later, meanwhile you can give yourself a visual treat on her blog)

Right now – I have been very busy with organising the international seminar and workshops, Typography Day 2011 at NID as a part of its Golden Jubilee Celebrations. It is exciting – the pleasures and the pressures. more details on the site

shall come back soon


2010 in review:: thank you all for dropping in…

2 Jan

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,900 times in 2010. That’s about 7 full 747s.


In 2010, there were 15 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 30 posts. There were 38 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 12mb. That’s about 3 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was April 3rd with 108 views. The most popular post that day was concepts of logo for RTI, Govt. of India.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for right to information logo, question mark, question mark icon, duality, and indian rupee logo.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


concepts of logo for RTI, Govt. of India April 2010


New logo for RTI launched in India October 2010


The Indian Rupee symbol and the logo for RTI June 2010


Logo for Right to Information: alternative ideas May 2010


Ajit Ninan on RTI, the new logo and other things September 2010