Finding my own path with design

Aishwarya Naik
Mar 29 · 3 min read

Brace yourself cause TL;DR.

A unique mentorship program with two side projects, one of which turned into an unexpected opportunity. This article basically talks about how a self-taught non-design student kick-started her design career.

It was a normal day in the life of a 23 year old designer. I woke up, got my designer ammo and took it to a cafe. I ordered coffee and sat down to begin … designing.

And then suddenly it hit me.

Perpetual state of mind

Even though I graduated as a computer engineer in June 2018, I made a shift into the design world in my senior year. With some incredible luck and amazing mentors, I landed a remote project on which I’m currently working as a UX designer. This was my first real project for which I was held responsible. Even though I’d worked in start-ups before, I was always an intern there, without needing to worry too much about most things. However, with this project, I had to learn a lot of skills. And fast.

If only I had one more hand

As the project progressed, I realised I needed some extra help with understanding the different stages of design to define my own process. I wanted to learn more about all the aspects of a design process in an agile start-up — particularly User Research and Visual Design. All the courses I took online made me lose my interest and soon I’d be inconsistent with them. I would read articles on different topics but nothing gave me a cohesive view of the topic I wanted to learn about. That’s when I stumbled upon ownpath (re: title pun) and things took an interesting turn.

I was introduced to Shreyas Satish, the founder of ownpath. I was their first student which meant I got to learn and contribute to the kind of community they wish to build with their unique initiative. In my previous story, I mentioned my user research project with Rasagy Sharma and the various challenges we overcame with this remote tutoring process. Our next project was a re-design for a non-profit organisation — Point of View — website on which Aditya Dipankar mentored me.

It was mainly a visual design exercise for me to understand the basic principles of VD and branding. Since this was a self-driven project, it gave me the creative liberty to make some bold design choices. Our feedback conversations flowed from talking about the choice of typography to Volvo’s design inspiration. This project turned out to be so much fun and unexpectedly successful that we decided to pitch our work to the co-founder of the organisation. Turns out, she loved it. So much that she wants to make it real.

I am currently working with her to find a way to make it happen.

Best. Feeling. Ever.

My journey with ownpath continues with Shreyas mentoring me with the design and development for their website. So far, it’s been a very interesting and opportunistic experience which I hope to be associated with for a long time. It wasn’t just my design skills which improved, but also the nuances of what makes a good designer awesome — presentation pitches, varied design approaches, asking the right questions etc. My goals with ownpath keep enhancing and so does my growth as a designer. If you’re unsure about how to go about your design career, I recommend you try them and see for yourself. :)

Aishwarya Naik

Written by

Editor. Painter. Writer. Doodler. Designer. Of sorts.