Meet 23 year old Fatema Hussain, Designpreneur and our Graphic Design Workshop Mentor!

Few of us realise what we are truly interested in at a young age and even fewer pursue it as a career choice.
 But Fatema, who is now 23 years old, was aware of her strengths from a young age. She had a flair for creativity, the field of designing had always interested her and she pursued it with dedication. Thus, she is now a graduate from the MIT Institute of Design in Graphics and Visual design. She also happens to be the Co-Founder of The Climber She is also a Captain / Mentor for the Graphic Design mentorship Program of MyCaptain and has mentored over a 150 students so far; some of whose lives have been impacted quite a lot by her.

Her mix of technical and entrepreneurial skills is a potent combination and responsible for her current success. We sat down with her recently to hear what she had to say.

Q. So, Fatema, what motivated you to get into the field of Graphic and visual designing?

I have always been a creative person and had decided long back that I would pick a creative field as a career choice. I was good at sketching and creative thinking and initially aimed at getting into architecture. But then, I discovered the vast field of design. The more I delved into it, the more I realised how vast the field was. Areas such as product design, strategy design and systems design interested me and I have not looked back since then. I am also very grateful to my parents as they have always supported and encouraged me to follow my passions. I consider them as my biggest and foremost mentors.

Q. How was your experience with the the MyCaptain Program in and The Climber, both as a Co-founder and a Captain?

Let me start at the very beginning. In my third year of college, I came across an enthusiastic Facebook post by Zeeshan, outlining his vision and calling for volunteers. His post struck a chord with me and I felt that I could align with his vision. I joined the team as a designer for the magazine and subsequently took up the role of Creative Director. After we had to put down the Magazine, I took up the Systems Design project for the mycaptain program.

When it comes to mentoring as a Captain, it’s a heart-warming experience and feels good to help aspiring students out. The accomplishments and achievements of my mentees also fill me with a sense of satisfaction and this is sometimes the motivation I need after a long day’s work. There are some who have made the decision of taking up Design as a Career after attending my program. Others are freelancing and exploring themselves more.

Also, while interacting with the mentees, I always learn something new as this is a creative field and a new line of thinking can also help in getting new ideas. It has always been the goal of The Climber to help and encourage youngsters to discover their passions and mentoring falls in line with that.

Fatema giving a talk

Q. Coming back to the field of design, what do you feel is the potential and scope of Graphics and visual design in the coming future?

That’s an interesting question as I feel that the field of design has a very bright future. While there has been loss of jobs to automation in some fields, this phenomenon has not affected the field of designing as it requires creativity which automation cannot provide.
Another trend that I have noticed in the past few years is that designing has moved from having more emphasis on aesthetic to usability with a more human centric approach. This field is in a constant state of flux and keeps changing with the times. UX design, service design and visual design are currently very much in demand. Also, the field of Virtual Reality (VR) is coming up in a big way and is the next big thing as far as the field of design is concerned.

Today, designing is more about strategising. Designing can’t be done in isolation. There is more focus on synergy and solving problems together.

Q. Can you give us some insights into your success story?

Hard work, always wanting to learn more and not shying away from taking up new challenges in a nutshell. Experience and empathy are two very vital things required as a mentor.I did a lot of pro-bono work and freelancing to accumulate experience in my field. Initially I wasn’t confident about my skills, but as I gained experience, it gave me confidence. There is no substitute for experience.
I also believe that one should always strive for excellence and not settle for something half-baked and not-well done. To cite an example, I was not satisfied with the first draft of the first magazine that The Climber was putting out. So, I decided to redo it and make changes. Even though I only had 4 days, I had to finish an entire 40 page magazine, and that gave me a big sense of ownership for the idea and vision we had.

I always apply the following mantra to myself — “Figure it out, get it done”. This has served me well and helped me overcome obstacles in the past.

Fatema taking a ‘Design Thinking’ Workshop at IIT Madras

Q. What have been the difficulties and challenges that you have faced in your journey thus far and how have you overcome them?

As I mentioned before, my lack of experience was the biggest hurdle that I faced. I had interned at only three places during my college years and this lack of experience was a hindrance when it came to leading a team or undertaking a project.

To overcome these, I read a lot on my own, asked my college faculty for help and mentoring, and treated every challenge as an opportunity to learn something new. This also led me to undertake many trial and error methods and I was ready to put in the extra effort. I always learnt from my failures and used them as a learning curve to gain knowledge and experience.

Q. Finally, Fatema do you have any advice or tips for youngsters starting out in the field of design?

Be open to new challenges and put your hand in anything and everything. Try out new things and take on new challenges. Be passionate about your work and go all out. And lastly, have fun while at it, as work will not feel like work if you are having fun while doing it.

Get mentored by Fatema Hussain in Graphic Design and take up our MyCaptain Online Graphic Design Workshop

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