Ah. That blissful moment of the beginning of something new. Fresh, untouched, simple and so full of hope. I am not known as an optimist, but I’m turning a new leaf here.
So to begin with, my name is Manjari Sahu and I am a design graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University. My journey to CMU began about two weeks ago when I packed my bags, said tearful goodbyes to my family, friends and my beloved cat + dog pair back in India and sneaked past 8 extra kgs of luggage at the airport (#lifeofaninternationalstudent). But to give you some context of my journey with design, here’s a brief introduction to my past.
I did my 5-year undergraduate degree in Industrial design from Pune, India, with a major in Retail and Exhibition Design. I dabbled in graphic design before being pulled in by the glory of brand systems and environments.
After graduation, I worked as a Space Designer at Restore, where I got the opportunity to design retail experiences for some of India’s biggest brands. It was also the place that exposed me to client culture, designing for the real world and developing my design concepts from ideation to execution. One of my crowning moments of glory while working there was when my store design concept won two national awards for the Best Store Design. At Restore, I began to question the role of digital design as an extension to design for environments and after almost two years of working with them, I joined StudioPOD, an urban design agency in Mumbai.
Being introduced to designing and strategizing for cities rather than brands, I delved deeper into trying to understand service design and what context it plays in creating environments and successful systems in a country like India. I have been hooked ever since. This quest for understanding services and creating system solutions that incorporate the digital world with real world experiences is what has got me to Carnegie Mellon University.
So let the journey unfold.