Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer anjali srikanth ("AS") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?

AS : I have a background in product design , retail and management. As a designer my inspiration towards this career came from a young age. My dad is an engineer , but he had a passion for art as well. My journey towards art and design started with him. Growing up I dabbled with textile art, painting and sketching, and decided to pursue a career that combined my creative abilities along with technology, to give it purpose.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?

AS : As mentioned design gives a purpose to creativity, it has an aspect of problem solving, in some ways addressing requirements that need to be fulfilled. As a designer you are first a problem solver, who gets inspired to device a creative solution that not only solves the purpose but it also sustainable.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?

AS : I always wanted to pursue a career which had a creative and artistic aspect, and becoming a designer was the best avenue to do so.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?

AS : I am a user experience and product designer by profession. I have been part of endeavors for designing apps across different platforms and domains. In the future I would like to design applications that can support specially abled professionals.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?

AS : Have an open mind, inspiration can come from anywhere. The world is your oyster, and having a broad perspective gives you advantage This can help to understand your product users better, thereby helping you build solutions that have a long lasting impact

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?

AS : Learn from your experiences. There will be good projects and not so great ones. The more times to you fall, the more you can succeed in your career. Never give and keep learning .

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?

AS : A design is a really good one it solves the purpose of your users. The product definitely has to meet business goals, but it should also serve the purpose of the final users.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?

AS : Good design has a cause, it serves a purpose, simply put your design is a success if it meets the user/ consumer's requirements. It is an important investment as functionality is key to a lot of our daily tasks and unmet needs. A good design helps to bring in efficiency and improve productivity. It leads to progress, for a more sustainable solution.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?

AS : I would like to design products for specially abled working professionals. It might be a device or an application, and there is a lot of research required for the process. I do take out time during the day to study more on the process, the user research process, is very different compared to the other endeavors taken up. Hopefully in sometime a solid product can came out.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?

AS : I would like to design a project and scrum management application for specially abled working professionals. As mentioned the work is in progress, with the research going on. There are a lot of details to be taken into account, as its very different from my previous design projects. The learning curve is interesting and takes one to a different level.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?

AS : For me personally I believing learning and observation together make a good recipe for design. Every project is an experience to imbibe from, whether its a great one or a negative one, you evolve from each endeavor. Keeping an open perspective whether its for feedback, self improvement or a new aspect of design helps you to become successful in the long run.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?

AS : Jesse James Garret is one of the design leaders I look up to ,for many designers like me, his thoughts on experience design have been very insightful when it comes to the approach and process of a design endeavor. S.Balram is another design master and legend I have immense regard for as well, his thoughts on design for users with disabilities has definitely inspired to look more into the cause.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?

AS : There are many and perhaps the products vary as well. The iPad and iPhone by Jonathan Ive is an all time a favorite, definitely is indispensable for me. Mikimoto for his jewelry designs that are classic and timeless. Masaba Gupta for her stylish and quirky clothing items.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?

AS : I had designed a Microfinance application "Sylvan" leveraging IBM Watson's machine learning technology. The application helped to bridge the gap between Microfinance service providers and people who need services from them. The project involved the process in exploring the bottom of pyramid concept and how the application could help target users belonging to lower income sections of society.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?

AS : As a designer you need to be open to feedback whether its for a project or self improvisation. You need to a good observer and be ready to fall. You should not be afraid of failure, and see it as mine step towards success. Design is about discovery, improvement and innovation, the more we drill down into the root of a problem, the better the outcome.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?

AS : I would have been an artist, I love painting and sketching in my spare time. It has been a hobby since childhood.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?

AS : Design is a thought process that gives a holistic approach to problem solving. There are quantitative and qualitative aspects to the craft. As designers we bring a procedure combining many like aspects art, science, technology , business and creativity

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?

AS : My biggest supporters are my parents. My dad has been my inspiration for my creative pursuits since childhood. My mom has always motivated me to face challenges with grace. I am here today because of my parents.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

AS : I am constantly learning and studying something new on a regular basis. Being open to learn whether it from your co-workers , surroundings, journals or individuals makes you more evolved in your craft. It helps to get a wider perspective , thereby helping you in your work.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?

AS : I have faced a lot of criticism at times for not being good enough. However there is always some positive aspects to take away from your critiques, its just a step to improve your craft. You have to take it in your stride.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?

AS : Designers should be true to themselves, and present their work in a way they comfortable communicating about it. Another good aspect is to learn about your audience, and come up with a method that not appeals to the people you are presenting , but also helps bring out your uniqueness.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?

AS : I am working on an application that can help specially abled professionals for tasks like project and scrum management. The project is in research phase and I hope to bring an application that is purposeful and sustainable.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?

AS : The ultimate goal of a designer is to create products and services, for the betterment of society. We should aspire to discover and innovate, experiences that serve a purpose in the long run.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?

AS : As designers we are problem solvers, discovering unmet needs and coming up with experiences that create a positive impact.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

AS : Design helps to bring out of box approach to our existing lives. As designers we are creative problem solvers, trying to build solutions that impactful

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?

AS : I am working on a collection of pen art work compositions. Looking to exhibit my artwork in a couple of months to a year.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?

AS : The design projects which gave me satisfaction are the ones where I got to work in a midst of good collaboration. This helped in the learning process, thereby leading to good results for the projects.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?

AS : I think many firms are keeping design departments as a core functional group. I hope to see this growing across different domains, with design become a mandatory process business endeavors.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?

AS : I think design is becoming a necessity and core business function. It growing rapidly, and that means as designers, we will also be taking up a lot of aspects of business development when it comes to our profession

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?

AS : A lot depends on the nature of the endeavor. At times you have a well define scope, and set of deliverables, many a time there is short deadline. I prepare myself according to the project plan.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?

AS : My process starts with a preliminary research on the industry domain coupled with understanding the stakeholder requirements, business and a competitive analysis of similar products and services. This helps to bring in more structure when it comes to user research and rest of the steps involved in the design process.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

AS : To have an open mind, constantly learn and evolve.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?

AS : Design and trends are a reflection of one another. As designers we study trends, when it comes to a project. Many at times a design can serve as an inspiration for future trends.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?

AS : Technology had helped in getting access to the global trends in design. It definitely complements the design process, whether its research, prototyping and more.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?

AS : I use a variety of tools come of which include adobe photoshop, illustrator, adobe experience design, axure, sigma, omnigraffle and sketch. There are projects where I have to learn a new tool, based on requirements. So the tools I use vary based on the endeavor.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?

AS : I think the three of them help in different aspects of customer experience. Ambience helps in giving an overall positive experience, while color and materials have a role in defining the mood, brand message and purpose.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?

AS : I would want people to ask me in detail about the purpose of my design, the users and the inspiration behind the endeavor.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?

AS : When I see a new great design or product, the first aspect coming to my mind, is the overall experience and functionality.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?

AS : I believe my ideal design partner is one who believe in constantly learning and improving. Co-designing is a process of true learning as it serves and supports the collaborative design process.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?

AS : I would say every team I have worked with from stakeholders, to technical team members, have had an influence on my work. Design is collaborative, you get inspired by your team mates and co-workers.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?

AS : The Elements of User Experience Design by Jesse James Garret, Thinking Design by Prof. S. Balram

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?

AS : One has to keep learning and practicing, be it a sketch, a design pitch or a software skill. Apart from that the ability to receive feedback, and being a good communicator can help to give added value.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?

AS : I guess there are many design legends I would like to meet some include Jony Ive, Donna Karan and Philippe Starck.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?

AS : I feel honored, it gives a me cause to design more products and services that serve a purpose. There is a lot more for me to do, and I am happy to be a part of this journey

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?

AS : Well I love purple, it its my favorite color since childhood, it represents creativity and wisdom. My favorite place is San Francisco Bay Area, California as it is home, when it comes to food I love desserts, season is summer, for its vibrant aspects, favorite things are my paintings and jewelry collection, for the brands I really like Gap and Zara.

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?

AS : Well I remember the stakeholders liking a sample which was not one of the best ones according to me. They saw something unique in it, which took me sometime to figure out. Sometimes the stakeholders or users can like a design sample, which may not be in adherence to the plan, there is always an element of surprise.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?

AS : A postive attitude coupled with good thoughts make my day as a good designer. When you focus on the positive aspects, the negative aspects get outweighed, and you can concentrate better on your goals.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?

AS : I always wanted to do something with art and creativity. I would constantly draw, make paper products, play with fabrics and paint. As a teenager I started giving more focus to my art, and overtime it has helped me pursue a profession in the design field.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?

AS : I see a more collaborative world fostered by creativity and unique problem solving.

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?

AS : Apart from being a product and user experience designer, I like to paint and sketch. I have also designed fashion accessories and have written a book " The green saree"


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