If you have a dash of creativity and do not wish to design dresses or make graphics for a website, why not try your hand at designing corporate gifts? You could start by sending gift items to your friends and family. With the trusted word of mouth publicity, your work will surely get noticed. Alternatively, you could contact a few companies that usually order gift items and present your work to them. As Vikas Dixit, a Commercial Arts college student, says, " I experimented with different handmade paper sheets to prepare writing pads and diaries, and presented them to corporate houses. Today making specialised gifts has become a part time career for me."

A student can also display his works in exhibitions or can invest a fair sum in advertising. As Vikas says, "This way you can win may clients."

Do you have it in you?

Of course creativity, resourcefulness and enterprising skills are the essential prerequisites. You should know how to transform your ideas into articles that sell. You should also have good networking skills; after all it's important to have contacts with the right people. It is also important for you to have a knowledge of colour combination schemes, colour forms and media, and information about different materials. Of course, you could always upgrade your skills by doing a course in any of the art colleges or design institutes. As Pravin Nahata of Brand it, a branding outsourcing agency, says "Institutes like the National Institute of Design and the National Institute of Fashion Design offer training in product design."

Knowledge is essential

A Knowledge of the market is also important. It you are wellversed with your material and the market you can put your skills to greater use. For instance, you should know where to buy leather or paper. Also, if you have a team of designers working for you for bigger assignments, managing manpower and proper coordination is a must. It is also important that you deliver what you promise and on time.

NID or NIFD and a host of other institutes including the Srishti School of Design and Technology, Bangalore and Government Maharani's Art College, Bangalore offer courses that could home your artistic skills. Then there are the art colleges that conduct courses in art and design. NID has a 'lifestyle accessory design' discipline, where students get to know about making different types of gift items. Professor Subir Das of NID says, " While designing any product, designers usually follow well established design methodologies and in this process, they consider users' characteristics, behaviour, ergonomics (physical as well as cognitive), aesthetics, form, colour scheme, etc.,

Once you have the required academic qualifications under your belt, you can dive headlong into the actual work of design.

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