All about studying Design

Degrees, Specialisations, Eligibility, Entrance Tests, Top Colleges, Fees, Scholarships, Career Prospects

All about the stream: What is design?

Design is a multidisciplinary stream dealing with the conceptualisation, strategising, and execution of creative products.

Design is an umbrella term and contains within it a gamut of subsidiary streams and specialisations such as fashion design, graphic design, product design, web design, textile and apparel design, etc.


Undergraduate Design Degrees Offered -

Undergraduate design degrees include the following- 


Specialisations in Design -

  • Animation Design - deals with the creation of art and special effects for digital and social media platforms.

    • 3D Animation | Animation and Film Making | Animation and Graphics | Animation, Multimedia and VFX | Animation Film Design | Animation, VFX and Gaming | Digital Filmmaking and VFX | VFX | VFX Film Making | Film & Video Communication

  • Applied Arts - refers to the application of various art forms for the beautification and aestheticization of objects.

    • Applied Arts and Crafts | Applied Arts in Interior Design | Art Education | History of Art | History of Art Hons | Fine Arts | Lalit Kala | Painting | Painting Hons | Sculpture | Sculpture Hons

  • Communication Design - implies the application of design and creative visuals to spread messages across different media. Specialisations include Film & Video Communication.

  • Fashion Design - refers to the creation and design of clothing and accessories.

    • Apparel Production | Apparel Technology | Knitwear Design | Fashion and Apparel Design | Fashion and Retail Store Operations | Fashion Design and Management | Fashion Fit and Style | Fashion Communication | Fashion and Garment Technology | Fashion and Lifestyle Accessories | Fashion and Lifestyle Accessories (Interior Products & Handcrafted Accessories) | Lifestyle Accessory Design | Fashion and Lifestyle Technology | Fashion Technology | Retail and Fashion Merchandise

Explore: Top Fashion Design Colleges in India

  • Game Design - refers to the application of design principles for the creation and development of the theme, characters, plots, and world-building of digital and video games. 

    • Gaming | Gaming and Mobile Application Development | Video Game Design | Digital Game Design

  • Graphic Design - refers to the creation and designing of visual and textual graphics to transmit messages.

    • Graphic and Gaming | Graphic Art Hons | Graphics and Digital Media | Graphics (Print Making) | Graphics and Communication Design

  • Industrial Design - refers to the designing of industrial products and commodities for mass production.

  • Interaction/Information Design - refers to the process of the design and creation of interactive digital products and services.

    • UX design | UI design

  • Interior Design - refers to the design and planning of interior spaces in buildings and houses.

    • Interior and Furniture Design | Interior and Retail Spaces | Interior and Space Planning Design | Interior Design | Interior Design and Decoration | Interior Designing Hons | Interior Environment and Design Hons | Interior Space Design

Explore: Top Interior Design Colleges in India

  • Leather Design - implies the design and implementation of raw leather to produce consumable leather commodities and accessories. 

    • Leather Goods and Accessories Design | Leather Goods and Footwear Technology | Leather Technology

  • Multimedia Design - combines multiple forms of media such as text, image, video, audio, graphics, etc. to transmit messages to audiences. 

    • Multimedia and Animation | Multimedia Science, Augmented and Virtual Reality | Multimedia, Animation and Graphic Design | Multimedia, Animation and Graphics

  • Photography Design - refers to the creation of a story or message through generating, developing, and arranging photographic images creatively and purposefully.

  • Product Design - refers to the design and planning of products and commodities across various sectors for mass production.

    • Accessory Design | Jewellery Design | Jewellery Design and Technology | Toy & Game Design | Design for Retail Experience

  • Textile Design - is a subcategory of fashion design dealing with the design and production processes of clothes and fabrics to create consumable articles of clothing.

    • Fibers and Textile Processing Technology | Textile Technology | Textile Science, Clothing and Fashion Studies | Design (Textiles) Hons | Textile and Apparel Design | Textile CAD | Textile for Fashion

  • Transportation Design | Transportation & Automobile Design - refers to the design and creation of the visual appearance and styles of automobiles and vehicles such as cars, bikes, trucks, vans, ships, and trains.

  • Video Design - deals with the integration of visual and textual material with three-dimensional spaces. It deals with all aspects of video creation, from stringing together its components to final editing procedures. 

    • Videography | Video Film Design | Projection Design

  • Web Design - refers to the planning, design, and creation of websites and webpages. Web design focuses on conveying the ideology and information of the brand or company and prioritizes efficient conveying of information and a hassle-free user experience. 

    • Web Graphic Design | User Interface Design | User Experience Design 

Other Specializations include:

  • Ceramic & Glass Design

  • Exhibition Design

  • New Media Design 

  • Production Design

  • Strategic Design Management  

  • Universal Design


Eligibility and Requirements for Design -

Students can enrol in design colleges after appearing for entrance exams held across the country. The eligibility criteria are as follows-

  • Candidates enrolling in design programmes and entrances must have passed their 10+2 (or equivalent) examinations from a recognised Indian board with a minimum aggregate of 50% marks. 

  • Candidates from any stream can apply for design programmes. Certain design technology specializations require Science as a mandatory stream.


Admission Procedure for Design Courses -

  • Candidates applying for design courses must qualify for the minimum eligibility to appear for the respective entrance exams. Candidates can apply for the UCEED/NID/NIFT/other examinations by registering in the online portal and submitting the required documents.

  • After appearing for the entrance exams, candidates will be shortlisted based on scores, ranks, and merit lists in the counselling session for the respective colleges/entrances. 

  • Shortlisted candidates may then finalize their admission at the concerned college by paying the fees and submitting the required documents for verification.

Design Entrance Tests -

1. Undergraduate Common Entrance Examination for Design (UCEED)

UCEED is the common entrance test for students wishing to pursue a degree in design. The entrance is conducted once a year on a national level across 24 Indian cities. UCEED is conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mumbai with 16 participating colleges.

UCEED is a three-hour entrance exam with 300 questions and consists of two parts:

  • Part A (240 marks) is a computer-based test (CBT) comprising 68 questions. Candidates are allotted 150 minutes to complete Part A. It is divided into three sections: 

    • Section 1 (72 marks) contains 18 numerical-type questions. Every correct answer is awarded 4 marks, and there is no negative marking for incorrect answers. 

    • Section 2 (72 marks) contains 18 multiple-select questions (MSQs). Candidates will be awarded 4 marks for selecting all correct answers, 3 marks for selecting three out of four correct answers, 2 marks for selecting two out of 4 correct answers, and one mark for choosing only one out of four correct answers. There is a negative marking of one mark for each incorrect answer chosen.

    • Section 3 (96 marks) contains 32 multiple-choice questions (MCQs). 3 marks are awarded to candidates for each correct answer. There is a negative marking of 0.71  mark for every incorrect answer. 

Part A questions test the candidates’ theoretical knowledge of design, visualisation and spatial ability, logical and analytical reasoning, problem-solving and observational skills, environmental and social awareness, language, and creativity. 

  • Part B is a pen-and-paper test and comprises only one drawing/sketching question carrying 60 marks. Candidates are allotted 30 minutes to complete section B. 

The part B question tests the candidates’ creative ability along with their practical understanding of perspective, shading, and composition. 


2. NID Design Aptitude Test (NID-DAT)

NID DAT is the national-level entrance conducted for admission into B Des and M Des programmes in the National Institutes of Design (NIDs) across the country. NID DAT conducts the Prelims test first, qualifying which candidates can appear for the NID DAT Mains test.

NID DAT Prelims is a three-hour exam comprising 26 questions worth 100 marks. It comprises two sections:

  • The Aptitude Section carries 30% weightage and tests candidates on their logical reasoning, quantitative aptitude, general knowledge and current affairs, and English proficiency.

  • The Design Section carries 70% weightage and tests candidates on their practical drawing, sketching, and modelling skills. 

NID DAT Mains consists of a Studio Test; candidates who qualify for NID DAT Mains also must upload their Statement of Purpose (SoP) along with their portfolio. 

NID DAT Prelims and Mains scores constitute 40% and 60%  weightage respectively in the final tabulation of results.


3. NIFT Entrance Examination

The NIFT Entrance Exam is the national-level entrance conducted for admission into B Des, B FTech, M Des, MFM, and M FTech programmes in the National Institutes of Fashion Technology (NIFTs) across the country. 

Every programme has its specific entrance modelled towards the content of the course. Candidates must clear the GAT (General Ability Test) and CAT (Creative Ability Test) to qualify for the NIFT courses.

  • The GAT exams for all courses are conducted in 180 minutes and test the candidates’ theoretical knowledge of quantitative, logical, communicative, and analytical abilities, case studies, English proficiency, and general knowledge/current affairs. 

  • The CAT exam is conducted in 180 minutes and evaluates the candidates’ practical creative and design ability through drawing/sketching/modelling questions. 

Candidates’ CAT and GAT scores are considered to shortlist candidates for the next round, which comprises a situation test and/or a GDPI (Group Discussion and Private Interview).


4. All India Entrance Examination for Design (AIEED)

AIEED is the nationwide entrance exam for design programmes conducted by The ARCH College of Design & Business.

The AIEED comprises a series of tasks candidates must complete for being shortlisted:

  • Video screening process: Candidates must send a video to ARCH Academy based on the questionnaire sent to them for the screening procedure.

  • Portfolio round: Candidates must present their work in their portfolio to the admission panel. 

  • Interview round: This is the final screening process where candidates are required to present themselves before a panel of expert candidates.

Besides these, several other reputed design institutions also have their respective institute-specific entrances. Some of them include:

  • PAF Entrance Test - for admission into Pearl Academy. 

  • Symbiosis Entrance Exam for Design (SEED) - for admission into Symbiosis Institute of Design (SID). 

  • IIAD Design Aptitude Test (IDAT) - for admission into the Indian Institute Of Art and Design (IIAD).

  • UPES Design Aptitude Test (DAT) - for admission into the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun (UPES).


Top Design Colleges in India -

Some of the best design colleges in India include -

1. National Insitute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad 

2. Industrial Design Centre, Indian Insitute of Technology, Bombay (IDC-IITB)

3. National Insitute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Bombay

4. National Insitute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Delhi

5. Pearl Academy, Mumbai

6. Srishti Manipal Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bengaluru

7. National Insitute of Design (NID), Gandhinagar

8. Symbiosis Institute of Design (SID), Pune

9. CEPT University, Ahmedabad

10. National Insitute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Hyderabad

11. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi

12. National Institute of Design (NID), Andhra Pradesh


Aptitude for Design -

Creatively inclined students with an artistic flair may find designing a suitable career. Students may gauge their aptitude for designing with the following criteria:

  • Ideation and initiative

  • Creative ability

  • Originality and innovation 

  • Depth perception and perspective

  • Visual communication

  • Technical skills with software systems

  • Typography

  • Knowledge of styles and trends in the design industry

  • Visual Imagination


Top Design Specialisations for the Future -

The most promising and lucrative design specialisations to opt for are -

  • UX/UI Designer

  • Graphic Designer

  • Animation Artist

  • Product Designer

  • Web Designer/Developer 

  • Sustainable Fashion Designer 

  • Interior Designer 


Design Assessment - 

Undergraduate design programmes in India span between three to four years and six to eight semesters. Students are assessed on a grade-point average (GPA)/percentage basis through internal assessments and end-semester written exams.

Design courses cover both theoretical and practical subjects, some of which include rendering, illustration, design management, consumer psychology, quantitative research, production planning, and industrial training. 

Besides written tests to examine the theoretical bases of students, assessments also include several practical papers, field trip reports, and skill-based tests on drawing/sketching/modelling/rendering (depending upon the candidate’s specialisation).


Fees for Design Courses -

The total fee structure for design colleges in India ranges between 50,000 to 10 lakhs per annum for a 3-5-year design course. The fee structure may vary depending on the college, duration, course, and specialization of choice.


Scholarships in Design -

Some of the scholarships, fellowships, and grants offered to students aspiring to pursue a design degree in India include the BeArt Presets Academic Scholarships, the Government Of India Scholarships Programme For Diaspora Children, and the Scheme For Financial Assistance For Skill And Entrepreneurial Development.

Institutional scholarships and fellowships are also offered by universities and colleges across India. Indian Institute of Art and Design Delhi, Amity University Mumbai, LPU Jalandhar, Symbiosis Institute of Design Pune, and Arch Academy of Design Jaipur are some of the universities offering financial aid to students.


Internships/Industry Experience in Design -

Gaining industry experience through internships is a vital and often mandatory requirement for design students. Most colleges have Training and Placement (T&P) cells to help students gain industry experience through professional training sessions and internships. 

The University Grants Commission’s (UGC) 2022 guidelines state that all undergraduate students studying in recognised Indian universities must compulsorily do an internship for eight to ten weeks. 

Moreover, design is an applied field and candidates must apply their theoretical learning in the professional world to develop their style, build a brand, and gain practical working skills and creative industry experience during their formative years.  


Post-graduate Study/Research Opportunities in Design -

After completing undergraduate design courses like B Des/B FTech/BFA/BVA/BA, students may opt for higher education with Master's/PhD degrees. Here are a few postgraduate study and research opportunities in India:

  • Master of Design or M Des (2 years)

  • Master of Arts or MA with a design specialisation (2 years)

  • Post Graduate Diploma in design (1-2 years)

  • Master of Philosophy or M Phil with a design specialisation (2 years)

  • PhD (Doctorate) in design 


Important entrance exams conducted for admission into postgraduate and research courses in India include -

  • Common Entrance Examination for Design (CEED)

  • National Institute of Design Design Aptitude Test (NID DAT)

  • National Insitute of Fashion Technology Entrance Exam (NIFT EE)

  • All India Entrance Examination for Design (AIEED)

  • Symbiosis Entrance Exam for Design (SEED)

  • Indian Institute of Crafts and Design (IICD) Entrance Test


Study Abroad Opportunities in Design -

Several universities and colleges abroad offer excellent design programmes and courses. Here are some of the best global design institutions for students wishing to pursue a degree abroad:

1. Royal College of Art, London

2. University of the Arts, London

3. The New School, New York

4. Rhode Island School of Design, Providence

5. Politecnico di Milano, Milan

6. Aalto University, Espoo

7. Pratt Institute, New York

8. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge

9. Design Academy Eindhoven

10. School of the Art Institute of Chicago


Career Prospects/Placements in Design -

After obtaining a design degree/certification, students can offer their skills as designers in the public and private sectors as well as on a freelance basis. Several design colleges and institutions offer placement opportunities to their students through their training and placement (T&P) cell in the penultimate/final year of the degree. 

Some of the top companies recruiting design graduates in India include:

  • Elephant Design

  • Pearl Global

  • Bombay Dyeing 

  • Landor India

  • DY Works

  • Pantaloons 

  • Shopper’s Stop

  • Universal Designovation Lab

  • Ticket Design

  • Almond Branding

Some of the leading design firms in the world include -

  • Pentagram

  • Meta Design

  • Landor

  • Ralph Lauren

  • Walt Disney Studio

  • Gensler

  • Wolff Olins

  • Mucho

  • UX studio

  • Happy Cog

After completing their degrees in design, students may choose from various career prospects depending on their specialisations. Some of the popular and lucrative career prospects in design include:

  • UI/UX designer

  • Graphic Designer

  • Product Designer

  • Animation Artist

  • Cartoonist

  • Multimedia artist & animator

  • Art Director

  • Fashion Designer

  • Film and Video Editor

  • Interior Designer


Starting Salaries in Design -

The average starting salaries for design graduates range between 3 to 5 lakhs per annum and can go as high as 20 LPA for senior designers. 

UX/UI design, art direction, game design, creative direction, advertising design, product design, and automotive design are some of the design streams that have reported the highest starting salaries in India.


Subjects Similar to Design -

Design is an expansive field of study covering several sectors. Candidates interested in pursuing a career in design can also consider the following subjects -

  • Architecture

  • Planning

  • Art

  • Interior Designing

  • Designing

  • Landscaping

  • Music

  • Fine Arts

  • Acting

  • Dancing

  • Music

  • Direction

  • Fashion

Also Read:
Top Arts Colleges in India


Design FAQs -

Which is the most lucrative design specialisation in India?

Interaction Design (UX/UI) is one of the highest-paying design specialisations to pursue in India, reporting an average salary of 7LPA. 

Other lucrative design streams to pursue in India include art direction, automotive design, industrial design, interior design, product design, and game design.


Which is the best foreign university for design courses?

Top foreign universities to pursue design courses include the Royal College of Art London, Rhode Island School of Design, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the University of the Arts London.


What is the age limit for B Des courses in India?

The minimum age limit to pursue a B.Des degree in India is between 19 to 20 years. 

Upper age limits (if applicable) depend on the university’s rules. The National Institutes of Design and Fashion Technology generally impose an upper limit of 23 years for B.Des applicants. 


Is professional coaching necessary for design entrance exams?

Design entrance exams are conducted to assess the creative caliber of applying candidates. Professional coaching mainly helps familiarize candidates with the paper pattern and types of questions set and ensures regular practice; the onus on creative thinking lies entirely on the candidates in question.