New IDer: Shivani Mohan

by New Idiom


I’m Shivani, an MDes candidate for Fall 2009. I grew up in India, New Delhi. After high school I went to the National Institute of Design at Ahmedabad to study Industrial design for 5 years. Soon after design school, I joined the LG design team, and was with them for one and a half years.

How did you end up at ID?What were your motivations for coming? Where were you working before?

While at NID, I found myself whole heartedly collecting research material for ongoing projects, I loved the research phase, and usually came back with lots and lots of material to chew on, but when it came to assimilation, analysis and synthesis of the data… I found myself not adequately equipped with the “tools”.

Again, when I started working at LG Electronics India, I found that designing the product was only part of the process I was engaged in. A large portion of my time was spent with the marketing team and product planning team evaluating different strategies, and possible “Product Road Maps”.

Soon I decided that I wanted to go to a place that could give me insight into areas like Design research, - a method of research synthesis that was not only about number crunching, Strategy evaluation, and planning techniques. While searching for such a place I happened upon the ID site, and it was a tailor fit!

You worked with LG in the Seoul office. What was your experience like in South Korea?

At LG, the large design projects take form in the head office at Seoul. Coming
from a design school that had a full capacity of about 300 hundred
students, and then to the Indian office with 7 designers, it was pure
awe to see the LG design centre at Seoul. It has a total of about 400 designers! At
LG there was a whole floor of designers dedicated to every broad
product category. There was a lot of energy and enthusiasm in the
various design teams.

Soon I got immersed in my project. My presentations were always an interesting event, since I did not know Korean, and English was not the team’s working language. Thus we had presentations with a lot of images and sketches and animated dialogue. The result was often a very interesting exchange of different methodologies, since the Indian design method was a little different.

On a lighter side – I had gone to Seoul as a person who had just begun to contemplate eating meat again after 10 long years of vegetarianism. I was only comfortable eating white meat and had many inhibitions about food. I came back from there… eating everything!!

Is there anything amazing from Seoul that you think people should not miss?

The food – everything from the street food like tok puki to Korean barbeques to more traditional meals are very tasty and very distinct.

Namsang Tower (observatory) on a clear night

What are your first impressions about ID?

After 2 years of work, I was a bit nervous about starting studying again, I
would spend my idle hours rewinding time to see if I made all the right
turns, and whether studying WAS in fact the right choice…. But within
minutes of being in ID, most of my fears dissolved.
I felt excited to be amongst very different
people, in terms of geography, subjects, interests… language. And the
talks had focus and promise.

What do you think you can bring to the people here at ID?

Stories. Some non fictional ( data!) and some fictional (ideas).

Which designers or thinkers have impressed you the most lately or you are following now?

Don Norman, Victor Papaneck were a source of direction.

What are the websites you could not live without?

Google of course




Numerous blogs( I’ll need to re-search for them now!)

What kind of activities are you planning to do in your free time (in case you have any) while at ID?

See Chicago, the music (it’s the birth city of blues…) the architecture,
experiment with food… I’ve heard there’s a crazy variety here.

And….. see if I can drive in this left-hand-drive world, collect warm clothes so I can survive the winter!!