“Creative isn’t the way I think. It’s the way I live.” – Paul Sandip
The two-time Red Dot award-winning designer and honored by Shri Narendra Modi in 2005 & President of Taiwan Mr. Ma Ying-jeou in 2010, Mr. Sandip Paul has been acclaimed around the world for his innovative rethinking of everyday objects. His fresh perspectives have been instrumental in creating products of simplistic convenience and have been embraced by multiple brands and their innumerable users for the same.
The angular multiplug, bulb holder, and Deepam the electric worship lamp are some of his notable designs which have greatly contributed to society. His vision of new perceptions has led to the design of over 300 products and has redefined the market in over 14 countries.
A Product Designer who changed the world with his innovative designs
Sandip Paul’s TEDx talk at ICEM Pune was given using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community in the year 2019. Through this talk, the designer and cartoonist exclaims his journey through this creative industry and the deep-rooted vision and thought process adopted to achieve his goals. His 15 years of design practice has culminated into his understanding that we have to see things we want to achieve, although they don’t exist in reality, and his talk dives into his process of achieving this new outlook.
One of the first qualities required in order to bring visions to reality is to see things from others points of view, or simply empathy. He travels down the memory lane, back to his engineering days and his time as a cartoonist for the Lokmat Times. His observant eyes as a cartoonist were also able to identify the inconveniences faced by the general public, which eventually led to the design of his first-ever product and also won him his first product design award. This was the spark that drove Sandip Paul to consider product design as his career path ahead.
The star designer now moves on to a much more deep-seated issue that impacts the impetus towards any design. During his post-graduation days at NID, the realization that habituation can have negative influences strikes him as it can stop bringing about change in our lives and our surroundings. He reminisces about his regular train journeys during the time that struck a chord in him to notice the multiple intertwining issues that have been habituated by the users over the years. All these factors led to the design of his next simple yet highly efficient product. The success of this design was quite evident as it won the Designpreneur award and is also in the permanent collection of the Design Museum in Copenhagen.
Seeing and Looking
Sandip Paul talks about how as a designer he always tends to analyze any situation for its problems so as to solve them. He began to notice the cognitive loads caused by everyday objects and created alternative simple solutions which began to be accepted by users almost instantaneously and effortlessly. The designer in him also began to realize the importance of seeing the invisible, as it is a much more difficult task to solve problems that almost no one notices. This led him to create minimal changes to existing products and generated a whole new category of those products that were much more convenient for use.
Solutions through Curiosity
The designer also talks about the significance of seeing beyond the obvious, and our innately curious mind’s influence to do so. He goes on to revisit a rather interesting design brief and his unique take towards achieving this goal. After analyzing the obvious solutions, he takes a step beyond and studies the users and the contexts of the product’s usage, which eventually produced an interesting and highly multifunctional device that not only solved the problem at hand but created more advantages than what was visible to the naked eye.
Today, the improved product’s vision has been seen as a basic necessity and not just as an addition to the existing product, which is truly an achievement. He also believes that solutions are much closer than we think, and many times are hidden in plain sight. His efforts at converting a global product to be more indigenous by understanding the strategy of usage gave rise to interesting multidimensional solutions that were applauded by the manufacturers as well as the users.
While there are multiple ways to complicate a design, it is essential to simplify them. He explains this strategy by narrating the experience of working on a project alongside his wife. While there were many attempts at solving the problems caused by this daily item, there seemed to be no substantial attempt at creating a complete solution. The reason lies hidden in the fact that the product was subjected to more complications to solve the problems it posed. This led to the realization to work their way back into understanding its elemental form and further simplifying the design, which created a solid fool-proof solution towards the product’s usage.
Designer Sandip Paul concludes his highly impactful TEDx talk with a rather imperative message- to look and not merely see things, as observation is the key to real innovation. His talk has surely provided the audience with a brand-new perspective on not just product design, but the strategy towards any good design on a much wider scale. While the general audience has been quickly exposed to the depths of the process behind multiple objects around them, other designers have been intrigued by his extensive knowledge, experience, and strategies used in this highly creative field.
In order to get the complete version of this extremely insightful talk, you may watch the video which is available on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcNUsl0zbP8
www.youtube.com. (n.d.). A Product Designer who changed the world with his innovative designs | SANDIP PAUL | TEDxICEMPune. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcNUsl0zbP8.
PAUL SANDIP. (n.d.). PAUL SANDIP | Industrial Designer | India. [online] Available at: https://www.paulsandip.com/ [Accessed 19 Sep. 2021].