Yan Garin is the Country Head and Director of Ecole Intuit Lab; joined the brand in 2013. Before joining Ecole, Mr. Garin served as Production Coordinator with 3D Upside Down and Art Center Producer with Jeem TV. He has over three decades of rich experience in the various fields of production and operation. As the Country Head, Mr. Garin assures the liaison between Ecole Paris and India. His vision is to cross culture the French art, culture, and heritage to the Indian audience through various methodologies and bring out the best designing professionals. In conversation with Yan Garin.
Which fields do you think design can permeate into in order to bring about actual change in society?
Design is a ubiquitous part of our society and if we look closely it naturally permeates into every aspect of our lives. Whether it’s a compact gadget like Alexa or a jumbo jet aircraft, design goes into the making of everything around us. And like most other fields of knowledge, design too is rapidly changing due to the thrust of digital technology. All of design is now digital and in the years to come, the digital product designer is poised to become the single most important factor in the field of design.
To further this idea of digital tech + design transforming our lives, think about how something as organic as dating in the modern world has been completely altered. Dating was something that once happened only through familial and social ties. However, Swipe Right and Swipe Left have now become essential phrases in the millennial lexicon, and this has happened only because of this seamless amalgamation of design and digital technology.
What would you like to say to the people out there that hesitate in going forward to make design their full-time career choice and not a side passion?
I believe, passion for design is something that is deep-seated and ingrained in the way a person thinks about life and our world. Hence, when you work as a designer, you begin to live life in the most artistic and creative way possible. To be a designer is to see the world through a different lens – one of passion, creativity and innovation. There is a vast scope of design with many new avenues opening up in the design industry. It is no longer limited to the fashion, interior or visual design. Many technology startups today view design as a fundamental part of their business strategy and a key driver for sales and customer engagement. So to those looking to make it in the world of design, I would say that you should think of it as a way of life and channel your passion for design in the widest way in this evolved world of design.
Tell us about the growth trajectory of École Intuit Lab and what that indicates for the future of design in India.
École is passionate about nurturing young minds who have an interest in creativity and a budding desire for design. All our programs have been created keeping in mind young students who might not have a completely etched out career path in mind but definitely have a nascent interest in design. Our job is to mould them into becoming thought leaders and creative professionals in the field of design. We also wish to make accessible an education that is at par with international standards. And when we talk about international standards, we don’t mean a curriculum that is eurocentric or westernised, we mean an education that is truly global in nature and captures the universal spirit of design.
Is there a demand for designers in every industry? Do you think this demand will grow exponentially in the coming years? What are your thoughts?
Demand for designers in every industry is bound to grow exponentially in the coming years. Since audiences in every industry are now connected through the internet, being digitally invisible is just not an option anymore. Whether it is in the B2C market or the B2B segment, an online presence is a must for companies. In addition to this online presence—which is akin to a basic hygiene practice now—brands also have to ensure that they come across as reliable and trustworthy to their consumers, and here is where the role of design comes into play because only designers can help create visually authentic branding that can effectively convey a company’s identity and vision.
COVID‐19 has disrupted many aspects of higher education, including how students are recruited, enrolled into courses. How will design institutions meet the realities of a post‐pandemic world?
As designers, we are always expected to have a nimble approach and be able to think on our feet. Hence, we are the first people in the world who should be able to adapt to the change. With respect to the pandemic, since we have campuses all across the globe and many international collaborators, we anticipated a total lockdown and drew up contingency plans in advance. Also, since we have always been a digital-forward design institution, we already had in place digital platforms for teaching-learning collaboration. This helped us to ease the transition to online learning and in fact, our students have now come to really appreciate online learning since they have regular virtual classes with designers and teachers from all over the world.
What are the predictable changes in the design education sector after COVID-19?
Design education has always been dynamic in nature and it is constantly changing in tandem with global trends. Like most other fields, design educators will also have to explore hybrid models of learning that seamlessly integrate online and offline modes of learning.
What are your views on leadership? How should education administrators ensure that their faculty members and students transform into world-class leaders in the design sector?
I believe that India would hugely benefit from the adoption of a horizontal approach to leadership rather than a pyramidal structure. Leaders should work to inspire young people and loosen the grip of rigid hierarchies. India is the youngest country in the world and it has a reservoir of brilliant minds that can be moulded into future leaders. As for the design education sector, I truly believe that if administrators trust those who work under them, and give them freedom and responsibility in equal measure, they can nurture a rich pool of talented world-class leaders who can work towards using design to create a positive impact on the lives of people.