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This is just my jumping-off point

Pratika Appaiah (XD, 2020)

As an assignment in undergrad, my interior design class was asked to sketch the inside of the Brandcenter. For one hour, I unexpectedly became a fly on the wall, listening to Brandcenter students spit-balling ideas to solve a unique problem. I was intrigued by their thought process, their excitement for the challenge at hand. From that point on, Brandcenter was something I thought about frequently. 

After undergrad, I was eager to put my interior design degree to work. I spent a few years designing high-end residential interiors and environmental graphics at an architecture firm. But after a while, I felt an itch to be more than just a designer; I wanted to pivot into creative problem-solving. This led me to enroll in the Brandcenter’s Experience Design concentration. 

At the Brandcenter, I’ve learned that there are multiple ways to solve a problem, and there is never just one answer. I used to focus on the “what” when design-ing and would jump at my first idea or solution. After two years, Brandcenter has fundamentally changed how I think. Today, I focus first on the “why” before jumping to the “what” or “how.” 

While backpacking in Portugal last summer, I got stuck in an airport overnight. It was terrible, but it became the inspiration behind my independent study project. I wanted to create a solution that solved for the needs of back-packers experiencing travel pains. Using my new approach to problem-solving, I designed a unique airport lounge, complete with a brand ecosystem and business case for why it needs to exist. I even had the opportunity to present my idea to HostelWorld, the company I proposed to partner with for the creation of the space! 

I’m so thankful for my two years at Brandcenter, where I’ve constantly been pushed to be a better designer and thinker. This is just my jumping-off point for many more years of learning in the industry.

Pratika Appaiah (XD, 2020)