The domain of design is ever-evolving – posing new challenges to anyone engaged in problem-solving through design interventions. It is very often considered to be the oldest human activity and one of the newest professions. The practice of design, emerging from craft, and later architecture, is centred on meeting people’s needs and engages with two broad areas of the built environment – the object and the sign, and both are informed by the realm of visual design.
And, for visual designers, one of the best places for contemporary creative practice is the sprawling city of Mumbai – a hub for the creative industry in South Asia and the design learning destination of Whistling Woods International School of Design, which has been offering world-class education in the field of Visual Communication Design.
Launched in 2017, WWI School of Design has left no stone unturned in educating students and professionals with visual communication design excellence. Known nationally and globally for its Bachelor of Design program, the institute has a lot to offer to the creative industries worldwide. The WWI School of Design focuses on developing students into visual communication design professionals that pave the way to being an excellent medium that mirrors society and propels inclusive development.
Founded on the philosophical principles of ‘Learning by Doing’, the WWI School of Design enables its student to be hands-on, minds-on, and engage proactively with the community. And, simultaneously committed to its mission, this unique design school has been acknowledged among the international diaspora for the education it offers to aspiring visual communication design professionals.
Spearheading this transformation in the world of visual communication design is the Head of the Department, Mr Milindo Taid. He has been tirelessly revolutionizing strategies and innovative pedagogy to draw creativity from every student.
Let’s deep dive into the WWI School of Design’s journey and learn the art and craft of Visual Communication Design!
Foundation Story of Asia’s premier Film, Communication, and Creative Arts Institute
Whistling Woods International is one of India’s and Asia’s premier institutes founded in 2006 by one of the country’s leading filmmakers, Mr Subhash Ghai. While it started as a film institute, offering its flagship program in filmmaking, over the course of its operation, Whistling Woods International has forayed into various verticals of film, communication, and creative arts education, offering a variety of courses varying in duration from one to four years.
Since its inception, the institute has launched multiple schools under its umbrella to cover the film, communication, and creative arts space. The WWI School of Design was launched with a vision to create a state-of-the-art school that set new standards of world-class education in Visual Communication Design. Its mission is to benchmark quality, inspire innovation, encourage creativity, and mould professional problem-solving talents. It offers a four-year degree program in Visual Communication Design.
Mr Milindo Taid expresses, “We take pride in the fact that the first few batches of students were offered jobs even before they graduated – a testimony to the high quality of professional education that the WWI School of Design focuses on, made possible largely by the exceptionally talented and committed teaching faculty.”
Interestingly the teaching faculty at the institute are all active working professionals who bring years of experience from the creative industries to classrooms and studios. Moreover, the ratio of faculty to students is favourable to individual mentorship and the building of positive relations and solidarity within the school. The vast network of WWI alumni ensures that students will have ongoing support and resources available to them during their program and after graduation.
Do What You Love; Love What You Do
Whistling Woods International has always been very particular about students following their passion. Emphasizing the institute’s philosophy, Mr Milindo Taid says, “We believe in ensuring that our students graduate as industry-ready professionals. Keeping that in mind, our curriculum is designed around experiencing practice along with the theoretical aspects.”
To create a state-of-the-art institution that sets new standards of world-class education in film, communication, and creative arts.
Benchmarking quality, inspiring innovation, encouraging creativity, and moulding minds by leading from the front in the field of film, media, and entertainment education.
A Leader of Compassion and Experience
Mr Milindo Taid, Head of the Department of WWI School of Design, being an influential personality in the industry, is also an eminent educator of design in the country. He is a former faculty member of Communication Design at the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, and also served as the Head of New Media at the same institute. He is also one of the founding members of the Communication Design program at the MIT Institute of Design, Pune.
He has taught in various design, communication, and media education organizations across India and abroad and guided many students on several national and international projects. He is the recipient of the prestigious Erasmus Mundus European Union scholarship for his doctoral research in the ‘Ethics of Communication Practices’ at the Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain.
Being such an influential design educator and consultant, he has helped and guided his students to establish independent design studios, consultancies, production houses, etc. He has also been associated with helping his students with design intervention and communication-related roles in reputed companies and organizations at both national and international levels.
Weaving the Threads of Modern Design
WWI School of Design holds Graphic Design and Visual Design as its core element to complete the academic learning arc for the students. Along with these, the four-year BDes program allows the students to specialize in electives like Motion Design, Interaction Design, and Spatial/Environmental Design.
The course is curated to create future-ready design thinkers, practitioners, and designers with in-depth knowledge of universal design, deep ecology, and environmental perception. The course, while completing the students’ learning arc, also allows them to propose new radical ideas via the colloquium paper.
Apart from that, the visiting experts and faculty from reputed design institutes worldwide offer them a diverse and global perspective on problem-solving through visual design.
Enhancing Global Communication with Visual Design
The outcomes of Visual Communication Design endeavours are one of the most prominent in the design environment. The program specializes in students undergoing fundamental design foundation inputs from the beginning. The course moves towards project-based semesters culminating in a major design project under standard industry conditions in semester eight.
Talking about the program in detail, Mr Milindo Taid shares, “Apart from rigorous inputs in the theoretical underpinnings of artistic/creative practice, the Visual Communication Design program ensures that the hands-on, minds-on nature of design practice is well comprehended by the students – as they must apply their traditional media and digital tool skills in all creative work done within the design program. It is a journey of constant honing fired by a quest for excellence.”
He further adds, “In years 2 and 3 of the Visual Communication Design program, an elective of Spatial Design is offered to the students, wherein, in acknowledging architecture as a ‘mother discipline’ in design, the thorough comprehension of elements of space, spatial narrative, and light, form, and space is made possible. The courses are conducted by globally attuned faculty who are alumni from top rung design institutes in India and abroad.”
Learning by Doing!
The school succeeds when it nurtures students in an environment that prepares them for every future situation. As mentioned, the WWI School of Design is based on a similar ethos where students learn by doing. The institute encourages and engages students in proactive and productive individual and group learning activities.
To provide the students with detailed insights about how designs are done, workshops and masterclasses are conducted by professional visual communication designers from across the world.
Explaining this practical-based ethos of the WWI School of Design, Mr Milindo Taid explains, “Our students receive job offers prior to graduating from the program – a testimony to the industry readiness and career orientation of our Visual Communication Design academic program. The final semester degree/thesis project is executed by the student as a young design professional working under standard industry conditions. They hit the ground running when they graduate.”
Emphasizing the future of the discipline, Mr Taid adds, “The future of design education is laid on the foundation of cutting-edge quality of student and faculty work, with a focus on quality-centric pedagogy.”
He further notes, “Appropriate design interventions that meet people’s needs and enhance the quality-of-life manifold will always be in demand – our academic program ensures that the quest for excellence is relentless.”
Moving towards the Ultimate Dream
Founding WWI was always a dream for the institute’s Founder and Chairman, Mr Subhash Ghai, a renowned filmmaker but a teacher at heart. Now that it has come about, the management always looks for opportunities to further build upon that initial vision. With the Mumbai campus well established, the institute is strongly looking at expansion both in terms of program verticals and campuses. The newest addition to the academic repertoire has been the launch of the WWI School of Sports and Esports Management.
Additionally, WWI is at various stages of establishing additional campuses both within India and outside, in partnership with governments and like-minded organizations.
Shedding some light on the institute’s vision, Mr Milindo Taid adds, “Our vision is to create an even greater state-of-the-art academic institution that sets new standards of world-class education in film, communication, and creative arts. The institution aims to inspire innovation and encourage creativity by leading from the front in the field of media and entertainment.”
WWI School of Design’s “Ultimate dream is to have an institution that hones and promotes talent from the ages 5 to 50. The institute ensures that every creative person who wishes to make a career in this dynamic industry goes through top-quality education and is successful in what they do. The institute is in negotiation with various state governments, as the endeavour is to build more such schools that aren’t just a film institute but a communication, creativity, and media oasis!”
Awards and Accreditations of WWI
- Over 3400+ alumni successfully graduated from WWI to date, with over 90% gainfully employed at several leading M&E organizations in India and globally
- Whistling Woods International joined the On-Set Virtual Production (OSVP) involved undertaken by the Society for Moon Pictures and Television Engineers (SMPTE). The initiative is a first-of-its-kind Rapid Industry Solution (RIS) activity structured to lay down best practices for tackling the complexities of emerging technologies
- Whistling Woods International is honoured to be a member of the VR/AR Association
- Whistling Woods International has been recognized for its Enterprise Applications in the education category at the Digital Technology Senate Awards 2021, hosted by The Indian Express Group
- Whistling Woods International has associated with Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation for an industry-academia collaboration to further the cause of Emerging Media content and Cinematic Virtual Reality
- Whistling Woods International has been acknowledged and awarded as the Top Animation Institute with Best Infrastructure in India by Image Planet at India’s Top Animation Education Institutes Award, 2019
- The institute was also awarded Excellence in Creative & Performing Arts at the 6th FICCI Higher Education Excellence Awards 2019
- Ranked amongst the top 10 film schools in the world by The Hollywood Reporter
- Whistling Woods International is rated among the ‘Top Institutes of Influence’ globally by Forbes India