How to become a calf of Elephant Design!

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Ashwini Deshpande
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Every design student or graduate dreams of interning with the best agencies or studios and Elephant Design tops the list. Ashwini Deshpande, the co-founder of Elephant Design shares their well thought strategy behind selecting and mentoring interns each year just like how an elephant will mentor their calf to be part of their family.

As a student of NID, I was an intern at Lintas & Module Studio in Mumbai around 1986-87. First one made me realise that I didn’t want to make a career in advertising and second one gave me the confidence to be an entrepreneur. I can say this with conviction that my learning was far wider than the specific projects or work done in those internship months. And I can never be grateful enough to those who mentored me then.

At Elephant, we have interns not only from design & management institutes in India, but also from Turkey, Singapore, France, The Netherlands, USA & Mexico. Idea behind accepting interns from diverse disciplines and cultures is to make Elephant culture richer & more inclusive.

We strongly believe that an intern needs to have a good mentor who is patient, has empathy & encourages experimentation. So we never invite more interns than we can mentor. Out of a hundred odd expressions of interest, we select about ten interns every summer. We do look at the portfolio, but more importantly, we look at the readiness to become part of a large team and learn from everything that goes around in a very busy design studio.

Design is not a solo game. Anyone who is too focused on his/ her project is not welcome, as they would not integrate with the spirit of teamwork at Elephant. What we promise is a role in the team and expects the intern to enjoy the ride.


We also hire fresh graduates from some of the design schools in India and from them we expect passion to experiment, enthusiasm towards teamwork and ability to articulate ideas through visual story-telling. We like people who are curious, positive and flexible

Published in Issue 32

If you are a recent graduate or about to finish your college then this issue may have answers to many of your questions. Like, how to get the best placement or the internship? How to present best in front of the interviewer? Which studio or agency to choose to start your career? How to work in a team or choose to be a freelancer? This issue has advice from many experts such as Ashwini Deshpande and Gopika Chowfla who gave the secrets of choosing the right intern for their well-known design teams. And on another hand, Rajaram Rajendran and Ranganath Krishnamani advise young designer to gain multiple skills and be the best at them. Also, recent MIT Post Graduate Vinta Jakkal shares her secret with which she grabbed the great opportunity of joining the Elephant Design, Pune team to start her career.


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We are a bunch of enthusiastic creatives, designers and writers, who are committed to bringing forth the hidden Indian Design talent with an unbiased and unique approach to design.