Natasha Azam attended the one-year MA course Advanced Design
Visualisation at UID and finsihed in 2010.
What is your academic background?
I hold a Master&s degree in Multimedia design from IQRA
University in Karachi, Pakistan, as well as a Diploma in
Interior design from National College of Arts in Lahore,
Pakistan. My main subjects were Videography, 3D-animation,
2D-animation, graphic design, postproduction and story boarding. To
further refurbish my vision and my skills, I joined the one-year MA
level course Advanced Design
Visualisation at UID.
Since you left Umeå, what have you been doing?
I did my final project at UID for the in-house IP (Intellectual
Property) concept project at Ericsson, Gothenburg on the
visualization of Intellectual property as a message. The
visualization was shown in an IP session held in Gothenburg. Take a
look at the short message film clip on Vimeo.
After that I joined the Summer Design office in Botkyrka,
Stockholm, funded by the Swedish Industrial Design Foundation, SVID. I
was fortunately selected and was among the eight designers working
on four main projects under the theme "Bridging": Kungsleden for vertical village
concept, Veidekke on housing careers in Northern Botkyrka,
Botkyrka municipality for attracting people to northern
Botkyrka, and Portal. As a team we carried out research,
analysis, and visualization, and we came up with innovative design
proposals and solutions to bridge the gaps.
After that I have been working on digital visualization of the
Acospector prototype, launched by the Swedish company ACOsense.
I also have worked on graphic and product visualization related
projects for the firm First Impression in Sweden.
In the future I plan to work in the field of
visualization/motion graphics. I believe that designers are
psychologists in some ways, having beautiful minds creating and
showing striking things visually, and this skill can be utilized to
relieve the pain coexisting in our world. So I am also aiming
towards working non-profit for humanity globally, as a visual
designer, contributing positively to society, in every way
What is your best memory from your time in Umeå?
Umeå is beautiful and you relish every minute being there.
Bumping into students from different countries makes it a unique
place. Not only at the design school, but all over Umeå it is a
nice and clean atmosphere blended with curiosity, friendliness and
humbleness. I remember attending beautiful choirs, evenings with
friends, and mouth-watering fikas. The first UID
get-together-project was quite interesting since it&s the first
week for everyone, and everybody from all different programmes got
a chance to know each other in working together in a fun way.
Which aspects of your education at UID have been most useful
for what you are currently doing?
I believe that everything that I learned at UID has been helpful
in my professional life. My background is from Pakistan, and I was
accustomed to that perspective and with the practices in
educational institutions there, with people of the same culture and
origin. The education at UID opened up other dimensions. Being a
creative individual, the approach I now presume in looking at
things, has been changed in a globally beneficial way. In ADV we
worked on various projects with dynamic techniques, in software as
well as in structure, and the importance of the design process was
essential and visible throughout the whole programme. This is
something I am now practicing in real life projects.
Do you have any good advice for new UID students?
I will say that UID brings students from varying backgrounds
together in one platform, forming a small world of creative people.
It&s a privilege learning from each other for a more fruitful
and out-of-the-box way of life. So gain as much as you can!
What are you doing now, back in Pakistan?
I am not a fulltime employee but work on certain projects with a
company in Sweden. I deliver everything online, so it is no problem
that I am here in Pakistan, not in Sweden. I plan to work here in
Pakistan for a while and eventually having my own company. Maybe
later I will go to Sweden again.
Why did you choose the visualisation course at UID?
My background is in multimedia design and I obtained my
Master&s degree here in Pakistan, and my field is all about
storytelling, 3D and videography, and I had all of that from my
previous education. But I wanted to study abroad to get more
exposure and to achieve a new vision, and this I could only attain
by studying somewhere else than Pakistan, because here you study
with the same origin of people around, and then you develop one
kind of thinking perspective. Since everything is becoming so
global it is really important to seek dynamic exposure from around
the world, since designers know no boundaries!
Being a girl from Pakistan I feel comfortable going to places
where I have acquaintances, I prefer that. My brother has been in
Sweden for about five years, so I opted for Sweden. Then I browsed
online for different programmes and the ADV course really had what
I was looking for. I looked at other programmes too, but ADV seemed
most fitting. I wanted to learn more about 3D, especially the
3D-software Maya, and also postproduction techniques. ADV was
interesting because it was a complete package of everything I
In your opinion, what are the biggest strengths of the ADV
I believe the biggest strength is the multicultural environment
in the classroom. You have students from all over the world in one
spot, so you get to know various kinds of ideas from the students
around. It is not only about learning software and techniques; a
big part is about interacting with each other on different levels.
In my class each and every one was from a different country, no one
came from the same place.
Also we had cooperation projects with the Advanced Product
Design programme and with the urban planners, and through that we
got to know more about what the other students at UID did.
Do you have a favourite project from ADV?
I think my final project was my favourite. Throughout the course
we worked on different techniques of storytelling, and then in the
final project I worked with the visualization of intellectual
property. Intellectual property is linked to design, because design
is also all about ideas and concepts. It was very challenging for
me: how to visualize this intangible thing. I really loved it!
Did the ADV course prepare you for the professional world?
Yes, I utilize the skills I learned at UID. But I think you
always keep studying in life, I mean the process goes on, you
cannot stop your mind from absorbing more knowledge. But for now, I
think I am ready to work in different directions, I have the vital
skills needed. The ADV course was very beneficial. By the way, I
saw this really interesting Ted Talks, with David McCandless about data
visualization; check it out!
Would you do anything differently?
I made the right choice! ADV totally supplied the kind of
knowledge I needed, I wouldn&t have opted for any other
How do you think the tuition fees for non-EU students will
The beauty of being at UID was the multicultural environment, I
think the best thing was that the students came from all over the
world, forming a creative environment, and I think the tuition fees
will affect that a lot. Students from for instance Pakistan or
India prefer to study in UK or US, instead of somewhere where
English is not the first language. The reason is the vast
possibility of future job opportunities in the English speaking
countries where you also get the degree in the same language. So
with the tuition fees, they will not be as motivated to go to Umeå.
Also it is hard to find work in Sweden, since the first language is
Swedish. And living in Sweden is also very expensive. UID will be
left with the EU students, and as a designer you really need to be
open-minded and you need a lot of interaction with all kinds of
people - that is what brings out really good design!
Natasha was interviewed by Alastair Warren and Elinn Bolonassos
in November 2010.