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Kanhika Nikam Hello! I’m a recent Product Design Graduate (April 2012) from MIT Institute of Design, India and I look forward to working with you!

Kanhika Nikam Sustainable products, furniture and design for kids interests me a lot. I enjoy brainstorming sessions, working on interdisciplinary projects and using a systems approach to solve problems. I like working with material/processes and love handmade things. I like it when form follows function, just like in nature. I also like reading about design, surfing the internet, attending seminars and watching TED Talks. I’m fond of modularity and mix matched things. I live to travel! Puzzle solving, watching movies and shopping take up my spare time. Currently I’m working on my website/blog, while I travel and learn how to cook!

Green Design The future is for the next generation. Thus it’s becoming very important for the children of today to be aware of a sustainable living. The project aims at spreading awareness in school environments by subtle, metaphorical ideas. Turning the green concept into tangible learning.


Paper mache dust bin lid adds on the existing bin. A direct metaphor reminding:

‘Throwing recyclable garbage gives rise to landfills thus pollutes the earth.’

Green Design


Stackable module for storing recyclable paper: 5 ply corrugated sheet, easy to assemble, no adhesive, collapsible, stackable, portable and weight bearing.

Every child is given a module to take home. The task is to fill it up with left over paper from used notebooks lying at home, from neighbors and friends.

As the children fill the boxes and get it back to class the boxes stack on top of each other in form of a tree.

More paper saved



Tree grows taller!

Green Design

The tree top made of corrugated sheet is used to give stars *** to the most contributing student.


Design for the Hearing Impaired Hearing impaired children often face speech/language problems. It’s not an illness to be cured, it needs therapy. Therapy happens in the clinic, but most of the child’s learning at home, with his family. This is a game that the child plays with his family and friends. It accelerates the process of grasping language, in the initial years when the hearing is still stronger. It can also be used as an aid by speech therapists.

The objectives of the game is to: use lip reading as a medium to guess words. This technique is used by therapists to teach language (accompanied by touching the mouth/throat, feeling the vibrations, heat coming out of the mouth).

Difficulty/Level of words increases depending on how deep in the mouth the sound is produced.

Beginner Level: Lip

Food Water Home Car Tree Star

Beginner Level: Lip

Intermediate Level: Mouth

Expert Level: Throat


Boy Girl Ball Doll Book Moon

Expert Level: Throat


Bat Pencil Fan Light Chair Cycle Milk Sky Sun Sleep Dog Cat

Intermediate Level: Mouth

Each triangular piece is stuck together by magnets. The fillet at the corner makes picking up easy.

Design for the Hearing Impaired Team


• Picks up a card from the deck* with a word on it • Says the word without making sound**by just moving his lips


The two teams can have any number of players as long as they are equal.

* **

Design for the Hearing Impaired




• Tries to guess the word by looking at the mouth and at the randomly arranged reference pieces • Once the word is guessed they point it out, if correct then the piece is won. The pieces are used to build any kind of form*


Team that guesses maximum words/pieces in minimum time wins.


Design for the Hearing Impaired

One can also make sentences using words on the pieces (storytelling) and teach concepts of order/sequence. Since the pieces are dynamic and playful they can be used to make different forms and communicate like tangrams. The magnetic forms allow the game to be played over vertical surfaces* thus it can be used to communicate to larger audiences.


*Reference Image

Interaction Design The Nintendo Mii is an engaging device which enhances the short term memory of kids aged 8-11. It generates curiosity and imagination in a fun way and the ownership of it is a great source of pride to the child.

The Nintendo Mii helps enhance the childs cognitive skills through methods of recall and recollection. The Mii Badge which is attached on to the childs chest randomly collects visual and auditory clues from the childs daily routine. These images and sounds can then be accessed on the Mii Memoir when the Mii Badge is connected to it. The child gets to recreate his/her experiences by means of drawings, writings and voice recordings. He/she can put together these different media with help of the built in interface. This is then posted on a micro blogging network to be shared with other Mii-nions over the world. The Nintendo Mii becomes a true reflection of the Childs mind.

Puts on the Badge

Talking to Mom (Records)

Late for bus (Records)

Gets a prize (Records)

Playing with friends (Records)

Excited for the Mii Zone class

Puts the Badge in Mii

Uses Mii to express the day

Sharing experiences with friends

Happy to have Mii

Interaction Design Mii Badge: worn by the Child captures pictures and sounds throughout the day.

Mii Memoir: tablet where the Child puts his experiences together. Mii Friends: will guide them as they express themselves on their dedicated virtual space. Mii Comic: helps the Child explore his/her creativity in a comic format with his/her handwriting, sketches and the pictures and audio clips recorded by the Mii Badge.

Mii Sleeve: silicone cover gives the Child freedom to carry it around with a handle and acts as protection.

Mii Memoir is such that the curved base doesn’t allow it to be used on a flat surface thus encouraging the Child to hold the device close (hands/on lap) developing an attachment to it.

Systems Design: Travelling Street Food We were to solve any given problem through a Systems Approach. By understanding how different things influence one another within a whole. To view problems as part of an overall system, rather than reacting to specific parts.

System studied: A chain of travelling street food company: ‘Burger Mail’. The information collected was put into Systems Maps, Information Overlap Charts, Input-Output tables. These helped to formulate the Systems Brief: To bring out the basic idea of meals on wheels by creating a suitable brand strategy, which will: • utilize mobility • reach different customers • utilize employees time

Systems Map

Information Overlap Chart

Systems Design: Travelling Street Food Suggested Co-Branding Strategy: Burger Mail+Venky’s xprs: • Enhance the existing identity of Burger Mail. • Highlighting its idea of reaching out to young audience and of being an informal brand. • Utilizing mobility of the car by reaching out to different types of customers keeping the current route constant. • Utilizing the employees time thus increasing profits, in turn increasing his income and job satisfaction. • Increasing the overall hygiene.

The new name: Venky’s xprs BITE. As ‘BITE’ is an extremely routine word, it can be used widely and flexibly. Application of the brand language on the employee uniforms, badges, paper plates, car etc.:

Systems Design: Travelling Street Food Minimum changes/inputs> Maximum outputs.


Customer can read the name and see the menu even before he reaches the car.


Locking system which wouldn’t be as visible and latches inside. Window size doubled to 2ft., employee doesn’t bend as much to talk to the customer, better interaction. Plus improved ventilation.


Menu with a whiteboard marker. Customer interacts, leaves comments, while waiting for their burger. Thus, completing the feedback loop.

Systems Design: Travelling Street Food 4

New grill added and cutting board placed strategically on top of the dust bin.


Concealed dust bin placed bellow cutting board. Rod on money drawer to hang rag so the employee lands up cleaning his hands before and after exchanging money. Filleted corners to follow brand/form language. So do the buns crate, stool & ice box.


The shelve is red and back lit. Makes the space more attractive and follows the language used at Venky’s xprs.

Do It Yourself Kit

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Design Brief: A do-it-yourself kit for kids highlighting the issue of endangered species.

The mouth of the turtle has a peculiar hawk like shape which makes it easy to distinguish it from other turtles.

Two visible claws on all four flippers.

Hawksbill Turtle

The carapace (shell) is divided in 13 parts. This is particular to the Hawksbills turtle.

Do It Yourself Kit

Form explorations for different body parts. Corrugated model exploring different joineries.

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Do It Yourself Kit CAD model detailing for joineries. Laser cut MDF puzzle board.

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Do It Yourself Kit

Laser cut sticker paper with graphics inspired from the Hawksbill. Final model with graphics.

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Food + Vehicle Packaging

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While interning at Studio ABD, I worked for the Chain Food Retail Company: Just Mehfil. The brief given was to develop a eco-friendly food packaging, a bicycle for home delivery and a mobile food retail kiosk (human powered) for the expansion of the company.

Home Delivery

Street Retail

Outlet 1

Central Kitchen

Street Retail

Outlet 2

Outlet 3

Home Delivery

Delivery Phase

Home Delivery

A visit to the kitchen and the outlets to see how the food is prepared, packed, sorted, dispatched, received, stored, heated, served and finally consumed. This macro look at the entire system helped in understanding how the system worked and to figure out all the intervention areas.

Preparation + Packing

Sorting + Dispatch

Street Retail Consumption Phase

Unloading + Storing

Eating In

Home Delivery

Food + Vehicle Packaging

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Experience: Modern/Sustainable

Understanding the Brand After studying the brand values and the visual identity I understood that Just Mehfil wants their product (the food) to be as authentic as possible while the entire experience around the food to be modern and world class.


Target Audience

Product/Food: Authentic

The target users for the mobile food retail kiosk are young, office going people, college students and families getting out for recreational purposes. Areas that the mobile kiosk would target is office/tech parks, colleges areas during lunch hours and outside malls, parks, promenades or at stadiums/grounds during events/gatherings.

Office going crowd: Tech Parks/Office Areas during Lunch times

Students: Outside Colleges

During Special Events/Gatherings

Families: Recreational Spaces like Promenades/ Parks/ Malls

Food + Vehicle Packaging

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Packaging Brief: To redesign the existing eat in and single pack in a more sustainable/ eco friendly material and generate new concepts for the family pack. The packaging should make heads turn, become a conversation starter. It shouldn’t look like anything one has seen before.

Packaging Objectives

Customer Experience

Employee Interaction

Physical Pack

Look classy/elegant Easy to open/eat in Be an experience

Easy to pack Standardizable/mass producible Cost effective (8%-10% of C.P)

Take + retain heat Take moisture Take sweat Be sealable Contain specified volume Contain food for at lest 12hrs



Rice(briyani) /Gravy(salan)/ Cruds(raita) Soft Oil(leak/stain proof) Retain heat

Contain the inner pack Hard Strong Stackable Sealable

Banana Leaf

Arecanut Banana leaf and arecanut were the chosen as it was a more sustainable/eco friendly alternative to their current packaging.

Food + Vehicle Packaging

Sustainable food packaging concepts for food consumed in the restaurant. The traditional materials are given a contemporary look as the customer has a unique experience unwrapping his food from the banana leaf. These are some initial concepts.

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Eat In: Banana Leaf + Arecanut

Food + Vehicle Packaging

The banana leaf apart from being totally natural is traditionally used to add nutrients and flavour to the hot food served in it.

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Eat In: Banana Leaf + Arecanut

Food + Vehicle Packaging 1

Take away pack: The paper box holds aeracnut bowls with the food sealed in foil bags. You can eat comfortably from the pack itself. The banana leaf texture is mimicked to keep consistency with the eat in banana leaf pack.


Initial concepts: The outer box can be made of arecanut. As the lid of the box is also arecanut it could be used as a plate to empty the rice and mix it with the gravy easily giving the option of eating with hands which is need in Indian food. Compartmentalization is possible but to get the lid to fix snugly a problem in arecanut.


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Take Away: Paper +Arecanut 1

Gravy/Curds(salan/raita) in plastic cup with lids

Rice(briyani) in an aracanut bowl


Food + Vehicle Packaging 1

Family Pack: A tin box with unusual squarish dimensions with the food in aluminium foil bags was finalized since: • It’s an unusual food packaging material • Thus a conversation starter • Will become a collectable • Surface can be used for story telling


Different dimensions in the needed volume made to see which proportion looks best, is the most stackable and doesn’t waste space in the delivery backpack.

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Family Pack: Tin Box + Foil Bag 1

A paper model in the final dimensions to see what the box would look like. Technical drawings to get a quotation and a sample from the manufacturer*


*Graphics developed by the graphics team & technical drawings by the new product development team.

Food + Vehicle Packaging Matt acrylic with sandwiched vinyl print to avoid wear and tear of the graphic

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White painted frame Paisley shaped reflector Red HIPS ring

After visiting vendors and discussing the purpose (home delivery), the user and the budget of the bicycle, the BSA Photon was chosen. It’s heavy duty, can take weight, has low maintenance and in budget. Concepts developed on this bicycle to see what elements could be added to increase brand visibility.

Bicycle for Home Delivery Matt acrylic with sandwiched vinyl print to White painted frame Paisley shaped reflector White HIPS ring avoid wear and tear of the graphic attached on to the mud guard and the frame

Food + Vehicle Packaging

Intern at Mood boards to set a visual direction for the different elements of the vehicle.

Basic form generation keeping in mind requirements of the design brief.

Mobile Kiosk for Street Retail

Food + Vehicle Packaging

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Mobile Kiosk for Street Retail

Final form with ergonomic and volumetric dimensions.

The materials chosen for the main body: Powder coated extruded aluminium tubes to be welded for the frame. Synthetic wicker for the facade. This combination of wicker and aluminium was chosen because it’s: • • • • • • •

Light weight Porous (won’t resist air) Doesn’t retain rain water UV stabilizers protect the fabric from dry rotting in the sun Polypropylene yarn that with stands fading No staining Low maintenance

Food + Vehicle Packaging The vehicle with the proposed materials and volume distribution. The space on the umbrella roof to be used for brand visibility. The drawers are made vertical such that the user doesn’t have to bend much. All the contents are accessible at once. Thus, he/she can serve many customers at the same time. Once all the contents in the top most basket in each drawer are over, he can replace the empty drawer with a full one from under it.

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Mobile Kiosk for Street Retail

I Did: The Design Store Founder member of MIT Institute of Design’s very own design store. I Did gives MIT ID’s students a platform to take their work/ideas to the next level: to the masses. It helps them from production and finance to finding the right market for their ideas. I Did is the brain child of a group of enthusiastic students. Managing it’s growth right from building the structure of I Did to launching it as a brand and getting students to participate. It tough me a lot about handling logistics, publicity, finance, organizing and participating in exhibitions, festivals, workshops to display and retail students work.

I Did: The Design Store

Merchandise* for the colleges annual design festival Quasar. Some of the products designed for I Did for the exhibit at Ishanya, Pune: 1. Table lamp 2. Diaries made from waste laminate samples 3. Bangles made from scrap fabric.


* 3


I Did: The Design Store

This year we proudly saw I Did set stage at the prestigious Kala Ghoda Arts Festival in Mumbai. The response was positive and extremely encouraging.



Some of the products designed for I Did at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival: 1. Waist Belt 2. Necklaces

Repurposing A project to take an everyday object (which has turned redundant) and repurpose it to create an entirely new function, using as little additional material as possible.

Delonix regia plant seed > Rattle When dry, the seeds inside make a rattle like sound.

Local bus tickets + Bamboo > Quirky collage bangles.

Crown caps > Floating candles.

Repurposing: Modular DIY Table Used wine bottles + Packaging corrugated sheets > Modular DIY Table A side table to keep your spectacles, books, phone and other small things. Very stable and weight bearing (as the 2 corrugated sheets are aligned with their flutes opposite to each other). It’s modular nature allows quick assembly and a compact disassembly.

Use as a flower vase or even to grow plants. Fill them with pebbles and use to store pens and pencils!

Publication Design The project was to document the entire process followed during my final graduation project in print form. After completion and approval the document becomes part of the institutes library as reference for all.

Everything from story boarding, to creating a uniform visual language, proof reading, printing and binding was done individually. It was my first major publication exercise and taught me a lot about print.

Sketch Book Sketching is a crucial tool in all projects to communicates ideas/concepts, understand form and technical details of products. Using various mediums like Wacom, Photoshop, poster colours and dry pastels.

Personal Details Name Date of Birth Graduation Degree College Junior College School Industrial Experience

Kanhika Jaywant Nikam,

16th of November,1989

+91 8080 611611

Product Design MAEER’s MIT Institute of Design, Pune, India.

705, Makani Centre, 35th Road, Off Linking Road, Bandra (W), Mumbai-400050, India.

Currently studying 3rd year B. A from Pune University. Arts from Sophia College for Women, Mumbai. Bai Avabai Framji Petit Girls High School, Mumbai.

Get in touch with me on >

Intern at Studio ABD, Bangalore, India (2011-2012) Intern at Flip Design, Bangalore, India (2010)

Co-curricular Experience

Other Skills Languages!/kanhika

Intern at Design Directions, Pune, India (2009)

To see more of my work >

Founder member of MIT Institute of Design’s ‘I Did’.

Event Head: Under Construction (2008-2009) Organizing the event for the Intercollegiate festival Quasar. Past member of Focolare India (2005-2007)

Software Skills


Fluent: Rhinoceros, V-ray, Hyper Shot, Sketchbook Pro, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Microsoft Office Suit. Basic: Alias, Google Sketchup, Adobe Illustrator. Research and analysis, Mood boarding, Rapid/detailed sketching, Model making, making and giving presentations. English, French(written), Hindi, Marathi.

Thank you


Kanhika Nikam Product Design Portfolio 2012  

The Product Design Portfolio of Kanhika Nikam (2012)

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