From Biology >> Design

Hello all,

My name is Ayan Bhandari, im an ID student at Virginia Tech and am in my 2nd design studio. I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself to this design forum. I was a pre med student for many years and in a twist of fate i have found a true passion for design and have decided to take it on as a career.

I hope to one day be able to blend my knowledge from biology and my passion for design into tangible ideas. I cant wait to get feedback from everybody and look forward to the discussions ahead.



Hi Ayan!

Just wanted to say props on making the transition. I come from a very similar background, moving from a Biology major to Industrial Design. If you aren’t already familiar, there’s a lot of great things happening in the field (study? strategy?) of Biomimicry, or design inspired by nature. It’s super engineered focus right now, but I’m hoping that designers like us can push it towards ID too.

Anyway, nice to meet you and I hope to see your work soon!

Thanks a lot Linda,

Ive looked at some biomimicry for some of my projects and am excited to bridge the gap as time moves on. Ill hopefully have some stuff posted within the next few days. Thanks for the link!



That’s a genuinely good decision, to transfer from biology to ID. If you have performed or designed any biological experiments, it’s a very useful way to get into design thinking.

However, be sure to make use of your pre-med background, as there is a genuine need for people with that kind of education. If you will struggle to find an ID job, you’ll always have something else to fall back on.


You may be ahead of the curve. One possible future is that products will be made from biological materials and be “alive”. It seems we are moving in that direction based on advances in genetics, biological manufacturing, etc.

There’s nothing wrong with being ahead of the curve, and dreaming about the interaction of biology and design. This can be done right now, all you need are resources and discipline.

I heard that generative design is going to take over the ID industry somewhere. :laughing:

Beetlejuice. Beetlejuice. Beetlejuice. uh oh…

Interesting that a few days after this post Core has this on the home page.

Of course then there is this… :open_mouth:

I almost became anti-nature after that thread.

My heart flutters a little every time I see the mention of Biomimicry on a design site.

I never knew there was so much controversy over the idea of generative design :open_mouth: This would explain the cringing expression I see on grad students whenever the topic turns over to this.

One of the most important resources I use in my design process is It’s a catalog of strategies people have compiled to demonstrate how certain things in nature could be applied to problems we’re trying to solve. The UI for the database could use a little work, but it’s a great inspiration point whenever you’re stuck in a rut.

I believe the general consensus from the GD thread was people would be open to GD as part of the process of design but not the whole process itself which a few people seemed to think was the future of design. I hate to even bring it up again for fear of 17 more pages.

Im glad to see that more and more people are seeing biology and ID as partners for the design process. It cannot only be used for form ideation or material study but for layout purposes or graphics (i used MRI scan style illustrator images to show the inside of a flosser i designed). I also just received a book on biomimicry and look forward to reading that and having more to talk about on this subject.


I’m not sure if X-Raying one of your designs is really biomimicry… I think that falls into the category of “it’s cool to x-ray stuff”… which it is. If you have the opportunity to x-ray something, do it.

@Linda: is great. Good example.

Crazy enough the first thing posted on NotCot this morning was an inspiration series on X-rays: Inspiration: X-rays (NOTCOT)

I thought that was on NotCot before? I’ve definitely seen the naked ladies x-rays before.

Biomimicry is very interesting, but I’ve found it hard to incorporate into the design process (since it’s largely technology based rather than design driven). Any tips besides just hawking the website?

Usually the very specific stuff (like trying to mimic how an animal sticks to surfaces) is based in material/mechanical sciences and engineering. Most of the strategies you find on AskNature can be more readily applied to those technical fields. For design, I’ve found that it’s much more based on extending a metaphor found in science or mimicking biological behavior. So understanding higher level ideas like how ecology and symbiosis can be used to create a system of objects or organize a team of people. Or more specifically, understanding how beetles breathe underwater and how that I can inspire a new type of scuba gear.

I read a lot of science and ecology books and magazines. Nature, National Geographic, Discovery, and Seed are great publications. The Hidden Forest and A Sand County Almanac are good books on ecology. Of course, this is very much a hobby for me and I don’t necessarily think people should be applying the concept of biomimicry to all their designs. But those are the resources I use. That, and just being hyperaware of design opportunities that could be found in things I learned back in middle school science.


Your definately right by the fact that MRI inspiration is not biomimicry, i drew examples from my medical books so maybe i shouldve said “inspiration from the medical world”.

Very cool Xray article, art really is everywhere…