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About Design and Designers – Past, Present and Future by Prof. Manisha Mohan

On the 6th Foundation Day of the Institute of Design, Prof Manisha Mohan, Director-Design and Delivery, India APAC – Emeritus, delivered the keynote address focusing on “About Design and Designers”. The delivery covered a wide range of issues related to the design discipline and its past, present and future. Besides, it covered the aspects of the Designer’s journey within the self.

While talking about the discipline she brings in the genealogy of Design and its ancient legacy in India. She talked about the ancient civilization Mohenjo-Daro and their inventions and design structures, the architecture and design of Tajmahal, and the Indian Postal Services that emerged as a unique system that served the millions of people of the country. Also, the matchless transporting network of Indian Railways is considered an unparalleled design of public transport. With the example of Gandhi and Charkha, she explained the way MK Gandhi designed the people’s struggle leading to our independence. And latest in the order is an electronic voting machine that transforms the voting system in the country.

While talking about design education in India she said that it formally began in the 1960s and has come a long way since then. While underlining ‘Design Education’, she elaborated on learning design through application and apprenticeship. She pointed out different facets of learning design. First, the student’s journey begins with learning the principles of design, colour, drawing, materials and fundamentals of the design process through hands-on assignments. Second, based on the choice of specialisation, the student learns the skills and tools in the labs that will enable good design. Group assignments help in developing team spirit and communication skills. Third, design knowledge and skills are used to solve real-world problems through assignments and projects. The students learn to come up with user-centred research-driven solutions. Fourth, industry orientation and entrepreneurship in which students gain insights into the industry context through master classes, industrial visits, internships, and soft skills.