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India to have its own design mark, I-Mark to be launched next year Print E-mail
Written by Anand   
Wednesday, 22 December 2010
New Delhi: India is soon going to have its own I-Mark, on the lines of G-Mark--short for Good Design Selection System--of Japan. The new design standard will be launched in March next year and by October-November products and goods with I-Mark stamp will be available in market.

This was announced by Director of National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, Pradyumna Vyas, at the 10th design summit organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and NID in New Delhi on Monday.

Much like the ISI mark of the Indian Bureau of Standards certifies that a particular product has a certain level of quality as far as the material that goes into its making is concerned, I-Mark will certify that the stamped product has been designed using ethical practices and that it conforms to environmental norms.

Western nations and Japan in Asia have been at the forefront of design innovations since the fifties. In Japan, the ministry of international trade and industry set up G-Mark in 1957 which sees thousands of companies competing for the prestigious design awards every year. In India, design ceased to be of importance after Independence when a socialist bent of government and licence raj ensured that everything was always in short supply.

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), in partnership with industry associations like CII, has been working on bringing about a mindset change in industry on the need for keeping the imperatives of good design in mind. Global bigwigs like Apple in the US are big today only on the basis of their designs. Their manufacturing is done entirely in countries like China and other south-east Asian nations but the profits from sale of products accrue to the parent company in the US because it is there that the intellectual property of the product rests.

Indian companies will need to understand the importance of investing in research for such cutting-edge products and innovations.

Speaking at the inaugural session of the summit, William Bissel, managing director of Fabindia--a company which has popularized Indian patterns, textiles, colours and motifs globally through innovative designs—rued the fact that a scarcity mindset had prevailed over everything designed in India in the past 50 years. With Design for a Billion Customers being the theme of this year’s summit, Bissel flayed Indian town-planners and city experts for creating public infrastructure even in today’s age which was 10 years behind schedule in catering to the requirements of the people. For instance, he said, the flyover connecting Gurgaon with Delhi which was constructed only one year back had already failed in decongesting traffic as it was not designed to cater to the growing number of cars.

Bissel emphasized that for catering to the bottom of the pyramid Indian designers would have to get out of the mould of western thinkers who did not have to keep a billion people in mind while designing their products. “Their requirements and compulsions were different. Our requirement is of minimizing resources and maximizing capacity. Unless we do that and start from a fresh perspective, we will always remain second-class users and citizens,” he said.

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