And the award goes to..

Last week ended with a design-award ceremony. Not for designers or designed products. There was a ranking of institutions teaching design in India, and the representatives were awarded and felicitated by

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The people behind the awards and the jury that selected them are not known. The site itself is a website that clearly promotes private design institutions.

This is not to mock the awards. Any serious attempt to give a ranking to institutions should be welcomed, in the interests of students aspiring to get there. But if the criteria is not clear and 9 institutes, all big names, (of which seven are in the private sector), share five of the top awards, it seems like an amateur attempt at ranking.

Even by its own admission, the website had 84 award categories, which were won and shared by 50 institutes. Some institutes won multiple awards, since there are only limited number of schools teaching design.

Even a cursory scrutiny will reveal unexplained anomalies. While Pearl Academy, Delhi gets the national ranking of 2 and NIFT, Delhi is in 4th position, their ranks change in the Northern region awards. NIFT Delhi gets 1st position and Pearl is pushed to the 2nd position!

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The omissions of some popular and reknown institutes are glaring. IDC at IIT Bombay and IIT-Delhi’s  and SPA’s Industrial Design Programme are not present in any category . IICD, Jaipur, a reputed craft design institute, IIT Guwahati, IIT Kanpur are also notable omissions.

Some awards are questionable.NID’s robust Product design programme is apparently not worth considering over DSK and other private colleges.

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There is no doubt, there is a need for such a ranking but the methodology should be made public and the criteria announced in advance. The evaluating jury should be announced, too.

This was one of the jobs of the India Design Council and I am not sure why it is dragging it’s feet to do an evaluation and ranking.

This is the admission season, when I get calls from harassed parents and aspirants about how to choose one school over another. Is Srishti good for Product design? Is DSK worth the expenses? Is MIT better than Symbiosis? A transparent ranking is sure to help. It puts them in their place.

In the absence of that, here is a check-list of criteria to consider, before you choose:

  • How reputed is the institute?
  • How successful are their alumni?
  • Does the institute have respect within the design community?
  • Are their programmes current and relevant?
  • Do they have good faculty?
  • Do they have faculty?
  • What facilities are present and how updated are these?
  • How well-connected are they with the industry and other organisations?
  • Are fancy buildings and labs tom-tommed, instead of decent faculty and programmes?
  • Do they have a placement programme?

Do your home work.

Ask, ascertain, inquire, request, search, research, seek out, google, do everything in your capacity to find out.

This way, you may or may not win any awards, but you will certainly be rewarded with an excellent career in design.


  1. Dear Bala, this is an excellent critique of the award and the seeming lack of process as well as transparency in giving out these awards for Indian Design Schools. Knowing the composition of the jury is one way but the whoe process has to be made visible, and yes, the India Design Council is missing in action, as usual.


  2. A very pertinent issue and observation….thank
    you Bala… the way who are these people who made these rankings…you know I am attached to Lisaa School of Design….we have no specialised course in Web Design and we have been awarded the first position for Web and Graphic Design……??????? Why?


  3. I am surprised why IDC IIT bombay doesnt get a mention in your list, considering the fact that it is one of the most sought after design schools


  4. I tried to grill promoters of the award …. they claimed that over last two years IIT depts of design did not respond to their emails 🙂 can this be verified ? the promoters have agreed to put jury names and criteria on the website … lets see if this happens


  5. Great job !! I think this kind of social service is highly appreciated. Interestingly… Without any nominations, jury, competition or even survey, you guys have declared winners. Ironically, students are cancelling their admissions at ‘ best design institute ‘ industrial design and going elsewhere. Whoever is behind this blog or survey or timepass, has to understand the importance of creating information and verifying it thoroughly.


    1. Kushal,

      Your comment is slightly unclear. I hope you realise that I have nothing to do with the website and I am just publishing a critique of the listing done by them. This is also to caution youngsters that one cannot blindly follow such ranking.


  6. Sorry about the misunderstanding here.. My comment is purely directed towards and in supportive of your views. Sorry again … one suggestion.. we cant edit the reply or comments after we have sent it… After I replied, I realised I have mistaken ‘you’ as MediaEdu.


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