Agenda for India Design Council

Sudhir Sharma, designer, design publisher, member of the India Design Council, has asked for ideas for the functioning of the India Design Council. He has asked for specific action points.


I had put together a list for the IDC, in 2011. Here is my updated list:

Design promotion is the major role that the India Design Council will play. Some of these immediate activities could include:

  • Promoting the India Design Mark. This needs to be immediately looked at, making it more coveted.
  • Promote the India Design Mark to businesses and industries and show them the advantages of getting the mark. Persuade them to apply for the same. Enroll design ambassadors for promoting this.
  • Designers should be taken into confidence and making ADI, pan India should be supported, as it will help address the design community through one agency. A Chartered Society of Design has to be set up, if ADI does not rise to the occasion. This would involve developing a professional code of ethics and processes.
  • Gain the confidence of designers and form action committees that will contribute to the growth of promotional activities.
  • Lobby with the government in the importance of the profession. Suggest setting up Ministry of Design. There should be a Design department in each ministry, otherwise. Everything should be designed, before tenders for manufacturing or implementing is invited. Impress upon the DIPP, the need for supporting the initiative.
  • Prepare a database of designers and collect case-studies of prototypical projects that can be showcased on the website of India Design Council. This can be a useful resource for all stake-holders. These have to be curated well and should go beyond ‘Design for Industry’ or business.
  • Leverage the web and social media for promoting IDC and creating goodwill. Web-based events can be organized as well.
  • Design Talks by the experienced and the start-ups across all the major cities.  This and similar events can help build visibility. This can grow into a ” Design Festival”.
  • A sustained activity on publications has to be started immediately. This could involve a regular column in the newspapers, basic information on design for potential students, publishing research papers, etc., This can grow to become an excellent resource for Indian and foreign universities.
  • A periodical on the activities can also be made. This can be in the form of a magazine that can generate its own ad revenues.

Certain long-term plans should be set in motion as well which will bear results later. These could be:

  • Good design competitions can be conducted amongst the design community for a variety of categories. This can be taken up also for essential areas like health, sanitation, sustainability, etc., This can also be a revenue stream for the Council. (see Core77 Design Awards)
  • Include institutional members and businesses as stake-holders, through CII, ASSOCHAM, and FICCI. This can result in getting moral and financial support.
  • Felicitating design achievements. This has to be an on-going activity that will recognize award winners and achievers. For example: The Design Guru Awards. The Misha Black Award. Or the Index Award.
  • Work on a conceptual framework for an annual summit conference. This should be done in the scale of the “ Kyoorius Design Yatra” and should bring the best of design talent together.
  • Work with embassies in Delhi for regular bi-lateral programmes in design.
  • Lobby with government for tax concessions for the profession, especially GST related issues.
  • Begin representing the designers’ case with the government. Lobby for converting government agencies to use design.
  • Set in motion to give recognition to good design educational institutions. This has to go beyond the AICTE kind of regulatory bodies.
  • Research and recognise good design practises. Appoint people to develop code of ethics.
  • Encourage design start-ups by recognising talent, providing infrastructure, sustainable finances, tax breaks and so on.

These can be done if the team if IDC members are not top-heavy seniors. Or appoint people for tasks mentioned. The IDC needs a full-fledged executive body, without which this is not possible.


  1. The list is tediously self serving. You just listed what India should be doing for designers. Won’t it be more appropriate to list down what the design council and all the designers it represent can do for the people?


    1. There could be some truth in what you say. I have only focused on IDCs role towards propagating Design. When implemented well, this could show the benefits of using Design for a better scenario, socially and otherwise.


      1. In my humble opinion, IDC should work on intellectual property defense. Rather than burdening the already limping judiciary, IDC maybe able to function as an arbitration / regulatory body similar to BCCI. Personally, i consider design / R&D / innovation as luxury only a very few can afford. The investment and more importantly the risk involved is so high that even those who can afford are deterred . The only attraction that might motivate someone to be crazy enough to go for it is a prospectus of reaping full benefit for what they create.

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