Design is omnipresent in every facet of life. While the world discovered it long back, design development specific to the evolving needs & tastes of the Indian population are finding their way now. Having had a modest beginning Indian Design Industry is reaching the maturity curve now. According to a CII study, “at this juncture the Indian Design Industry needs a strategic and long term direction to fortify the gains already made. Even though the design industry in India is very small at present, its economic impact is quite high as it helps major industry sectors by augmenting their business value and competitiveness’.
The Indian population had always been a design conscious society but had not taken much effort to leverage that potential, which is happening now. Advertising, branding, marketing and almost every form of communication are acquiring an Indian flavor with industries using the expertise of designers to create India specific products.
Industry estimates suggest India needs 10,000 to 12,000 designers every year and the industry is set to grow from 7,000 in 2016 to 62,000 in 2020. Design experts are also becoming an integral part of core business teams in big corporate offices & retail chains alike, across all verticals, leading to a spurt in demand for design professionals. And this brings to fore the need to have an interdisciplinary education to be the core of design education.
Along with their growing presence, the scope of work for designers has also grown and widened. The work encompasses various roles including those in collaborating & managing the workflow & critical processes in larger functional domains. Different specializations work across different functionalities. So, Interior designers work in corporate offices, hotels, and retail chains; while product designers finding work in-house for big manufacturing or service organizations. These field roles require them to ideate and collaborate with an extensive range of fellow professionals, such as retail experts, marketers, CRM experts, brand managers, researchers, and others to ensure well-timed delivery and apt quality.
It is essential that design universities work towards developing the capabilities for critical thinking and design curiosity among the students. Preparing such versatile design professionals require a truly interdisciplinary curriculum that takes inspiration from visual arts, from technology, history, liberal arts, and even sciences. So while design as an educational stream is inherently interdisciplinary, the World University of Design (WUD) as a design university is a specialist university offering a trans-disciplinary palette of programmes.
An interdisciplinary learning environment having a lateral overlap with other disciplines offers a plethora of benefits. The cross-disciplinarity in design programs also tend to allows for more contextual learning that not only suit the industry better but also better prepares students for such jobs.
With increasing placement offers from IT and e-commerce companies for design students, it is imperative for them to improve their online presence and their interaction in the digital space, and hence adopting an interdisciplinary approach becomes more significant.
A boom in the usage of mobile devices, laptops, tablets et al is creating a demand for experts in the space of user interfaces and user experience designs for work ranging from website designing, app design and kiosk interfaces. Well-trained designers can fill in this gap creating a huge pool of avenues. What can give the edge to these design professionals is the fact that if their alma maters have well acclaimed Inter-disciplinary Research Collaborations offering interaction between students and professionals through diversified industry engagements. Workshops conducted by experienced industry professionals gives the students practical insights and provides a holistic learning environment, a practice followed at WUD extensively. The unique teaching pedagogy and innovative academic solutions is what is needed to widen the horizon of the students and increase their general awareness of contemporary issues.
From being an intuitive discipline design is growing into becoming a discipline replete with tools and frameworks. There is a growing focus on systematic and methodical incorporation of context in design, which entails the involvement of competencies in marketing research, consumer behavior, technology, anthropology and psychology in the design processes. It is important for Indian design industry to embrace these new developments and add the new design branches in the range of services being offered by them.