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Mar 4, 2011

'I' mark - India Design Mark launched

New Delhi: The ‘I’ mark (India Design Mark) was launched at the Japan Good Design Exhibition in the capital. In his inaugural address at the design conference and the launch ceremony, Anand Mahindra, Chairman, India Design Council (IDC) and Vice-Chairman & Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra, said that the launch of ‘I’ mark was a big step forward for India.

"As we now recognize that as we go up the value chain, we may not always be able to differentiate ourselves on the basis of lower cost. We can see the premium price and higher value intellectual property that originality and design command across the world. And we have a newly conscious class of consumers that refuses to be fobbed of with second class design or me-too imitation," he said.

Textile Designer Ritu Kumar, who is also a Member of the India Design Council (IDC), launched the ‘I’ mark in the presence of representatives of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), IDC and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

Mr. Mahindra said that India needs to promote not just design but design thinking. “Our design thinking would have to be not just holistic but also unique to us. If we want to put India on the design map of the world, then we would have to find our own design voice, a design vocabulary that is uniquely Indian but has universal appeal”, he said.

He suggested two differentiating characteristics that India possesses for making Indian design that is uniquely Indian.

The first is the unique combination of practicality and philosophy that permeates Indian tradition. Mr. Mahindra said, “we need to revive the philosophy that creation is a form of worship and harness it so that it shines through all our products, something that no one could imitate or reproduce. That would perhaps meet a need that the world is hungry for (as yoga does) and give us a differentiating edge that very few others can match”.

The second was India’s ability to combine function with beauty and frugality. India is gaining a competitive edge in frugal engineering and creating bottom of the pyramid products as these are geared towards overcoming constraints and making the quality of life better. “If we could marry these down to earth innovations with top of the line design, you would have products that would appeal not only to other bottom of the pyramid economies but even to the renewed quest for frugality in the developed countries,” Mr. Mahindra pointed out.

The Japanese Good Design Exhibition, the first of its kind to be held in India, aims to promote the idea that ‘Good Design is Good Business’. The three-day exhibition is showcasing 95 Japanese products including appliances, cars, motorcycles, lifestyle products and machinery.

The conference also witnessed the signing of the renewal of the MoU between IDC and Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organisation (JIDPO).

The inaugural session of the conference was also addressed by Ms. Ritu Kumar, Eminent Textile Designer and Member, IDC; Mr. Pradyumna Vyas, Member, IDC; Mr. Masakazu Ichikawa, Deputy Director General, METI; Dr. Amit Mitra, Secretary General, FICCI and Mr. Kazuo Tanaka, President of the GK Design Group Inc and Board Member of International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID).