Design interprets culture. Culture creates values and values shape the future. The thoughts on design in this collection capture not only the erudition and perspectives of the eminent speakers but also reflect the changing times and concerns. I remember that in the fashion industry there is a statement that even if everything gets destroyed, if you have the pictures of the people and their dresses over the years you can tell a whole story of the evolution of the society and the times they lived in. The concerns, vanities, predilections, constraints, challenges and aspirations are all visible in the dresses of people. Designs have also a way of capturing the societies and economies in transition.
Design is a simple word with a complex meaning. The origin of the word design is from Latin and the Latin word designer means to express. I remember in 2002 asking the NID community to come out with equivalent words for Design in any Indian language. I drew a blank as the over powering English word Design seems to have become a comprehensive expression in everybody's mind space. Even if the word Design is a transplanted one in India we should not lose sight of transforming the Indian traditions, cultures, aesthetics sensitivity and heritage to create an Indian idiom of design. It was this Indian design idiom what the late Charles and Ray Eames had advocated for NID to pursue. NID being a unique institution, which reflects these concerns, the Convocation event at NID every year is more than just giving Diplomas and awards. NID continues this Khoj in the words spoken by eminent people and the footprints they leave behind in the sands of time. I believe the words spoken have a way of creating ripples to begin with and then some of them become waves and then with the right wind can create mountainous waves, sometimes even turning furious washing the shores away. Design has remained a peripheral activity owing to many reasons one of which is its failure to use the power of anticipating the future to full impact and connecting the vision with realistic action. There has been a huge gap between the design vision and design action, which have left the people somewhat unsure about design. I hope the experiences shared by the visionaries through the years in the convocation addresses find resonance in the minds of everyone who reads and shares these thoughts. I invite you to an edifying experience, as more and more people would want to understand design. We do hope the reader will discover the true value of design in defining and improving the quality of life. Design is not just for a privileged few but for everyone, everywhere. The leading lights on design invite you to tread this territory where angels in this instance do not fear to tread.
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