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Design: industry overview

The design industry in India is growing at a staggering rate of 23 to 25 per cent annually - it's an indicative of the qualitative change you find in the look and feel of consumer goods... Challenges faced | Quirky facts
By Shreevatsa Nevatia | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAR 11, 2008 10:57 PM IST

There is a reason why your new car is better looking than your last and why your refrigerator seems more functional than the one you had before.

The design industry in India is growing at a staggering rate of 23 to 25 per cent annually - it's an indicative of the qualitative change you find in the look and feel of consumer goods.

Industry insiders believe that greater spending power and changing needs of consumers are responsible for the boom in the design industry. Manjiri Rajopadhye, founder of boutique design studio Mango Blossom, says, "People today are spending more money. From the interiors of their flats to the products they buy, all consumers are looking for that extra value-add. There is this new emphasis on vanity. The culture is shifting and design is a reflection of that shift."

With brand positioning and identity the new buzzwords, industries that form the designer's client base are a lot more aware about design and its importance. Design director and co-partner of design company Grandmother India, Kurnal Rawat, says, "People running businesses are beginning to understand that design adds value to the product, more than just your distribution circuit or your advertising. At the point of sale, for instance, it all comes down to the product design."

There are some sectors within the industry that have seen a higher growth of interest than others - animation, graphics, apparel, textiles, automotive, product and software interface design to name a few. This interest has also translated into a greater demand for industrial and communication designers.

Currently, India needs 8,000-10,000 designers a year, while overall availability of qualified designers is only 3,000. To make matters worse, only 500 of these 3,000 are said to be practicing designers.

Member of the faculty of design at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, Professor MP Ranjan says, "There is a lot of trained design talent that is under-utilised and there is also a need for more trained designers across many sectors." Industry, however, is hopeful that with more design courses being offered and with prospects being laid out more clearly for those who join a design school, the need for designers would be met in the near future, giving the industry the manpower it needs to realise its promise.

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