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Saturday, March 9, 2019


From the time we are born, we start making sense of our world, we form ideas of who we are and what our world is. These become the stories we know and believe in. They are at the core of who we are. From a state of tabula rasa we are able to develop a paradigm which we use to outline our worldview. Everything we do bears the imprint of our evolving paradigm and our creations express it in different ways. 

Design is an activity as old as humankind itself; looking at fire and harnessing it for our needs can be seen as one of our earliest design acts. We have, through design, transformed our world in ways that have helped us evolve to our present selves. 

We have created a world of our making, nestled in nature and drawing sustenance from it. Our institutions, our belief systems, our knowledge systems. Our cities, our networks of various kinds, our buildings, our products. A complex ecosystem of interconnected parts which governs every aspect of our lives.  

We have created an environment that manifests our collective selves. 

Examine your city. Its markets, its roads, its hospitals, its services for the poor, its sense of wellbeing and safety, its institutions, its infrastructure. They are unique to it and are a testimony to the thoughts, emotions and stories of its inhabitants and generations of people who have passed through. 

Our many stories have crystallised into concrete forms and abstract thoughts. At all times our motivations have been rooted in a search for improvement. 

How we perceive ourselves, our values and our motivations are part of the paradigm within which we approach questions of ‘Quality’ and the meaning of ‘making things better’. This determines our needs and desires, the nuances of our likes and dislikes, our comfort zones. These in turn determine the form of all that we build.

Contemporary Design can be seen in terms of actualization of intent. An intent to make things better. It harnesses our stories to satisfy our needs and desires, to transcend the norm, to offer fresh perspectives, or sometimes, to help the coming together of diverse streams to chart new futures. 

Fulfilling needs and desires; creating experiences of value, usefulness and delight are the objectives of any design endeavour. Designers continually strive to recreate our human built world of cities, buildings, spaces, products, services and communication. 

Everything that we do to transform the natural world to our will. 

Quality of our offerings depends on the ways in which we are able to optimise all of the many variables determined by user needs, sustainability considerations, technological feasibility and economic viability and the ways in which we articulate them in new, better ways.

Crucial to any successful design solution is a nuanced understanding of the complexities of the problem space. With human beings in all their diversity at the centre of our scheme of things, ambiguity is ever present and gaining clarity of intent is an ongoing process.

Receptive and sensitive understanding of ambiguous, diverse and sometimes conflicting emotions of users offer design teams opportunities to gain insights which can lead to sets of objectives that can be addressed and translated into the many experiences that are embodied by all that we build. The stories that we know and tell reflect who we are and aid us in understanding our innermost desires. This is an invaluable tool for designers to make sense of the complexities of human needs and desires. What we deliver, in turn, adds to our individual and shared stories. 

Our human built world can be seen as the articulation of our collective stories. Our physical spaces, our systems of governance, education, commerce are built on shared stories that we learn to negotiate and add to. There is diversity and plurality here, and conversations. There are histories and an increasing awareness of the need for herstories. An evolving collection of ideas of who we are.

The stories that are woven into the environment that is our Earth and those that are reflected in our built world are the foundations of our individual stories and all together are an evolving design of great complexity. 

Design, when seen in these terms, belongs to all of us and modern design practice is co-creation involving a multitude of disciplines and more importantly, the intended users at all stages of the process of evolving fresh perspectives and articulations that inspire, delight and transcend. 

Ever evolving stories of the ways in which humans are ‘becoming’. 

Thursday, March 7, 2019

AGI in India - Deepankar Bhattacharyya

Ajeenkya DY Patil University Published on Feb 06, 2019
Deepankar Bhattacharya, Academic Council, ADYPU, speaks how design has influenced our lives and the emergence of design thinking over the years. The National Institute of Design Alumnus has also contributed largely to start India’s first magazine on architecture and interior design - Inside Outside. On speaking about AGI in India, he said that conferences like these help us understand how graphic design has evolved over the years.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Design notes: 27-09-2018 - DeepankarBhattacharyya

Design Thinking is actually fuzzy, messy and non-linear where the ‘steps’ are ill defined and one doesn’t hesitate to go back and forth in search of meaning, clarity and solution. It can also be very participatory where decision making is de-centralised. 

The more rigid interpretation as a step by step process along with an expert at ‘empathy’ is one, which the new converts find handy because of their innate need to define things and analytically understand complexity. 

Will our fuzzy intuitive selves retain it’s essence and usefulness in the hands of those who must keep their eye firmly on results and deadlines; and prioritise these over innovation and creative output? 

Only time will tell whether there will be happy meeting grounds but a start certainly has been made.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.