The Japanese have had the G-mark, a certification for good design practices across categories, for 50 years. It’s now India’s turn to get the I-mark later this year. Inspired by the Japanese, the India Design Council (IDC), a national body for multidisciplinary design in India, launched a competition on 16 May, inviting entries for a design of the I-mark, which will be awarded to products across categories for good design.
Formed in March 2009, IDC was based on the National Design Policy, under the department of industrial policy and promotion, ministry of commerce and industry. Led by Anand Mahindra, managing director, Mahindra group, as president, and Pradyumna Vyas, director, National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, as member secretary. IDC aims to bring some standard and organization to India’s product and industrial design. It came up with the idea of the I-mark certification to set a standard for Indian design, to recognize the use of design and document cases of good design.
The competition for the I-mark’s symbol is open to any Indian resident, professional designer or amateur. The last date for entries is 16 June. Ten entries will be shortlisted, of which one design will be selected in July. The winner will be awarded Rs 50,000. There are specific guidelines on how to submit the entries regarding the size and format, which can be found on the Indian Design Council’s website (http://www.indiadesigncouncil.in/competition.html).
Vyas spells out the broad outline for selecting the I-mark. “There are certain parameters we’ll be keeping in mind while giving the I-mark. There are social, functional, cultural and emotional contexts that make any design good or irrelevant. For instance, many water purifiers claim many things and then they are priced as low as Rs 999. It’s important to check such claims. Also, what are the practices behind the production? Is it sustainable or is it causing more harm than help? Of course, other things like pleasing form, ecological aspects, safety and functionality also determine good design,” says Vyas.
Product categories that would be considered for I-mark certification include packaging, lighting, electrical equipment, home and office devices, furniture, public and commercial products, sports, games and personal products, transportation, building components, medical devices and arts and crafts. Apart from the final product, the process will be important too. “Is the local artisan benefiting from it? Are indigenous traditions and practices safe and thriving? Such questions will also be addressed by the I-mark certification,” adds Vyas.