Design for Need Vs Need for Design

Case studies, Craft, Handloom, Art, Design, Designers

Design for Need Vs Need for Design

Patel, Usha Nehru

Design has truly become a global phenomenon more than ever before. The design products of today are instrumental in shaping a worldwide material culture and impacting on the quality of our lives and our environment, which in turn is influencing our experience and level of perception.

The conscious efforts made today, by the present day designers will show an enduring effect on the future environment of tomorrow. Designers need to be precocious and concerned about the growing needs of the future. They need to create designs which not only look at new materials or new technology or to the new industrial processes for better performance but also work hard towards educating the masses for ethically relevant design solutions which are real- need based, humanistic and offer sustainable solutions.

Fascination for Technologically developed complicated design products needs to reduce and appreciation for human-centric approach to design become important and relevant.

Designers need to play a dual role for the betterment of the society. They need an intelligent design thinking where products are designed according to the social and environment requirements and they need to inform as well as educate the consumer about the fine distinction between good, acceptable design to bad unacceptable designs

The action and choice taken by designers today would determine global material culture of tomorrow. Every individual- creator, maker and consumer needs to acknowledge the need for a responsibility-based culture and should share it in the collective goal for forging a better tomorrow.


We have been living surrounded by our desired designed products. Products have infiltrated into our everyday existence and have become an integral part of our lives. Mass production and mass customization driven by consumerism has created a world culture of its own kind.

We as consumers have started to expect no less in fact we expect more and more, as a result, we have become more demanding and continuously on the look out for the next and best thing available in the market. These patterns of our behaviour and habit of consumer psychology have put a great deal of pressure on product design industry and on to the designers who design the products.

Design need, has become a concept and planning for industrial products which are for manufacturing to stimulate economic activities and economic growth. The entire process focuses on demand and supply chain for designer, manufacturers and consumers. The design industry is busy in mass production lines of the products. The new products keep invading the markets in full swing. New explored technologies keep giving different meaning to design vocabulary time to time. The sophisticated use of new materials and cutting edge technology, material innovation and advanced manufacturing capabilities seems to excite and satisfy the designers, design industry and as well as the consumers.

But somewhere down the line more serious and burning issues which are faced globally in this century are given a miss. No one remembers the ecological disasters that we are about to face. There is global warming, which is frightening, fearing that melting ice may inundate coastal areas within a decade or even less. There are enough warnings to warn us about potential ecological disasters but we are still lending them our deaf ears.

Ecological policies are far from adequate. The fact is that striking a proper balance between “environmental and well-being” needs complete and committed corporation by all, which is still not available. There is need for ecologically responsible Design team to help us to see a better tomorrow.

Design industry is high in production of our every day needs and supplies products of utilitarian and desired purposes and design studios are busy designing and manufacturing the products for the retail industry. The entire industry is swelling according to the demands of the consumers.

Designers are seen to be an important instrument and an important component in the present supply chain business for the retail sector and they need to play important role as design guides. There is acute need that they become more aware individuals and play a role as intermediaries, whose function ideally would be to educate and guide the consumer market and try to make them understand the difference between the ethically design products line and mass produced industrial products. They need to become proactive in defining the design and relevant design understanding which are real- need based, humanistic and offer sustainable solutions

Sustainability and ethical values needs to be instilled in the consumer psychology and need to become key notes to be addressed immediately before one goes into designing the product. Accountability and trust are the other important factor which needs to become important instruments in the contemporary design scenario. These two aspects of design may change the industrial practice and drive the industry towards ecologically sustainable product line along with aware consumers.

There is no doubt that design industry can play an important role in developing economic and socio-culture fabric of the counties with understanding of the eco-friendly, handmade, sustainable quality products.

Craft as a forgotten industry needs to play a proactive role and needs to become a mainstream industry. As, we all are aware that this industry has an aesthetic and practical blend from natural environment in comparison to an artificially imposed harmony from synthetic contemporary world. The concern expressed, across the globe by the multiple organizations show the growing awareness to solve the present issue by positioning craft as an important design tool and to bridge the gap by creating closer links between the contemporary designers and regional artisans of the crafts who are known to produce products which have ethical and sustainable design solutions.

Craft not only is an answer to the global warming problem but also gives cultural context and cultural identity to global designs which is lost due to the industrial product boom. The advanced digital technology has created a mass production unit world wide and the products of design have lost their identity. All the traces of geographical or personal origin has been erased.

Craft will definitely help us bring back our lost identity as the products are purely utilitarian and are highly expressive and also confer economic support and status. It reflects the heritage of the past and has the potential to answer the contemporary issue of sustainability which will bring a breath of fresh air to the design industry.

Craft industry needs to be promoted in a big way .This industry needs to be brought to the main stream of commerce as this is the only industry that has dwelled and evolved with most ethical design and environment situations. This is the only industry which will find the answers for the global concerns of today.

Designers need to work hard and try to reduce the gap between craft products and industrial designed products and allow craft to compete with the products and practices of modern Industrialization. Designers need to become an interface between traditional and modern and contemporary design vocabulary which will help in matching the craft production to the needs of modern living. From mass production to production by masses needs become new mantra.

People need to be made aware that the craft is very much an economic activity and has the potential to sustain itself against all odds. It has survived and also evolved from pre-industrial time and is still alive in the post-industrial world. Craft production continues to thrive within the region for own needs and for the need of metros.

The distinct advantages for this industry to grow is that, they need minimal start-up capital and has flexible working time, it also offers designers and craft artisan to work independently at home environments and has freedom to manage own business as a means of livelihood. In a nut shell crafts provides appropriate business possibilities to creative, independent entrepreneurs and designers.

The consumers on the other hand need to understand their buying potential and they need to make up their mind and decide to buy product not out of sympathetic concern to help the artisan but for its true value of being ecologically balance and environmentally friendly and is competitive in price.

Need for Design in today’s time is about preparing or instigating consumers for a change in conceiving the design products. Better informed and conscious consumer need to combine their need for value. Conscious consumption of ethically designed products will definitely make a difference in sustaining the environmental balance. Aware consumers and designers need to create a pressure on the industrial supply chain and force the industry to only develop new technologies and systems which would demand and demonstrate environmentally and socially conscious commitments towards procuring the contemporary design.

There is no doubt that ethical and Sustainable development would require more long-term thinking and planning. The new economy and the new business will give rise to new techniques and fore sight ness to the upcoming industry. Fair trade, labor condition, reduction of waste, pollution and production of recycling, ecologic environment balance would be seen as strength of this new industry.A better informed and better educated artisan will become socially important for the society. Their isolation as seen today will integrate into economic development.

The design community at large (designers and craft experts) needs to embrace; utilize and create design philosophy which might be described as need for design. The need for design is, giving special attention to Design thinking.

Design thinking is three -stepped process where the social norms are considered along with the other responsible steps towards design.

  • Discover and Understand
  • Educate
  • Resolve

Discovery is when the designers are taking onus and responsibility of the consumers need and providing design solution after analyzing the global design issues and also guiding them to make better and responsible choices and encouraging them to understand and imply ethical processes. Educating them further to understand the costs versus the benefits and share insights and understanding with all relevant stakeholders while adopting an ethical strategy which would make a good business sense. And finally resolve the identified conflicts before making design decisions.

Hopefully, not in too distant future, we anticipate that it will be possible to correlate the use of different inventive strategies to the effectiveness of the design solutions generated.

The natural sources are ideal and more effective than the best of man’s endeavors.

The success of design is attributed most often to a craft base. British designer Alexander McQueen puts on such spectacular shows that they achieve the level of performance art. . He may be a great designer, but he is also a superb technician, attributing his success to the craft skills through ethical means.

The focus requires us to think beyond the superficial glamour of design. The external appeal to design is different than inside world of design where there exists a much more practical business of material and processes which needs to be clearly understood and applied.

It is in the interests of the mainstream of design industry to support the other design areas like craft practice as they have resource which the designers regularly draw from. Craft definitely needs to be involved in a design stream which will lead in re-energising the design sector.

‘Design’ has such wide distribution now that its status may be in danger. To avoid technology becoming a ‘cargo cult’ in this materialistic world of design, a serious consideration needs to be given to design’s roots which are in the local skill base environment.

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