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The Democratization of Design

LAL, Tanaya
National Institute of Design, India



From the act of ordinary humans in shaping the world around them, to a structuralized professional practice, the perception and meaning of design has changed. The institutional and closed definition of design in the years since the industrial revolution has failed to recognize the ingenious designs that come from the common man, the everyday designer. These solutions are contextual, sustainable and affordable and a necessity, especially for developing countries. This presentationon the democratization of design seeks to recognize the ingenuity of this ‘diffuse’ or non-expert design and present cases of a few successful and path breaking innovations from the grassroots of India. It further explores the idea of a democratized design world where everyone would design. It would not mean de-professionalizing design, rather a new role for the designer as a facilitator to create this new reality of a participative co-design process. As we increasingly take cognizance of the impact of design in domains like businesses, organizations and even governance we are already on our way to create a pluriverse of design which creates value through a collective design capacity.

participative design; ingenious innovation; diffuse design; everyday designer

About the Author

Tanaya Lal is a postgraduate student of Strategic Design Management at the National Institute of Design, Gujarat, India. She was born and raised in New Delhi. Growing up in a home with a mother who is an academic and a father who is a media professional, her thought process was shaped by a spirit of intellectual inquiry and a consciousness of the socio-political and cultural milieu around her. She is a passionate dancer, and trained in the Indian classical dance form of Kathak. The sensitization to creative arts, culture and tradition ignited an interest in the world of design. Before she started her journey of becoming a strategic designer, she graduated as an architect in 2016 and held diverse roles in an architecture studio, designed for films and was part of an international design publication. These diverse experiences inspired her to evolve as a designer and delve deeper into the power of design beyond the built. Within the vast world that studying design has opened up for her, herinterests lie in using design as a tool to create impactful and sustainable processes in the public domain and critically analyse how design can shape and reshape the world.

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