Big strides towards a Design Policy for USA: Long Ripples from India
M P Ranjan
Image: Screen shot from Dori’s Moblog showing her with the members of the National Design Policy Summit held in USA
This is a long story that for me hinges around the Indian National Design Policy that was set in motion by the Government of India on 8th February 2007. I was in the USA that very day at the Asia Society in New York that day with NID Graduates Uday Dandavate of Sonic Rim, Surya Vanka of Microsoft and Sudhir Sharma of Elephant Design to promote the “Design with India” initiatives in the USA and in India that started with the plans for the CII NID National Design Summit in 2006. We had traveled to the USA to help bring attention to Design with India and for the promotion of deep partnerships between designers, industry and policy makers that could make design a central capability that would be put to use in solving the many development issues that face India today.
Uday had earlier invited me to speak at the IDSA Conference in Austin in September 2006 where I first met Elizabeth Tunstall – Dori – with her Mac connected to her blog live from the conference. My presentation at the IDSA Conference (pdf file 812 kb) was titled “Giving Design back to Society: Towards a Post-Mining Economy”. Dori commented on my paper (pdf file 42 kb) that day and we have been in touch since then on a new discussion list that she set up called the Design Policy List on Yahoogroups, now with many members.
Elizabeth Tunstall, is better known as Dori to friends and for those who read her blog, Doris Moblog. I did a search on her blog and her first post on Design Policy is on 11 February 2007 where she talks about the Indian National Design Policy after online conversation with me. Diori has been very active since then in organizing and mobilizing designers and design researchers around the world to develop strategies and approaches to bring design policy to nations that need to understand the significance of design as a social and development tool and not just a handmaiden of industry in the search of innovation and profits. The following links show her series of posts on “Dori;s Moblog”, that tell the story more fully
February 11, 2007: Indian National Design Policy
April 20, 2007: Shortlisted for IFG Ulm designing politics programme
April 30, 2007: Mapping Design Policy Landscape
May 06, 2007: Designers designing public policy
June 04, 2007: Two reasons for the failure of design policy
August 12, 2007: Clearview typeface: case study in design policy
September 21, 2007: Results from Ulm
January 30, 2008: Deaf Culture and Expressive Captions for TV and Film
March 16, 2008: Design Policy and CCBHS final presentations
July 29, 2008: Is AIGA a labor union?
and finally the latest post that tells us about the status in the USA after the Summit organized by Dori with design leaders in the USA.
November 20, 2008: U.S. National Design Policy Summit
Her latest mail to the Design Policy List is quoted below in full for immediate reference. We look forward to further developments on the USA and the ripples will most certainly come all the way back to India and help strengthen our own Design Policy initiatives here in India.
Quote from Dori’s ,message to the Design Policy List on 24th November 2008
“Hello DP group,
So we pulled it off, the US National Design Policy Summit. Here is the official release, but I am very excited about the next steps, including the finishing the report. It was really cool to have this happen after the Obama election victory. It think it created an opening for participants to be focused more on the future and collaboration, two elements that were necessary for the Summit’s success. There is a lot a work that needs to be done, but it will be thrilling to do the work.
U.S. DESIGN LEADERS ATTEND U.S. NATIONAL DESIGN POLICY SUMMIT
Leaders representing the major U.S. professional design organizations, design education accreditation organizations, and Federal government design assembled in Washington D.C. on November 11-12 to develop a blueprint for a U.S. national design policy.
United by a shared vision of design’s integral role in the U.S.’s economic competitiveness and democratic governance, the Summit generated over 250 proposals for how the design communities and the U.S. government can work together to drive:
- innovation that supports American entrepreneurial spirit and economic vitality,
- better performance in government communications and effectiveness,
- sustainable practices for communities and the environment, and
- design thinking that advances the educational goals of all areas of knowledge.
Summit participants ranked proposals by their value to the American people and the design communities as well as their operational and political feasibility. Brad McConnell, economic adviser in the Office of Senator Dick Durbin, assisted the group in determining political feasibility. The Summit concluded with the proposal of several immediate action steps for developing a U.S. national design policy:
1. Re-establish the American Design Council to serve as a unified body representing all the U.S. design fields
2. Create a report of the Summit and its proposals as the first publication of the American Design Council
3. Seek funding for a report on the contribution of the design industries to the U.S. economy
4. Encourage and support the National Endowment for the Art’s proposing of a U.S. National Design Assembly in 2010 and Federal Design Improvement Program in 2011
5. Develop case studies from each design field that demonstrates the economic, social, and environmental value of design
6. Engage design industry CEOs to provide testimonials of the value of design
7. Propose a holistic design award that will represent the highest honor in American design. Organized by Dr. Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall, Associate Professor of Design Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the U.S. National Design Summit participants included:
From Professional Design Organizations
- Richard Grefé, Executive Director of AIGA - Paul Mendelsohn, Vice President, Government and Community Relations, American Institute of Architects
- Leslie Gallery Dilworth, Executive Director, Society for Environmental Graphic Design
- Deanna Waldron, Director of Government and Public Affairs, American Society of Interior Designers
- Earl Powell, Lifelong Fellow, Design Management Institute
- Frank Tyneski, Executive Director, Industrial Designers Society of America
- Allison Levy, Managing Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs, International Interior Design Association
- Paul Sherman, President, Usability Professionals Association
From Design Education Accreditation Bodies
- Catherine Armour, National Board Member, Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design
- Holly Mattson, Executive Director, Council for Interior Design Accreditation
- Samuel Hope, Executive Director, National Association for Schools of Art and Design
From U.S. Federal Government
- Clark Wilson, Sr. Urban Designer/Environmental Protection Specialist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Frank Giblin, Director Urban Development Program, U.S. General Services Administration
- Janice Sterling, Director of Creative Services, U.S. Government Printing Office
- Ronald Keeney, Assistant Director of Creative Services, U.S. Government Printing Office
- Renata Graw, Principal Plural, University of Illinois at Chicago MFA 2008
- Siobhan Gregory, MFA student in Industrial Design at University of Illinois at Chicago
- Alicia Kuri Alamillo, MFA student in Graphic Design at University of Illinois at Chicago
- Matthew Muñoz, Principal Design Heals, North Carolina State University MFA 2008
- Sean Burgess, IDSA
- Tim Adkins, IDSA”
I too have made a number of posts about the Design Policy issues for India and these links include 11 posts at the advocacy level and 24 posts that contain comments linked to the National Design Policy that I have made over the past one year.
M P Ranjan