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Exploring an Indic Design Framework

We believe design as an act of connecting ourselves with reality in the process we may illuminate and liberate. It is as much an internal process to refine your own self. As designers and by designing, we hope to become better listeners, sensitive creators and responsible members of ecosystems.

Everyday we engage with our collaborators who struggle in finding sense of current realities, meanings and connections with ever-changing cultural world. We walk together in discovering subtleties, unobtrusive beauty, hidden structures, mystery connections, seed of ideas, origin of a fountain, or many such unexplainable forces that drive creation of experiences. We engage by getting to know better, building trust and deepening relationships. We often view a business as a self sustaining responsible community that is strong and relevant to other communities, rather than a profit making entity dominating others. Design interventions tend to (hopefully) act as humanizing agent to improve relationships between communities. Not to forget our relationship with nature.

Innovations in last two centuries have accelerated production and innocently if i may say, we have cluttered our beautiful world with unnecessary objects, symbols, information and services. New generation is conscious and cautious of this. We collectively want to heal this explosion. We may walk different paths. We may discover new worlds or we may discover ourselves. At Tacit, we immerse to enliven the current moments. We like to spend time on learning what our senses say to us without too much intervention of symbols. The process looks slow but opens our senses, connections actively. We do not claim to solve problems, but we may touch that is “essential” — that which makes us feel better holistically, genuinely and make us collectively wiser in the process.

Cyclic Process

We see design as an act of creation deeply and consciously responding to the situation in hand. We respond by absorbing context (Rikta), unearthing the essential/subtle (Rasa), development of form/experience (Roopa), engaging time (Kala) and oneself (Mana) in an endless cyclic process. The spiral of a sea shell helps us to visualize our process with ease. It suggests creation and growth of the shell in its biological constraints. I guess, its a natural conditioning growing up here in India.

What does design impact?

This process or act of creation today sits in a larger context of our life. A framework helps to visualize key variables influence a design act and highlights the need to examine how those key variables might differ/affect and under what circumstances. We visualized a framework “Design Playground” for design in general. We listed “key essentials” that we touch in the “act of creation”. We often spend a good deal of time dealing with these “constraints” as well as “opportunities”. Each time one starts talking or critiquing design we mostly stumble upon these essentials. We as designers eventually respond to each one of them sensitively and creatively. While the above diagram is more subjective and personal, this is objective and measurable.

Aesthetics that make it alive, working on efficient functionality, influencing how people live (socio politics), and how we use/manage earth (environment), with an ability to maintain rates of renewable and non renewable resources depletion that can be continued indefinitely(Economic Sustainability), in our contexts of creation. Each time we design we create new knowledge influencing next generations of creators that shape human behavior endlessly.

Each time we create, we seem to move around in these eight zones, mostly aspiring to liberate from it. We attempted to evaluate a couple of our projects to visualize our engagement in projects. We recorded our inputs (effort/process) and output (influence/impact) on a scale rating. It looks something like this.

What you see above are two projects mapping of our engagement. We noticed some interesting findings.

  1. An artifact may not have looked very pleasing aesthetically but can have larger impact engaging with users meaningfully, even though we have put substantial effort dealing to make it look pleasing.

  2. We create new knowledge each time we engage in a project even if do not intend to. We often fail to document it. Writing about our journey in the form of stories help to share this knowledge.

  3. We have a lot of work and thinking to do on environmental factors, not many really know concrete solutions. This is great area for progressing in this millennium.

  4. Creation contexts — Creator, consumer, producer/client relationships improve with transparency of communication. The easier you make it to talk with each other, more productive are the projects.

  5. There is no winning formula! We have to compose/improvise consciously, constantly …….and so on.

Above exercise is a glimpse of how we work. At Tacit, we deal with “concepts” and “contexts” on a daily basis. We embrace this complexity of each project. We enjoy these constraints and the impacts we can create by the clarity one can bring in the process of creation.

Those keen to know in detail, please do connect me via comments. Thanks for reading.


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