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A Mark of Quality

The India Design Mark or I-Mark

The India Design Council (IDC) has finally launched the I-Mark, a quality tag to be conferred on ‘good design’. This is based on Japan’s G-Mark and Good Design Award, which has been in place since 1957.

The definition of ‘good’ in India’s case will depend on whether products and services conform to the processes and standards set by the IDC (based on a 15 day study by an Indian team in Japan). Only time can tell if the I-Mark achieves its manifold goal of ‘raising the profile of Indian design, encouraging and demonstrating the use of design, giving broader recognition to the value of design and documenting case studies of successful design’.

In what seems to have become a trend these days, the IDC invited* entries for the I Mark (while mentioning in the call for entries that they reserve the right to hire a third party to modify/develop the brand. Why bother cutting costs with crowd sourcing then?).

*pdf file.

The final I-Mark has been designed by Vaibhav Mohite and Prashant Agashe. In this video interview, Mohite talks about the process and rationale behind the form.

The competition itself was a hurried one. If I am not mistaken, there was only about a week’s time between the call for entries and the last submission date. This lack of time reflects in the quality of entries.

The final ten entries for the I-Mark competition

It is also most curious that the majority of the entries that made it to the final round are all from the same design firm, the remaining are all from the same design school. None of them however are too far off from Mohite and Agashe’s design in their appearance – all of them are for the most part, uniformly similar, almost as if our collective thinking (or lack of it) prevents us from moving beyond a certain cliché. Is a bindi/tika the only way to represent Indian-ness? And pray, why the ‘इ’ for Indian – is it not I for India and ‘भ’ for भारत (Bharat)?

The last major crowd sourcing design project in India was that of the Rupee symbol. Though the design received a lot of flak initially, it was appreciable that Udaya Kumar had made a thorough effort to test his design on a variety of applications. The I-Mark will not be as ubiquitous as the Rupee symbol, but it will most certainly have many applications, none of which seems to have been thought of at present while designing it.

The only thought on my mind right now is, would this I-Mark qualify for an I-Mark?

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  1. Paul Sandip wrote:

    The Quivering ‘ i ‘ as I would like to call it, truly symbolizes the un-established style of “Indian Design” trying to place its foot in the international arena…and feeling week at its knees! 🙂

  2. wasim khan wrote:

    well well well … i just can’t help but agree with Sandip 😉

  3. akash hans wrote:

    It takes quite some time to collect your thoughts and say something sensible instead of just wailing incoherently in frustration. Many must be bemoaning this latest phenomenon, that is Logo Lottery. Circumstantial evidence points to shady activities behind these events. If only there was transparency in these processes. I wish luminaries in our design industry could arm twist these institutions into shedding some light behind these activities.

  4. akash hans wrote:

    And yes invert it and we have a balaji tele serial “vamp” bindi.

  5. armeen wrote:

    No point just venting in frustration, I do agree with Akash. We need to know the selection process behind these things. And frankly, now ‘crowd-sourcing’ or competitions are just used for any and everything. It is rampant in the design industry. And it is not about providing a design-solution anymore. Design is becoming a popularity contest.

  6. very well written. some of the shortlisted entries are a rotated and coloured version of the c-dot symbol (

    any idea who were the judges?

    I feel the one selected by the (eminent) jury does not even deserve comment.

  7. The India Design Council has representatives from both INDI and NID. It is strange that almost all the entries belong to both these organisations. The jury, in normal case, cannot participate in a contest it is judging, leave alone win it. I can’t decide if this should be called a scam or a sham!

  8. akash hans wrote:


  9. […] for submissions. The final ten selections all came from the same designer, you can see them here. A winner was selected but soon after, with protests from the design community, the IDC scrapped the winning entry and […]

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