Design is powerful force that shapes cultures: Ace designer-author Dr. Don Norman on receiving JKLU’s Design Guru 2020 award


When Design has become one of the most preferred and exciting opportunities for youth from diverse disciplines noted International designer-researcher-author Dr. Don Norman said it can be applied across all human cultural and economic activities as it’s a powerful pillar to shape our culture. Dr. Norman was speaking at an online event organized by the JK Lakshmipat University’s (JKLU) to celebrate their annual Design Guru Day. The day marked the birth anniversary of Prof M P Ranjan, a prolific design teacher, who influenced generations of design students not only in India but also in the West.

Dr. Norman was felicitated with the Design Guru 2020 award in the event, which was also joined by Shri Bharat Harshpati Singhania, President, JK Organisation; Dr. RL Raina, Vice-Chancellor, JK Lakshmipat University, Jaipur; Pro VC Asheesh Gupta; Srini Srinivasan, President of World Design Organisation, Chairman & CEO of Lumium Design; Praveen Nahar, Director of National Institute of Design (NID) Ahmedabad among other dignitaries. 

Dr. Don Norman was awarded this year for his continuous support for advancing the Design the curriculum across the globe. He is the Director of the design lab at the University of California, San Diego; Co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group, Member of National Academy of Engineering, IDEO fellow, and former Vice President of Apple; honorary professor at Tongji University (Shanghai) and is a well -known speaker and author of 20 books in 20 languages including Emotional Design and The design of everyday things.

“I am honored to receive the award of Design Guru 2020, more especially because it is in the memory of Professor MP Ranjan. Design is a powerful force that shapes cultures, it can be applied across all human cultural and economic activities. Students need to learn about people and society, technology, economics, and commerce to create new interdisciplinary designs to become tomorrow’s leaders and to create a better society. Design is a field that focuses on people, understanding their critical needs recognizing them to create products that will preserve the environment. The design combines unusable skills that help in solving critical problems that can be used for the betterment of humanity. We need to change the nature of design education so that students of design learn enough about the disciplines in order to understand address the societal issues of hunger, healthcare, education designers need to have different skills. The leader should come from everywhere not just Europe or the United States, India should be a major first,” said Dr Norman after receiving the honour. 

The Design Guru Day is the annual ritual of designers, paying their respects to senior faculty of Design. After Professor Ranjan’s untimely demise in 2015, prominent Design disciples decided to remember and celebrate this famous Design Guru by recognizing senior faculty from Design and honor them as “Design Gurus”. 

Congratulating Dr. Norman and elaborating more on the significance of the Day, Dr. Raina said, “JKLU became an integral part of this function. Last year, which was the 4th edition of the celebration and we honored the world fame design guru to Professor Satwalekar, and this year we are facilitating Dr.Don. This day is celebrated in the memory of Professor Ranjan.” 

Highlighting the journey and concept of Design Guru, Pro VC Mr. Gupta added that JKLU is uniquely positioned for the event despite JKLU institute of design being only two batches old. 

In the last 5 years, Mahendra Patel, Sudarshan Khanna, AGK Menon, Iftikhar Mulk Chishti, and Prof Vikas Satwalekar were bestowed with this honor. JK Lakshmipat University will celebrate this event under the aegis of MP Ranjan – JKLU Design Resource Centre. This Centre was created with the contribution of Prof Ranjan’s family of over 1200 books on Design which belonged to his collection.


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