30,000 people read the first POOL online in 20 days, the second edition in a weeks time has hit those numbers. POOL is an idea whose time has come. This what i think, why it is here: This article appeared in Pune Mirror on Sunday 8th August 2010: Sudhir Sharma

The growth of Indian economy is creating a significant shift in its perception in India and elsewhere. Though all layers of population are not visibly benefitting from this growth but certain, urban population is now feeling the growing welfare, infrastructure, increased incomes, better jobs, and benefits of retail market growth. Almost all our cities are growing beyond recognition. We have 42 cities with more than a million inhabitants, another 26 cities are ready to join this list fairly soon, we have 4 large cities beyond or approaching 10 million mark.

Almost every city and town is growing with an accelerated pace. The speed is accompanied by a growing interest and significance of Design. The growing speed of growth rapidly indicates cracks that need to be filled in. Businesses and Society is finding design intervention as solution to fill in the gaps on the move. Government is recognizing this as well and moving in with fresh initiative.

Professional design is 50 years old in India, and there is a strong sense of national consciousness to it already. Historically grown creative abilities and growth in design education are making Indian designers and design companies quite ambitious. Most of this ambition is to be able to sell design services to clients from other countries and prove the case of problem solving within India using design thinking. The huge growth in needs and growing number of designers added with increasing interest in design and creativity are showing unprecedented potential in Design, Innovation and Creativity in India.

Indian sensibilities still take the center stage in all our creative endeavors, the creative processes within disciplines of Engineering, Architecture, Branding, Graphics, Installations, or any other are similar and borrow from each other. It is not unknown that an Environment is influenced by music, that is influenced by fashion that is influenced by architecture that is influenced by the design of a car. This can happen in any random manner and most true creative professionals are acutely aware of this influence.

How do designers see design?

Architects, Interior designers, Product engineers, graphic designers, artists, website designers, textile designers, fashion designers or any title that can comes with the designer tag are people with heightened sensibilities. These sense easily get stimulus from various things in our environment.

It is not difficult to find most such beings as activists for environment and climate change. Most have strong opinions on political and policy decisions; most have interests that go beyond mere disciplines that they study in schools and colleges.

For them all is a part of Design. Design is a way to think and a process to think and not just a technique to produce something. This is exactly how customers of design expect them to see design. Customers are aware of the links that exist between the environment, material, production, aesthetics, retail, brand and benefits. You would find most senior designers involved in the whole chain of events vertically as well as horizontally in various companies. Any company using designers in silos is not really taking the full benefit of their presence.

The design education has not really caught up with this encompassing reality of design practice. Designers are trained in Silos, in verticals.  Design, Art, Engineering, Architecture schools are still churning out specialists who with exposure and with time become aware of their sensibilities.

Young designers need cross discipline exposure to come to speed with.

How do we mind the gap?

Design schools that are multidisciplinary fill this gap by default with exposure to other disciplines, other try and arrange exposure. Unfortunately the design media in India is all organized by trades and trade bodies.. So that is in silos too.

Where does POOL fit in

With 20 years of practice as designer and most of this practice that glided across disciplines of Branding, experience, architecture, interior, retail, process and business I have often wished to see media producing content which was mixed. We have tons and tons of specialist area magazines. We have a few select programs on TV that are either about interiors, or architecture or engineering or may be automobile design.

I had founded a e group community of designers before the term social networks came into being, in 2002 “designindia’. Designindia today has over 6000 members across various domains on social networks. It is the only such lobby group of designers that has organized and been a support for national and international design events. My company INDI design has been involved in helping clients plan and launch their businesses and help them expand.

I realized it was time that I used the network to create such a media myself. That is how POOL magazine was founded. We worked for four months researching and looking for the right mix. We were also looking at feasibility of POOL as a business.

POOL is a monthly magazine for Design, Innovation and Creativity, though the emphasis is on professional activities and projects, focus is on people behind those projects. I strongly feel we need icons in India. We need new and inspiring icons that go beyond the press releases that are handed out by a few design companies that have discovered the business benefits of media publicity. POOL will always have a creative person on cover, and have lot of them inside. It is published from Pune and delivered to subscribers in India, Europe, Middle East, South east Asia, US and Canada. Response to the first two issues has been very inspiring, it almost feels like we hit the mail on the head.

Going forward a Middle East edition of POOL is planned to be launched in Feb 2011, and South East Asia edition should be out next year sometime. There is collaboration with a Chinese magazine being discussed. I do see POOL coming with TV software soon too. There would be POOL creative events and workshops and yearbooks.

30,000 people read the first POOL online in 20 days, the second edition in a weeks time has hit those numbers. POOL is an idea whose time has come.