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In India, since 1850s or even earlier, some institutes were started to provide education in art, music, dance, painting, architecture, handicrafts, sculpture. But it was in the 1950s that a truly formal and business-oriented “design” education system was planted! In 1961, National Institute of Design (NID) was established at Ahmedabad.

In 1969, the Industrial Design Center (IDC) was established at the Indian Institute of Bombay. In 1986, National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) was established in Delhi. Today, all these three excellent design institutes are imparting degree, higher degree and dissertation doctorate education in various branches of design to selected students of the country.

However, after 1990, government and private design institutes were established in many states of India. Today, around 50 educational institutes in India are imparting design and fashion education to students.

National Institute of Design (NID)

N. i. D. (NID) is India’s first Institute of Design. There is an interesting story about how this institution was established. In 1955, Smt. Pupul Jayakar, in collaboration with the National Planning Commission, created a composition on “Art and Culture of India” at the “Museum of Modern Art” (MOMA) in New York.

There he met Charles Eames, an established Los Angeles architect. As a result of this visit, in 1958 Mr. Both Charles Eames and his wife Ray Eames were invited to study in post-independence India with a view to promoting engineering and design professions.

In this project funded by the Ford Foundation, the Eames couple traveled to various parts of India to meet small entrepreneurs, artisans, handloom professionals, artists, conducted in-depth studies and submitted a dissertation report.

It was named “The India Report”. In 1961, the “National Institute of Design” was established at Ahmedabad under the guidance of Mr. Gautam Sarabhai and his sister Gira Sarabhai to implement that report.

In the early days many of the leading institutions in Europe – viz. Bauhaus School of Design – Teachers and designers contributed to the design of NID’s curriculum and teaching methods. Today NID has completed 61 years and has seven campuses in various states.

Among them Ahmedabad, Vijayawada, Kurukshetra, Jorhat and Bhopal provide post 12th degree/postgraduate design education. While Master of Design education is given in Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Bangalore. In the year 2014, this institute has been honored with the status of “Institute of National Importance”.

The degree in this institute is of four years, the first year is foundation (understanding the core of design) and the remaining three years can be specialized in one of the 8 subjects of design. Similarly, Masters Program is 2.5 years.

Specializations can be done in 17 different branches under this course. The readers can get more information about the examination required to get admission in this institute, its format, available seats, other facilities on the website


IDC School of Design (IDC, IIT Bombay
N. i. D. 8 years after its establishment i.e. in 1969 “IDC – Industrial Design Center” was established at the Indian Institute of Bombay at the initiative of the Ministry of Human Resources, Government of India. Even in the early days of IDC some of the leading organizations in Europe – e.g. Ulm School of Design, Germany – Teachers and designers contributed to the design of curriculum and teaching methods. This organization completed 50 years last year.

The Master of Design course in this institute is of two years duration. Under this course specializations can be done in 5 different branches – Product, Communication, Transportation, Animation and User Experience. Similarly, since 2015, four-year B.Des degree can also be acquired.

 Since 2006, PhD (Dissertation Doctorate) course has been started at IDC which offers PhD in design and related subjects. The readers can get more information about the exam, format, available seats, other facilities to get admission in this institute at website.


National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT
Two decades after the establishment of design institutes NID and IDC, NIFT was established in Delhi in 1986 on the initiative of “Ministry of Textiles and Textiles”, Government of India. The objective of starting NIFT institute is to bring together the composite knowledge of traditional customs, art, historical structures, diverse costumes of India and impart new study methods and career oriented education.

 Fashion Design Council of India was established in 1998 on the initiative of NIFT to give a platform to fashion design education and spread fashion business. Today, NIFT has 17 branches across the country where specialization in various subjects can be done.

The readers can get more information about the exam to be taken, format, seats available, other facilities to get admission in this institute at website.

In the next blog, let us know more about the entrance examination, its format and criteria of these institutions (Entrance Examinations).



Written by
Kiran Sabnis

Post Graduate in Design from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, Over 25 years of experience in corporate and education sector