[Year in Review 2020] From safe spaces to delightful experiences – 75 quotes on the importance and impact of design

Along with technology and business, design is a key success factor for startups and large firms, as these designers affirm.

[Year in Review 2020] From safe spaces to delightful experiences – 75 quotes on the importance and impact of design

Tuesday December 29, 2020,

12 min Read

Launched in 2014, StoryBites is a regular feature from YourStory Media, featuring notable quotable quotes in our past articles. Share these gems and insights with your colleagues and networks, and check back to the original articles for more insights.

Drawn from our comprehensive coverage of India’s creative ecosystem, we present 75 quotes on the growing importance of design in the way we work, live, and play (see last year’s compilation here). See also YourStory’s d-Zen (‘Design Zen’) section for more design resources.

From safe public spaces to compelling digital experiences, designers have played a major role in the pandemic era of physical distancing and WFH (work from home, watch from home).

The designers, founders, and authors in this compilation share hard-earned insights on designer mindsets and skillsets. We have divided the 75 quotes into 10 categories: the big picture, pandemic era, digital world, practice, customer focus, the India story, business, trends, fashion, and futures.

The growing popularity of design conferences and festivals in India bodes well for the design community and broader industry; many of them pivoted to an online format this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. New museums have also sprung up, showcasing the power of design to reflect Indian culture, such as the Indian Music Experience and Museum of Art and Photography.

Make it a habit to check out YourStory’s Daily Capsule, PhotoSparks photo-essays on art and design, and quotes compilations StoryBites. Our Book Review section also shares insights and takeaways from over 280 titles on innovation, entrepreneurship, design, and digital transformation.

YourStory wishes all founders, changemakers, and designers a Happy New Year, with much success, creativity, and impact!


The Big Picture

The real concept of balance is in our becoming mindful. Being aware of a planetary society. Of who we are and how we live. - Shashwat Das, WOW Design

Design, other than being a practice, is a framework for innovation and effectiveness in a lot of industry verticals and vocations. – Shiva Viswanathan, Ogilvy PennyWise

Design is a feeling, it is a raw emotion. The design must show your skill sets of balance, proposition, and conviction. - Ramkripa Ananthan

Curious, open, and questioning minds are at the core of making discoveries and creating serendipity. - Christian Busch, ‘The Serendipity Mindset’

Brand strategy is business strategy because it involves purpose, company culture, brand behaviour, and experience design. - Mohit Jayal, Motherland Joint Ventures

Design in the pandemic era

Pandemics in the past have led to redesigned cities, infrastructure, architecture, and interiors – all in the name of minimising the risk of infectious disease.  - Shaheena Attarwala, ZoomCar

There is a tremendous opportunity for humanity in this crisis. It is giving us time to pause and reflect in order to be much more conscious about how we're living and what we're putting into the world. - Alysha Naples, Tin Drum

There is an overall mindset change of ‘Less is more’. Minimalism as a design principle has come up now, thanks to COVID.  - Revathi Kant, Titan

Ensure your team understands that as the virus navigates different stages, we will have to pivot our strategy many times to adjust to our users and their needs. - Deven Grover, Agoda

COVID-19 has forced us to look at the gaping holes in our sanitation and public hygiene systems, overcrowding in transport, and urban planning. - Srishti Gupta, MakeMyTrip

All buildings, whether residential, commercial or a public structure, should be resilient and flexible enough to be converted into whatever facility is required during an emergency. -  Jasmine Gohil, Anant National University

Thermal scans, temperature recordings, facial and heartbeat analysis may just become part of the new normal. - Shashwat Das, WOW Design

It will be super important for us to always keep safety and hygiene as an important consideration while designing in the post-lockdown phase. - Anurag Arora, Uber

Safety has taken the top priority in the current health crisis and brands are trying to stay relevant by taking precautionary measures. - Dharmesh Ba, Setu/D91 Labs

People, businesses, and governments around the world have changed the way they spend, move, communicate, and travel because of COVID-19. - Caroline Gorski, R2 Data Labs

The pandemic has been a mixed bag for the interior design industry. - Srikanth Iyer, HomeLane

Most architects and interior designers fall under small businesses therefore the challenge currently is mainly how to sustain the business and keep it running and afloat. - Disha Bhavsar, Quirk Studio


Designer masks are going to be a big trend as masks have become an integral part of our lives. - Ameet Panchal, Ethnicity

Adira’s face masks not only address the current market need, but also blend it with wildlife and nature lovers’ obsession with anything wild. - Jayanth Sharma, Toehold Travel and Photography

As consumers continue to stay indoors and design their work from home lifestyles, their needs when it comes to high-end value electronics have taken centre focus. - Dev Iyer, Flipkart

For the new world, we need a new computer designed to help people work from anywhere, effectively and securely. - Rohildev Nattukallingal, Nimo

Today, as our physical spaces shrink, our virtual spaces are expanding. - Rahul Gonsalves, Obvious Ventures

How might we design for social connectedness in an increasingly contactless world? - Srishti Gupta, MakeMyTrip

During the pandemic, leading fashion and beauty brands have leveraged Conversational AI to create virtual experts that recommend products based on consumer interactions. - Kartik Walia, Amplify.ai

User experience designers are among the most in-demand job roles today. - Amit Aggarwal, NASSCOM

The digital world

We are quickly moving into using new technologies of the 4th Industrial Revolution, and that will require significant reskilling. - Anthony Lopez, Lopez Design

The future of shopping will be a lot more interactive, live and video-based. The next decade will see the rise of immersive shopping. - Megha Ohri, Myntra

Live video shopping solves the listing, establishing trust, and marketing problems all at once. - Chitresh Parihar, Baaz

We are seeing a tectonic shift and message-based ordering is the norm. Small stores can benefit from this development. - Raghu Ravinutala, Yellow Messenger

Data and technology can address two large challenges of insurance inclusion – product design and distribution. - Anjali Bansal, Avaana Capital

The future of live sport is streaming. - David White, New Zealand Cricket

We have all heard how data is the new oil. Design is the spark for this oil, and an integral part of the digital transformation our world is going through.  - Vivek Kumar, Springboard

For customers, businesses should design new product launches as per the new normal, that is, digital and soft launches. - Jatin Ahuja, Big Boy Toyz

Build trust by design. Increase trust through registries, attestations, and signatures. - Pramod Varma, India Stack

While there are experts who handle the experience design and the whole UX, the onus on software developers to know about usability is much higher. - Hemant Khandelwal, Harness India

Privacy by design becomes imperative for software companies. They need to provide privacy controls to be integrated into the design of products and services. - Ankit Rawal, Affle

Well-executed branded podcasts are not about just the podcast, but about everything from strategy to research to storytelling to distribution. - Karthik Vijayakumar, Design Your Thinking Labs


The practice of design

Designing is just one part of the entire process. The implementation becomes crucial. - Aayush Chaudhary, ACad Studio

Implementation is important, but you need to have sensitivity. - Kaushik Mukherjee, Udaan

There is more to business than just presenting the product. - Ashwitha Reddy Chinnamail, LevelApp

Find a way to keep wiping your mind clear of its prejudices, especially if the design and development process takes a long time. - Ramkripa Ananthan, Mahindra & Mahindra

One of the most beautiful aspects of design is being iterative. - Anurag Arora, Uber

Entrepreneurship is a constant rollercoaster, whether it’s about designing the “perfect” product, finding the right market fit, procuring funds or managing teams. - Puroitree Majumdar, YourDOST

Art is subjective to each individual, while the design's main purpose is to be of consistent meaning for everyone. - Gazal Roongta

Designers by nature are creators and passionate about a million things. We tend to work on several side projects or passion projects, which are outside of our client work. - Seema Seth, Studio Sky

When planning a museum, design has to be one of the major considerations as people learn with their eyes. - Deepthi Sasidharan, Eka Archiving

Customer focus

Always put the user in the centre of design. Engineering, marketing, technology – everything comes later. – Suresh Venkat

Design should solve a customer problem and create delight. -  Madhumita Gupta, Atlassian

Your customers decide your design. - Meeta Malhotra, The Hard Copy

If you build a great product, you get a great community and [if] you are really constantly listening to them, people like to be part of this journey with you. - Abhinav Asthana, Postman

Product thinking and human-centred design make technologies more approachable for people.- Rahul Karankal, WFHtable.com

The best way to configure the next set of features is to talk to customers directly, empathise with their problems, and find solutions to fix them. - Vaibhav Khandelwal, Shadowfax

If you are really designing for people, design inside the box because that is where they are. Outside the box is not accessible to them. - Prachi Bhatia, Chokhatd

Personalisation is the future of fashion. - Kashif Mohammad, Rapawalk

Many fashion designers are now moving from a traditional brick and mortar shop to a pop-up store or a shared rented space. The consumers find such spaces innovative. - Vidushi Jain, Attrangi

As a designer, it is very tough to keep aside the creativity and go with what the market desires. - Ageerika Hari, Vaitaanika

Design thinking is about designing experiences. - Pavan Soni, Inflexion Point

An ideal client is one who knows that a design solution goes way beyond a product, because in the design thinking and research process lie huge answers, which hold in them the secret to transform a business. - Neil Foley, Neil Foley Designs


The India story

On average, designers spend at least Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000 with existing options in the market. - Deepmala Rath, Dezinefy

The beauty of sarees is that they are fluid and can be reused and upcycled into dresses, bags, furnishings, and accessories too. - Avipsha Thakur, Bunavat

The electronics system design and manufacturing (ESDM) industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the country and can play a huge role in its economic recovery. - C N Ashwath Narayan, DCM, Karnataka

Our country has the potential to revolutionise the digital gaming arena with innovative designs, technology, and talent.  -  Sudhanshu Gupta, Paytm First Games

Indian jewellery stores have a tendency to showcase more designs through pamphlets and pictures, than physically. - Maghna Saraogi, StyleDotMe

There are over 700,000 homegrown designer brands in India who seek to retail in over 75,000 single brand and multi-brand store networks. - Vikrant Varshney, SucSEED

Most of the footwear designed today do not take care of the natural functions of the body. - Ashish Jain, Iatric Industries

The menswear market is dominated by brands churning out age-old designs and charging the customers a high price for the same. - Ehtasham Hussain, Un-Cuffed

The eyewear industry in India is growing at 30 percent CAGR, and it is shocking to know that there is only one store available for 70,000 people in India. - Shivi Singh, ClearDekho

Design in business

Today, designers are moving up the ranks to the proximity of the CEO. Increasingly, a designer is among the first five hires in a startup today. - Jay Dutta, MakeMyTrip

Women struggle to rise above designing to other leadership roles. - Deepmala Rath, Dezinefy

Design thinking is to innovation what Six Sigma is to quality.  - Pavan Soni, ‘Design your Thinking’

Organisations need to speed up their learning, they must propagate new insights quickly through the whole company. - Sebastian Mueller, MING Labs

The best team productivity tool is called trust. - Ashwini Deshpande, Elephant Design


Coding is an enabler for kids to excel in various verticals. Once the base is set, they can design apps, build websites, AR/VR products, and many other things. - Naman Mukund, Tekie

In a world where our online lives can be designed, edited, and publicly viewed with thumbs-up or down from audiences, the boundaries between our online and offline identities may get blurred. - Radhika Bapat

Most logistics companies have plans to migrate their delivery vehicles into electric. This will trigger a new segment of vehicles designed for maximum delivery utilisation. - Ravikiran A, Numocity

Travel will be more meaningful and planned. The hospitality industry will have to match high service standards, and make luxury slightly more affordable. - Fatema Raja, Gojek


Fashion and design

Slow fashion is the need of the hour wherein brands produce thoughtfully designed, high-quality clothes using non-polluting raw materials and zero-waste production facilities. - Tanvi Bikhchandani, Tamarind Chutney

Design and fashion is when art and science come together to create beautiful solutions. - Nivedita Saboo

There is a lot of potential in youngsters and they can take our Indian design language to the world. - Sangeeta Boochra

Fashion has always been the pulse of pop culture and can be a powerful force with the ability to connect cultures and bring people together. - Priyanka Chopra Jonas


The road ahead

The inner spirit is bigger than our outer aspirations. We all will eventually reach that golden stage of acceptance and comfort. – Himanshu Khanna, Sparklin

Can we imagine a future for these migrant children where they don’t have to physically be present in school to be called educated? - Nikita Sarkar, Google

2030 will feel like what 1950 must have felt like in the US – a future of endless possibilities. And our children will look back at 2020 as the year when it all changed. - Anshuman Bapna, Terra.do

Isn’t the whole excitement about being a designer all about solving the next yet unknown problem? – Ashwini Deshpande, Elephant Design

Designers should embrace multi-futurism to process our present and speculate about the world we live in and our many possible future pathways. - Dorothy Di Stefano, Molten Immersive Art

YourStory has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).

Edited by Megha Reddy