Handicrafts in Vietnam need creative spark

Designers in Vietnam need to offer more creative products to meet the demands and tastes of foreign markets, participants said at a seminar held in Ho Chi Minh City on December 18.

“The artworks and handicraft products of Vietnam are weak in design and there has been less breakthrough in creativity,” said Bui Thi Thanh An, Deputy Head of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade).

The seminar was held in collaboration with the Vietnam Design Association.

Handicraft and art exports have reached US$1.5 billion in turnover per year in recent years, accounting for 1.5% of world market share.

An said that designers must begin to pay more attention to trademarks to increase their product value and improve competitiveness.

Tran Ngoc Danh, Deputy Chief representative of the Vietnam Design Association’s Office in the southern region, said that good design greatly increased value.

“A breakthrough is needed for Vietnamese designers, such as combining different materials to make a product, especially using recycled materials to make sustainable products, a trend favoured by foreign customers,” Danh said.

The two areas to exploit are graphic designs or products with many conveniences and functions, she added.

She noted that, apart from preserving national cultural character, the designers should make distinctive features for their products.

“Companies or designers should not copy designs of others, which negatively affects product appeal and export potential,” she said.

Dr. Marcel Crul of the Design for Sustainability programme at the Netherlands’ Delft University of Technology said that products must satisfy the tastes and needs of customers.

This was necessary to create close cooperation between designers, managers, technical consultants and customers.

Designers should also be attuned to environmental problems, social issues, and health and safety to create sustainable products.

This is a strict requirement set by developed countries, especially European ones, he said.

At the seminar, Ho Tan Duong, Deputy Chairman of the Vietnam Design Association, said that his group, along with the ADS International Design and Art Center and Vietrade were working on a handicraft sustainable development project through the connection to designers.

For designers, the association will help them expand corporate relations, customer research and partnership opportunities.

Designers will be provided with up-to-date design trends by local and international experts via design education, training and workshops. Festivals, exhibitions and competition will also be held.

They will have opportunity to enhance practical knowledge from businesses.

For businesses, they will find the right design partners. The businesses will also be consulted by local and foreign experts, expand corporate relations, be supported by the government organisations, he said.

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