The establishment of NID was a result of several forces, both global and local. The late 1950s saw a confluence of these forces, and this time would be a significant one for Indian culture and education. This was a time of reappraisal and reconstruction in a newly independent India. A young nation was confronted with the mammoth task of nation building, of balancing age old traditions with modern technology and ideas. The Modern Movement, the philosophy of Machine Aesthetics, and revolutionary experimentation in the arts, architecture and design were all taking place at the same time. There was a search for the Indian identity across all aspects of life.
In 1955 Pupul Jayaker, the noted writer on Indian craft traditions and the founder of the Indian Handlooms and Handicrafts Export Council (HHEC) met the renowned American designer Charles Eames at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The Museum had organised a unique exhibition titled The Textiles and Ornamental Arts of India. This would be the beginning of a lifelong dialogue between these two eminent individuals.