Last year saw the launch of our digital agency Conran Singh.
Headed up by its eponymous director Daljit Singh, a luminary in the field of interaction design, they have already completed exiting new projects for Your Square Mile and luxury mobile phone brand Vertu.
But what’s he all about? And what’s the future for digital? Last week the team over at Creative Social decided to find out a bit more about him…
Terence and Daljit
CS: How did you get to where you are today?
Daljit: I studied Graphic Design at Nottingham Trent University. After graduating in 1991, I went to work for IBM as an Interaction Designer. Two years into the IBM job I decided that actually the next thing to do would be to set up my own business, and that was when Digit was born. From its inception, Digit grew to about twenty people in the first five years. We were in Soho to start with, and then after Soho we moved into East London and were one of the first companies in Hoxton Square. In 2005 we sold and became part of WPP, so in total I ran Digit for about fifteen years. I left in March 2010 and thats when I started Conran Singh.
CS: Why was Conran Singh created?
Daljit: The Conran Group is run by Terence Conran, they’ve been around for almost two decades and the businesses include the Conran Shops and the Conran restaurants, of which there are about thirty around the world. There is also a publishing arm to the business, called Conran Octopus, and then there are the actual design studios which are based just behind the design museum. Within those businesses there are Conran and Partners, which is an architecture and interior design business with about sixty people in the practice doing jobs all around the world. There’s Conran Studio which is product design and branding. There is also Conran and Company, which is involved with product developing and licensing. The one thing which they have never had was a digital division. I started speaking to them and they asked if I would be interested, and here I am a year on. It seemed like the right thing to do and quite an opportunity, so I guess that’s the straightforward reason for it being born.
CS: What work have you been involved with that you are most proud of?
Daljit: Throughout my career there have been lots of things. I suppose some of the highlights have been in the Digit years. The stuff that I have always been very passionate about is R&D. I think Digit was one of the very first companies to really invest in doing research and development. We developed lots of our own projects, non-commercially, which ranged from looking deeply at interactive design and seeing what you can do with interaction on screen, and then physical interaction, which lead to some really interesting commercial projects. We did the redesign of the Habitat site many years ago which at the time was very groundbreaking. In more recent times, some of the physically interactive work that we did for Motorola has been really interesting. There’s also a project for the National Gallery which we did in collaboration with The Partners, it won a Black Pencil at the D&AD awards, I am very proud of that.
The National Gallery Grand Tour project
I think now, being with Conran, I am really looking forward to applying a kind of design sensibility back into what interactivity really means. There are a number of very interesting things we are doing at the moment, none of which I can talk about. Its fascinating because it is maneuvering away from straightforward marketing and advertising, into the realm of actual design and solving problems, and that is very exciting in terms of what the future holds. More importantly, I think our clients are very interested in that kind of attitude, they need it for their business.
CS: What major changes, in your opinion, can we expect to see in the Digital Communications industry in the next ten years?
Daljit: That’s a big question. I think the multi-platform world will become less multi-platform. We will be doing much more than we already are on the move, as opposed to being tethered somewhere. I think there will be a significant change in our notion of entertainment and the way that we view it. Look at television and you can see this is already happening. Up until now it has always been in the corner of your living room, this is fundamentally changing. I think our engagement with information will become simpler because we will get rid of all of the noise that is in the market place at the moment. I also think that strong, creative ideas will have to become more prevalent and more important to cut-through, because I think that brand and business can only survive where they have a very strong notion of what they’re trying to say and what they are trying to talk about, and actually the technology will need to become better designed. Apart from looking in a crystal ball I don’t think I can do anymore than that!
Read the full interview with Daljit here on Creative Social including the buzz words Daljit would like to erase forever and what he thinks is the biggest challenge for the advertising industry at the moment.