Designer profile

Special Report: Businesses that thrive with design

31 Dec 2013  •  6 min read

President’s Design Award 2013 Special Report: In this fourth of a five-part series, we examine how design can be a game-changer in running a successful business.

Creativity plus business acumen

Fashion designer Alfie Leong combines creativity with business acumen to build successful fashion brands A.W.O.L. and mu. Having been in the fashion industry for 20 years, he knows the complete value chain and how to runn a fashion business. Leong manages his own factory so that he has full control over the quality of the garments. He has also initiated Workshop Element (W.E.), a pop-up store concept featuring Singaporean designers in Wisma Atria and Westgate shopping malls.

Fashion brands A.W.O.L (left) and mu by Alfie Leong

Rentokil Initial’s strategy to engage design firm Orcadesign Consultants was a significant step forward for the company’s business transformation. To create the Initial ‘Signature’ Range of hygiene service products, the groundwork research investigated into end-users’ and service staff’s needs and the issues they face each day. The project resulted in a product range that sets apart Rentokil Initial from its rivals.

Initial ‘Signature’ Range: Auto feminine hygiene bin

The in-house industrial design team at World Kitchen’s (Asia-Pacific) delivered the eco-friendly product, the Snapware Eco Flip glass bottle. The team resolved a slew of design challenges to design a bottle that is easy to use, carry and clean – and unique in the market.

Multinational companies like Dell recognise the importance of design in creating innovative and exceptional products, that are also affordable. The company did just that with the Dell Inspiron 23: All-In-One PC. Knowing that a touchscreen PC is used differently from a conventional PC, the Inspiron 23 was re-designed from scratch for better user experience.

Exemplary entrepreneurship

Singapore Icons is the brainchild of designer-turned-entrepreneur Edwin Low. With his deep knowledge of industrial design, he could immediately grasp the capabilities of the ceramic makers and their processes; as well as peg the retail price of the plates affordably. This enabled him to target the mid-range souvenirs market in Singapore. He also curated and produced the collection – provided the design brief to design collaborators; as well as working with the Japanese ceramic makers to ensure the quality of the final product. The plates are retailed at SUPERMAMA store. Singapore Icons has been warmly received. Edwin has grown his business and progressed to create more souvenir collections with a distinctive Singaporean identity.

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