Moves at Elmwood and Conran can only be good for the future of design

If top-level shifts are one of the first signs of economic recovery then, next week’s Government public spending review notwithstanding, design can look forward to brighter times pretty soon.

Moves by Daljit Singh to head the Conran Singh arm of Conran Holdings and Adam Ellis, from Coley Porter Bell, to become the first creative director to be based in Elmwood’s London office suggest a mood of confidence within these two groups that we can only hope will be replicated elsewhere in the industry (see News, page 3 and 5).

Ellis’ appointment marks a logical promotion for him and a huge boost to Elmwood’s global ambitions, with London joining Leeds as a creative hub in the UK. We have already tipped the consultancy as one to watch as the pieces of the jigsaw are assembled.

The Conran empire, meanwhile, has made no bones about wanting to enter the digital arena. It makes total sense, given Terence Conran’s expertise in retail and hospitality environments where interactive installations are increasingly key and in running a multidisciplinary team. It just needed the right person to lead the charge.

Enter Digit founder Singh, who departed WPP-owned Digit with co-founder Andy Chambers in March after 15 years with the consultancy.

Singh’s patent pleasure at being in a design environment again – Digit was affiliated with WPP ad agency JWT – and the prospect of working in the Conran group to helps brands grasp digital opportunities reinforces the view that interaction creatives belong in design rather than elsewhere. We wish him luck.

Ellis and Singh represent different areas of design, but they are bound by something other than timing. Both are great designers, but both are also entrepreneurs – Ellis developed the Scoop ice-cream brand and Singh’s Mr Singh’s Bangra sausages are now on sale in Tesco. They set an example to all.

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