Indesignlive sits down with Sarah Leslie, founder and CEO of Signarture, to learn about how the idea of customisable, bespoke art design originated and how her company has grown since.
December 19th, 2013
Indesignlive: Where did the idea for Signarture originate?
Sarah Leslie: The original idea – that it would be great if you could buy an artwork that you love in the size, shape and colour that you actually need to suit your space – came to me when I was furnishing my own apartment getting on a decade ago now. And that whilst anathema to the fine art purist, I felt a more pragmatic approach would have broad appeal.
IDL: How do you source the artworks?
SL: The artworks are all original designs developed in house. Exactly the same process as for fashion apparel product development is employed– starting with an analysis of the prevailing trends in colour and style, developing a mood board and colour palette before deriving the designs themselves. Inspiration can come from anywhere. I devour design magazines and travel a lot both to the major design fairs and capitals of Europe as well as off the beaten track.
IDL: How has the company evolved since its founding?
SL: The company was launched in 2006 at Art Sydney and over seven years has evolved on a number of fronts.
In terms of touch points, the original website has undergone a couple of iterations alongside the changes in technology, and the e-commerce site we have today delivers a customer experience that is the equal of any other online gallery. Beyond that the company has developed into a truly multi-channel business through partnerships with retailers such as Cosh Living, whose showrooms enable the physical display of our work.
The artworks keep evolving of course, with new artwork releases every season, and the change in product mix – in terms of medium – has been dramatic: canvas prints were the dominant medium when we launched, but today it’s our perspex artworks, which are unique to signarture, that we have become known for and form the core of the business, supplemented by bespoke applications.
IDL: In adapting artwork for interior design applications, have you encountered any particular challenges or opportunities?
SL: Beyond the ‘ready to hang’ artworks available in our online gallery, we collaborate with specialist partners to produce our artwork on a bespoke basis for all manner of interior design applications. With advances in technology, it has become possible to apply artwork to an ever increasing array of materials for surface design, which of course presents enormous opportunity. The challenge of communicating the range of possibilities has diminished as bespoke design has become better understood and embraced as a cost effective way to deliver distinctive design elements. It requires experience and the right production partners to deliver a product that meets the designer’s brief, their client’s budget and is also fit for purpose.
IDL: How do you employ technology in your company?
SL: Technology lies at the heart of the business. The designs are digitally originated and digitally printed which is fundamental to the mass personalised business model. It supports our capability to address the four product attributes along which our customers’ needs diverge: colour; size; shape; medium and material.
IDL: What has been your greatest satisfaction with Signarture?
SL: I think any designer who sets out to develop their own brand or business and achieves commercial success finds that immensely satisfying given the inevitable challenges along the way. For me, the greatest satisfaction lies in the customer reaction to the product. When someone is telling you how much they love the artworks or how these have transformed their space or project, that’s hard to beat.
IDL: How would you like to see Signarture evolve in the future?
SL: Signarture has been constantly evolving since inception and will continue to do so into the future: new media, new categories, new partnerships, new markets… watch this space!
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