On August 8th, we were visited by Dan Ziglam, one-half of product design duo Deadgood, who delivered an inspiring talk at YCN about his experience in the industry.
As part of our summer-long series of talks, classes and events, Dan delivered a comprehensive history of the Deadgood brand to an assembled audience of creative practitioners in the YCN Shop & Library.
The company was founded by Dan and his partner Elliot Brook shortly after they both completed the Three Dimensional Design course at Northumbria University back in 2003. Dan discussed how Deadgood grew from humble beginnings (he and Elliot wrote their first business plan on the back of a beer mat, and their first base of operations was little more than a laptop in Dan's front room) to the established brand it is today.
Dan talked about how as graduates, he and Elliot quickly learned to appreciate how important self-promotion and being pro-active in approaching potential contacts is, describing how he discovered that "nothing will ever happen if you just sit there". By curating photo shoots of their products in unusual locations and sending out mailers in silver envelopes, Dan spoke about how the Deadgood brand initially garnered interest from taking an unusual approach to self-promotion, eventually leading on to their first big commercial project furnishing the British Council offices in Sudan.
As a graduate, Dan appreciated how important self-promotion is, quickly discovering that "nothing will ever happen if you just sit there".
Dan described how the brand then grew to feature products created by other designers, ranging from accessories to other pieces of furniture, such as the David Irwin Working Girl stools our guests sat on last night. Dan stressed how important championing emerging creative talent and collaboration is to the brand, showcasing a selection of previous projects created with the likes of Max Lamb and Jon Burgerman. Dan showed a number of extra-curricular projects which also fulfil this idea, such as the successful annual regional design exhibition Launch he co-curated.
Dan also delved into the manufacturing side of the industry, introducing a handful of the heavy-duty machines that are used to produce many of the Deadgood products. Dan described how Deadgood's approach to working with their manufacturers differs from that of many other product designers', suggesting how he believes that making the effort to actually meet with them and visit their workspaces can make a world of difference to their working relationship.
Following the talk, Dan participated in a brief Q&A session during which he spoke about the differences between commercial and contract projects, his preference for sourcing materials locally and how when dealing with clients, he always strives to be nice, fair, honest and transparent.
The talk ended with Dan introducing a copy of his favourite book to the YCN Lending Library, Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird.
Location:72 Rivington Street,
London, EC2A 3AY,
Start:8th August, 2012 at 6:30pm
End:8th August, 2012 at 8:00pm