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Convergence of design & tech will function as a true differentiator in the future

The Titan Company is not only India’s largest watchmaker, but over the years it has diversified and expanded its product portfolio into jewellery, eyewear, perfume, and sarees categories. Coming out with world class designs has always been the hallmark of Titan ever since they entered the watch market in 1987. We all know that design is a valuable and strategic asset for the brand to stay relevant in a world that keeps undergoing change. Titan’s strength lies in their capability to create great designs consistently through a well-managed design process on a continuous basis. 

With the amalgamation of technology and trend-based design disruption Titan keeps exploring with new designs to engage with the new age customers who are always in the lookout for the latest in fashion and style. Design is an ongoing process for Titan and, therefore, they keep reinventing with fresh and contemporary designs with continuous research and an in-depth understanding with their user’s attitude, aspirations and lifestyles which plays a key role and influences in the area of creating new and trendy designs. 

In an exclusive conversation with Adgully, Revathi Kant, Chief Design Officer, Titan Company Limited, speaks about design is a valuable strategic asset for Titan, the growing importance of digitisation in various facets of design, the convergence of design and technology, and more. 

Design is what drives in Jewellery, Watches, Eyewear and Fashion accessories. How do you keep reinventing with fresh and contemporary designs and what is the process you follow to keep and maintain the latest trends? 

At Titan, design is a valuable strategic asset in every aspect of business. Design has transformed all our businesses by enhancing value, brand imagery, innovation and profitability. Titan is focused on user-centric designs and has robust processes in place to ensure that ‘design thinking’ and ‘designing’, the two key facets are focussed upon. Creating great designs consistently through our design process is really our strength. The craftsmanship at Titan is focused towards thoughtfulness and informed ideation. With the amalgamation of technology and trend-based design disruption we are trying to explore and engage new consumer sensibilities. 

In order to keep reinventing with fresh and contemporary designs, it is essential to understand the market trends, have an in-depth understanding of the user in terms of their attitude, aspirations, their lifestyle and influential factors. Secondly, have a thorough understanding of mega, macro and micro trends and how they are likely to impact the category and the user. The last one, of course, is a great inspiration. The magic lies in getting the formula right. Great design is a result of an in-depth consumer understanding, interpretation of relevant mega trends and a great inspiration. 

Some of the best watch dial designs for watches have always came from European countries. Do you still source the design from there? Or is it indigenously created and designed in India? 

All our inspirations are authentic and created by our talented designers in India. We do not source design, but create them. 

What is the role of technology in design development? How much technology do you use in the design process? 

Design is not just about aesthetics, it’s about functionality. It has to be robust, it has to function well. Also, digitisation is playing a key role in various facets of design and design process. As tech is becoming more pervasive consumers are asking better experiences all across value chains. It is imperative for designers and design community to accept this change and use future technology to amplify our ability to design. 

Technology is an enabler in all aspects of our lives and design development is no different. Especially in the last two years, the entire process has undergone a drastic change with virtual being the way of life. There are various new age technologies available today to ideate as a group virtually, look at the 3D aspect of the product virtually and approve it. There are various advantages, too, is what we have realised. 

The integration of technology in design is the future. In watches, we are very technology-focused and the whole category is becoming smart. We have invested in setting up an in-house UI/UX team of talented people. 

The convergence of design and technology will function as a true differentiator in the future. Tools like live-streaming, augmented reality and virtual reality have to be built upon. As more and more consumers will be looking at the product on screens to take a call on what they want to buy, design will have to be conceptualised keeping this in mind. Virtual trials mean a stress on photography, colours and many more nuances that need to be taken care of on a design level. Focus on detailing and execution will be important. 

Most intrinsic jewellery designs are created in 18 carat gold. But jewellery consumption in South India is for 24 carat gold, so how do you manage to match the best designs in 24 carat gold? 

Diamond studded jewellery is normally in 18kt and the gold jewellery could be in 18k,22k or 24k. What is commonly preferred in India when it comes to gold jewellery is 22kt. At Titan, we have we have three brands in jewellery, namely Tanishq, Mia and Zoya – all of them catering to different consumer segments, need states and occasions. 

As mentioned earlier our process enables us to create designs which are truly authentic and one of its kind for each consumer segment. We have a talented team of designers at our Design Excellence Centre, who are constantly working on creating new age, relevant yet differentiated designs. Especially in a category like jewellery, regional influences play an important role and our design aesthetic takes care of these influences. 

What was the biggest challenge and change you noticed during the pandemic? Jewellery being highly labour intensive, how did you manage during those tough times?

During the pandemic, there was an intensive lifestyle shift and a growing awareness of environmental footprint that one leaves based on consumption. These new paradigms led to a change in mindset when it comes to consumption with people looking for more meaning and purpose in everyday life. 

Yes, times were tough and we did have issues like everybody else. But our ecosystem of vendors, karigars and manufacturing setup made us get back quickly when the situation improved and delivered excellent results. 

What are the jewellery trends that one can look forward to in the year 2022? 

In 2022, we are still in hybrid mode where both in-person and the virtual world co-exist. I do see a little bit of maximalism trend coming back in 2022, while the focus on minimalism will continue with light weight jewellery and contemporary designs as key trends. Jewellery that adorns the ears like ear cuffs, chandelier earrings, studs or high neck chokers, light neck pieces, which beautifies the collar bone, will be a great choice. As people are continuing to work from home, comfort, versatility and athleisure have triumphed as trends. The focus will be more towards designing jewellery keeping in mind webcam moments, above the keyboard dressing and on-screen communication. For instance, details like a pop of colour become important to make a statement during digital interactions. 

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