Karan Daswani on how his five-year-old ad agency powered by young enthusiastic minds succeeded in making its presence felt.
Karan Daswani is the 26-year-old dosa-loving entrepreneur behind the young and successful advertising agency Fingerprints. He completed his schooling from Don Bosco Higher Secondary School and went on to get a degree in Visual Communication from Loyola College.
Coming from a family associated with a music company, what made you choose advertising?
My parents have always been encouraging of anything I wanted to do. Even after college there was no pressure to join the family business. The process of creation is something I’ve enjoyed right from childhood. Advertising and designing lets me live my passion to create. Creating new brands and making them work is my calling.
After a two-year stint with Rubecon, how did Fingerprints come about?
At Rubecon, I got the opportunity to work on brands like Citibank, Color Plus, Nilgiris, Prince Jewellery, Fruit Shop on Greams Road, Landmark and many more. I learned a lot at Rubecon, particularly from my mentor Alexander Zachariah, director of Rubecon. Fingerprints started with a few odd projects from friends. But as the projects grew, the team size increased and, before we knew it, we were a full-fledged agency. Fingerprints aims at producing work that makes a difference. No good work goes unnoticed. The quality and passion of our work has got us to where we are today.
Tell us about the initial stages — finance, office, staff, and clients… How does one develop them?
Well, I started off with a single laptop; my first Macbook Pro. I worked out of a small cubicle at my dad’s office; then it went on to two cubicles, then three… that’s when I decided to take the leap. Fingerprints was fortunate to bag Oriental Cuisine (OCPL) that year. It was our big account and gave us the chance to work with Mr. Mahadevan, a foodie, professor, restaurateur and entrepreneur. With OCPL, we worked for over 15 popular brands like Benjarong, China Town, Ente Keralam, Kebab House, Kokum, Le Chocolatier, The French Loaf, Wang’s Kitchen and Zara. This was a huge learning experience and we benefited greatly.
What kind of products and services does Fingerprints cater to?
Fingerprints is a creative design agency. We are in the business of good, clean and honest advertising. We produce designs that sell. We do not like to think that we work for the client; rather we work with the client. We listen, understand and tailor our design to make a perfect fit. We cater to all needs of a brand including logo design, stationery, advertising, website design, packaging and anything in between.
How do you make yourself stand apart given the kind of competition?
Not just good work, but better work; time and again. The key is to churn out good work, consistently. They say you are only as good as your last project. We stand out because we are passionate about what we do. Though there is competition, there is enough work out there to fuel one’s passion.
Your achievements and awards.
This year we swept the Cochin Ad Club’s Pepper Awards with one gold, two silvers and four bronze medals. A shortlist at Goafest ’11 was a pleasant surprise. But the real ego-boost was Communication Arts Illustration Annual 2011 award and a merit award at The One Show Design 2011. Our work was also chosen to be featured in the Trade Mark USA and Logo Nest. It has truly been a good year with four international recognitions that put our name up along with the biggies.
We have already managed to get a few good people on board, Vinayak Vohra, a graduate from Loyola and Venkit Kumar help hold our creative fort strong. We plan to bring on more people. Our people are our strength.
Where do you see Fingerprints in the next three years?
We see huge potential as more clients and newer companies believe that small-sized design studios and boutiques are the way to go to produce distinct communication. Clients are more willing to work with younger and fresh minds. Reduction in hierarchy reduces the communication gap between the layers. Crisper communication leads to better results. With the way the business world is changing, we are lucky to be in the right place at the right time.
Fingerprint’s clients include…
Kumaran Silks, Tamil Nadu Tourism, The Hindu, Taj group of Hotels, Mehta Jewellery, Just Casuals, Raj TV, Sathyam Cinemas, Mr. Butler’s, Brass Tacks, Geethanjali, Koblerr, and Joy of Giving Week.