Guaranteed Irish member Dublin Design studio is the maker of the award-winning Scriba Stylus, a multifunctional stylus tool sculpted to fit the human hand perfectly. We sat down with David Craig, the founder of Dublin Design Studio, to learn more about taking the Scriba Stylus from concept to finished product and beyond.
Where did the idea for the Scriba Stylus originally come from?
Well, I came from an architecture background and worked in a studio that was very design-focused. While working in this career, I was able to witness how technology such as the iPad changed the architecture industry, and began using tablets in my own work. I found it quite difficult to find a stylus that I liked, one that reasonably replicated the experience of sketching by pencil or pen. I couldn’t find one that delivered pressure-sensitivity realistically enough or was comfortable to use. Thus the idea for Scriba was born!
How did you go about designing the prototypes?
It was certainly a long, challenging process, during which we ended up with nearly 200 prototypes before reaching our final product! Our main approach was to centre the design around the hand. In developing the product’s design, we studied the hand – how we hold, how we touch. We did not want to feel constrained by the traditional form – rather than making something that looked like a pencil, we wanted to start completely from scratch and design something around the hand.
Where did you find investment for the product?
We were very lucky in this respect. Early on after I had developed the initial concept, I was accepted into the New Frontiers programme operated by Dublin Institute of Technology and Enterprise Ireland, which provided guidance as well as funding. This gave me the confidence to give up my day job and jump headfirst into this project. From this programme, the progress that I made on the project and on the business prepared me for a successful application to Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund. Alongside this we also ran a successful Kickstarter campaign this which raised a whopping €65k in presales and investment!
Aside from the funding, you need good people involved. Over 50 people had a hand in Scriba – many of whom did it for nothing more than being part of this project. There certainly would be no Scriba without them!
What was the biggest challenge you faced while making this product?
Manufacturing has definitely been the biggest challenge. The design of the product, while it appears simple, is quite complex. Such a design meant overcoming numerous technical challenges in order to get the manufacturing right, as the materials are high-level and require many unique properties to allow Scriba to function the way it needs to. At one stage I even found myself in IPC Polymers’ lab, concocting my own custom plastics for the product like an alchemist! But in the end, we were lucky enough to have the support and expertise of Cartamundi in Waterford to make it happen.
Why did you decide to become a member of this organisation and what does this membership mean to the Dublin Design Studio?
From the beginning we knew that making Scriba was going to be difficult, and that it would require the talents of lots of different people. After doing a bit of digging, I was delighted to learn that all the talent and specialisation that we required to make the product was available right here in Ireland. To get the product right, we knew from the start that we would want the product to be made completely in Ireland – not something designed here and then sent off to China for manufacturing. We wanted to honour the Irish spirit and the likability of Irish culture and design. That’s why we joined Guaranteed Irish – it was a badge of honour that Scriba could wear that conveyed its Irish roots. It’s certainly something that we’re very proud of!
Why should consumers buy the Scriba Stylus this Christmas?
We launched around Christmas-time last year, and the whole year since has been focused on finding our feet and expanding what the Scriba can do. After this process, we have two very exciting pieces of news to announce in the run-up to Christmas. The first is that the Scriba Stylus will now work on Android products in addition to Apple mobile devices. We’ve partnered with one of the top painting apps on Android, ArtFlow, which is very exciting!
We have also just launched Scriba Slides – which has recently been described in the press as a PowerPoint competitor! This unique software works seamlessly with the Scriba and allows users to deliver more exciting and engaging presentations. We have been working hard to expand the expectations of Scriba beyond the creative professional and to frame it as a unique tool for all types of business users.
When you purchase a gift from a Guaranteed Irish company, you are supporting a business which is committed to Irish jobs, local communities and Irish provenance. So, remember to #BuyGI this Christmas!