We Design Products for Corporations …Getting Started
We Design Products for Inventors and Start Ups …Getting Started
Design 1st has 25 years of experience in design management of hard goods development. Under the leadership of registered Professional Engineers, our team coordinates with you and your project managers, development primes, manufacturing, business and marketing groups. We can become your Mechanical and Industrial Design primes on technical product developments and have been involved in the design, development and introduction of 100’s of products into global manufacturing, across many industries.
We also create photo realistic product images, 3D CAD viewable assemblies and other quick visualization and document tools to assist the manufacturing, business and marketing teams during the product design gate approval process.
We lead the industry in turn-key outsourced high quality product development. For companies that need additional design help or quick access to an expert team, we bring a library of knowledge and experience to your next opportunity. Our Full Services…
Start-Up Business teams rely on us to transform napkin sketches and working concept prototypes into innovative professional hard goods. Using our proven step-by-step process we work with you to create the product design then prototype, test and provide the documentation you need to engage suppliers and go to market.
We act as your third party advisors in the product development stage and hard goods commercialization process during supplier selection and early production set up.
We also create marketing materials for business case presentations and tradeshows to envision the opportunity with early investors and potential buyers. Our Marketing Support Services…
Inventors have great ideas. We help define and turn these ideas into product. Inventors do not always have the commitment to create a company and build a business around their new invention.
We help to identify the unique elements of the product idea then we turn these into fully defined concepts that your patent lawyer can file for intellectual property protection.
We can also create fully developed and documented product prototypes that you can then license or sell to existing businesses that want to add innovative ready to go products to their current portfolios. Our Business Data Intelligence Services…
To save time and travel, our clients prefer the simplicity of our simple online whiteboard interactive meeting and sketch tools. We set up projects, review ideas, make design changes and approve the latest updates during online daily one-on-one and weekly team review meetings. This eliminates non-productive time for all parties and reduces project costs.
Our remote tools allow decision makers, designers and suppliers from around the globe to engage with an expert design team to review more options and make better decisions, faster. The end result is a well-designed, engaging product ready-for-market, in months not years.
We lead the industry in terms of shortest time to create, patent and develop ideas from napkin sketch to product.
- Call us to discuss your product requirements. We can meet face-to-face or collaborate using our interactive online whiteboard.
- We provide immediate estimates as well as a detailed time and cost budget. Our work can include design, engineering, documentation, prototyping and pre-production support.
- You review and select the services that make sense to your Product project
- A kick off meeting with our team begins the process. We create Product concepts and develop your new product idea, working closely with your business and technical staff. For Inventors we mentor and provide you with options to help you make wise choices along the path to market.
Call us at 877.235.1004 x 228 to discuss how we can help with your new innovative product design.
We love technically challenging New Product Design and Development
We are asked to help develop products where the solutions are not obvious and the technology challenges are substantial. Our depth of knowledge in design and engineering of many types of physical tangible products is extensive.
Finding the Best Solutions
Our role as the physical product design lead is to configure one or more potential solutions that demonstrate the new value clearly. When examining options we consider many competing priorities including ergonomics, compelling look, ease of use and manufacturable parts. After careful working through details with the development and business teams we help our clients to select the best product solution to take to market.
Our Experience Guides the Process
Our team works with little guidance once the requirements are set. We bring ideas for improvements, alternative ways to provide the new features and identify potential intellectual property for our clients to patent.
We are an experienced creative team of designers, engineers and manufacturing specialists hired by Corporations, Start Ups and Entrepreneurs to define and develop their new product ideas.
Product Business Focus
Physical Product Design creates objects you see, touch and interact with. Our design team explores the aesthetic and practical aspects of one or more product concepts and we steer the process to a product solution that best fits the target business requirements.
Good design process includes testing the concepts often to ensure there will be a positive experience when users interact with the final production solution. We follow LEAN Design and Engineering processes.
Learn more about our Product Design Services…
We have designed a wide range of products, take a look in our Design Portfolio…
Our company is certified by the Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO) accreditation. Our experienced engineering team will find simple effective alternatives to keep the manufacturing risks low on your technically challenging product design ideas.
Design for Long Life
Technical product requires designing interacting parts and assemblies that have to work well over a long and reliable product life. Hundreds of trade-off decisions are made to organize simplify and select the best overall solution to meet the product engineering requirements.
We create, analyze and find patentable solutions with the help of the latest 3D-Computer CAD tools and our in-house CNC machining and prototyping facility.
Learn more about our Engineering and Analysis Services…
Critical to Success
Prototypes are essential when developing physical products. Touch, feel and aesthetic appeal - all play a part in getting a positive reaction to the new product. Prototyping is one of the largest costs in a design budget. Mistakes and rebuilds can be as expensive as the entire design budget.
It's Expensive to Make Mistakes
A great deal of trial and error experience is required when selecting from the many different prototype processes, materials and finishes available to prototype a product concept.
We Build Prototype Assemblies to Meet your Needs
The Design 1st product team has created custom geometry and then coordinated purchase and build of thousands of rapid prototype parts and assemblies. We have ordered and built hundreds of product concepts to test and verify their operation. Our in-house machining center and finishing shop allow us to produce the more difficult parts in house overnight, when time or material performance is a factor.
Styles of Prototypes
Learn more about these types of prototypes and our Product Prototyping Services…
To Design a Good Part, you have to know the Process
Design 1st has aquired in-depth knowledge for the design of parts over the past 25 years. Our team has designed parts for most mass manufacturing processes available around the world. With the thousands of parts we have defined, we have created a contact network of global suppliers. This knowledge helps new product ideas move quickly to define and manufacture achievable product solutions.
Our Network is Yours to Explore
For our clients that need access to new suppliers, we identify and introduce potential new companies to consider. During the development process we consult with custom component suppliers and product assembly contract manufacturers or your in house production team. involvement with production teams early in the design, is the latest in 'lean product design' thinking as it shortens the development and prototyping time and costs.
Need Help Setting Up Your Supplier Document System?
We follow predictable design and documentation procedures to ensure accurate and clear information control during the preparation for full scale production.
Learn more about our Commercialization Services…
During the product design process our clients require sales and marketing support in several areas.
Is a Product out there already similar to what I am planning?
We offer a web based detailed search report on the competition and complimentary products that can be used by the patent and design teams if the new product idea moves forward.
Are there existing Patents on my Idea?
We offer a web based report searching through USPTO, to help guide the design concept refinement and to identify obvious client obstacles to proceeding. This report serves as a good start for a patent lawyer to carry out a legal patent search.
Early Product Concept Renders
We create exciting product images early in the design that represent the final product look for marketing and early investor meeting purposes. These images explain the key new features of the product. This enables our clients to get early feedback and reaction to the product concept alternatives.
Photo Quality Renders and Animations
Later on in a product development when 3D CAD geometry for the product is available, we can create photo quality images and animations for use on websites, at tradeshows and for product brochures.
Product Concept Packaging
For products that go on retail shelves they may require creative packaging boxes and graphics. We create box and graphics concepts for review and pricing and then can work closely with a packaging manufacturer to ensure the box looks as good as the product. We also create user guides, warranty cards and specify all the internal requirements of a box packaging to meet drop and shipping requirements.
Learn more about our Marketing Support Services…
Senior Project Managers - Steer Every Project
Each project we take on requires careful front end planning to determine what steps should be completed first before jumping into the full physical design of a new product idea. It is important to have an engineering viewpoint on the level of risk to the new product idea. Risk may be heat generated internally in the product, materials exposure to extreme cold, optical paths feasibility, limited space and material selection for strength and weight, RF emission and containment, shipping survival and many other roadblocks that you should assess early. By evaluating the identified high risk elements early the design team can then focus on solutions that minimize the level of risk. The assessment of risk in all these areas and steering of the design team to reliable alternatives from the start can reduce your design and development time on a product by 50%. Our clients tell us how glad they are that they found a design company that has deep engineering knowhow which saves them money and reduces the time to market.
Our Experience Guides the Process
Our project management happens seamlessly with little overhead as we plan, create, review and refine a solution interactively with our clients. We report weekly on progress and have regular informal and formal meetings between designers and management weekly and as required by decisions and schedule.
Learn more about our Project and Risk Management Process…
We get to the Right Product Concept Fast
Our role as the physical product design lead is to help create a reliable visually appealing product that is enjoyable to use. The team considers alternatives for the new product design and works with our clients to select the best solution to develop.
We Do More than Just Help with the Design
Innovators and Start Ups hire us to help them turn a napkin sketch idea into an engaging and useful product solution. We can introduce you to our growing global network of business associates in legal, marketing, sales and investment as well as suppliers and potential manufacturers. Visit our Client Stories and Resource Library for examples.
Our Goal is to become your Trusted Partner
Innovators trust us to transform their napkin sketch ideas into physical product designs that customers want. Using our proven, affordable step-by-step process, we can work with you to create the product design, prototype, packaging, and business presentation you need to confidently pursue your business goals, knowing you have access to engineering, design and commercialization support at all times. Learn more about how we work with innovators...
We Follow a Process
Understand the User
- Observation, Strategic Roadmaps, Comparative Study, Task Analysis, Interviews, Use Scenarios
- Software modeling, Task Simulation, Usability Tests, Activity metrics and Process
Define the Opportunity & Constraints
- Competitive analysis, Benchmarking, Trends, Key Components, Costs, Risks, Brand, Portfolio view
- Manufacture, Distribute, Sell, Install, Use, Maintain, Retire
- Sketch, CAD, Simulations, Models, Prototype, Check, Test, Verify, Revise
- Prepare all details to produce in volume
See more specific details about Our Services...
We are proud of our Great Client Relationships
We find innovative solutions to product opportunities, combining our knowledge with our clients team.
Over the last 25 years the staff at Design 1st have developed product for a variety of global, national and local markets. The Design 1st team works with companies of all shapes and sizes and in many markets and countries.
Client Case Studies - Read about what our clients are saying…
Our Clients are located in many places:
Ottawa(HO), Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton...
Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Orlando, Greensboro, Akron, Ogdensburg...
London, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Dusseldorf, Paris, Shenzhen, HK, Taipei...
Our Clients are all sizes:
Ericsson, Christie, QNX, C-Com, Mitel, Motorola, Smart, Nortel....
Lumenera, Nanometrics, Control Micro, Brytech, Brookstone...
Pro-Drive, We-Vibe, Bio-Peak, Pliant, Gesturtek, Combat, Sturdy Shapes...
We work with many entrepeneurs in towns and cities across North America.
Helping Inventors and Start Up Companies
We help Innovators turn Napkin Sketch ideas into Physical Product Solutions – On a Budget
We help start-up venture teams and individuals, on a limited budget, who need to convey their ideas and get investors excited about their new product. We help inventors develop, patent and license their ideas to corporations. We also work with start-up venture teams who need to develop and convey their ideas to get investors excited about their new product.
Licensing Your Idea
Like many inventors, you may want to license your product to a manufacturer rather than build your own manufacturing, marketing, and sales organization from scratch. In that case, we can guide you through the entire process of developing the product, packaging, and business aspects of your idea for presentation to potential corporate partners. Our proven method includes the research and analysis needed to identify and understand: the product category, competitors, target audience and buyer behaviour, market trends, price points, manufacturing process, cost structure, patent issues, and possible corporations to pitch. We then prepare and present your idea to relevant companies with the help of our business channels to negotiate licensing deals.
New to Designing a Hardware Product?
For new clients that are going through the design and development process for the first time, we can assist in providing opinion, introducing missing expertise and guide you through alternative options. There is much to learn in a product development cycle and it can be confusing and very expensive to learn it by trial and error.
Need a Guide and Advisor?
There are many decisions to be made from the napkin sketch idea to selecting where to manufacture and specifying the associated boxing and shipping for the new product. Our role is to act as mentor and advisor bringing clarity to the immediate issues and informing you on the longer term risks and choices as the project proceeds. Taking steps in the right order is a 'lean product development' approach to achieving a lower risk process.
Getting Started with Design 1st
First thing to do is Call Us, We listen to what you are trying to create and estimate the effort involved in both time and costs. This will include our design development costs and can also include other potential development, marketing and business expense estimates to get to market. We share this knowledge freely and early on to ensure the client has the right plan and funding to proceed. The estimates are based on hundreds of previous entrepreneurs that have developed products of similar complexity. When you are ready to proceed we sign paperwork, collect a deposit, set up a project and get to work. Here is how we Get Started with you….
Learn more about our Business Services for Inventors and Start Ups…
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you guarantee to keep my product idea safe?
Design 1st will provide a legal document mutual NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement), which specifically details that each party will keep the confidential information of the other party private and not disclose it to third parties. We sign hundreds of these documents each year and trust the people we work with to look out for us as we look out for them.
What is the typical cost of a project?
The design and engineering cost of a product with documentation, ready for manufacturing, will range from $5,000 to $100,000+ depending on the complexity. It is essentially time and materials to design, test and document each of the parts and the assembly.
Each development project is unique and require specific budgets aligned to the effort required. Design 1st can work with you to develop a budget that makes sense for the work required. We step you thru three stages. Design, Prototype and Getting ready to Manufacture. When we budget a project we consider the number of parts that need to be custom designed. For example a 6 custom part assembly with no electronics would be the simpler side of products we are asked to develop. This project would take between 2 and 4 weeks to complete not including elapsed time as people review and make decisions. A more complex project would have over 100 parts, multiple circuit cards and a variety of optical, thermal and mother nature resistance issues. This project would last 4 to 8 months depending on the new innovation and the testing and refinement needed to make it work well. Call us and we can estimate the cost of your project over the phone.
Why are we different?
With an experienced and integrated team of Industrial Designers and Mechanical Engineers, we act as guides through the design process and advise you as needed during the design, development and into manufacturing set up and production. As a plus we offer access to trusted product marketing specialists and experienced patent attorneys and business lawyers when needed. All patentable product ideas created are yours.
Will Design 1st work on a royalty basis?
Design 1st is a fee for service firm, and as such does not entertain royalty agreements in place of hourly wage. We do however offer our network, twitter feed and online PR marketing channels to our client inventors and companies to get their new successes into the media mainstream.
How do I get started with Design 1st?
Does Design 1st offer funding or purchase product ideas?
No, but we do provide information on sources of private, local government, provincial and federal funding that our clients have utilized with the latest funding programs.
When is the right time to engage Design 1st in my project?
As soon as possible, and to reduce your costs definitely prior to filling a provisional patent. Design 1st will often add important innovative elements to the design that can increase the strength of the patent. By waiting until the concept features are well developed, the patent can be more inclusive, reducing the money spent on changes.
Will Design 1st help sell my product idea?
Design 1st is helping more and more clients in developing collateral materials, introducing clients to proven business, sales and marketing teams, and helping in the commercialization of the product. Your success is after all, our success as well.
Why do larger companies outsource their work to Design 1st?
Simple answer – access to immediate expertise. Companies with established design and engineering teams ask us to help them develop their products when the design or mechanical engineering area of development is new to them or when they need additional hands to help out in busy times. When Christie Digital needed to learn how to design large custom injection molded housing parts for their M-series projectors they asked Design 1st to help. When RIM-QNX needed help on a concept demonstration cars they asked Design 1st to rebuild the dashboards of their Porsche 911, Jeep and Bentley cars. We offer clients an integrated team of Industrial Designers and Mechanical Engineers with extensive knowledge in materials, processes and access to quality suppliers worldwide.
Design 1st - Awards and Patents
Our senior team shares many awards with our clients and we have created a wealth of Intellectual Property for our Clients. See our Patents and Awards…
Latest Client Product News
HandSandal Product Launch
After two years in product development, Design 1st client HandSandal launches to market…
Caframo Wins PittMan Award
The Caframo Hatch Fan won the prestigious 2013 Pittman Innovation Award…
FIRST Robotics: Team 2004
Design 1st has sponsored First Robotics Team 2994 – the Aztechz for the past several years…
CES 2013: Design 1st Clients
Design 1st team headed to Las Vegas to visit several clients at the 2013 CES trade show…
- GoldenEar Speakers – 27 awards in 2012
- BelAir Networks – sold to Ericsson Communications (global)
- Pliant Technology – bought by SanDisk (global)
- Gesturetek – bought by Broadcom (global)
- We-Vibe – fastest growing company in their $12B market
- NorthVu Systems – HD digital Antennas changing the way we watch TV
- HeatStone Concepts – innovation in walkways
- N-Product – fashion watch accessory
Read more on client news and awards...
We Share Our Knowledge with You
In our Resource Library we provide access to our quarterly eNewsletters, a collection of useful information to clients and other designers in the industry. Information on our clients' progress and success is found in our News and Awards section of the Resource Library.
Visit our Resource Library...
Pot-Master™ - Poker Dealer Tool
Pot-Master™, is an Omaha dealer’s best friend, providing a tool to quickly and accurately monitor the action…
Design for Manufacturing
Production, Assembly & Manufacturing Guidelines
Prior to about 1840, durables were essentially hand crafted, After 1840, mechanized production techniques gradually…
Air Flow Resistance of Perforated Plates
Resistance coefficients for thin-walled perforated sheet or grid of strips with sharp edged orifices (according to Fried…
The Design 1st team has industrial designers, mechanical engineers and project managers working closely together. These key disciplines are essential for a successful physical product design team working on innovative global products. Our team puts our combined knowledge together with the latest tools and our product portfolio demonstrates what is possible.
- Industrial Design Artists
- Mechanical Engineers
- Prototype Technicians with In-House Shop
- Market and eBusiness Strategists
- Patentability Analyst
- New Product Introduction Specialist
- Certified Project Managers
Strong Working Relationships with:
- Marketing Specialists
- Patent Attorneys
- Start Up Business Lawyers
The Design 1st product concept team has industrial designers, mechanical engineers and project managers working closely together.
These key disciplines are essential for a successful physical product design team creating innovative products for global markets.
Read more About Our team and capabilities….
There are several ways to contact us and learn more about our services.
Our toll free number 877.235.1004 x228 is the ideal way to get a fast answer on how we can help you. You will talk with Ian Kayser, Allan Kerr or Jenna Bailey. More on how to contact us…
The second option is to fill in and send our Info request form email describing what you are looking for and we will get back to you quickly. Email us here…
Our studio and head office is in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. In the past we provided offices in downtown Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. This policy has changed in 2012 as the leading edge technical and innovative products we develop for clients require a collaborative and co-located design team environment.
Work Remotely with an Expert Team
We have learnt over the last 5 years that having our clients remote and the design team together works far more effectively and efficiently. This saves significant direct and indirect costs to all parties. We do travel to clients and they come to Ottawa for important meetings. We have the latest in very low cost easy to use online whiteboard tools that allow us to conduct meetings as if we were all around the same table. With many clients we have created multiple products and have never met face to face. This demonstrates our process and web tools are an effective replacement when you require experts to help that are not in your immediate location. Read about our working remotely client experiences…
Online WhiteBoard Meeting Rooms
Our remote meeting whiteboard tool enriches all our client relationships. Even our in town Ottawa clients use the online whiteboard to reduce the cost of gas and time to meet face-to-face. Our online meeting rooms allow for formal meetings as well as quick calls between two people to confirm details interactively on their computers at their desk as the design iteration process requires many informal presentations and decisions as the product comes to life.
The online whiteboard has all the capabilities of a face-to-face meeting with pen and paper and all parties can draw, revise, view, spin and examine the evolving product design information requiring only a phone, email, computer and a mouse.
Give us a call and we will give you a demonstration - everyone who has used it - loves the convenience and ability to interact daily.
Call us at 877.235.1004 x228 or see more about how to Contact Us...