Our Design Philosophy

We never lose sight of our supporting role.

After 20 years and over 500 successful projects, we have learned a few lessons about new product design. They guide how we engage with you.

  1. We recognize that it is your idea, your product, your patents, and your awards. We provide critical guidance and creative energy, we sweat the details, and we drive your project forward every way we can. We feed our egos with your success.
  2. A variety of very talented people must work closely together. Great product design begins with a great team.
  3. Effective communication is critical. That's why our process is centred on close collaboration with you and your team. That's also why we invest in the best tools for communicating remotely and presenting design concepts.
  4. The right process yields better design and reduces risk. Our Lean Product Design Process has been refined over many projects. It is based on rapid iterations that produce concrete ideas and tangible prototypes that can be viewed, assessed, tested, and refined.
  5. The latest tools save time and money. We invest in the most sophisticated tools for design, product visualization, engineering analysis, and prototyping.

Our History

In our 20 years we have successfully completed over 500 projects for companies around the world.

Kevin Bailey founded Design 1st over 20 years ago, after more than a decade as a senior product designer. We have grown to become one of Canada's largest, most prolific physical product design specialists.

We enjoy designing simple but compelling products, and we excel at developing the most technically challenging products for both indoor and extreme outdoor environments. We have unmatched expertise and tools to tackle tricky thermal, stress, motion, safety, and materials problems.

Based in Ottawa, Canada, we serve clients located around the world, and the products that we have helped them launch are used by billions of people.

Our Team

Our in-house team includes exceptional industrial design artists, professional engineers, certified project managers, prototype technicians, patent analysts, and new product introduction specialists.

We also have strong working relationships with the best prototype fabricators, patent attorneys, marketing specialists, startup business lawyers, contract manufacturers, and more.
Kevin Bailey

Kevin - Founder & President

Peter Cottreau

Peter - VP Electronics

James Henderson

James - VP Product Design

Matt Bailey

Matt - VP Engineering

Dave Ingram

Dave - VP Manufacturing

Ian Kayser

Ian - VP Sales & Operations

Yana Klimava


Yih-Shyang Tsai

Yih Shyang

Allan Kerr


Derek Kirkland


Al Caughey


Dave Mills


Don Larisey


Joan Highet


Chris Edwards


Jaime Yu


Jenna Bailey


Pat Williams


Lynn Erichsen


Tian Zhao


Zlatko Lovrenovik


Bennet Heidenreich


Avi Naor


Josh Miller


Steve Harrington


Vimal Chandran


Tim Haats


Andrew Traplin


Our Community Involvement

We have a broad view of our responsibility to give back.

In addition to regular fundraising and support for local charities including the United Way, Citizen's Advocacy and the Royal Ottawa Foundation, we believe we can make a big social impact by mentoring and inspiring the next generation of makers. That’s why we take a lead role in organizing and sponsoring events like Ottawa’s Internet of Things Conference (IoT613) and Maker Faire Ottawa.

We also created the D1 MakerLab program, providing opportunities for students to explore exciting projects and new technologies in our prototype lab facilities over the summer months.


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