Have you just scheduled your very first consultation with an industrial design company? Congratulations, you’re officially about to take the very first step into turning your product idea into a reality!
As exciting as this is, it’s possible you may be wondering what exactly you can expect from this meeting. Questions such as Do I need to bring anything? How should I prepare? What else will we talk about? It is very common among business owners who have yet to consult with industrial designers about their products. However, DesignStein Studios is here to help! After all, we’ve certainly had more than our fair share of consultations with those inquiring about the ins and outs of product development. Using our experience, we’ve compiled a list of five topics you can anticipate covering, as well as several tips to help you prepare in advance. Keep reading to learn more so you can walk into your consultation feeling well-informed and ready to get to business!
First, we get the NDAs signed
If it’s your very first time meeting to discuss product ideas, any reputable industrial design company will always broach the topic of Non-Disclosure Agreements first. That is, both you and the industrial design company will need to sign some form of an NDA before any sort of communication can occur. As a legal contract, an NDA signals both parties’ understanding that certain information to be shared, including (and perhaps most importantly) all things pertaining to the client’s product, is confidential and cannot be disclosed to any other outside party or individual. Ultimately, NDAs are meant to encourage open, detailed, and honest conversations between designers and clients by ensuring all sensitive information is effectively kept secret and eliminating any unnecessary worry.
Tip: Get your NDAs taken care of ahead of time! Email the industrial design company you’ll be meeting with a copy of your NDA and in return, ask them to send you a copy of theirs as well.
What’s your product idea?
Once the NDA is squared away, it’s time to get to the main event- discussing your product idea. This is the part of the consultation where the client will reveal exactly what it is they’re looking to create. To get a good sense of your idea and to provide the best quote, designers will want to know every single detail you can supply them with, including the product’s purpose and design elements, ideal materials and color schemes, the target audience, and even napkin sketches if you have any! Without a doubt, it’s highly important to share whatever supplemental information you have regarding your product. After all, among our top goals as industrial designers is to always execute the client’s vision as perfectly as possible, but in order to do that, we’ll need to know exactly what that involves in the first place.
Tip: Want to make sure you don’t miss mentioning anything important? Make a list that outlines everything you envision for your product and bring it to your consultation.
Defining the scope of work
Next, you will also be asked to define what industrial design services you are interested in, whether it be outsourcing a single task, full-service product development, or any amount in between. If you have yet to decide in your own case, here’s a quick rundown of your different options. Full-service product development entails hiring an industrial design firm to overtake the entirety of the design process for your product, from a concept all the way to a device that’s ready to hit the market. For business owners who rather not deal with the hassle of creating a product within their own operation, this is going to be the most beneficial route. On the other hand, you are also able to hire an industrial design firm on a smaller scale if you only require assistance with a handful of tasks rather than the entire project. In either case, the designers will certainly be able to fulfill whatever function you are in need of.
Tip: If the industrial design company has a website, check it out and read up on what services they offer their clients.
In order to ensure everyone is on the same page, consultations are opportune for both parties to discuss expectations regarding budgets and timelines. How are these numbers landed on? Typically, the industrial designers will be able to devise a rough estimate based on the specifications you have for your product. Elements such as the quality of the desired material, units demanded, and complexity of the design can all influence the cost and timeline of a project. However, if these numbers don’t align with what you had in mind, the designers will be able to explain different approaches you may consider taking to adjust the amounts accordingly, including reducing the amount of units or opting for a material that is higher in quality.
Tip: Remember- budgets and timelines are not set in stone! At this point in your product development process, it’s too early to decipher exact numbers.
Any last questions?
Finally, a consultation offers clients the chance to ask whatever questions they may have about product development and working with an industrial design team. However, other than general information, this is also an opportunity to get to know the designers you are interested in hiring and discern whether they would make a good fit for your project. Take advantage of this! Inquire about their previous experience, ask about their approach to design, request to see their portfolio. Ultimately, you’ll be able to reveal incredible insight that can help you decide if you would like to work with this company or perhaps continue in your pursuit of industrial designers.
Tip: If you are consulting with multiple industrial design firms, ask each of them the same questions so you may easily identify where they differ in regards to design practices, values, and experience.
Now, you’re ready for your consultation
In short, a consultation is simply a meeting for clients to get all the necessary information about the reality of creating their product and outsourcing. They may seem intimidating at first, especially if you have never consulted with an industrial design team before, but with the help of these tips, you’ll be sure to handle it with ease! Just remember to do the necessary preparation, be specific about your requirements, and don’t be afraid to ask any questions. Good luck!
This blog is brought to you by DesignStein Studios, one of the top industrial design companies in California.