Choosing a design agency to partner with was simultaneously exciting and stressful.
Up until now, we’d spent relatively small chunks of money on developing the chair adapter. Sure we’d spent a lot of time and sacrificed a few great jobs here and there, but hiring a professional Product Design Company required a level of financial commitment on a brand new scale for us.
Over the next few months Mel and I will be working closely with Design + Industry to produce our first ever, marketable quality prototype. This is super exciting stuff. With the prototype we plan to do user testing, more market research and potentially find investors to help us take it to market.
Anyway, investors are tomorrow’s problem. Today I’m only concerned with the prototype.
Deciding who was going to produce the prototype was a really big deal. Producing the prototype requires taking all the work we’ve done on the Chair Adapter to date, and turning it into something that is marketable and can be mass manufactured.
After some great pointers from our business mentors and our own preliminary research, we ended up meeting with three Australian Product Design Agencies:
Each agency we met with turned out to be excellent and after some very insightful meetings, it was evident that each one was capable of delivering great work. The difficulty was in choosing between them.
I know having three great vendors to choose from isn’t a very big “problem”, but it did cause some serious angst over here in E29. I mean, for a decision this big the answer’s got to be harder than “just picking one” right?
So we collected client references, studied agency portfolios, met with design teams and scrutinized quote breakdowns. But despite our best efforts to make the most informed decision ever, our decision ended up being a pretty arbitrary one.
What it came down to in the end was essentially just good will.
Ages back, when we were just starting to get serious about taking our inventions to market, Design + Industry agreed to meet with us to discuss our project. We were two randoms with no money, no industry reputation and no idea what we were doing and they were a leading Australian industrial design agency. But they met with us anyway and gave us some stellar guidance.
It was probably this prior positive experience that made all the difference.