Product Design Today: Give The World That Thing in Your Head

Designed on freeware Inkscape, lasercut by online service Ponoko and driven by a low cost motor from AliExpress.

Lets say you want to make something. And for once, that new idea euphoria has trumped the accessibility of a YouTube rabbit-hole and you’re actually going to do something about it. Awesome, you live in 2015 and it has never been easier. You’ve got Ponoko to laser-cut your ideas, or Shapeways to 3D print them. Need parts for it that already exist? Chances are, Ali-express can connect you with the cheapest and best Asian suppliers. Need to visualise and digitize your design? There is free, open source software to design in 2D and 3D. Need some heavier equipment? Try your local makerspace, they are over 1000 worldwide. Want to sell it? Online marketplaces like Etsy and Ebay. Wow, its selling really well, want to fund an expansion? Kickstarter and Indigogo can get funding direct from your future customers, instead of trying to sell it to a bank manager (or going on dragon’s den). Twitter and Facebook can connect you with people who want your stuff.

SO MANY facets of product development have migrated to the internet over the last 10 years, and this has decimated the barriers to develop products in what some are calling the “gig economy”. If you are new to product development and haven’t heard of some of the above companys fear not, they are successful because they have made it so easy for their customers. To design a product 10 years ago, it was very hard to do unless you were in the club. You needed a workshop, you needed to go and sing Karaoke with Chinese factory owners to get access to cheap parts. You had to convince a bank manager, and you had to lease a fucking shop. No longer. In posts to come, I will expand on this sentiment known to some as “personal manufacturing”, show you how I design my products, talk about my mistakes and triumphs, and try to help you to design your own. Whether its a one off to show someone how you feel about them, or a success story that your grandkids will tell your great-grandkids about, I urge you to make something. It has never been easier.