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In this installment of The Power of PreViz, Dane Howard meets with the leaders of One & Co, an industrial design firm that creates products from touch phones to sporting goods and furniture, and asks them to share their insights and expertise in previsualizing, or visually planning, successful design concepts. Discover how they use previsualization techniques to form new ideas, establish a vision for projects, and see them to market. Principal Jonah Becker also shares their process for researching the market, the competition, and other aspects that inform a product's design, and how this information, along with the deliverables from each stage of the design phase, combine to create a compelling story for clients and consumers.
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(music playing) Jonah Becker: My name is Jonah Becker. I am Principal of One & Co., which is a San Francisco-based industrial design firm. We have been around since 1998, and we have worked with very diverse range of industries from consumer electronics to sporting goods to house wares and fashion. Scott Croyle: My name is Scott Croyle and I am the Head of Design at HTC. HTC, if you don't know, is a Smartphone manufacturer. I actually was part of One & Co., and I was one of three partners and we started together I think about 7 or 8 years ago, but basically 2 years ago we were acquired by HTC to help them design phones to move more from an ODM player to an OEM player in the industry.
Jonah: Yeah, to me PreViz--it's kind of interesting to hear it called that-- because for us it's part of our everyday process. It's actually what we do and I have often joked that as industrial designers we are living in the future, because even if it's something that's very tangible and real and a product that will be on shelves in the market someday, that's still something that's 12 months, 18 months into the future. So our whole process is thinking forward. PreViz for us, it's really--it's part of every step in our creative process.
For us, obviously, early on in a project it's about establishing a vision and a vision that everyone agrees to, the design team on our end, the client, and any other stakeholders involved in the project. I think the underlying goal is to find that fuel and direction for the design process. So that means meeting with a client, understanding their business, their history, their goals. It means understanding their market and their competitors. It means looking out at other larger trends in terms of what's happening culturally, what's happening economically, and other world factors that might impact how people might perceive the technology that they're offering, the product they're offering, how people are behaving with products and technology.
Design project is a dynamic thing and there are going to be new perspectives. There are going to be points where maybe the clients going in front of retailers or bringing things to their marketing teams. For us the idea of having a strong vision, that strong story about why we're doing something and what we're doing from the start is really important. I think the most important thing for us is at every step of the way as project deliverables get more and more resolved and that story is always there.
That you don't leave the story in the first phase and just assume everyone remembers it, because obviously there are going to be times when a new party is brought in. If they don't get that story and they're just, get this, here is what it is, what do you think? There is potential for disaster. We've basically acquired all of the information-- what we call the fuel for the design process-- and we've established some sort of agreed vision that we are then going to explore. So in the second phase, which is the concept phase, that's where we really go as broad as possible, developing the solutions to the problem, and to address the story that we established in the first phase.
That really ranges. It can be certainly lots of sketching. It can be developing more detailed scenarios. It can be creating prototypes for mechanisms. It can be creating simulations for product interactions and how maybe hardware interacts with software. But all of these broad ranges of concepts then basically during the concept phase get funneled down. So there is less breadth, but more depth to each of the concepts that remain at end of the phase.
The third phase, for us, is the execution phase and that's where up to that point the concept phase that I mentioned starts very broad. You have wide range of initial solutions that are discussed and refined and narrowed down whether it's one final solution or product that you're designing or it's a line of products. That is at the end of that phase in leading into execution we want to have complete buy in from everyone involved. That's where the client has to say, okay, we are ready to make this decision, to move forward on this.
We are ready to engage with the manufacturing partner. We are ready to invest the money needed to take this all the way into production. In the execution phase, that's where we are working with the manufacturing partners, the engineering teams, resolving any little details issues and just mainly supporting that whole process to make sure that the design intent that was established in the end of the concept phase is maintained throughout production through and to the point where a product makes it to the shelves.
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