Choosing the right design firm

This is not a project posting but I was just wondering if anyone has any insight into selecting a product design firm. Being a graphic designer I’m familiar with the RFP process but I was just wondering what criteria should I use in selecting firms to approach.

A little bg, I’m in the process of developing a consumer product aimed at kids. Not a toy. I have quite a bit of sketches and development time into it myself (even hacked together a prototype) but I’m completely clueless when it comes to materials, manufacturing, CAD renderings etc. and the fine tuning of it to actual get this thing built.

In you opinions is it better to find a small firm that can halp me tweak this and realise it for a reasonable cost, or should I mortgage my house and try to go with a bigger firm that may (or may not) have better resources at their disposal?

Go to an independant. There are guys who are as good as the big firms with big firm experience but are one man shops.

These guys will give you personal attention that you won’t get from ig firms.

A lot of big firms will treat small fry clients like small fries. THey will take on your project and then throw it down to an intern or junior designer whilst the real hot shots in their companies vie for teh big name client’s project.

Where are you located. Provide me with an email and I’ll recommend some good independants.

Thats kind of what I was thinking since I run my own design shop. So Im all for going with small guys.

I’m in Akron Ohio but Im willing to consider firms as far away as chicago (any excuse to get me to my former home is a bonus.) or pittsburgh.

I’m thinking being in the polymer state there would would be more plastic manufacturers her than anywhere else. I still am holding on to the naivete that I will have it produced here.