Looking for industrial designer co-founder to launch idea

Hello everyone,

I have one idea for a consumer products which I think can make lives of air travelers much better.

I personally travel quite a bit and also asked about experience of my friends who travel, they also have same problem. I won’t specify it here, but it’s about conform of position during the long flights in economy class.

I have an idea for product which I think can help solve this. But since I have no design education (planning to get one soon, but I have business background), I am looking for industrial designer to collaborate on creating product concept and possibly launching it via kickstarter or other type of funding. If somebody knows people or sites which can help to find enterprising partner/team with design skills and experience, would really appreciate any tips. I am not looking to hire employee or freelancer, but rather a person who would be interested in being a co-founder and launching this together, me taking care about business side and him/her about product.


You might want to search through some portfolios of designers looking for work on Coroflot. That way, you find someone looking for work and you can pay them appropriately for their services. Please don’t assume you’re going to get free advice or free design work. (And don’t suggest you pay them after your product launch is successful)

Thanks NURB!

The way I am trying to see this is to actually find a designer co-founder (not a freelancer or employee), may be I just need to state this more clearly. If you have any suggestion around that, would appreciate them much.


That will be a bit tougher to find. Most of us prefer to be paid for our work, not just promised fame and fortune if a product makes it to market. Be prepared to offer a decent rate then see if it works out with you and your designer. Then approach it from a co-founder standpoint.

I have a friend who’s going the co-founder route right now. The problem is that most designers who would be willing to strike that kind of deal have a book of their own ideas that they’re itching to start on, so you’ll really have to sell them on your idea.

Depending on the level of experience you require, new grads who are having trouble finding jobs might be a good place to look.

Exactly what NURB said. It is offensive to a professional to ask for services for “maybe payment” once you become rich off of your idea. Not to be rude/negative, but a very small amount of ideas turn into millions. Right now it sounds like “co-founder” is just a nice way of saying “free labor”.

I’ve never gone to a doctor to ask for a free up front physical examination in promise that I will probably win a bicycle race with a huge prize at the end because of that doctor’s efforts.

The world doesn’t (and shouldn’t) work like that.

I disagree. For an Industrial Designer to take an idea and take it through all the necessary stages of ID, then sourcing a prototyper, prototyping, testing, sourcing a factory (or factories), then going through with production/price negotiation, all while ensuring a flawless product in the end that won’t be riddled with returns or lawsuits from the end user injuring themselves while using the product… you’re going to need a talented, experienced, and very well-connected Industrial Designer.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.
If you have a brilliant idea and you want to turn that idea into your dream, with the hopes of making you rich… then go take out a loan and hire the proper professional. It isn’t the Industrial Designer’s role to take a risk. It is the client’s responsibility to take a risk on this idea. Take out a huge loan, sell your car, eat beans and rice only, spend every penny of your savings, go ask family members for personal loans. All that, or the client should have enough bank roll via their profession where they can cover the costs of design.

If you’re so sure this idea is brilliant and that it will succeed, why can’t you simply go get a loan? The simple answer is because people feel that they can make empty this promise to Industrial Designers, leaning on their expertise and experience, having them literally do all of the work, without having to risk a single cent of their own. Creating an online forum account and making one post asking for free work doesn’t show dedication for a serious idea or business venture. “If it doesn’t succeed, then the Industrial Designer has only wasted hundreds/thousands of hours of their time… which is free”.

It is your responsibility as an Industrial Designer (or any other profession) to deny these ridiculous offers. Otherwise you’re single handedly supporting this scam system and devaluing our profession. Don’t be that person.

(The above isn’t directed at any specific person, just a general statement for reference once this post goes dormant)

Here we go again.

People ask me to work on dumb ideas for free. I don’t. The decision is simple and the process is short.

People offer to pay me to work on dumb ideas and most of the time I dont. Schedule permitting, I can be bought.

People ask me to work on good ideas and pay me, this is the norm of the work I do.

People ask me to take good ideas and make them better and more successful, they pay for the project and a negotiated royalty. This is the ideal.

And some people ask me to invest my time, money, intellect and energy in various projects, of which some involve design. I make that decision based on all the factors.

The world (and recently embodied by Kickstarter) is full of people floating ideas and taking risks in new ventures. To maintain that the only person in the chain that should be 100% risk free is the designer, is misplaced.

I can understand the passionate personal decision to insist on payment up front and no risk. I cannot accept attempts to force that same view on everyone else.

To the original poster, this offer is not in my core competancies nor my interest at this time. Perhaps you can build a convincing case for attracting a designer of some level is work with you, this will likely be done on a personal level. You have some convincing work to do to demonstrate that you have the business skills to partner and complement the work of the designer. Good luck.

Well put. If someone has more to bring to the table than “I have an idea, now you do the work”, it can be worth exploring, based on the weighing of many different factors. But I’d argue that no less than 9 out of 10 of these individuals will not succeed with their idea, for one of plenty of the reasons/obstacles that are against them. I say this, and I’m genuinely a positive person.

In this case…
Someone who has a “business background”, but is looking for free ID work, and funding via Kickstarter… it certainly has red flag written all over it. A business background would suggest they’re good with money, yet they have zero to spend. They specifically mention “I am not looking to hire and employee or freelancer”. If they can’t afford to spend a dime now (on arguably the most important process of their new venture), how will they turn a profit in the future? So far it appears like someone with no business background, or a bad one. “Me taking care about business side and him/her about product.”

With the weighing in of these different factors, this is an example of a bad idea for an Industrial Designer (especially an inexperienced one) to consider taking on.

“Ideas are cheap, Implementation is expensive”

Honestly, you could throw a rock and hit a person with a good idea. If you want a partnership you have to bring a lot more to the table than the idea. Do you have distribution contacts, manufacturing partnerships, marketing chops, the ability to manage the operational side of manufacturing, shipping, and distribution? That would be more of a partnership. The idea is worth realatively little compared to all of that.

This is not to discourage you from pursuing your idea or working with a design. Merely to prepare you for the kind of partnership you can expect and what the actual idea part is worth typically.

I can see everyone’s points of view on this, but I think we’ll all agree that we shouldn’t dissuade individuals seeking design input to actively try and source it.

Sure, there are issues with perceived value of work here, but if I was short of work for any reason I’d at least be open to discussing something of this nature.

Do you bring anything more to the table beyond the idea?

Are you asking me or the OP?

What I’m trying to get across is that the OP has had an idea, identified the need for some design input, somehow found this site and asked for input. That in itself values the skills of ID’ers in general.

The OP, sorry. Was just clarifying my post.

Sam, you are right, it is progress that people are recognizing the need for a designer to advance an idea into a viable concept and help to make a product all it can be. The next step is to recognize the necessity of paying for that need as it has value and requires skill, training, and expertise.