What to do before I hire a designer?

I am in the process of looking of looking for an industrial designer. To prevent our discussions from turning into lectures on the design process, I have begun to do some research. So far I have the resources avaialable on this site and the GAG handbook. Is there anything else I should learn before I begin? Thank you.

…for a stylist, hire the best renderer…for an idea person, hire the best quick sketcher…for a designer, hire the best at getting the product into production…you want all three, i am not looking for a job right now…

Depends on the scope of the project, what you expect to get out of it, some front end concepts? entire design to prototype? Figure out what you want the designer to hand off to you, aka Deliverables.

and also how much you want to spend (obviously that correlates to the experience level and talent of the designer).

Where are you located and what field is this product categorized?

I am booked solid and not looking for a job as well, but I can squeeze in a few days a week.

email ma at FinalConcept@gmail.com

something to be aware of: “deliverables” can be tricky. have seen and heard design firms play games with what they “deliver”. gives us all a bad name.

if you need engineering, make sure they can deliver REAL engineering. not some recent college grad w little industry experience. having a CAD station is not engineering. ask to see their professional certification. lacking that, ask for references. and then find out who else they did work for and talk to them as well.

if you need CAD, make sure what they claim they’ll deliver is REALLY what you need. 3D files are not all alike. quite the opposite. and definitions vary. “toolable” to some IDers means something different than to manufacturing. biggest obvious rip in the book imo is how ID firms play clients this way.

bc there is no professional body overseeing ID you can expect the same variability as in any other non-regulated profession. would you go to a “nail technician” for plastic surgery? i hope not.

good luck to you.

It looks like I might have to contact a manufacturer also to see what they need from the designer. Thanks guys that was all very helpful.

it really depends on what type of business you do. Just like architects, designers varry quite a bit.

Answer these and I think you will get some more focused input:

What type of work do you do?

What is the primary function of the designer?

What types of manufacturing processes do you want the designer to work with or push beyond?

How many designers wil there be?

A lot of employers who are hiring a designer for the first time hire someone right out of school. This is usually a bad fit for the designer and the company. A designer right out of school is usually not fully formed. It takes a couple of years working with other more senior designers to really hone their skills. At that point a designer can often work solo.

Check out IDSA.org


It is categorized under furniture. The primary function of the designer, now, is to sketch it out… Will tinker with it some more in sketch form before moving on. After the initial design I would like to find someone that is familiar with wood, sheetmetal, veneers, plumbing, and maybe Rich-Lite.


Thanks for the info. Are there other sites like coroflot? I will post this topic again under Design Employment.