February 21st, 2005, 3:14 pm

Force McCocken
Posts: 19
Joined: November 12th, 2004, 8:53 pm
i know how to build the ideas i design, but i rely on fabricators to make it. division of labor, blah, blah...i still like to get involved. i value their input and expertise and often ask them when i run into manufacturing concerns, not the engineers. i find they understand the balance.

oddly, working with wood drives me nuts. i know it's intricacies and behaviors, but the tolerences give me fits. i'm more a fan of metal and polymers.

February 22nd, 2005, 2:53 pm

jarmon
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Posts: 34
Joined: October 4th, 2004, 11:48 pm
interesting point brought up by Force Mc,

I wonder how many designers out there stay involved with design through the manunfacturing process. I have heard about many projects that were simply "handed off" and many times the intent or power of the design is lost. It seems to me that staying involved and working with engineers and manufacturers through the manufacturing process is the only way to ensure your intended design makes it to the shelf.

I recently attended a lecture by Johnathan Ives and found it quite interesting how the ID team at Apple functions. In my opinion, the only way Apple is able to keep producing such highly refined, beautiful computers is through the ID teams role, and their involvement with the various technology and engineering teams at Apple.

February 22nd, 2005, 3:38 pm

Force McCocken
Posts: 19
Joined: November 12th, 2004, 8:53 pm
that really depends on the client/situation/project.

some of my clients are "hands-off", meaning they want me involved all the way through final production. some just want a direction or good set of drawings so they can finish the rest. the end results can be surprising, but you still gotta be able to let it go.

February 22nd, 2005, 11:18 pm

jarmon
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Posts: 34
Joined: October 4th, 2004, 11:48 pm
I agree and am not saying that it is due to laziness that designer's simply "hand off" projects, but rather as you say it depends on the client. I would guess the designers at Apple have a fairly unique position, and I wonder how often designers are capable of and utilize a similar role with manufacturers?
piogirl
I was at Penland School of Crafts last summer for a jewelry workshop, and I stayed on an extra week to take a wood class. The instructor, it turns out, was a famous furniture designer whose 'work' has been in prestigious museums all over the globe -- and she had NO IDEA how to work with wood. She 'conceptualized' the piece, and came up with different ideas for decorative surfaces that related to her 'concepts' -- but had minions build the stuff for her. She came from a background in advertising as an account exec, and decided that she wanted to be a furniture designer, and now sells work to the likes of Robin Williams and his family.

I found this a bit depressing, since I'm so craft-oriented (as a jeweler, I do have a production line that I have produced by manufacturers, but feel guilty about it) .. but I know that this is more along the lines of the reality in today's world. I constantly struggle with this issue, since I love making things with my hands, but also hate selling my work for the miniscule amounts that make it saleable, so therefore feel like I'll almost be forced to do production using manufacturers to make my business a viable one...

Does anyone on these boards work with manufacturers, or only produce their pieces by hand, or some of both -- and have any thoughts on the matter?

April 26th, 2005, 7:24 am

Kung Fu Jesus
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Joined: March 18th, 2005, 7:59 am
Location: Norf Cackalacky
i think 90% of our sellable designs go through our prototype shop. it's one guy, but we all help him out. sometimes our clients will prototype stuff for us based on our cad drawings. while we *could* do all the stuff, in some instances, it's quicker and more cost-effective for both us and our clients to let them do the prototypes (like casegoods).

we have learned some interesting lessons working with some of our overseas clientelle. our contract has to be worded correctly, or the design seemingly ends after it has been finalized, only to show up in a completely different company's line, and we aren't compensated. on the flip side, we were paid for a prototype we never built because that company went ahead and built it themselves. our contract stipulated compensation on the number of designs that made it to that stage.
"Furniture that is too obviously designed is very interesting, but too often belongs only in museums." - MBJ

April 27th, 2005, 11:49 am

Guest
we have learned some interesting lessons working with some of our overseas clientelle. our contract has to be worded correctly, or the design seemingly ends after it has been finalized, only to show up in a completely different company's line, and we aren't compensated. on the flip side, we were paid for a prototype we never built because that company went ahead and built it themselves. our contract stipulated compensation on the number of designs that made it to that stage.
wow, interesting- could you elaborate a little more on the wording? thanks!

April 27th, 2005, 12:06 pm

Guest
Im about to enter an ID program.
But, ive been making my own furniture for the last 3 years. Though it's basic , it's still difficult to acomplish.
I think ID'rs should be able to build most of what they design. I know it's hard to do, but at least try.

April 28th, 2005, 7:24 am

Kung Fu Jesus
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Location: Norf Cackalacky
Anonymous wrote:
we have learned some interesting lessons working with some of our overseas clientelle. our contract has to be worded correctly, or the design seemingly ends after it has been finalized, only to show up in a completely different company's line, and we aren't compensated. on the flip side, we were paid for a prototype we never built because that company went ahead and built it themselves. our contract stipulated compensation on the number of designs that made it to that stage.
wow, interesting- could you elaborate a little more on the wording? thanks!
it is difficult to know which manufacturers in china are "in bed" with who. plagerism is really rampant. that's no surprise. copyright really has no meaning to them, so you learn the hardway when your design *disappears*, only to show up with a different company.

there is also a xenophobic sort of attitude. one company we call a client has offices here, but their hq is in taiwan. their us division developed a series of chairs and desks through us, but when it was taken to the hq, a lot of politics came into play because it was designed outside of the country. sure it happens here, but it a little different over there, because you need to CYOA in your agreement and contract like it's raw meat in a lion's den.
"Furniture that is too obviously designed is very interesting, but too often belongs only in museums." - MBJ

June 8th, 2005, 11:55 am

Guest
I do make my own things - mostly working with wood, because I've worked with it previously, and also because it's quite rewarding working with such a rigid, natural product.

I think it helps from a design standpoint, even if it's just a prototype created from plywood or cardboard or anything really, as it helps you understand the engineering aspect. As you learn the properties of certain materials, you can begin designing by building upon the canvas, rather than taking away or restricting a design based upon structural or practicality issues. In the long run, I would think it saves time, and perhaps money, when it's possible to construct a nearly finished product on paper, or in your head, without the countless modifications over time.

June 8th, 2005, 11:58 am

mosesmalone
Posts: 2
Joined: June 8th, 2005, 11:38 am
Oops, that last message was by me - I forgot to login.

Anyway, I think actually creating your own pieces can become something of a hobby over time, even if you never have to do it for the job. If nothing else, you can create something for yourself without rigid guidelines or timetables, eventually, just how you want it.

June 8th, 2005, 3:09 pm

Phil McCrackin
Phil McCrackin designs and makes his own prototyes. Phil wouldn't have it any other way. Phil usually learns something the first time around and makes it better the second time. Phil doesn't spend alot (any) time making pretty pictures with colorful backgrounds. Phil delivers the goods in full scale before sending any drawings out for quotes. Phil McCrackin knows design.

June 8th, 2005, 3:21 pm

Bryce Ludwig
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Posts: 209
Joined: May 25th, 2005, 11:15 am
Edit
Last edited by Bryce Ludwig on October 30th, 2006, 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

June 8th, 2005, 4:00 pm

Phil McCrackin
Phil McCrackin agrees with Bryce Ludwig. Sometimes it's necessary to have others fabricate for you. In those cases, Phil still inspects and assembles the first sample parts to experience the assembly first hand. Phil learns by doing and makes any improvements he thinks would ease assembly without compromising design or would improve design without complicating assembly. Phil has learned from his mistakes.

June 10th, 2005, 11:45 am

Kung Fu Jesus
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phil, you magnificent bastard! pimp strong with your kweer aye!
"Furniture that is too obviously designed is very interesting, but too often belongs only in museums." - MBJ
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