Product design portfolio tips and application advice

Product design portfolio tips and application advice

We see that some talented students have trouble presenting themselves and their work. Therefore we created this post to share our tips and preferences. We hope that this information will help you to get accepted into our studio. (or somewhere else..).

 

Your application to us:

The way you apply is a good indicator for us how successful you will be in our studio. Your e-mail will tell us the following: Can you communicate well? Do you spend time on the details? Are you driven?

Keep it short and include:

  • Introduction of yourself and the reason you’re applying
  • Your education (add link), its location, and the year you are in
  • Add if possible, past internships, jobs and/or other interesting things
  • When you can start and for how long you like to stay (we prefer 6 months)
  • Spend time to create a nice signature with all your contact info
  • Use (Ctrl +*) to check/remove the hard enters (otherwise a lot of white space)
  • Use standard letter-type and size 10 or 11
  • Add hyperlinks where possible


Attachments:

  • Portfolio (we prefer a pdf, max 10MB) but a link to a website, Behance or Issuu page, etc. is also ok.
  • No separate images, zip, rar or download links
  • CV (I personally like if they are added to the portfolio)
  • Not needed are motivation and reference letters

 

Your portfolio

Approach your portfolio as a design project:

  • Analyze how the product will be used (= computer screen) so make it 16:9 or wider (resolution 1920×1080)
  • Do a competitor analysis at Issuu or Behance (search for product design)
  • Define the best practices, find out what is needed to make something better than the competition
  • Create nice logical/understandable stories and show your design process, capabilities, and your sense of quality and detail
  • Keep the layout simple and clean (it is about telling the story and showing the content)
  • Make sure you create a high-res but low, max 10MB pdf (it shows your skills with Adobe/InDesign)

Your portfolio could include:

  • Title page
  • Introduction of yourself, why us and more important why we should choose you
  • A photo that gives an impression about you and how you work (so keep them professional)
  • CV (infographics are nice) stick to relevant/interesting jobs and activities
  • References/quotes from tutors (add linked-in/social media links to them)
  • Projects and previous internships (company info and an indication of your role/work)
  • Personal/miscellaneous stuff you created (but make sure it is quality work)
  • Thank you + contact details page

Projects:

Only show your best work, choose quality over quantity.
The projects should have a nice flow and can include:

  • Start with the context and the problem your design aims to solve
  • Competitor analysis, reference images, and infographics
  • Ideas, sketches, foam models
  • 3D Cad / internal parts / working methods
  • Different concepts around internal component configuration
  • Explanation graphics / visualizations / renderings
  • Prototypes / Testing / User Interaction / App
  • Final result (in context rendering) and explanation

Please note there are no cheats in creating a portfolio. As long as you are not using others’ work everything is allowed.
Improve, re-do, re-render make new visualizations & add steps afterward, work on it until it fits your ambition.

 

Our internships

We see interns as a win-win and ideally, we will offer you a job when you finish your degree.
We want you to learn as much as possible. You will participate in the projects and get as much responsibility as you can handle.
For the  ‘in-between time,’ you get a pet-project where we act as your client.

You are
– A fun, creative, innovative, independent 3rd year + industrial design student.
– Extremely motivated and have a passion for design and engineering.
– Eager to experience the whole development process from the idea up to production.

You have
– Good hand sketching skills and can create stunning visualizations.
– Experience with 3D Cad and programs like SolidWorks, Keyshot, Adobe, and others.
– A similar ‘minimalistic’ design style where the form is used to improve the functionality.
– Fluent English speaking skills

We offer
A great place to learn all facets of product development. You will be working with a team of experts where we push the interns to take responsibility. The intern fee is 500,- euro, there is a daily healthy free lunch and you will get an intern-bike to tour the city.

Interested?
Send your e-mail with a portfolio to info@slimdesign.com

 

Lecture

We are often asked to give insight into our work, our development process, and to help students prepare for the real world. To be able to share it more easily, we filmed the lecture we gave for the industrial design students of the TU Twente.

 

If your school would like us to give a lecture at your college, please let us know.

How to develop and produce your electronic product

How to develop and produce your electronic product

Not all our clients know that there are several different ways to develop and produce products. In a lot of cases there are already similar products on the market. If the manufacturer is Asian, they are often happy to produce a similar version for you. We created this article to give insight into the different ways you can develop (electronic) products and the advantages and disadvantages each of these methods. At SLIMDESIGN, we support our clients in all the different options. It depends on their requirements, volume and budget which suits them the best.

1. Very low volume (up to 20): use a maker platform

If you are building an internet of things device in a very low quantity (less than 20 pieces), we recommend using a maker platform, like Arduino or Raspberry PI. This makes it easy to combine and swap components, iterate and come up with new ideas on the go. The outcome can be used to showcase an idea but is not comparable to a scaled-up product. For example, an Arduino is often bigger than a custom PCB. If you decide to go with this method, you should also realise that the code, configuration of components, and volume will all have to be redesigned if you want to scale up the production volumes afterwards. For that reason, we often skip this phase and start with mass-production suitable chipsets and components.

Advantages:

  • You can do it yourself and iterate quickly.
  • It will help you get future requirements right
  • The result will help explaining the idea to stakeholders and investors
  • Cheap if you only need a few in a static controlled environment.

Disadvantages:

  • Impossible to scale feasibly
  • When decided on manufacturing, a lot of work needs to be redone.

Same as an existing product: OEM

There are a lot of companies (Original Equipment Manufacturers, or OEMs) already producing products that can be branded with your logo. Finding the right product that suits your needs and made by a manufacturer that can be trusted, can be time consuming. We have supported clients in this process when they need small quantities and have a limited budget. Having the right contacts with good and reliable partners in Asia is an advantage when choosing the OEM route.

Advantages:

  • Ideal if the product is available or when you only need small changes.
  • Minimal development costs
  • Small MOQ (Minimal Order Quantities) are possible

Disadvantages:

  • Limited modifications possible
  • The same product will be sold to others
  • The firmware, API, APP etc. are often not very well executed
  • The product might have changed when you place a new order

Similar, but different to an existing product: ODM

If you want an original design but your development budget is limited, working with an ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) can be a solution. In this case, their standardised electronics are used to save costs. You can create the design and define the requirements. They will do the final engineering under your supervision. The downside of an ODM is, that their focus is production: they do not like modifications. If you do not order big enough quantities, they lose interest and you can expect long delays. Optimisation of the software is hard because they will not give you excess to it.

Advantages:

  • The development budget is relatively small
  • Lower product cost price because they can order the components in large quantities

Disadvantages:

  • No access to the lower level software
  • Optimisations is not their priority and will take a very long time or it will not happen
  • Hard to avoid a lock-in, you cannot move to another production partner
  • Expect changes over time in the components, quality and price
  • They often require a minimum order quantity per year

New custom product, Full Control

With a custom electronic design, you control all aspects of the product: user interface, hardware and software. In this way, you can make a premium product that is finetuned to the needs of your customer.

Advantages:

  • Full ownership of the Intellectual Properties (IP)
  • Less risk you are educating the competition
  • Full control over component selection and configuration
  • Low level control of the software to optimise the functions
  • Security and software updates are easily managed
  • Production partner change is easier (second sourcing is possible)

Disadvantages:

  • Longer development time and bigger budget required.
Intellectual property: A Full Guide

Intellectual property: A Full Guide

Not all our clients know that there are several different ways to develop and produce products. In a lot of cases there are already similar products on the market. If the manufacturer is Asian, they are often happy to produce a similar version for you. We created this article to give insight into the different ways you can develop (electronic) products and the advantages and disadvantages each of these methods. At SLIMDESIGN, we support our clients in all the different options. It depends on their requirements, volume and budget which suits them the best.

1. Very low volume (up to 20): use a maker platform

If you are building an internet of things device in a very low quantity (less than 20 pieces), we recommend using a maker platform, like Arduino or Raspberry PI. This makes it easy to combine and swap components, iterate and come up with new ideas on the go. The outcome can be used to showcase an idea but is not comparable to a scaled-up product. For example, an Arduino is often bigger than a custom PCB. If you decide to go with this method, you should also realise that the code, configuration of components, and volume will all have to be redesigned if you want to scale up the production volumes afterwards. For that reason, we often skip this phase and start with mass-production suitable chipsets and components.

Advantages:

  • You can do it yourself and iterate quickly.
  • It will help you get future requirements right
  • The result will help explaining the idea to stakeholders and investors
  • Cheap if you only need a few in a static controlled environment.

Disadvantages:

  • Impossible to scale feasibly
  • When decided on manufacturing, a lot of work needs to be redone.

2. Same as an existing product: OEM

There are a lot of companies (Original Equipment Manufacturers, or OEMs) already producing products that can be branded with your logo. Finding the right product that suits your needs and made by a manufacturer that can be trusted, can be time consuming. We have supported clients in this process when they need small quantities and have a limited budget. Having the right contacts with good and reliable partners in Asia is an advantage when choosing the OEM route.

Advantages:

  • Ideal if the product is available or when you only need small changes.
  • Minimal development costs
  • Small MOQ (Minimal Order Quantities) are possible

Disadvantages:

  • Limited modifications possible
  • The same product will be sold to others
  • The firmware, API, APP etc. are often not very well executed
  • The product might have changed when you place a new order

3. Similar, but different to an existing product: ODM

If you want an original design but your development budget is limited, working with an ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) can be a solution. In this case, their standardised electronics are used to save costs. You can create the design and define the requirements. They will do the final engineering under your supervision. The downside of an ODM is, that their focus is production: they do not like modifications. If you do not order big enough quantities, they lose interest and you can expect long delays. Optimisation of the software is hard because they will not give you excess to it.

Advantages:

  • The development budget is relatively small
  • Lower product cost price because they can order the components in large quantities

Disadvantages:

  • No access to the lower level software
  • Optimisations is not their priority and will take a very long time or it will not happen
  • Hard to avoid a lock-in, you cannot move to another production partner
  • Expect changes over time in the components, quality and price
  • They often require a minimum order quantity per year

4. New custom product, full control

With a custom electronic design, you control all aspects of the product: user interface, hardware and software. In this way, you can make a premium product that is finetuned to the needs of your customer.

Advantages:

  • Full ownership of the Intellectual Properties (IP)
  • Less risk you are educating the competition
  • Full control over component selection and configuration
  • Low level control of the software to optimise the functions
  • Security and software updates are easily managed
  • Production partner change is easier (second sourcing is possible)

Disadvantages:

  • Longer development time and bigger budget required.

In conclusion

To choose the ideal product development route for your product can be difficult and depends on a multitude of factors. To summarize we stated all the advantages of each route in the table down below:

If you are thinking to develop consumer electronics (or Internet of things product) we would be happy to support you in this process. We have good contacts in eastern Europe and Asia and travel their frequently. We offer a free skype consultation to discuss the best approach for your company.