Check out some great work from Rachel Gant and Andrew Deming.
You have had a successful Kickstarter campaign not too long since graduating. Can you talk a bit about that experience and how you see it affecting your long-term goals?
Kickstarter was a natural way for us to put our story out front and convey the personal inspiration that led to the creation of our company and our initial product offering. As a platform, Kickstarter is excellent at tying products to their makers and giving backers a sense that they are investing not just in a product, but in people and in a belief.
Although our first product was a bag, after Kickstarter we began working to offer a much wider range of product categories. In that sense, Kickstarter served as an initial spark, a means of introduction. It also provided some real momentum that helped us break through numerous manufacturing and logistical barriers to get the product into the hands of our first customers.
When you start looking to grow your team, what kinds of industrial design portfolios will get your attention? What would bring an industrial designer in for an interview?
We’ve recently started looking to bring on an additional team member and have been discussing this very question. As a small team working closely together, it is something we’re intent on getting right.
Our most important requirement is that a candidate be hungry to learn. We are in the stage where so much of what we do is new for us. We are constantly learning and always evolving and expect that those we work with will be interested in learning new skills and problem-solving their way through unforeseen challenges. While good design appears clean and effortless from the outside, the process is a messy one and we need people who are willing to get their hands dirty.
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Have you seen a portfolio recently that really stood out? What about it caught your eye?
Versatility and perspective revealing a wide range of ability and interest. We’re not against being specialized, so long as there’s an ability to zoom out and see the bigger picture. We respond well to those who can observe, translate, and react to a variety of problem sets, audiences, and mediums. Those are the portfolios that stand apart.
As far as the design of the portfolio itself, the best portfolios we’ve seen fluidly express a consistency and care for not only the 3D design projects, but the 2D elements on the page. Typography and layout must be well considered in order to achieve a level of simplicity and elegance that elevates the work rather than detracts from it. If graphic design layout is not your thing, lean on a friend. It’ll go a long way.
What are some common mistakes you’ve seen junior designers make in their portfolio?
A focus on polish over depth. When reviewing portfolios, aside from good execution, we are looking for work with meaning and character. If there are elements that lack a bit of refinement, that doesn’t scare us. We can work with that. What we can’t work with is bad ideas presented as a final solution. We all have bad ideas, and they are important to get out during early stages of development, but if someone isn’t willing or motivated enough to move past a bad idea, it is a red flag that they are likely not opening up to constructive criticism.
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Can you talk a bit about your decision to start your own studio? What challenges have you faced, and how have you overcome them?
It’s an idea we tossed around since we first started dating—realizing that we shared a similar design sensibility while each bringing to the table very different and complementary skills. We’ve done everything together, from the design of our first product to the design and development of our website, to the design and physical renovation of our office space—the list goes on. It’s been an incredible experience, but not without significant challenges. Manufacturing and supply chain operations have proved to be the most complex and consuming investments both financially and psychologically.
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