The road to success can vary for inventors based on what route you’d like to take. For instance, do you plan to pay upfront for design development costs or are you looking to develop your idea on paper first with something called a “Sell Sheet”?
Taking your idea all the way yourself:
This can be a great route for those inventors who typically have more of a background with producing products and may even have an “in” already with potential buyers or manufacturers. Development for this route generally follows the design process listed below.
Developing your product invention yourself also makes sense if you want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row before talking to buyers so that when you do shake on the deal everything is all ready to go an your not hit with delays. It also means you have more control of the look, function and product direction than just handing off the idea and finding out later its not what you were hoping for.
Going through the design development process yourself means that you have your idea fleshed out. You may have a working or visual prototypes ready. You have a tech pack (Can show construction, colors, logo placement, dimensions, manufacturing notes, etc) showing how your idea is put together for the factory to work from. You have your PMI packet (product manufacturing information) ready to send to a factory for a quote for production or you already have the quote.
Bare in mind any project will have to go through the factory engineers prior to production to ensure the product will be manufactured successfully. This could be checking mold threading for a water bottle to make sure it won’t leak, looking over snaps and enclosures so that they close tightly, or testing a spring latch and making sure its secure and not flimsy. These are all important measures standard to any product development and should not be overlooked, they should be expected. Prototypes help iron out design kinks and are part of the process but the factory is responsible overall for the fit, function and overall success of the product when it comes time to be manufactured.
The Sell Sheet: (A shorter and often less expensive approach)
If you cannot convey your ideas in an impactful way, you are dead in the water. That’s the truth! When it comes to product licensing, sell sheets are the answer. A good sell sheet makes the person who views it think, “Wow! That’s interesting. I’d like to learn more.”- Stephen Key – Inventor coach
A sell sheet is usually a single page layout that shows your product idea photo realistically rendered, special features, scale and how its used. It presents all the information about your product like selling points, features and benefits and why it stands out. This is a much lower cost approach to licensing your product than trying to manufacture your idea an going through the entire design development process all by yourself. The Sell Sheet is especially important when trying to license your product. By having one a buyer can quickly and easily understand what your product is and why its special.
Patents: You can sell your ideas with or without a patent.
Most inventors are looking for a utility patent (more protection, more expensive) or a design patent (cheaper, less protection, just prevents someone directly copying the appearance).
Once your product is designed, typically even from a sell sheet, you can begin the process of talking to a patent attorney about patenting your idea. You don’t have to have your product made or totally developed to patent it.
Product Design Development Process:
To give you an idea of what to expect from a project, below is a quick overview design process. Since every project is unique, the approach may differ based on your needs.
1. Project Scope:
When you get in touch its important we know as specifically as possible what you are looking for. Is the project more about form factor, looking at a large number of concepts? Or is it more specific and function driven? What’s on the market you like and don’t like? What samples can we find to help us understand some of the obstacles we may encounter? These are all things we’ll try to identify prior to starting the project and they will help us define the scope and direction we take. This process will also be used the quote the project.
2. Creating Concepts:
Creating a round of concept pages is the first step once we have time to research and brain storm. Concept pages help us further define a direction and can vary from very rough to more streamlined ideas. We’ll take a look at the 1st round of concepts and examine what we like an don’t like about them. Once we have enough time to review we’ll take the positive points about the first round and develop a new concept based on what we liked. Then we review. This process can take a few iterations before we hit the mark depending on the project. Click here to see a typical concept page.
3. 3D Design and Modeling:
During the concept development phase the 3d modeling is kept pretty loose. Once we have a direction we like we’ll fine tune the digital 3d model. We might streamline the look or make a tweak here or there.
4. 3D Model Revisions:
Another review of the 3d model is made. We take tiny steps in order to avoid any unneeded back tracking. Any necessary changes to the digital 3D model will be addressed (i.e. features, criteria, functionality, aesthetics).
5. Finalizing the project:
Upon your approval of the digital 3D modeling, 2d tech engineering drawings will be created. These aid you and the factory when talking about the design and act as a point of reference along with the final concept page and other materials compiled in a packet known as product manufacturing information (PMI). Based on your specific project needs, I can create a custom package giving you the proper documentation for your product or invention. Options include photo realistic renderings, animations, and part/assembly 2d engineering drawings.
Assistance with prototyping or fabrication can be arranged by exploring the various prototyping options and determine which is best for your product type and results you want to achieve.