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Crowdfunding Design: Finding Money To Pay For Design Projects

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Guest csven

Thought this might be of interest: 100K Stray Toasthed Pull Toys

 

For the industrial design community, this project might point to an alternative means of supporting your design activities. Hope it's of interest.

 

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Coverage:

 

SolidSmack blog: "An Industrial Design Experiment In Open Source Awesomeness: The 100K Stray Toasthed Pull Toy"

 

Ponoko blog: "100K Stray Toasthed Pull Toys"

 

Develop3D: "Can community funded design and manufacture achieve reality?"

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So, if I understand this correctly, no matter how much I back this project it doesn't get me the toy unless I have access to a CNC mill?

 

I understand what you are trying to do here - it's about the process and not about the object itself. I support that, and will probably go in with a couple of bucks just to be part of it (it's not that I want the toy, my first question was to clarify). But if you really want to achieve the full funding, shouldn't you be targeting the people who will benefit from the design in the end directly - the CNC mill owners? From what I've seen you seem to have aimed this strictly at IDers. Get some blog like Toolmonger.com to write about it for example.

 

Furthermore, those who will be able to manufacture and sell this toy will be able to do so freely, while IDers who back this for "the cause" have no way of making their money back. It's not even taking a risk - it's donating cash for someone to make more of it. Correct me if I'm wrong.

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I think the idea of the site is great. I actually found it pretty surprising how much money was donated to so many projects.

 

As far as your project is concerned well I'm not so sure, but hey I guess some people could see some value in this. The thing I'm not sure of is why I would even need CAD data to build something like this? I could probably build this myself in an afternoon with basic tools. I don't mean to offend you in any way but I built a wooden toy that was even more complicated than this in my first year of ID.

 

Plus the idea of having small CNC shops manufacture this and sell it seems kind of naive. Why would they invest in such a toy, keep inventory of it, and where would they sell it? They would need a distributor. Now all of a sudden they are in the retail business with one wooden toy and paying you royalties?

 

I think the reason wooden toys have bit the dust is that they require to much investment with to little pay off, people build these as a hobby because they are fun to do, but they don't make for good business opportunities.

 

I think best case scenario is you provide the CAD data open source like you plan to and maybe some joe with a small shop makes one for his kid and they send you a thank you note telling you how much they love it and you can feel good about yourself knowing your design improved the lives of others.

 

Sorry for this coming off so harsh but I think your focus is a bit skewed with this one.

 

Anyways thanks for pointing the site out.

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Guest csven
The thing I'm not sure of is why I would even need CAD data to build something like this? I could probably build this myself in an afternoon with basic tools. I don't mean to offend you in any way but I built a wooden toy that was even more complicated than this in my first year of ID.

That isn't the final design. That's the starting point for a new design. And while you and most IDers could do this, there are plenty of people who couldn't.

 

Plus the idea of having small CNC shops manufacture this and sell it seems kind of naive. Why would they invest in such a toy, keep inventory of it, and where would they sell it? They would need a distributor. Now all of a sudden they are in the retail business with one wooden toy and paying you royalties?

That's not the idea. Small businesses wouldn't pay anything. There are no royalties or fees or anything. It's a free download. The only reason for IP is to prevent some company from using the CAD files to create a toy which they sell to a mass market retailer.

 

I think the reason wooden toys have bit the dust is that they require to much investment with to little pay off, people build these as a hobby because they are fun to do, but they don't make for good business opportunities.

I wasn't aware wooden toys have bit the dust. In fact, there seems to be a growth in wooden toys over the past decade as rubberwood came into use.

 

I think best case scenario is you provide the CAD data open source like you plan to and maybe some joe with a small shop makes one for his kid and they send you a thank you note telling you how much they love it and you can feel good about yourself knowing your design improved the lives of others.

Someone can do that. But why would I or any industrial designer go through all the trouble of designing a toy (and again, this isn't the final design) and giving it away instead of selling it to a corporation? Who has the time? And why don't designers do it now? I don't see IDers posting CAD files for their designs.

 

Sorry for this coming off so harsh but I think your focus is a bit skewed with this one.

No apologies necessary. It's clear you've misunderstood how it works based on your royalties comment. You also seem unaware of how this is tied to the 100K Garages from where the title gets its name. Your misunderstanding is my fault.

 

Thanks for the feedback. I'll have to make some changes to the project page to make sure people understand what this is.

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So, if I understand this correctly, no matter how much I back this project it doesn't get me the toy unless I have access to a CNC mill?

Correct. The final result is for the community of CNC users. Rewards are for anyone interested. For example, some people will be interested in an ebook showing the design process.

 

But if you really want to achieve the full funding, shouldn't you be targeting the people who will benefit from the design in the end directly - the CNC mill owners? From what I've seen you seem to have aimed this strictly at IDers. Get some blog like Toolmonger.com to write about it for example.

I can only tell that community about it, I can't force them to write about it. Hopefully there will be posts and articles in the coming week or two as I've been sending out emails with additional information. If anything, I'm surprised Ponoko hasn't covered it; but then maybe I'm not so surprised since I'm bypassing their gateway and using 100KGarages directly. Which actually gets me wondering about something...

 

Furthermore, those who will be able to manufacture and sell this toy will be able to do so freely, while IDers who back this for "the cause" have no way of making their money back. It's not even taking a risk - it's donating cash for someone to make more of it. Correct me if I'm wrong.

The people who have already backed it are neither manufacturers nor IDers and have no way to make their money back. The same is true of many Kickstarter projects. The same is true of many things. How many design students are paying for an education which, for half of them, won't pay them back with an ID job, especially now? How many IDers go to a concert or some other experiential event and leave with nothing they can hold? This isn't all that different. It's an experiment in whether and how designers can go to the community directly instead of being dependent on corporations. If experiments like these aren't worth anyone's time, then they don't get funded. Simple as that. And to be honest, I'm not expecting the design community to fund this. I would, however, expect it might generate some ideas for how they might find an alternative to the current system, unless everyone is pleased with the current system.

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Guest csven

I thought this thread relevant: Core77 forum, "Releasing Source Files".

 

Kinda funny how, in certain cases, designers won't hand over their 3D files to paying customers. I realize the circumstances vary and there can be legitimate reasons to withhold the files, but in the context of this thread I found it interesting.

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I think it all depends on the type of files the client is expecting . . . if they want 3D files to be used for prototyping sure why not, files formats like STL, IGES, STEP and many more are easily read by prototype makers or toolmakers but they do not easily allow them to make changes. If they want changes they will come back to me to make the changes.

 

If the client was asking for native solidworks files for example, then I would tell them to pay a substantial additional fee because the only reason they would need these is to cut me out of the loop and take the design to someone else.

 

There are no companies that I know of that will offer native solidworks files to anyone without a substantial price tag attached to it because it is to be expected that they will never see that design again

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I think it all depends on the type of files the client is expecting . . . if they want 3D files to be used for prototyping sure why not, files formats like STL, IGES, STEP and many more are easily read by prototype makers or toolmakers but they do not easily allow them to make changes. If they want changes they will come back to me to make the changes.

 

If the client was asking for native solidworks files for example, then I would tell them to pay a substantial additional fee because the only reason they would need these is to cut me out of the loop and take the design to someone else.

 

There are no companies that I know of that will offer native solidworks files to anyone without a substantial price tag attached to it because it is to be expected that they will never see that design again

As you're using a different example than is mostly discussed on the Core thread, I can flatly state I disagree.

 

If a client asks me to generate a prototype with the reasonable understanding I'll need to create it using a machine-friendly file exported from a CAD model I create expressly for that purpose, I wouldn't jack up the price to hand over those same native Pro/E files from which I exported the machine data. That makes no sense to me. By this time I'll have surely filed an NDA, so of what possible use is a 3D file used to create their prototype, other than to hold them hostage for more money?

 

And here I thought - based on your initial comment - you'd be reasonable in handing over files for which a company has essentially already paid.

 

I rest my case.

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I think you misunderstood me

 

a company is entitled to any and all CAD files which they have paid for which are suitable for just about anything they would need to do with them like prototyping and tooling. STEP, IGES, STL ect, work perfectly for this purpose. Native files are a different story. There is no need to give anyone native CAD files as they are proprietary to the designers or firm which create them.

 

Not only that but if you or your company offer native files to a client and they make unauthorized changes or modifications to those files without approval and something goes wrong you are liable. They have no need for native files and like I said the only reason they would need them is if they are screwing you out making revisions to the designs.

 

What I mentioned above was purely hypothetical because I clearly state in all of my proposals what the deliverables are, so I have never had to have anyone pay an additional fee for any files, but in a rare circumstance that someone were to demand native files in light of our contractual agreement I believe the designer/firm has the right to charge an additional fee for this

 

If anyone says that providing native files is standard practice they are taking you for a ride.

I have worked with hundreds of vendors, prototypers, and manufacturers an no one will ever ask for native files.

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I think you misunderstood me

From what you wrote before and what you wrote after, I understood just fine.

 

a company is entitled to any and all CAD files which they have paid for which are suitable for just about anything they would need to do with them like prototyping and tooling. STEP, IGES, STL ect, work perfectly for this purpose. Native files are a different story.

 

Repeat: "If a client asks me to generate a prototype with the reasonable understanding I'll need to create it using a machine-friendly file exported from a CAD model I create expressly for that purpose, I wouldn't jack up the price to hand over those same native Pro/E files from which I exported the machine data. That makes no sense to me. By this time I'll have surely filed an NDA, so of what possible use is a 3D file used to create their prototype, other than to hold them hostage for more money?"

 

There is no need to give anyone native CAD files as they are proprietary to the designers or firm which create them.

See above.

 

Not only that but if you or your company offer native files to a client and they make unauthorized changes or modifications to those files without approval and something goes wrong you are liable.

Except for the clause in any smart design contract which stipulates that because you don't have ultimate control of the product as manufactured, the client indemnifies you against any legal action. Unless of course you're an industrial designer selling yourself as a professionally licensed engineer. Are you?

 

They have no need for native files and like I said the only reason they would need them is if they are screwing you out making revisions to the designs.

Which, as I said, sounds like a 180 from your earlier "give it away" remarks. In fact, if I was still corporate, I'd be thinking, "Wait a sec. He signed an NDA. He's being paid to create a CAD file from which the machine-readable data will be exported, and he want's to claim the CAD is proprietary? Screw him. Get me an Asian design firm, stat!"

 

What I mentioned above was purely hypothetical because I clearly state in all of my proposals what the deliverables are, so I have never had to have anyone pay an additional fee for any files, but in a rare circumstance that someone were to demand native files in light of our contractual agreement I believe the designer/firm has the right to charge an additional fee for this

An additional fee to hand over files which were a necessary part of the original contract for which you were paid? I disagree. The Core77 thread example is different. It's a 2D render generated from 3D files. The deliverable was a 2D image done however the designer saw fit. From what I understood, the client didn't pay for 3D geometry, and the geometry is potentially re-usable (because it may contain generic objects) in completely separate work. That isn't the case here. The 3D CAD file you create has only one purpose. The design driving that 3D CAD file belongs to your client. All you're doing, imo, is holding the file documenting their design hostage.

 

If anyone says that providing native files is standard practice they are taking you for a ride.

I have worked with hundreds of vendors, prototypers, and manufacturers an no one will ever ask for native files.

I've been a designer for 16 years. No one has to ask me because I automatically hand over my Pro/E native files. Hell, I even teach my clients how to do tricky Pro/E geometry stuff. I don't do the "I can't tell you how I did this; it's a secret" thing, so forgive me if I simply laugh at this "taking you for a ride" stuff.

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if I'm providing them will all the necessary CAD files (at no additional charge) to be used for prototyping and manufacturing I hardly see how that's "holding them hostage and demanding more money"? Native files are completely unnecessary for any of these tasks.

 

And another thing, are you seriously suggesting that an NDA offers a designer any kind of protection against a client taking the design to someone else? If a client feels like terminating a project after the conceptual phase and they have paid any outstanding balance they are entitled to all the work you've done up to that point.

 

If they wanted to they could simply use you as a graphic artist, take your styling concepts and pay someone else a lot less to model it in a CAD system. And given the fact that you so strongly believe that they are entitled to the native files you could even give them a head start by handing them over any CAD files you have created so far without even the need for them to re-create it. Brilliant

 

Know as we both know we don't just draw pretty pictures and as Industrial Designers we can offer innovative solutions to the client right from the conceptual phase right up to production because we also have a thorough understanding of manufacturing. Therefore when contracted by a client it is ultimately your experience and what you have outlined in you design proposal (with specific reference to legal clauses) which protect your ass and not an NDA.

 

lets not try to mislead people here shall we

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Guest csven
if I'm providing them will all the necessary CAD files (at no additional charge) to be used for prototyping and manufacturing I hardly see how that's "holding them hostage and demanding more money"? Native files are completely unnecessary for any of these tasks.

I see you're avoiding the questions. So once again:

 

Repeat 1: "If a client asks me to generate a prototype with the reasonable understanding I'll need to create it using a machine-friendly file exported from a CAD model I create expressly for that purpose, I wouldn't jack up the price to hand over those same native Pro/E files from which I exported the machine data. That makes no sense to me. By this time I'll have surely filed an NDA [which they sent to me, required me to sign before they even discussed their project, and I returned to their legal department], so of what possible use is a 3D file used to create their prototype, other than to hold them hostage for more money?"

 

Answer to italics-bold here -> __________

 

Repeat 2: "Except for the clause in any smart design contract which stipulates that because you don't have ultimate control of the product as manufactured, the client indemnifies you against any legal action. Unless of course you're an industrial designer selling yourself as a professionally licensed engineer. Are you?"

 

Answer to italics-bold here -> __________

 

And another thing, are you seriously suggesting that an NDA offers a designer any kind of protection against a client taking the design to someone else? If a client feels like terminating a project after the conceptual phase and they have paid any outstanding balance they are entitled to all the work you've done up to that point.

You're joking, right? Everyone should realize the NDA is for the benefit of the client and not the designer. So no, very obviously, a Non-Disclosure Agreement offers essentially no protection to the consulting designer. In fact, it takes away the consulting designer's ("proprietary") rights to disclosure of the project itself. Thus, your attempting to claim ownership of the project when you say "CAD files ... are proprietary to the designers or firm which create them", is like saying "It's mine. And no one else in the whole wide world is ever going to see what's yours ... I mean, mine. waaah."

 

Furthermore, the client has the right to take a project away whenever they choose. They're the CLIENT. And the NDA and the contract effectively make us work-for-hire. We're the SERVICE.

 

If they wanted to they could simply use you as a graphic artist, take your styling concepts and pay someone else a lot less to model it in a CAD system. And given the fact that you so strongly believe that they are entitled to the native files you could even give them a head start by handing them over any CAD files you have created so far without even the need for them to re-create it. Brilliant

 

Know as we both know we don't just draw pretty pictures and as Industrial Designers we can offer innovative solutions to the client right from the conceptual phase right up to production because we also have a thorough understanding of manufacturing. Therefore when contracted by a client it is ultimately your experience and what you have outlined in you design proposal (with specific reference to legal clauses) which protect your ass and not an NDA.

Y'know, based on your response to the ID is Dying/Dead thread, it's very clear you have a narrow view of what design today is all about. It's not merely "pretty pictures" and "production" solutions. It's a whole lot more now.

 

I just quoted a project to design eight products and as part of the quote I recommended they take as much of the CAD to local providers because it's cost-effective. That must make no sense to you. You apparently see your value in being a CAD technician; a CAD jockey. I see my value in being the designer of a company's new product line; as concerned with distribution issues as with the aesthetic and production issues. You seem to only know Industrial Design as form-giving while the rest of the ID community is waking up to a much broader set of responsibilities.

 

To me, you're not so much a designer as a technician clinging onto his CAD files in fear the client will "use you as a graphic artist, take your styling concepts and pay someone else a lot less to model it in a CAD system". Fortunately, I offer much more than styling and CAD.

 

lets not try to mislead people here shall we

Like telling people to cling desperately to CAD files locked behind contracts rendering them effectively useless and, as a consequence, lose a valued client?

 

Like being concerned a client will "cut me out of the loop and take the design to someone else" if we hand over a CAD file that only exists because they paid for the work which generated it?

 

Like suggesting a client will try "screwing you out making revisions to the designs" which are legally theirs and for which they paid in the first place?

 

Like claiming that if "they make unauthorized changes or modifications to those files without approval and something goes wrong you are liable" when every contract I've seen ensures liability in general and under these circumstances in particular stays with the client?

 

Please don't.

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I just quoted a project to design eight products and as part of the quote I recommended they take as much of the CAD to local providers because it's cost-effective. That must make no sense to you. You apparently see your value in being a CAD technician; a CAD jockey. I see my value in being the designer of a company's new product line; as concerned with distribution issues as with the aesthetic and production issues. You seem to only know Industrial Design as form-giving while the rest of the ID community is waking up to a much broader set of responsibilities.

 

Your right that doesn't make any sense to me because our "broader set of responsibilities" also includes overseeing the design as it evolves from the conceptual stage right up to tooling. What kind of half ass approach do you take when you recommend to your clients that they take your designs to someone else to model it up and work out all the fine details?

 

But you obviously don't have any understanding of how value added design also includes reducing the tooling costs and ensuring there are no details overlooked? In your mind I guess its perfectly acceptable for details to get changed here and there as another company models the design as they see fit. Sink here and there, 10 piece molds . . . sure why not. We obviously offer a much more thorough approach to design than you do which ultimately saves our clients tons of money and ultimately gives the client the exact design we have have developed for them, and not some cheap muddled up variation of the design in which you had originally proposed.

 

And yes we do all the in house design and engineering work ourselves and we work directly with some of the largest manufacturers in the world. We have designed products which have pushed the boundaries of what is capable in a variety of manufacturing methods. So are we just CAD jockeys . . . no we offer a complete product design service which gives the client a product which they can go right to a manufacturer with and not have any unexpected surprises.

 

But for you I guess that allows you to pass the blame onto someone else doesn't it, ohh it must have been the other company who modeled the design that screwed it up, better talk to them?

 

And this is coming from someone who is touting our "broader set of responsibilities". Why don't you take some responsibility and do the work yourself then.

 

Your obviously the one with the narrow minded approach so I'm not even going to bother arguing with you anymore

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Your right that doesn't make any sense to me because our "broader set of responsibilities" also includes overseeing the design as it evolves from the conceptual stage right up to tooling. What kind of half ass approach do you take when you recommend to your clients that they take your designs to someone else to model it up and work out all the fine details?

Big deal. I've got a portfolio full of designs that do this. It's commonplace. If you had any significant experience, you'd know this as well.

 

And, btw, no where did I say they would "work out all the fine details". I realize you're still a 22- or 23-year old design student/grad (according to your website resume), but you shouldn't get into the habit of reading what's not written.

 

I said: "take as much of the CAD to local providers". Helping a new client maximize their resources so that products are developed more cost-effectively is smart business. It frees up more money for more design work. Furthermore, CAD is not inherently problem-solving; and the "fine details" of blowing in bosses and ribs hardly requires a PhD. It's low-level work. Yet even so, no where did I say I wanted to remove myself from oversight of that technician-level work.

 

Don't confuse delegating authority with delegating responsibility.

 

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But you obviously don't have any understanding of how value added design also includes reducing the tooling costs and ensuring there are no details overlooked? In your mind I guess its perfectly acceptable for details to get changed here and there as another company models the design as they see fit. Sink here and there, 10 piece molds . . . sure why not. We obviously offer a much more thorough approach to design than you do which ultimately saves our clients tons of money and ultimately gives the client the exact design we have have developed for them, and not some cheap muddled up variation of the design in which you had originally proposed.

Obviously. With 16 years in the field, a 4-year engineering degree (1985), a 5-year industrial design degree (1994), a military medal for managing the fault-free overhaul of a U.S. warship (1987), plus designing for world-class corporations, I have no understanding of things like reducing tooling costs and attention to detail.

 

And you earned your industrial design degree in ... 2008? and have a whole 2 years of experience? which makes you a "senior designer"?

 

Vander : The Voice of Experience.

 

Right.

 

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And yes we do all the in house design and engineering work ourselves and we work directly with some of the largest manufacturers in the world. We have designed products which have pushed the boundaries of what is capable in a variety of manufacturing methods. So are we just CAD jockeys . . . no we offer a complete product design service which gives the client a product which they can go right to a manufacturer with and not have any unexpected surprises.

So, are you talking as an independent industrial designer working for "the largest manufacturers in the world" or as a recently hired, entry-level member of an established consultancy; an employee who doesn't actually deal in the contractual negotiations and thus wouldn't even have a clue about the legal details you're now trying to discuss with authority?

 

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But for you I guess that allows you to pass the blame onto someone else doesn't it, ohh it must have been the other company who modeled the design that screwed it up, better talk to them?

If my client chooses to have another company develop my original concept or take my native files and modify them to, perhaps, make a buyer happy, they assume responsibility for the design as manufactured. That's how the business works, tadpole. You only take responsibility for your work. The best we, as designers, can do is remind a client of the risks of taking the work elsewhere.

 

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And this is coming from someone who is touting our "broader set of responsibilities". Why don't you take some responsibility and do the work yourself then.

At the risk of sounding repetitive, and as would be apparent if you were able to read with any level of comprehension, I stated "as much of the CAD" as possible. I never said I was passing on all the CAD because there are going to be some things I'll need to do myself. Furthermore, if the client heeds my advice, I'll still be taking responsibility for all the CAD, whether or not I'm the jockey.

 

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Your obviously the one with the narrow minded approach so I'm not even going to bother arguing with you anymore

Still avoiding the questions. Well, since you're going to run away with your tail tucked between your inexperienced cheeks, I'll answer them for you:

 

"of what possible use is a 3D file used to create their prototype, other than to hold them hostage for more money?"

 

Answer: NONE

 

"Unless of course you're an industrial designer selling yourself as a professionally licensed engineer. Are you?"

 

Answer: YES. Even though you're just a recent grad with maybe a year or two of actual professional ID experience; someone who simply knows how to use a piece of software once reserved for engineers.

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yes your right, I only have two years of professional experience but do you think I'm impressed with your 16 years of experience? hardly. I work alongside designers who have more than twice as much experience as you, one of which was the former president of ACIDO and adviser to the committee responsible for developing the legal contracts which protect Industrial Designers, I think I'll take their advice instead.

 

And to answer your question directly because you can't seem to read between the lines, by retaining native files you are protecting yourself by ensuring the design is developed exactly as you intend it. Like I said ultimately you are liable, yeah that clause you refer to in your design contracts is little more than a deterrent from someone sueing you if your products fails for whatever reason. Why do you think all designers who are member of ACIDO are covered with PRODUCT LIABILITY INSURANCE. It wouldn't exist if your legal garble was completely effective from preventing someone from sueing you.

 

And yes, within two years I have already managed to position myself in an established and prominent design firm with responsibilities equivalent to that of a senior designer (although I don't refer to myself as a senior designer). I recently finished a project where I was responsible for the design, development, and detailing of a product with over a million dollars and tooling, and I was the one sitting down with the client pitching them on the designs I had developed. I have even brought in my own client's for which I put together the design proposals, held client meetings, oversaw the design development, and dealt directly with the manufacturer for manufacturing.

 

I am also in negotiations with one of the largest watercraft distributors in Europe who is interested in investing in a design that my colleague and I designed, and have also partnered up with another designer/investor to design and develop limited edition high end designer furniture.

 

So am I going to "run away with my tail between my legs", hmm I think not.

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