Custom Electronic Design and Engineering Experts

Smart connected physical objects with electronics require robust custom-designed electronics circuits, circuit boards, cabling, connectors, displays and other quality components. Our electronics hardware engineering team works alongside our other experts to help you bring innovative electronic devices to production.


Video: Meet Our Electronics Design Team

Trusted to Design, Develop, and Engineer Manufacture-Ready Products for Startups and the World’s Most Innovative Brands

How Our Electronic Design Services Can Help You

Electronics design services follow a rigorous 5-step process resulting in a product that turns your ideas into connected, market-ready products.

Connected Hardware Development

Smart connected products require electronics like circuit boards, cabling connectors and displays to meet demanding quality and reliability requirements.

Whether you are looking to update existing devices with wireless radios (adding cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth®, RFID, GPS and other types of secure wireless control and connectivity) to your product or creating new products, our integrated custom electronics team can help you with your physical product ideas from concept to manufacturing.

Power Design and Portability

We have developed numerous systems using wired and wireless radios for battery powered requirements. You’ll get to take advantage of our electronics experience with powering techniques including non-contact inductive charging, USB, Power over Ethernet (POE), and more.
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Engaging Audio, Touch, and Display Interfaces

The end user can interact with your product in several ways – voice, gesture, smells and touch. We are experts in designing user interfaces with controls, including touchpads, biometrics, keys, audio command, gesture movement, and more.

We have experience designing high-performance motion sensors, performance audio, video capture, vibration haptics, light pipes, and app designs for smartphones which means, you’ll get the most-advanced technology built into your electronic product designs.

Sensors, Intelligent Data and Automation

Our team is experienced at capturing and processing many types of sensor data, including video image capture, image processing, recording and DSP alteration of audio signals, temperature, and vibration sensing.

You’ll benefit from our existing software libraries to get quickly built custom embedded software to control electro-mechanical devices, interface with other products, or communicate wired or wirelessly with the internet world.

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Market-Ready Custom Electronics

At strategic points in the design process, we conduct comprehensive verification and validation testing. When your electronics are being prepared for volume manufacturing, we help you develop your manufacturing quality processes for third party quality management including test fixture design, verification, and custom software updating over the air.

In working with us, you’ll ensure your electronics and product performs to the highest standards and complies with all regulatory requirements.

Electronics Design Service Specializations

Providing you with a comprehensive range of electronic design capabilities.

Embedded System Design

Meeting all your embedded systems design needs, we can:

  • Fulfill all document requirements
  • Produce high-level partitioning and block diagrams
  • Identify and standardize key interfaces, data formats, and data base structures
  • Evaluate available 3rd party IP
  • Undertake firmware design, coding, and testing
  • Define embedded hardware and software architectures

PC Board Design

Providing you with a full range of PC board design services, we can:

  • Undertake analog, digital, optical, and RF design
  • Develop wireless systems, including Wi-Fi/WLAN (802.11), Bluetooth®, GPS, Cellular, RFID, ZigBee®
  • Create power systems including, custom BUC/BOOST, battery management and solar power management
  • Do electronic circuit design and schematic capture
  • Fulfill AC/DC and DC/DC design for high battery life
  • Do board layout, including mixed signal/high speed/high layer count (Allegro®, Altium®, PADS®)
  • Design for manufacturability/testability (DFM/DFT)
  • Design for standards compliance (Safety, EMC/EMI)

Software Design

Fulfilling all your software design requirements, we can:

  • Develop system software architecture
  • Create embedded real-time controls
  • Undertake platform and device driver development, including DSPs, USB, I2C, Ethernet, EEPROM, FLASH, ADC, and DAC
  • Do application development, including Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, C/C++, Visual C/C++, Visual Basic, Python, PHP, and SOL
  • Undertake web development, including HTML, XML, JavaScript, Flash, Squirrel, and Django
  • Make mobile hardware connected web applications, including iOS, Android, HTML5

FPGA Design

Offering you a full range of FPGA design needs, we can:

  • Provide specification, architectural design, and documentation
  • Advise on component selection
  • Undertake RTL coding in Verilog or VHDL
  • Give verification plan generation and verification support
  • Do verification test cases coded in Verilog or VHDL
  • Confirm simulation, synthesis, place and route
  • Create timing closures


What Clients Say About Working With Design 1st

George Tsintzouras

Director of Product, Christie Digital

Immediately understood what was needed

When we wanted to transition our older generation projector models to a more modern look and feel, Design 1st was a valuable asset. Given the depth of their design and engineering experience, Design 1st immediately understood what was needed. They worked with our internal engineering team through the process to provide us with compatible solutions to meet our needs.

Stephen Rayment

VP Engineering, Ericsson

Our trusted engineering partner for six years

Design 1st has been our trusted industrial design and mechanical engineering partner for over six years and they have proven themselves to be valuable, competent and committed to our success. They add value because they understand the tradeoffs between user value and cost, the need to balance both the business and product objectives, along with excellent knowledge of materials and manufacturing / tooling options.

Mike Tettenborn

VP Engineering, Caframo

Right balance of art and engineering

We selected Design 1st because their designers and engineers demonstrated the right creativity and technical understanding. With their CAD and modelling tools they were able to address the numerous design challenges encountered with this type of product. The end result was an easy-to-install, powerful marine hatch fan – unlike any on the market.

Kurt Francis

Co-Founder, CTO, Molecule

Deepest bench of technical talent

I did a lot of due diligence on product development companies and Design 1st had the deepest bench for technical capability. They worked on such a broad range of products with successful commercialization. Design 1st’s early efforts in prototype development helped us move from a powder substrate into a commercially product for testing.

John Lupton

Director of Engineering, GeoSight

Got up and running fast

The whole design was my idea and I had patents on them. The team’s main work was to solve the functionality issue of a piece of my design. On top of that, they helped identify one of our manufacturers.

Didi Horn


Exceeded Our Expectations

The Design 1st team exceeded our expectations and helped us deliver an exceptional product to the market. As a startup, we were working within a budget but expected the highest quality product. Design 1st identified the risks up front, had the vast network of partners to find the right components, and customized it to meet our unique needs.

Fully Certified and Award-Winning

Our company and staff are certified with the Professional Engineers of Ontario and with ACIDO certified Industrial Designers of Ontario. We are also affiliated with Carleton University.

A Tailored Team of Experts

When you work with Design 1st, you’re accessing a tailored, cross-functional team of specialists customized for your specific project. As your project evolves, so too does the team working on it, so you get only the most expert people providing input every step of the way.

Embedded Systems

Seamless integration of electronics into physical devices.

Embedded Design Team

Mechanical Engineering

Find creative mechanical solutions to technical challenges.

Mechanical Design Team

Industrial Design

Transform your product concept into a refined manufacture-ready design.

Industrial Design Team

Electronics Engineering

Add power, secure connectivity, and interaction control to your products.

Electronic Design Team

Transfer to Manufacturing

Move your product into volume manufacturing.

Manufacture Transfer Team

Design Strategy

Set your new product up for success with a well-laid plan.

Design Strategy Team

Frequently Asked Questions

The answer depends on the nature of the work you hire us to do. The work may be support-related where we contribute design or engineering services to your product development team and process. The time required varies from a week to much longer depending on the activities you require from us. When our team takes your product concept from the idea stage all the way to a working product, it may take from 3 to 12+ months to complete the 4-stage design-engineering-prototyping and transfer to manufacturing process. It depends on the complexity of the product being designed.

Once the design concept is captured, engineering decisions are finalized and the product is 3D prototyped and documented, making it possible for manufacturers to bid on making the product in volume.

Our creative design, engineering and manufacturing transfer team finds solutions that differentiate your product and delivers the ‘I love it’ user response. Your design is carefully created to meet product cost that meets business needs. The documentation is well-defined and managed with manufacturers that want to produce it.

Our manufacturing setup experts will help you identify and secure trusted part suppliers and a contract manufacturer (CM) onshore, or offshore, depending your product objectives and needs.

We can facilitate the prototyping and product builds, from helping coordinate the CM and parts supplier relationships, to overseeing product batch builds, injection tooling approvals, release controlled documentation, quality plans, regulatory testing, Bill of Materials managements, and parts supply coordination.

Yes, we can navigate, negotiate, document and fine-tune product quality during the initial production batch builds and through to continuous production.

Our process ensures we bring value during the development stage, and we transition the product management as your operations team decides to take over manufacturing control.

However, if your business objectives require a more virtual, low-overhead operation, we can also stay on how to facilitate batch production builds.

The Design 1st team works with strategic business teams looking to reduce risk and cost and maximize product value.

We are an excellent fit for business teams new to hardware product development who want an expert team to plug in and move their concept design to volume production. We are experts at network products, wireless app and cloud integrations

Our diverse team of planners, designers, engineers, electronics and supply strategy experts makes the transition from product concept to manufacturing a much more predictable process.

NDA’s ensure confidentiality for both parties during conversations. We provide a mutual NDA where the terms apply to both parties. If your organization has an NDA that requires our signature, we handle this through email.

Development is a multiple-month effort. We recommend that funding is ready for the first few months as we are a work-for-hire organization and new projects require a deposit to start the work, typically covering the first months’ effort.

Designing a new hardware product starts with exploring possible Concept Designs (CD).

Our business, marketing and design teams work with you to plan out key product requirements then configure one, or more, potential product concepts to test and verify with users and buyers.

Our experienced development team will then facilitate and help you define the many product requirements, carry out the creative design and engineering process, examine manufacturing feasibility, and provide an ongoing estimate of the direct product cost as details are filled in and decisions on parts and quality are made.

For a new product concept, the design exploration and the product architecture definition stages typically take 200+ hours, but this timeline depends on the user buyer definition, complexity, and customization of the design relative to product in the market, the number of custom components required, product safety requirements, and the amount of documentation required.

Expert fully integrated product Design / Engineering teams in North America have rates from $125 to $400 USD per hour.

After a phone discussion, we can provide a design budget, based on your project’s specific needs.

Call us for a discussion: 1.877.235.1004 or click here for more information on our development stages.

Unleashing the Power of Your Product through Our Expert Electronic Design Services

Design 1st undertakes a rigorous design review process to bring your product ideas to life.