Product Design Strategy Experts

Providing you with a process to identify important business, user and market targets. These guiding requirements will focus the design and engineering team on the best product concepts to evaluate, analyze, and test early-stage product development.

Mobile application development

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

What You’ll Get With Our Business Strategy and Product Development Research Services

Setting project requirements to ensure a smooth, predictable development process with reduced costs.

Product Visioning and 3D CAD Modelling

Starting with your product and market fit and lead customer needs, we work with you to identify the target user and explore visual concepts of potential solutions through sketching.

Once a direction is chosen, the team creates appealing product models and integrates these concept ideas into a practical and feasible product engineering architecture.

The final design concept(s) is captured in a 3D CAD model to create images and function models that demonstrate new product features.

Product Market Testing

Our team next builds production intent physical prototypes. This physical product is used to engage users/buyers and provides an early reaction, confirming your target market’s interest in the product and the price.

With user opinions and reactions collected, we work with your team to identify priority product features to focus on.

This user feedback is also collected to helps us source potential manufacturers for supply commitment and products costs.

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Strategic Project Managment

Throughout this process, you will receive weekly updates and progress reports as well as the opportunity to interact directly with our senior development team.

Depending on your needs, we can modify the project management strategy to achieve both risk mitigation and development speed.

Our flexibility and direct interaction ensures your project moves smoothly from initial concept all the way through to manufacturing production.

Product Development Research Service Specializations

Providing you with a comprehensive range of product development research service capabilities.

Product Concept Investigation

Meeting all your product concept needs, we can:

  • Undertake competitor analysis
  • Review existing patents and intellectual property
  • Provide a full Product Concept Investigation and distribution analysis

Product Usability Testing

Providing you with product feedback from users, we can:

  • Conduct human factor usability testing
  • Provide bench model prototypes
  • Undertake user testing on your product
  • Solicit prospective customer feedback to modify your product before large-scale production

Strategic Planning

Providing strategic product development planning documentation, we can:

  • Offer early-stage key item costing
  • A vision and roadmap for your product development process
  • Product development planning documentation so you know exactly what is going to happen when

Design Concept Testing

Offering you a full range of design concept testing services, we can:

  • Utilize advanced technology and methodologies to refine design concepts and get detailed user feedback
  • Mitigate risks and identify potential issues early
  • Give you confidence in the viability of your design concepts before moving forward with production


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, ensuring that you receive input from only the most expert individuals at 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.

The Measures Taken To Ensure Product Design and Manufacturing Success

Design 1st undertakes a rigorous product design and manufacturing process to bring your product to life.