Last week, we matched two lucky product designers with new clients at our signature Designer Dating Game event. Jeevak Badve, Principal and Director of Strategic Growth at Sundberg Ferar, guided contestants through two rounds of challenging questions about how design resources and services help product companies solve market and manufacturing problems.
Our contestant businesses are two great examples of how design can be an effective tool at overcoming any challenge, and that inclusive design can change people’s lives for the better. Traci Reedy, Founder and President of Titan Trach Ties and The Trach Shop, uses her background in fashion to design and manufacture custom tracheostomy covers. As the mother of a daughter who required a life saving tracheostomy shortly after birth, Traci’s work is driven by love and a mission to help the tracheostomy community to look and feel great.
Traci shared the stage with three eligible product designers: Josiah LaColla, Senior Industrial Designer at Sundberg Ferar, Kristen Keenan, Founder and CEO of Trichromatic Studio, and Blair Evans, Executive Director Incite-Focus.
Traci asked each designer key questions about how to keep her manufacturing costs down, how to research and gain the trust of her target market, and how to best communicate her value to gain more followers online. Traci was excited to choose Trichromatic Studio, a member of our Detroit Design Network and expert in industrial design and color, material, and finish design, as the designer of her dreams.
Our second contestant, Chris Casteel MSOP, BOCO is the Chief Executive Officer of A New Life Prosthetics and Orthotics. Chris lost his leg in a motorcycle accident, which ended his work manufacturing cars. Instead of car parts, Chris now manufactures people parts, and offers a wide array of products and services for patients who are redefining themselves after limb loss.
Chris had a great conversation with Blair Evans, Executive Director Incite-Focus, Larry Rhodes, Product and Industrial Designer at Disher, and Tom Pavlak, Detroit Design Network membeprincipal at design and research consultancy POCO Labs, and adjunct professor in the College for Creative Studies’ MFA program in Integrated Design. They chatted about the best ways to make prosthetic devices visually and emotionally appealing, how to explore a new market of prosthetic accessories, and how to use design to reach a national market. Disher gave the best pitch, and Chris ended the evening with their design team.
The Designer Dating Game highlighted some great local design talent, and a few small businesses that make our city a better place through their thoughtful work serving diverse communities. Once again, we were reminded that good design has visual, physical, and emotional impact, and inclusive design paired with a strong understanding of the needs of your audience can solve any challenge. Join us for the next Designer Dating Game in September!
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