Finding a the right product designer to help you with your concepts will accelerate your company's growth, but could make or break your brand. A product is not always only about the looks. The materials, manufacturing, human factors, and more go into a successful product.
So, when reviewing prospective product designers, you should not judge the book only by the cover, or as Chad Thornton says over at Medium , don't judge the designer only by their portfolio. Thornton's article is about graphic designers, but the overall message is true for physical product designers.
If you don't have the design experience to do the work yourself, it may be difficult to evaluate the work of someone else. Designers are trained to make great products, and often to make those products look amazing, especially in their portfolios. Your efforts should be on seeing beyond the visual quality of their work and to understand the other, important elements of the products.
Thornton recommends (as do I) that you start by looking at the designers resume to gain a greater understanding of their experience.
Pay attention to:
- years of experience
- work with any companies that you recognize
- any design education (is the school well known?)
- titles and actual responsibilities
Many designers work in teams, but show a finished product in their portfolio. Try to determine what part of the design process they were actually responsible for. If you get to the interview stage, this may be a good conversation point.
Be sure to read Thornton's whole article for more details from his perspective.
Do you have any specific questions? Leave them in the comments!
[Hiring a product designer: how to review portfolios by Chad Thornton]