How do you sell a design?

Posted: 21 Feb 07 - 10:24

I could do with some advice. I would love to see this thing actually be produced and I've been playing around with the idea of selling the design or licensing it. But I'm not sure where to begin. Maybe you can help?

  1. How would you go about approaching a company?
  2. Do companies often buy designs or do they prefer to have them design in-house?
  3. What do you have to be aware of?
  4. What can you expect?
  5. Is there any specific companies you could imagine would be interested

Do you know how it works? Do you know anybody who might know? If you do, please drop me a comment.

  1. First off, that is some beautiful, brilliant work. I've always kept my eye out for retro that was well done, and this certainly hits the mark.

    Sadly, I don't have an answer to selling a design to a larger company (product makers always have their own design group, and they're very protective of their turf). I'm in the process of doing the same as you (different product entirely) and I'm making sure that I'm protecting my IP prior to talking to any larger manufacturer.

    I do know that manufacturers such as AlienWare do very custom PC/gaming systems, so that would be a place to start. But on the entrepreneurial side, you could always create your own line of Arlen Ness -styled devices.
  2. This inspires such all-consuming geekLust I can't even put it into words. I must have it! I don't have any info for you but I think you should find a company that will manufacture it on demand (is there a cafepress for industrial design) so I can buy it immediately.
  3. I'm a commercial product designer and here's my thoughts on your questions.
    1. How would you go about approaching a company?
    in the simplest form put a package together and submit it- but truthfully this almost never works. But if you have something really great to show (which you do) and it fits perfectly with what the company does they might license the concept from you and pay you a royalty or lump sum. Find a company that it's a perfect fit for and find out who to contact. You are saving the company development costs and once you demonstrate that thousands of people saw it and gave it praise (which your BB post will do) you are off to a good start. The press is the greatest asset to legitimize the concept.
    2. Do companies often buy designs or do they prefer to have them design in-house?
    it depends on the company but when it comes to consumer electronics it's exclusively in house for the most part and they often refuse to even see you idea so if they make something similar in the future you don't sue them. A sad state of affairs, but how it currently works.
    Finding a boutique company is a better route than the majors for this reason.
    3. What do you have to be aware of? your design is only that specific design, you don't have any claim to the idea of making 50s automotive retro pc cases. You have a copyrighted design and could get a design patent for that shape.
    If you have a specific engineered design and know how to have it made by a factory that is worth as much as the concept. You want to present as much on a turn key solution as possible- i would do everything needed to submit it for quote and let the manufacturer submit it to factories.
    4. What can you expect? the market for this is way too small for a major brand but if you think of it as following the Hulger phone model you are on the right track. Sell it as a case that simply covers the exisiting case in a clever way and you can piggy-back a successful product range at a lower price point (looks like it will fit a dell studio hybrid nicely)- going into the complete PC or PC component market would be pointlessly difficult unless you have more resources and contacts than I'm guessing. The simple end-user add on market is much easier.
    5. Is there any specific companies you could imagine would be interested?
    the major case manufacturers haven't ever put out something this niche. I can't think of anyone in the eccentric PC case business, though i'm sure their are, but they probably want to do their own designs- but it's worth a shot.


    Eventually someone is going to have to start a popular company that sells cool clever decorative shells for PCs- I might as well be you. As the media PC moves closer to the living room TV people are going to want some decor options.

    looks great- Joe
  4. Good luck trying to sell it, a media center with fins?

    Baby boomers aren't into gen x media centers.

    However, it stands alone as a testament to your amazing build capabilities, let it shine in your portfolio. It will lead to other things that will sell!
  5. Chris - I'd LOOOOOVE one of those (and I'm on the Gen X/Y boundary).

    With regard to the business questions at the top, I'm curious about how this wasn't part of your degree. It seems to be absolutely essential information for any successful designer, and negligent on the part of your university to ignore this in a design degree (especially for someone who's gone on to do honours).
  6. Your work is really inspired - Kudos...

    I donĀ“t work in design area but i think you can try to make contact through blogs with some analysts of computer business or even in design and ask advice. Try this one: [www.pcworld.com],62/geek_tech.html

    "Go on, go on and turn not back for any..."

    Luiz Stevanato
    Good luck
    p.s. - i make some comments about retro design and consumer behavior in my blog and set a link to your project.
  7. [www.instructables.com]

    Try talking to some of these guys about it....
  8. I love the design and would sell all my Apple computers to get this one! Also, give up Apple OS, too. Now that's really saying something!! But what about contacting trendy retailers like Target. They always have somebody's designer line featured each month. Also, for mass production how about contacting Dell or Apple (if you don't mind it running OSX software!). Maybe it could be the next Mini or iPad! So many companies in PC land, hp, IBM Lenovo and Dell offer mini/tiny desktops, but nothing as cool and retro as your rendition!! I wish I knew or was a VC-I'd go for it! Best wishes!!
    LZ

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