The Challenge

mv|designlabs co-founders Brad Hughes and Jonny Hall had the idea to build a fun, interactive holiday gadget for the masses. However, the idea came late in the year, requiring the team to define, design, prototype, and launch a hardware Kickstarter campaign in less than thirty days.

The Solution

With such a tight timeline and thin product margins, we realized that product definition and project management would be critical to hitting our deadline. We planned out all of the things that needed done early and had daily project update meetings. Here’s a breakdown of the project:

Week 1: Define the product and start a company.

Prototyping new circuits should happen early in product design to minimize project risk.

  • Define the feature set and set the minimum viable product requirements for what we were going to build.
  • Prototype the product’s various circuits using parts from various electronics distributors.
  • Start a new company: register as a LLC, buy the web domain, file for federal tax EIN, open a bank account, and setup Amazon Payments.
  • Design a vector graphic logo and iterate on it three times.
  • Setup a WordPress website with a customized theme, running on Amazon Web Services.

Week 2: Design and order prototypes of the product.

  • Iteratively pick parts and design the electronics while evaluating the

    Consistency between product design and marketing content is critical to brand success.

    COGS (cost of goods sold).

  • Peer review schematic and printed circuit board layout design details to ensure product quality.
  • Order prototype printed circuit boards and parts from various electronics distributors.
  • Design and order a snazzy T-shirts.

Week 3: Start assembling business and Kickstarter marketing materials.

  • Calculate costs and product margins to make sure we could financially commit to the Kickstarter campaign goals.
  • Set a campaign goal ($20k) based on volume discounts and an expected number of backers.
  • Start creating marketing content and artwork for the video and Kickstarter campaign.

Week 4: Build prototypes, create the Kickstarter campaign, and launch!

The final product prototype in action.

  • Build ten prototypes by hand.
  • Perform design verification and testing.
  • Write, film, and edit the main video for the campaign.
  • Finish writing and editing marketing content for the Kickstarter campaign.
  • Push the Kickstarter campaign live – only 27 days after the initial concept!

If you want to see more details and photos of this project, visit the photo blog.

At mv|designlabs, we routinely build prototypes for clients. Whether you need a design for one unit or one-thousand units, we have the expertise to guide you through the important process of defining product requirements, ensuring our deliverables meet your needs.