Presentations – Students of Product Design Episode 7

Presentations – Students of Product Design Episode 7


I’ve taken a brief I’ve done my research I’ve sketched ideas prepared concept presentation sheets and made models so I’m ready to present my concepts to a client the purpose of any type of product design presentation is to convey enough good information to help the recipient make a favorable choice what concept to take forward to production do I employ this person from their portfolio it’s all about telling a story and hopefully if you’ve seen previous episodes you’ll know that story runs through everything in this episode I’m focusing on a concept design presentation which is usually given to a small group this is good news if you get nervous but if the group’s big or small the processes and techniques are the same we are all capable of being good if not excellent presenters but the mistake we can all make with presentations because we’re so close to the project is to assume that the client will understand our designs in the same way as us because we put so much effort into the design because to us it’s now obvious how it works we can forget that we still have to present it to the client how much easier would it be to just walk into a room slap your designs on a table and walk out to rapturous applause but it will never happen this way you have to present it and why wouldn’t you want to it’s your greatest opportunity to tell the client what’s good about your ideas to get your designs made it’s easy to get caught up in telling people what you’ve done so I started drawing lots of angles and then I slipped and I created this curve and I thought hey that looks cool so I refined it and this is the design but the client will probably not be interested in your curve they will be thinking about with them what’s in it for me how can i impress my bosses with this can we sell this will this improve our company’s bottom line would I buy this with my wife buy this for our kids and that’s where your presentation should be directed emphasize why your concept is better in a way that will make the client care so what it took me ages to understand was that a presentation doesn’t begin when you sit down in front of the client with a set of drawings or when you’re preparing those drawings a week before it starts the moment you first meet the client you need to build relationships one key to this is to just be interested in the client people are interesting and with just about everything in life things always go far better if you show you’re interested in them I once saw a quote by Bill Nye everyone you will ever meet know something you don’t so before the presentation keep talking to your main contact keep them updated with progress be interested in what they’re up to and their suggestions good design good relationships good business is about continuous communication ask your main contact who will be at the presentation what are their job roles what’s their stake in the project this is so that you can better tailor your presentation to the client’s needs fears and desires and find out the names of the people attending remembering names is really important and unfortunately it’s my kryptonite I feel much more confident walking into a room having already memorized the attendees names so that even if someone new joins it reduces the amount of work I have to do knowing you’re presenting to important people can phase you but remembering their names and knowing what to expect allows you to prepare and so helps you control nerves for a concept presentation to a client you’re rarely if ever just presenting one design but a number of options before development how many to present and their order depends on numerous factors but you have to consider too little choice can leave you a little to talk about and your client feeling shortchanged too much choice and the client can be too confused about which direction to go in organizing your presentation from mild to wild or saving the best for last or putting your strongest designs in the middle of your presentation of all options and it’s going to be different for each presentation so you just have to get a feel for it but it needs to be about balance in episode 3 or 4 I looked at sketching and preparing presentation boards depending on the designs complexity I lay my presentation act from left to right in a logical way putting what I want to talk about in order 1 2 3 this is the product these are important details this is how it would be used you can do this on one or separate pages it just depends on how you’re presenting and you don’t have to do it this way there aren’t any rules but this is what’s worked for me in the past when I sketch out my presentation sheets I’m thinking about how I’ll tell the story this is the one thing that dictates their layout and the viewing angles I choose I try to choose angles that best explain and draw the viewers attention to key points so try not to add a view or a note unless it adds value because there’s not much point in adding to similar views just for the sake of composition I’ve often been guilty of adding a design ly arrow and a few poor words because I think it will improve the balance of my composition or hide a mistake and there’s nothing wrong with pointing at a feature material texture or manufacturing process but done well a good note will strengthen your presentation acting as a prompt if you’ve ever worked for a sales team you’ll know all about fab features advantages and benefits a feature is a detail of the product an advantage explains what the feature is or does and a benefit describes how the feature and advantage relate to the client or end-user so here for this torch detail I could write on/off button or slightly better recessed on/off button which is a feature of the overall design but the standard power symbol tells the viewer it’s an on/off button so with a little thought I can build on this recessed to reduce accidental activation this is an advantage and a far better note one of the benefits of this advantage would be prolongs battery life but you can’t say alright a benefit on it if I write prolongs battery life it doesn’t mean anything to the viewer so you have to link features advantages and benefits together the whole thing could say recessed to reduce accidental activation which prolongs battery life and makes location easier in the dark this tells the viewer so much more but it’s a bit long to use as a note so each note will be different for each design but in this case I choose to just write the advantage and then use the drawing view and note to prompt me to talk through the benefit in my presentation it’s not just design details but materials shapes user interfaces colors they all have features advantages and benefits don’t forget as well as additions does this improves that benefits can also be reductions reduces weight reduces manufacturing time so try to make your notes and what you say link the feature through to the benefits tailored for that client or their customers it makes any presentation far more powerful and memorable but also gives you a lot more to say even with simple products don’t cover the entire presentation sheet with notes only highlight the top three to five most important points and then no matter what make sure you point them out to the client emphasizing the benefits so that whatever happens if things don’t go to plan you will always have delivered the most valuable pieces of information also never forget your contact in the company may not be the boss and they may need to take your presentation to show their superiors noting the most important advantages on your presentation backed up with benefits will make your presentation easier for others to remember and present a picture is worth a thousand words and a model or prototype worth a thousand pictures if you have the opportunity to take a prototype in with you why wouldn’t you even a really quick really rough one can be incredibly helpful for demonstration and explanation the prototype proves the function and the presentation sheet shows how you imagined it will look I will always present prototypes if I can hopefully you’ll see that individual presentation layers on their own are weak but building up layers the drawing the layout the views and details you choose the notes the model they build on top of each other to strengthen the power of your story doing a lot of the work for you so finally what you say and how you deliver should be the icing on the cake there are a lot of people who get nervous when they’re giving a presentation and often when we get nervous we hear a wobble in our voice which we notice even when no one else can and we go a bit flat and it starts a chain reaction getting worse and before we know it we’re talking in a weird voice and we speed up because now we want to get to the end as fast as possible get out of the building and never go back so we start talking faster and faster as soon as this starts to happen I found two things help you’ve got to remember to breathe properly take deep breaths and there are relaxation techniques that can really help before you present and sometimes during consciously make yourself relax your shoulders push them down just try it there’s lots of advice out there about speaking at a certain pace and there’s nothing wrong with speeding up a little when you get passionate about something but after you’ve delivered a paragraph don’t be afraid of a little pause take a breath it gives the client a little time to process the information and it helps you relax control your pace it makes you sound less nervous also be aware of your posture and how your body language can say a lot about you if you’re presenting in a too relaxed to position it can give the impression that you don’t care one of the best ways to control nerves is to rehearse but having worked on a project for a few weeks and with deadlines being so tight you can leave yourself a little time to prepare so the temptation is to skip the practice and try to wing it a little preparation goes a long way especially if presenting is not your strong point plan and practice and prepare to be flexible and adaptable if you decide to present electronically still take printouts with you they take five minutes to print but if you have any hardware or software failures you’re always ready and be adaptable business is constantly changing sometimes there’s a crisis calling your client away so that an hour meeting may certainly change so that you only have ten minutes to present the best presentations make people care and appeal to their emotions making people care is far easier when you’re designing a medical device that will save people’s lives but what about something really ordinary don’t ask why but I’ve chosen to demonstrate this with a pizza cutter in the past I’ve been guilty of giving lots of fact-based presentations that went something like this the brief asked me to design a pizza cutter to appeal to gadget lovers and have shelf presence in a crowded market this design is a Mezzaluna style device that the user can rock their way through a pizza and and the blade can be tessellated in manufacture a nice feature is that the handle can flip around to become the blade cover this style is really dry really fact feature-based without a benefit in sight it’s the sort you give when you haven’t had time to prepare and it’s over pretty quickly by only pointing out features I burn up the fuel of my presentation really fast creating a fab matrix for each concept to work out benefits doesn’t take much time and will be an instant improvement even if you’re tired you have to put life into your delivery sound passionate hold people’s attention make it emotional and memorable as part of the continued development of a range of kitchen utensils my brief was designed a pizza cutter that appealed to gadget lovers and had shelf presence in what’s already a really competitive market personally there are a few things that beats sharing a pizza when you’re at a friend’s house watching the rugby it’s part of the ritual and one of the things my research identified is that a lot of people and they’re going out and they’re buying a standard pizza with a cheese and tomato topping and when they get home they’re adding additional toppings either to save money or to get the pizza that they want and this is known as frankensteining but the problem with frankensteining is you’re adding topping on top of a cheese layer and in the oven that cheese layer melts and becomes really liquid so what my user observational research showed was that when the consumer takes the pizza out of the oven and they go to chop it up with either a knife or with a pizza wheel there is a tendency to drag topping off crust and nobody wants to drag topping off crust so I identified an opportunity to design a pizza cutter that applied much more of a downward force to easily cut up the pizza without dragging topping so all the concepts that I’m going to show to you today are based on a Mezzaluna style device that allows you to the user to rock rather than roll their way through the pizza this first concept has an easy grip over Center handle that allows the user to put more pressure down through the palm of the hand through the blade to easily cut through thick crusts a nice feature is that the handle can be removed for ease of cleaning and then flipped around to form the blade cover which saves parts and expense in manufacture the blade can also be tessellated in manufacture to maximize sheet usage and save wastage now this is a larger blade area than your existing product so it will be more expensive in terms of steel but I know one of the things that you mentioned was that you were interested in maybe selling this to marketing companies who would then brand it up and use it as corporate gifting for sporting events so a large billboard area on this design does give you good opportunities in this area not only can the blade be used to chop and pizza but it can also be use for other food preparation and baking so this gives you the opportunity to catalog it in different places in your catalog and your retailers catalogs and hopefully increased cataloging and search results from the internet will lead to improved sales I think strategically it will be important to have something like this in your core range Pete I know you I’ve got to present this to the directors later so I’ve put on the back of each one of these sheets of features advantages and benefits lists for you to help you out this next design I’ve termed the pizza rocket because of its shape when folded it can be displayed upright on shelf which means you’re going to be able to display more in the in-store shelf space that you rent or in the POS systems that you have I think if you were to stick with the pizza rocket as I’m suggesting with a nice tagline and the right packaging and that will really give you the eye-catching shelf presence that you wanted so just as an example I’ve done a quick piece of packaging to demonstrate because I know it was upside-down because this will just show you where I was thinking of going they’re young there’s a couple of safety features on this design that I think are really useful one is when folded up this blade edge is protected by its counterpart which has the dull side so when folded it will be difficult for the consumer to cut their hands on when taking it out of the drawer when opened out there’s a really nice lock positive locking feature to increase consumer confidence also I was thinking about incorporating if we choose to develop this a unlocking feature in the same way as these scissors have a twist and lock feature for ease of cleaning once folded out this presents a really large nice curved blade so you can more quickly and easily chop your way through the pizza to get back to the game as fast as possible because you can guarantee your team are going to score whilst you’re in the kitchen preparing the food I’ve been to restaurants with open kitchens and I’ve seen chefs using similar equipment to this so not only does this have the authenticity to appeal to home cooks who like to use professional equipment but I think this also has the added advantage of being able to be sold to professional establishments Pisa restaurants and takeaways this third option is a unique blade shape which is that point of difference an USP in a competitive market and I think will allow you to distance yourself your sales from only being able to compete on price it’s got a really nice large over Center handle still with a large branding area and the blade is triangular in shape so each edge is slightly curved in that Mezzaluna style this creates a continuous blade to cut through the longest our pizzas really easily in the same way as a pizza wheel is a continuous blade but unlike a pizza wheel because of its shape this means that each time you roll the blade you’re creating that downward force to cut through pizza hopefully without dragging topping this is the same with herbes you can really quickly and easily rock your way back and forth through herbes to make other food preparation really fast the blade is detachable and comes out in a cradle for ease of cleaning and safe handling and I think with this device it will be important to include some form of blade cover which will be a good safety feature but also an additional part that you need to factor into your costs so those are the three concepts now I know you have to present those to your board of directors but hopefully once we get feedback from them we can take these into CAD and produce prototypes to get in front of your consumer consumer research team always take a little time after your presentation to reflect on where you could improve and don’t take feedback personally it’s not about you it’s about the design and about getting it right for everyone involved for you this may be a two month project but for the company this may be the difference between success or having to make people redundant so of course there will be strong opinions finally in a design consultancy especially small ones one of the biggest problems can be getting continual work when you’re working on a project you’re too busy to look for new work but when the project ends if you don’t have anything lined up you have to start looking for new business whilst the company isn’t making any money whether we think so or not we all have a responsibility to be salespeople so after your presentation you’re making small talk with the client and you ask if they have anything else interesting going on they may say actually I’m really struggling with another project we’ve got a part on one of our products that keeps breaking leading to returns you could say well good luck with that or you could say hey we work with an excellent finite element analysis company who could look at the parts dresses and then we could strengthen the part or look at a redesign for you even if no work comes from it you’re helping your client which is never a bad thing but if work does come from it you’ve one extra business from asking a question and identifying an opportunity even if you work for a large company with a new business development team they might not be at your meetings seeing the opportunities you are finding new work from new clients is hard and it takes time because you have to build the relationship but helping existing clients with extra jobs is far easier and mutually beneficial this is the whole presentation from first meeting the client and taking the brief to the small talk at the end it’s not just the bit in the middle where you show the client a series of concepts hopefully you can see that the things I’ve shown you in this episode can be applied to any form of presentation you’ll encounter as a product designer including portfolio presentations improving presentations is endless so I hope this has given you a foundation to build on but there are loads of resources out there way too much to cover in this video so I’ve put loads of extras in the description including lots of good links in the next episode I’ll be covering portfolios thanks for watching and as always if you enjoyed this episode please give it a thumbs up

Danny Hutson

39 thoughts on “Presentations – Students of Product Design Episode 7

  1. I cannot wait for the next episode. I really want to know about applying for product design job portfolios. I'm currently doing and internship but have been rejected by many and I think it's my presentation skills. My university never taught us presentation skills so I am very confused.

  2. i have a pruduct presetation next week and am all stressing out, i find presetations the worst, i dont like it. this video helped a lot, just like the others did, thank you so much ! (product disign first year in the netherlands)

  3. Thank you for these video's. They are some of the best on youtube because they don't make industrial design out to be something it's not like pure illustration. It is a very hands on field even for me going to into transportation.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge! Also, I didn't realize at all that you say "umm" often, shows how forgiving the audience actually is when it comes to small mistakes or "flaws" in presentation.

  5. Thank you very much sir! I've told students in my University class about your videos and we all think they're a great help- very nicely done and good to re- watch when we're stressing over projects! cheers

  6. Hi PT,
    I've learnt a lot from your videos. Thank you for being regular and making the videos.
    Where did you study and what course did you pursue? Please give me details. I've been looking for a short term design course (especially in furniture design) and am struggling. Any kind of help would be great!

  7. This all is sooo true! And I am trying to figure this out in my channel. I have a lot to learn, but i am still a student **) Thumbs up!

  8. Great video! though it was slightly long.
    I have a suggestion, can you make an episode on documentation?
    Because i really struggle with documenting the whole design process and i hope others also struggle with the same problem.
    Thank you!

  9. Thank you so much for all the tips, this will make my design presentations strong. because my talking is my weak spot in the presentation!

  10. I'm about to start college and your videos make me very excited to start in this field and gain more knowledge. Your video quality is amazing and they really help. Keep it up!

  11. I don't think your wife is going to buy that sharp knife for your kids, I'm sorry, you failed your presentation. 🙁

  12. Love your videos! Would you mind to tell me what a brief is? I'm a spanish speaker, so I don't know what brief means in the world of design. Thanks!

  13. Thank you very much for your advice's!
    I really like the fact you explain everything in detail the mistakes and the advantages of the presentation!
    Keep going you are doing great job!

  14. Hey PT, i hugely enjoy your content and as a product design student, it would really help if you could make a video on how to edit product design drawings on Affinity Photo. Thanks

  15. Love this, about to graduate with a degree in product design, this video is going to help me so much ! Thank you ! My school has not really helped us much with presentation skills so this is awesome!

  16. You have a bit too much head room in your videos. Your eyes should be around the top line of the rule of thirds. See this image: https://goo.gl/images/xxpCbQ

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