Tips for Hiring the Best Freelance Industrial Designer for Your New Invention Idea


More so than some other kinds of design work, a good industrial designer needs to have a solid grasp of a wide range of skills. From initial sketching to 3D modeling to materials selection and prototyping and finally, to manufacturing, an industrial designer must understand the product development process basically from beginning to end. That makes industrial designers extremely valuable to product innovators and inventors. It also means you’re going to want to do what you can to hire the best designer you can get within your project’s budget. In this piece, we’ll take a look at some of the ways entrepreneurs and independent product developers can hire the best industrial designer for their project.

best-freelance-industrial-design1. Hire a Freelancer Through Cad Crowd

We can just be upfront with this: we think the best way for you to hire an industrial designer is through Cad Crowd. Don’t act surprised! The reason we created Cad Crowd was precisely because we thought there needed to be a better way for entrepreneurs and inventors to connect with talented freelance designers. While there are other online outsourcing platforms, we wanted to create something that was specifically geared towards CAD design and product development services for independent innovators.

Rather than using a bidding system or creating a marketplace for services, we put clients in touch directly with pre-qualified and vetted designers from the top ranks of the freelancer community. Instead of curating a collection of marketable designs, we’ve curated a collection of marketable designers.

As with everything we offer, our industrial design services are custom-tailored to the specific needs of your project. You let us know about your design goals and exactly the kind of expertise you need, and we’ll pair you with an industry-leading designer who will work with you on any and all aspects of the product development process. You can start by getting a free quote.

2. Universities

Universities can be a useful way to find industrial design talent that works for your budget. Design students are often excited to put their burgeoning skills to use and to build their experience and portfolio and are generally willing to work for less than established designers. You can get in contact with students through your local university by contacting the industrial design student group, posting ads on campus, or potentially by contacting professors.

The obvious downside to hiring university students is that, while they may be excellent, they might also not be. When you’re intentionally hiring someone inexperienced, you’re taking a shot in the dark. The biggest risk here is that, when it comes to industrial design, mistakes can be extremely costly. One of the primary goals of industrial design is to design a product that can be affordably produced. Inexperienced design work can result in much higher manufacturing costs at the end of the day, which can easily outpace the money saved by hiring a newbie. You can see manufacturing costs go up by 75% due to inexperience, which is bad news.

3. Online Portfolios

Another way to hire designers online is by reaching out to people whose portfolios have impressed you and soliciting their services directly. Websites like Coroflot and Behance are two popular online communities for designers to share their work and see the work of others. There are talented designers working in all manner of fields posting incredible work. If you see something you like, you can send that designer a message to see if they are interested in your project.

The big advantage here is that you get a pretty good idea of their style and talents before you hire them, and you have a massive trove of designers to choose from. But therein lies the difficulty, as well. Since this is essentially cold-calling, you’re likely to have to spend a fair amount of time researching designers, contacting them, and waiting for a response before you settle on a contract. A second downside is that picking designers based solely on work of theirs that you’ve liked can be a problem if you yourself don’t have a deep understanding of the design process, as you may not necessarily be the best judge.

That said, hiring online has made it a lot easier for people to connect with creative talent, and it can be a great way to initiate a working relationship with a talented designer if you’re willing to put the effort into pursuing it.

4. LinkedIn

If you use the business-oriented social networking site LinkedIn, you could make use of it as a tool for finding talented designers. The biggest advantage of using LinkedIn is that it is something you might want to be using anyways as part of your social media marketing strategy, and so it could be very simple to incorporate its use for this additional purpose.

If you’re already connected with a network of colleagues through LinkedIn, you can put the call out to see if any of your contacts have any leads to refer to you. You can also post a job on the LinkedIn classifieds. LinkedIn is a bit more reliable than the more traditional online classifieds like craigslist and and provides more opportunities for vetting candidates and getting a sense of their professionalism.

5. Traditional Design Firmshow-to-hire-an-industrial-designer

Of course, you can always go the old-fashioned way and hire a traditional design firm. When working with a reputable industrial design firm you can generally rest assured that you’ll be working with a qualified designer, and you won’t have to spend your time and energy identifying and hiring a designer.

Industrial design firms tend to charge between $150 to $500 an hour. To make the most of this cost, it is best to hire a firm that is near you. This way you can take advantage of the opportunity to actually meet and interact with the designer in person throughout the product development process.

If it is within your budget. hiring a conventional design firm can be a great option. However, the higher operating costs traditional industrial design companies face inevitably makes them considerably more costly than alternative methods which have largely been made possible through digital technology.

For independent entrepreneurs and product innovators, the higher can be a barrier. This is where Cad Crowd steps in. We offer services comparable with those of traditional design firms, but with much lower operating costs. See our How It Works page to learn more.