194: Sketch Design Process for New Physical Consumer Products

194: The Importance of Sketch Design for New Hardware Products

September 21, 2023

With Magnus Sköld, Senior Industrial Designer at MAKO Design + Invent

Hosted by Kevin Mako, President of MAKO Design + Invent

194: The Importance of Sketch Design for New Hardware Products

Magnus Sköld, a seasoned industrial designer with two decades of experience under his belt, has traversed a remarkable journey in the world of design. His career commenced by crafting opulent interiors for private jets exclusively reserved for international royalty. From there, he transitioned to collaborating with major commercial airlines before further honing his skills with renowned brands, including Dell and several others. For the past few years, Magnus has held the distinguished role of senior industrial designer at Mako Design. Today, we are fortunate to have Magnus join us to delve into the art of product sketching, elucidate its profound significance, and explore the diverse realms of ideation sketching crucial for shaping innovative hardware inventions.

Here are the key takeaways from this episode:

  • The importance of sketch design for new hardware products
  • Types of sketches: 1) Written hand sketches, 2) Digital sketches, 3) CAD sketches
  • Product Evolution: Progression through different product elements, emphasizing significant changes at the outset and refining with smaller changes as the process advances
  • Design Approach: Pyramid funnelled approach for efficiency and cost-effectiveness and consideration of the minimum viable product for inventions

Episode Highlights

  • 2:20 – By actually creating a drawing for the client, you are able to better understand or iterate what the client wants.
  • 4:00 – The importance of doing a rough drawing while in conversation with the client and maximizing quality work in the early phases
  • 4:25 – Through the initial sketching process, a clear direction can usually be discovered very quickly
  • 4:35 – Sketching is the first time that “pen hits paper” in the whole ideation & invention process.
  • 5:38 – New technologies & being able to draw your sketches on-screen or on a tablet
  • 6:12 – The technological advancements in drawing software have made it possible for sketching to be employed in many more phases of the design process.
  • 6:38 – As the designer, sketching allows us to spend time thinking about the form & logistics of the product & design
  • 6:42 – The three key areas: 1) Typical pen & paper sketch, 2) The tablet-based digital, and 3) The CAD model sketching
  • 8:32 – Building sketches allows the client to be able to pick-and-choose things that they like from each concept design
  • 8:45 – Communication is important; this process must be collaborative
  • 9:35 – Sketching allows for more flexibility so that by the time you arrive at the 3D CAD phase, any small changes that need to be made are actually small changes
  • 11:35 – The design process is a funnel – starting with a broad idea that increasingly grows in efficiency and complexity
  • 13:20 – Sketching is a theoretical foundation for the product design process
  • 13:42 – CAD modeling should be more about executing the idea since all of the questions should have been answered in the early stages, and frontloaded in the sketch design
  • 15:50 – Nothing is ever set in stone until you see it on the shelf
  • 16:38 – Keep it simple!
  • 17:15 – Always be considering the clients needs 
  • 19:40 – The importance of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and trusting your design team
  • 19:55 – Trust your design team!

Magnus Sköld Links:


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Partner: PTC’s best-in-class software solutions Onshape: The only cloud-native product development platform that delivers full-featured computer-aided design (CAD), integrated product data management (PDM) and enterprise analytics in a single system, and Creo: 3D CAD solution that provides designers with the most innovative tools to build better products faster, such as generative design, additive manufacturing, real-time simulation, IIoT, and augmented reality.

Producer: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories.