When working as a design consultant, projects often end when the production stage is reached. It is naïve to think however that designs are ready and fixed by then. Through self-initiated projects and software projects I have experienced several production phases to learn that designers should communicate their designs well in order to end up with the product and concept as envisioned.
The production stage of the ETE Plate was insightful. Though the production of dinner plate ETE seemed simple, high fidelity prototypes were in use already, it proved to be tougher than expected.
Finding the right factory is a challenge and creating a high-quality product even more so. For the ETE Plate, after searching and visiting factories in Europe and South-East Asia, I teamed up with Chenting Zou who could source and communicate with factories in China.
We requested product samples from potential interesting factories and upon satisfaction we would work together to create an ETE sample. It has been a very interesting learning experience. Even when language was not a problem, communication about the design was often misunderstood. We had one producer scale up the image of the ETE plate to fit the actual size of their plate, completely missing the point of the ETE plate, and we have found ourselves unpacking plates that could only be read when holding the plate in front of the mirror. We therefore used many visuals to communicate about the production rather than language.
Once the right factory was found, we worked to get the optimal quality for the ETE Plate. Small design tweaks were done to ensure optimum production.
Both me and my partner have visited the factory to create a good working relation and to ensure product quality.