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Meet Michael Prince of Beyond Design in North Side

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael Prince.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Michael. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Beyond Design, Inc. – a strategic product development consultancy – specializes in identifying user needs combined with engineered product solutions that meet our clients’ business and manufacturing objectives. Established in 1994, Beyond Design brings more than two and a half decades of product design experience to hundreds of companies, both large and small and in a broad range of industries including consumer electronics, appliances, medical, custom tools, educational toys and more. As a progressive innovation company, our teams’ strength lies in uncovering product opportunities and providing the creative solutions that enables customers to further differentiate and successfully market their products.

While the company initially focused on Industrial Design, early in the company we incorporated Mechanical Engineering to support our ability to Design For Manufacturing (DFM). As the company continued to advance, Research & Strategy has become integral to our development process, enabling our customers to be more informed and focused with new product development opportunities and trends. Beyond Design continues to evolve and has brought User Experience (UX) and Graphic User Interface (GUI) services to our clients, enabling their products and services to be “connected to the IoT.”

Beyond Designs’ goal is to provide value added solutions to new product development that will enable our customers to maintain their competitive advantage in the market.

Has it been a smooth road?
In the early years of the business having a small team enabled us to be more competitive on pricing however it was always “bottom feeder,” working with smaller companies that had fewer projects and far lower budgets. Simply, we were too small to take on the big clients and it was becoming more challenging chasing after the smaller which are less profitable. Through persistence and creating a compelling story why Beyond Design is the better choice, we eventually started to take on larger clients with projects that required our unique combination of design and engineering services. While this shift in our business allowed us to take on bigger fish, it also started to make us less appealing to our original clients because our cost value had gone up. At first this was scary but the company’s portfolio of work and reputation continued to grow allowing us to expand our team with more specialized services that were appealing as well as required for larger corporations.

As we faced with the recession of 2008 and 2009, not only did the business come to a screeching halt, we also lost some of our top employees and it became a matter of survival. It was almost like starting over except this time we not only survived the storm, but our team became even stronger and a major product development company in Chicago.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Beyond Design – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Beyond Design grew from a single founder to a team of 16+ employees and a portfolio that covers a broad range of business markets including Housewares, Hardware, Electronics, Medical, Industrial, building materials and even education. We are known for solving the complex problems in a competitive market landscape, making sure quality and cost are properly aligned.

Our proven development process incorporates a range of different research methods each designed to identify unmet user needs and market opportunities. Through analysis strategies are developed, highlighting changing trends in human behaviors, new technologies, materials and processes. The team of industrial designers focus on human factors combined with product aesthetics and brand positioning. Our engineers are experts in materials and manufacturing processes with an emphasis on Design For Manufacturing (DFM). With new interfaces and cloud based technologies, our User Experience (UX) team creates solutions that provided intuitive user experiences. By aligning the trends with the client, our team is able to provide clear direction and solutions that will yield a successful product.

Beyond Design also has a deep rooted responsibility when it comes to education. We believe in continued learning and investing in younger generations. We have a dense network of college interns and extend this education process even further to K-8 levels. Our highly renowned dig-8 program helps middle school students learn the full product design process with help from real designers. We recognize that there are growing opportunities for individuals to develop products and become entrepreneurs. We instill this creative mentality both externally (dig-8) and internally (our services and amongst employees).

What were you like growing up?
Growing up on the east coast in New York I was an inquisitive child always taking things apart and figuring how to put them back together. Fine arts was my first introduction to design and as I continued to grow my interests became more concentrated on products that have purpose and provide a better solutions. It’s like a three dimensional puzzle that has to be designed to function and also create desire.

Outside of design thinking I have always been heavily influenced by music and saw my first concert at Madison Square Garden featuring Led Zeppelin. Thirty years after that concert, I finally picked up the guitar at age 54 and have been taking lessons ever since.

Contact Info:

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