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Our Design Process

We get asked all the time, “What is your design process?” To sum it up simply we design from within, seeking inspiration from our own experience.


Step 1 — Defining the Challenge

What is missing? Is it a single product, a system, or an entire industry? What holds the possibility to improve relationships and connection? Through deep observation of the world we live in, inspiration sits around every corner, you just have to be willing to look.


Step 2 — Research

Once the idea is born the research phase begins. Does a product/idea like this exist? What is the history of both modern and indigenous cultures in relation to this idea? Why would people use this product/idea? What other industries rely on similar products and is there any cross-over in use? What is the social impact of the product/idea I am looking to create?

We researched the different safety gear used by emergency first responders, military, outdoor adventuring. The body mechanics of infants. The value of dads being close with their babies and the social impact over time.

Engage strange ideas. Get outside, connect with nature; watch how animals move, how trees sway, and how you interact with your environment.

Step 3 — Brainstorming

We cast a wide net when beginning our brainstorming sessions because you never know where a good idea will come from. Unrelated industries can inspire. Engage strange ideas. Get outside, connect with nature; watch how animals move, how trees sway, and how you interact with your environment. What do you notice? Put yourself in the mindset of your product and the need you are trying to solve. Move your body and allow your brain to wander. Examine your own personal life experiences—where am I stuck? Is there a theme arising? Does this shed light onto what roadblocks I am experiencing with this project?

After the initial brainstorming session, it is time to get more detailed in the issues you identified when defining your challenge. Pick out the ideas you think are worth running with and run with them. Don’t hold back, move forward with your ideas; many ideas never come to fruition because of second guessing and waiting for the idea to be “perfect”. There will be plenty of opportunities to fix and refine your idea. Moving forward creates energy for your idea to actualize.


Step 4 — Design

We get to work translating our ideas into drawings and physical samples. We use any means available whether computer, pen and ink, hand sewing, you name it. Don’t limit yourself to one modality; different forms offer different perspectives. The goal in this phase is to share the idea visually so that someone who wasn’t involved in the process can understand what we are creating. If we accomplish that, we know we can move forward.


Step 5 — Prototyping

Prototyping is one of our favorite stages of the design process because what began as a thought begins to truly take physical shape. We prototype quickly to work through design challenges. We use fabric and sewing machines and go to work. Sampling, testing and refining until we have created something that starts to function. We build and chop and rebuild and chop again. Scissors and markers are our friend. Through the risk of deconstruction you can find more solutions. There is nothing more difficult than scrapping your first prototype, but once you have you create space for a better solution to come in.
Whether you go hiking, fishing, or travel, you’ll carry with confidence in Mission Critical’s baby carrier.
Step 6 — First Sample

The first sample takes all the testing we did in the prototyping phase and refines it into a quality made sample to test in the real world. We typically use available fabrics and get it as close to accurate to our drawings and prototyping solutions as possible.


Step 7 — Test and Redesign

Time to spread the word to friends and family that you need testers. Find people who will give you honest, hard-truth feedback, not people who want you to feel good about your idea or about all the hard work you’ve already done. (Although it can be nice to have a few of those in there. We all need encouragement). Discover what works and what doesn’t and refine, refine, refine. The final changes are always the most challenging because small tweaks can have big effects to the final product and are the hardest to pinpoint.


Step 8 — Formal Testing and Production

After we gather all the information and changes from real world testing we make a final production-ready version that is tested to the appropriate safety standards. We make sure all of our products exceed the required standards for safety, for both the assurance of the end user and our own assurance that we have created something safe. After passing testing we go into production to bring our customers the highest quality gear.
Essential Gear
for Extraordinary Dads™