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Design isn’t a one size fits all affair. Everyone is different, and the process we set up for each project should reflect that. We are flexible, but, there is a basic (almost universal) process that you shouldn’t miss…

The Basic Process

(It’s a lot more cyclical than you’d think)


The Concept Cycle

If you only have a rough idea, or a problem that needs solving, we focus on asking better questions, and discovering brilliant ideas.


The Engineering Cycle

If you have an existing product, or are happy with the core concept, we home in on the detail, solving the little problems that matter most.


The Full Monty

If you stick with us from the beginning, we’ll get you to market.


Gateway Documents

You may have noticed that the design process can involve many loops and cycles. At Think Refine, it’s our job to reduce the impact of those loops on your project timeline, and here’s where our handy ‘Gateway Documents’ come in. We’ve put together a set of simple, shareable documents that help mark the milestones and ‘sign-offs’ throughout a design project.

CDS – Concept Design Specification

A design brief can be a just few bullet points in an email, and sometimes that’s all we need. If the scope of a project begins to grow, we can put a ‘stake in the ground’ with a more formal design brief (the CDS) that reflects your desires for the work ahead. Generated at the start of the project, it’s a simple statement of requirements that we can all agree on before rolling up our sleeves.

CAS – Concept Acceptance Sheet

At the end of a productive concept design session, you may end up with more great ideas than you anticipated! To aide decision making, the CAS acts as a simple check-sheet, based on the requirements set out in the Concept Design Specification. It’s easier to move forward to the next stage, knowing that you’ve chosen the best design.

PDS – Product Design Specification

Here’s where the rubber hits the road… you have a good concept, now it’s time to engineer it and prepare for manufacture. Where the concept specifications may be anecdotal and ambitious, the PDS is the place to set realistic, quantifiable goals for your new product. It helps engineers and manufacturers accurately transform designs into products that succeed on performance and cost.

DAS – Design Acceptance Sheet

Similar to the CAS, but created using the same quantifiable specifications agreed on in the PDS. The Design Acceptance Sheet gives you something to begin testing the final product or prototype against, and ultimately to sign-off the design for manufacture.