Industrial designer Dave Laituri and his son, Calvin, make practical products that adhere to their design philosophy: “Solve more problems than you create, and fix more things than you break.”
Together, they founded the independent design studio Onehundred in 2012. Over the course of a dozen Kickstarter projects, they’ve created simple and elegant products that make people’s everyday lives easier: a compact leather tool roll, a bagel-shaped cable organizer, an all-purpose utility knife, an easy-to-assemble workbench, a wallet-sized tool kit.
“After designing hundreds of products for Fortune 500 companies but never meeting the people who buy the products, it’s refreshing to work directly with our supporters and customers,” Dave says.
Calvin, who’s currently a student in graphic design and illustration, has started creating his own independent designs. He debuted his first product in March — a series of calendars celebrating famous fonts — and he’s gearing up to launch a second. “A second-generation creator is born!” Dave says.
Dave and Calvin often don’t know what they’re going to make until they’ve found a production partner to help them make it. “It might sound odd, but we work backwards,” Dave says. “We start with an interesting shop, get to know their machines, skills, and experience, then build a product that makes use of those assets. It’s a product creation technique that opens up a completely different path for us.”
Product designers can benefit from these sorts of outside-the-box approaches, Dave says. He finds it helpful to think like a musician: audience participation is key. “To [your community], a project is a participatory event. It’s a chance to get involved, help shape something they will eventually own, and learn something new along the way. Share the process, tell the whole story, and show them love — and they’ll love you back.”