Employee Spotlight – Chris, Mechanical Engineer

In our first employee spotlight, we asked Chris, a mechanical engineer at Pillar, about his experience working at Pillar and how he likes to spend his time outside of the office. Continue on to hear what he had to say.   Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Chris:  I am a long-term resident of the Pacific Northwest, growing up in Oregon before moving to Seattle to attend college. I have undergraduate and graduate degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Washington.   Q: Why did you decide to become a Mechanical Engineer? Chris: I’ve always been interested in building things since I was

Innovative Products at the Seattle Boat Show

This weekend Bob visited Anchor Drink System’s booth at the 2022 Seattle Boat Show. Held at the Lumen Field Event Center, this year’s 75th Anniversary Boat Show featured countless new boats, many other innovative products in the marine industry, and had a great display of vintage boats and water skis. It was great to see Anchor’s line of products doing so well and we look forward to seeing what opportunities come from such a great networking event!  

New Innovative Product – Mackie M.Caster Live

Last week in a live, virtual event held in conjunction with the NAMM tradeshow (National Association of Music Merchants), Mackie announced the launch of the M.Caster Live, a portable audio mixer for streaming and content creation. Alongside the M.Caster Live, they also announced their new innovative product line that features portable lighting and other creator accessories to make creating on the go breeze. Mackie came to Pillar with the idea of creating a portable solution to help bloggers and other content creators improve their audio quality and control. Branching away from their typical client in the pro-audio space, the new device

Inventor fills out product development design brief

How to Write a Product Development Design Brief

A design brief is a document that outlines the functionality and details of a proposed product. It helps to focus in on the goals and objectives of a project and can be used to communicate those key elements to outside product development teams. We’ve included the questions we prefer for our clients to answer and include below.   Core Functionality and Requirements The design brief should outline the general functionality of your product. You’ll want to explain your vision for how the product will work and what the core features and functions are. Depending on where you are at in the development process,

Inventor brings salt and pepper product to market

Bringing a Product to Market – Pepper King

We interviewed Mike, a local business owner in the Seattle area, about his new product endeavor and his experience bringing a product to market. Mike is the owner of Grain of Salt LLC and the brains behind the Pepper King, the last salt and pepper grinder you’ll ever need to buy.   Pillar: Tell us a little bit about your product. A: Pepper King is the world’s greatest electric salt & pepper grinder. It is powerful, robust, simple, and reliable.   Pillar: How did you come up with your product idea? A: I love electric grinders, yet they all suck. I’ve purchased several and they break

Forterra uses innovative sustainable material cross laminated timber to construct wood innovation center in Darington, Washington

Sustainable Material Technology – Forterra and CLT

This week we want to spotlight Forterra, a local non-profit that uses innovative, sustainable material technologies and creates jobs in the Seattle area. Susan, Bob’s wife, has been a part of Forterra’s Wood Innovation Group for a few years now. In her role, she has worked on grant application and assisted in the funding of the Wood Innovation Center that is being constructed in Darrington, Washington. She has work closely with a spectrum of local groups and community members in the Pacific Northwest to bring this amazing program to reality. Forterra is working in conjunction with local Washington communities to build

Industrial designer holds production sample of the Homax Tex Pro texture system

Innovative Product Engineering – Homax Tex Pro

We are very excited to announce the launch of the Homax Tex Pro Texture System, an innovative wall texture sprayer that utilizes pre-mixed mud cartridges and an air compressor to tackle interior wall texture jobs. This new system is up to 70% faster and 60% lighter than traditional hopper guns and drastically simplifies set up and clean up for the user. This has been a long, complex product engineering challenge that has been tough and exciting and we can’t wait to see how people react to this innovative product idea. We started working with Homax to develop the Tex Pro texture

Bob Carrasca owner Pillar Design

Owning a Product Design Firm – Bob Carrasca

We interviewed Bob Carrasca, the owner and founder of Pillar, about his motivations in starting his own product design firm and his life outside of the office. Read below to hear what he had to say.   Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Bob: I enjoy snowboarding, hiking and being up in the mountains and being deep in the PNW forests designing, building, maintaining and riding mountain bike trails. In the winter, I can also be found riding powder at the local resorts in our state or sometimes in the back country, exploring deep in the Cascades. I love the synergy that

Woman assembles electronic product during production in overseas factory

5 Factors that Influence Your Production Costs

Cost can be the make or break factor for any product development project, especially once you make it to production. When determining costs, there are two prices to consider. The retail price is the amount that your product will cost for the customer. The material cost of goods (MCOG) is the amount that your product will cost to make. While there are a variety of factors that will determine both costs, we’ll break down five of the most common ones to keep in mind.   Target User – Your retail cost of goods should always be influenced by your target user as

Sustainability information molded into a new product

Three Common Misconceptions about Sustainability

As the world pushes to be more environmentally friendly, our clients often ask about sustainability, recyclability, and recycled materials during the product development process. Here are three common misconceptions about recycling and a couple ways you can reduce the environmental impact of your product and its packaging.   Plastic Can Be Recycled as Many Times as Possible Plastic can only be recycled about 2-3 times before it starts to degrade and lose its properties. While some recycling is better than none, materials like glass and aluminum can be infinitely recycled and can offer a better End-of-Life for your product.   Everyone Can Recycle The Same

Mackie CR-X Series studio monitors feature industrial design with metal faceplate

Collaborative Industrial Design – Mackie CR-X Series

The CR-X Series studio monitors are one of many products that Pillar has collaboratively designed with Mackie. Hear from Craig, a Mackie Product Manager, as he talks about the collaborative industrial design and product development process.   Pillar: Tell us a little bit about you and your product. Craig: I’ve been at Mackie as a Product Manager for nearly 3 years, though have been in Product Management for 13 years total.  The project we’re discussing is the CR-X series of studio monitors. CR-X monitors target content creators primarily, producers and audio engineers, but the line also appeals to folks like gamers and/or people working or

Industrial designer sketches new product idea

Five Things to Consider if You Have a Product Idea

You wake up in the middle of the night with an ingenious new product idea, but how will you determine if it is feasible or worth developing? To help, we’ve broken down five of the main factors to consider if you are thinking about pursuing your idea.    Innovation – Your product needs to be innovative to stand out and will most likely be more successful if it solves a problem for its users. A thorough Google search should be able to tell you if your product idea already exists or if the market you are trying to enter is heavily saturated

Inventor reaches for bottle secured using Anchor Drink System's Magnetic Coaster

Bringing a Product to Market – Anchor

For our next client spotlight, Pillar Design spoke with Andrew, the inventor of Anchor Drink Systems, about his experience bringing a product to market. Located on Bainbridge Island off of Seattle, Andrew is a dentist by trade who decided to take the plunge into product development. Check out the Anchor website to preorder your magnetic drink system or browse our Anchor blog post to learn more!   Pillar: Tell us a little bit about you and your product. Andrew: I’m a regular guy that had an idea. Pillar helped me design and build a magnetic coaster which can hold a custom koozie or

Ignik FireCan safely burns propane during a burn ban

The FireCan – Ignik’s New Product Design

This month at Outdoor Retailer, Ignik previewed the FireCan, a portable, propane powered fire pit that allows people to safely enjoy the warmth of a fire during a burn ban. With forest fires on the rise, Seattle based Ignik is striving to provide alternative options for outdoor enthusiasts that are safer for the environment and also more sustainable. Their new product design is a step in the right direction, adding to their line of refillable propane tanks that are already making strides in reducing waste. Propane powered pits are considered safer due to their controllability, elevated constructions that lift the

Glass Expanse Doors Designed by Pillar Design in collaboration with a design consultancy

Working with a Design Consultancy – Glass Expanse

For our next client spotlight, we met with Adam, the founder of Glass Expanse, to talk about his source of inspiration, experience working with a design consultancy, and biggest product development challenge as he brought his sliding door and window system to market. Pillar: Tell us a little bit about you and your product. Adam: We manufacture slide and stack patio doors for the residential and commercial construction industry. Our product is designed to focus on usability and aesthetics first, providing an easy way to completely open spaces. Pillar: How did you come up with your product idea? Adam: I lived in Australia for