info [at] nonfiction.design
San Francisco, California
Design & Philosophy
What's special about Nonfiction?
We are very small, and like to keep it that way. That doesn't mean we can't take on big projects. We are exclusively made of highly experienced, intelligent, efficient and well-rounded designers. This means no intern is going to run your project, ever. This is the only way we can guarantee the highest quality of work for each of our clients, from startup to big corporation.
What is your design philosophy?
Fun and sophistication. We bring together design and engineering to ensure innovative product development and beautiful products down to the last detail.
How do you work?
We utilize a four-step process: Discover problems and identify opportunities, Design solutions (sketch, 3D modeling, prototyping), followed by a Refinement phase and finally the Delivery of files. Following this process, we offer extended services to ensure design intent is kept through the complexities of manufacturing.
Throughout the whole process, we collaborate with the client, making decisions together, and advising them on calculated risks.
How do you approach sustainability?
Plastic is inherent to mass manufacturing, and we cannot always replace it with a more sustainable material. In those cases, we strive to create beautiful products that people want to own for years. We call it sustainability through desire.
Manufacturing & Engineering
Do you practice lean product development?
Closely aligned design, engineering, and development teams can reduce time to market while mitigating risk and eliminating handoff delays between separate disciplines.
Do you make prototypes?
Yes. Prototyping is integral to our design process. We prototype early and often. 3D printing, foam models, cut-and-sew samples are created in our workshop. High-end cosmetic and functional prototypes are outsourced.
Do you work with overseas vendors?
Definitely. We work directly with manufacturing and prototyping partners on a regular basis – whether onsite factory visits or via conference calls. Strong relationships are the key to a product's success. These relationships help shepherd products through production and ensure quality, durability and attention to detail.
Do you have an expertise?
Yes and no. No matter the project, it’s our duty to rapidly learn all the constraints and strategically push them beyond the industry standard. In a sense, we quickly become experts on any project we undertake. Aside from that, we have a lot of experience in audio, consumer electronics, medical devices, luxury, soft goods and packaging.
Do you collaborate with your clients?
Always, unless they ask us not to. We engage with our clients to gain firsthand product insights. We frequently sketch, workshop and whiteboard together. The insights we gain help us understand the product limits and how we can exceed expectations.
What kind of client projects do you prefer?
We don't subscribe to a single product category. Rather, we prefer clients that are willing to challenge conventional thinking and have fun while doing it. We engage, collaborate and go wide, then systematically narrow to a focused, cohesive solution.
Do you work for equity share?
Unless you have an excellent track record of building hardware companies and selling them for millions, the answer is no.
Do you bill by project or time and materials?
It depends. Project-based contracts are recommended for the best quality of work because it retains our focused attention on your project. We highly recommend this arrangement for the initial design phase that gets you to the prototyping phase. For anything beyond that, time and materials is most likely more manageable.