Why is is so difficult to find a 3D Designer? Variations on this question are raised at least once a week on the WTFFF?! Ask Us Anything podcast. Many entrepreneurs, inventors and fledgling Kickstarters are looking for someone to take their working model, napkin sketch idea or crowdfunding product to the next level. On the flip side, we hear from many 3D Designers that they believe there aren’t enough projects or clients right now, especially in 3D Printing. So, if you are looking for a 3D Print Designer, maybe you are searching in all the wrong places with all the wrong key phrases because buried in the right directories are designers waiting for your project.*
Find a 3D Designer by using the Right Phrases
The terminology you use to search and find a 3D Designer or 3D Print Designer might be hurting your results. You might want to try some of these alternatives. Be sure to qualify any or all of the following phrases by adding in “Print” after 3D as well.
- 3D Modeler – If you already have the aesthetics of your design completely determined or it is unnecessary for your project, then you may not need to find a 3D designer. Look for 3D Modeling or 3D CAD Modelers – some are freelancers, but many are service companies that can construct the 3D Model and also help you through the prototype or 3D Printing process.
- 3D Artist – If your 3D Model needs to be more sculptural or artistic, then you might need to look for someone who considers themselves a 3D Artist. Many of those that make character models, sculptures and jewelry use 3D Artist instead of Designer.
- Product Designer – Product design is an extremely broad term, so not only might you want to consider adding 3D Print in there, but you might also want to drill down into your particular project category. To find us, you could use 3D Print Product Designer, but you could also find us by using Product Designer for consumer goods or furniture, whatever matches your particular category. If you need a designer with electronics experience, make sure to use that in your search criteria because that is an important skill and specialty.
- Industrial Designer – This term is less well known but maybe a more comprehensive description for the type of designer you might need on your project. Industrial Designers work on aesthetics and form in conjunction with function, price/costs constraints to make a product that considers the needs of the user, the manufacturer and sales channel. This is the kind of design we practice regardless of whether it is for 3D Printing or not.
Looking for Help in All the Right Places
Looking to find a 3D Designer might be as simple as asking around, finding a design that speaks to you or going to where the designers congregate.
- Search in Your Category – Word of mouth within the market category is how almost all of our product and furniture design clients find us. they want to know who is designing the best selling items. They see successful retail products like our Costco Metrex Mesh Chair and ask around. They ask the retail buyer, sales rep, manufacturer, distributor or importer. They might run a Google or Google Image Search for that product by name leading them to articles, blogs or our portfolio. Assuming that all products in your category are in-house designed or factory developed in Asia is a mistake and you might miss out on a freelancer that can not only help design your product, but bring the retail buyer confidence that you have a design that will sell.
- Find Designs You Like – If you like the designs, chances are you will like the designer as well. We have find 3D Print Designers all the time on Instagram or Pinterest before we profile them or feature their designs in a blog. Seeing their work and design style is the best sense of whether or not the designer is a good match for your project.
- Look in a Gallery or Directory – To find a 3D Print Designer, go to their marketplaces. Pinshape, Shapeways, Cults3D and others allow designers to set-up shops to sell their 3D Designs. It is the perfect place to find a 3D Designer in your category, with a design style you like and proven skills in both CAD Modeling and 3D Printing, especially if their designs show you both the model and the 3D printed output.
While it may seem like the market is soft for 3D Print Designers right now, it is just a little early in the 3D Print revolution. Designers will be more and more in demand, so as a 3D Print Designer, now is the time to enter the market and build your skill, reviews, recommendations and followers that will lead to a client base. If you are an entrepreneur or inventor and considering 3D Printing, there are many qualified resources in your budget who might even be able to help you understand more about the opportunities of 3D Printing as an integral part of your product business strategy. Looking in the right places with the right phrases will help you find a 3D Designer to perfect for your project or business.
*After we wrote this blog, we had the opportunity to talk to Bobby Lin of MyLocal3DPrinting.com and hear how his background in as a 3D Designer has informed an amazing new site that is a 3D Print matchmaker for designers and clients. Be sure to subscribe now to the WTFFF?! Podcast so you don’t miss this episode.