Tag Archives: design and engineering

30 Nov

Ben Fredricks celebrates 8 years with Fredricks Design, Inc.!

We are delighted to announce Ben Fredricks’ 8th anniversary with our family company!

Our journey began in 2009 when Ben returned to Michigan from Colorado. It was a calculated risk for all of us. We’ve enjoyed almost every project and learned a lot along the way.

We celebrate our past work together as we look forward to future projects with some of the world’s most demanding companies…

Thanks for everything, Ben! Let’s make it another big day…

Maury Fredricks

CEO

Fredricks Design, Inc.

Fredricks Design, Inc. is a full-service design and engineering firm based in Grand Haven, Michigan. The firm specializes in working as an extension of the client studio and engineering team to identify the right problems and accelerate development of solutions from early ideation, feasibility, concept development and production of mock-ups, prototypes and show properties. Fredricks works with key Clients in the automotive interiors and seating industries, advanced rides and show action projects for themed attractions, furniture, and consumer products markets.

fredricks.com

design.fredricks.com

 

19 Oct

We have a food problem in America.

Two different viewpoints…

Recently, I’ve attempted to wean myself from daily media sources and the talking heads. It’s a hard habit to kick. My primary sources of news lean towards liberal publications and daily news programs. It does not matter which side of the political divide you’re on, the world is in rough shape and nothing is getting done in the capitals of the world. It’s a pretty depressing picture.

There was an article (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/16/dining/kimbal-musk-food.html) published in the NY Times last Monday that prompted a welcome diversion in my thinking and a refreshed viewpoint on a few key issues.

Kimbal Musk is a tech entrepreneur who made his early fortune working with his brother Elon. He has the resources to do great things and his ideas about the food ecosystem in this country are worth reflection. His heart is in the right place and I was beginning to embrace his thinking until mid-way through the article. The goal of scale for the food business runs contrary to the immediate need in many communities for healthy sources of food and clean water. The need is now and urgent. Scaling industries takes time, capital and environmental resources. “The problem is that the people who made their money in tech understand disruption and scaling and all of these terms, but they don’t know how to get their hands dirty and engage the neighbors and the farmers and the cooks who make a food community”, said Michel Nischan, the founder and chief executive officer of Wholesome Wave.

Real change happens at the community level and we all have the power to affect positive change.

Read More

29 Jun

furniture and work space insights…

workspace office furniture design

City planning for the work space.

We commissioned a research and ideation project to explore the correlation between city planning and the design of work environments. The findings from this study supported our premise that any work environment is a landscape of unique environments and spaces designed to meet different types of activities and work styles. This connection is a powerful concept that can be leveraged on space planning and furniture design. Collaborative partnerships with the customer, A+D firms and product designers from diverse backgrounds will drive new thinking and dramatic improvements in the work place.

The work space continues to evolve and the next several years will be a challenging time for many furniture brands. The overall market is flat and there are simply a lot of companies competing for market share. Ongoing uncertainty in the market will require agility and responsiveness to customer demands for new thinking and solutions.

A recent day trip to Neocon in Chicago highlighted the trends that will shape the furniture market over the next several years and beyond.

Read More

25 Apr

how to plan, develop and deliver a show property

source for image: Adient.com

Well, it’s now only 48 days until the doors open at Neocon 2017…yikes!

Many of our friends in the furniture business are drag racing to the deadline for installation of show properties and prototypes. Wash, rinse and repeat…it’s the same every year.

The furniture industry is not alone in their lean and compressed approach to new product development. Our work with automotive suppliers and consumer products companies is focused on the development of advanced projects, show properties, mock-ups, and prototypes. These are best-in-class companies with brilliant leadership, professional managers, gifted marketers, and fantastic creative and technical teams. Since the downturn, many of these companies have also accumulated significant stockpiles of cash. They have all the resources to do things well and we still find ourselves with tight timing, almost constant scope changes and team misalignment moving from early ideation to completion of show properties.

These are the top three reasons for this condition with a few suggestions for improved team performance and a better outcome to industry shows… Read More

28 Feb

fredricks new website launched…check it out.

www.fredricks.com

We have launched our new website. The site includes new case studies and content based on our recent work. Please check it out and send your comments.

Thanks!

-Maury and Team Fredricks

17 Jan

CES and Auto Show 2017 automotive insights

 

autonomous vehicles design

image source: maury fredricks @ CES 2017 BMW showroom

I’ve taken a bit of time to reflect on my experience over the past two weeks at CES and Auto Show.

The sequential timing of the shows this year was challenging. I am curious about what is going on behind the scenes with the planning teams for both shows. Will the shows be held during the first two weeks of January 2018 or will they get smart and collaborate on timing to attract more automotive attendees out to the desert? Schedules aside, it was a wonderful experience and I am energized about the future of the mobility business and the challenges ahead!

We find ourselves at unique moment in time to work on wicked problems for drivers and passengers. The trending for autonomous vehicles continues to pick up pace and it will not be long before we are able to call up a guided vehicle to make our way from point A to point B. The real work is just beginning… Read More

08 Jul

Conor Fredricks joins our family business!

Conor Fredricks, Industrial Designer

We have some great news to share…

Conor Fredricks has joined our family business. Conor graduated from Kendall College of Art and Design in May 2016 and was heavily recruited by design firms and corporations. We reminded him through the rigorous interview process that his name is on the door at Fredricks!

Conor completed his studies at the Kendall Campus in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Manchester, England in May 2016. He has been preparing for his new role with Fredricks since his formative years hanging around our studio. In addition to his wicked sketching abilities, he also has excellent rendering and Solidworks capabilities. Conor really likes building things and working through manufacturing challenges. We are really lucky that he decided to join us.

The addition of Conor to our core team in Grand Haven, Michigan brings us to four family members and two generations actively involved in the company. Ben Fredricks joined us in 2009 and will be key in Conor’s development working with our team.

Please join us in our celebration of this key milestone with Fredricks! A world of thanks to all of our Clients, advisors, suppliers and team members for making our success possible over the past 32+ years!

22 Apr

Fredricks Design Review 3: Artificial Intelligence

In our previous Fredricks Design Reviews, we’ve talked about virtual reality and augmented reality. Now, let’s get into an even fuzzier area of technology and philosophy: artificial intelligence. The term “artificial intelligence” was coined by a computer scientist named John McCarthy in 1955 to describe “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines”.1 Simply stated, artificial intelligence can be thought of as people trying to make computers that “think” like humans: receive some sensory input, make a decision, and react accordingly. We’ll call it “AI” from here on out.

I am by no means an expert in this field, but the implications of AI have led me down a rabbit hole of learning and questioning as new technology often does. Certainly, there are more questions than answers when it comes to the impacts of this rapidly growing field. I keep circling back to a fundamental issue that I’d like to discuss today. Will artificial intelligence be good or bad for humanity? Read More

14 Jan

CES 2016 insights

 

Photo by John F. Martin for Delphi.

A visit to CES is like taking a trip to Europe. You have to choose where you spend your time or you run the risk of experiential overload. There is a lot to see and too little time. A high degree of patience is required for any visit to Las Vegas. There are people everywhere and dinner reservations are at a premium. These, of course, are developed world problems and I was lucky to be able to experience the show over two busy days.

CES is set up in 2.74m square feet of space housed in three different venues from the north of the Strip to the south end. There were 3800 companies exhibiting and the show attracted approximately 175k visitors from North America, Europe, Asia and many other countries. The investment in manpower, travel, marketing, show design, exhibit fabrication, setup and tear down must be an astronomical number. It’s really amazing that anyone with business credentials, a nominal fee for entry and the desire to walk miles every day can experience everything the show has to offer. Read More

01 Dec

How to construct an effective design brief.

effective design brief

“We benchmark in/out of market, gather voice of the consumer (VOC) and intelligence to form a project brief that outlines goals and problem statements. Our clients sometimes provide the project brief”.

This quote, from the Discover Phase of our product development process, highlights the importance of a thorough and detailed design brief in early phase product development.

Our work over three decades with some of the world’s best companies has been challenging, rewarding and, admittedly sometimes a bit frustrating. Looking back at our diverse work, we have learned to ask the right questions during the development of a well-constructed design brief. We offer this brief essay to share our key lessons and help improve our work with clients and suppliers. Read More

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