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  • The Jury is Out: 2017 Cooper Hewitt National Design Awards

    May 5, 2017


    We have been anxiously awaiting this exciting announcement just released by the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Because SF is the second longest standing independent industrial design firm in the United States, we are deeply indebted to the Cooper Hewitt for their 120+ years of commitment to historical design preservation, contemporary design advocacy and awareness building. It is with great pride that SF VP of Strategic Growth, Jeevak Badve, was invited to serve on this prestigious committee to select this year’s Cooper Hewitt National Design Award winners. SF would like to congratulate all of the applicants on their gifts and contributions to the design field; it was an excruciating process and one the judges emerged from having gleaned great insights into what is next in the vast array of design categories.
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    The 2017 jury was composed of a diverse group of designers and educators from around the nation: (not in order)
    • Jeevak Badve, Vice President, Sundberg-Ferar • Rafael de Cárdenas, Founder, Rafael de Cárdenas / Architecture at Large • Ray Huff, Director, Clemson Architecture Center • Randy J. Hunt, Vice President of Design, Etsy • Mia Lehrer, Landscape Urbanist, Mia Lehrer + Associates • Lisa Perry, Designer, Lisa Perry Style • Sandy Speicher, Partner and Managing Director of Education, IDEO • Lisa Strausfeld, Principal, InformationArt • Robert Wong, Vice President, Creative Lab, Google, Inc.
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    Sundberg-Ferar at a Glance Sundberg-Ferar, located in Metro- Detroit, is a product innovation studio specializing in product design, innovation and design research, engineering, and prototyping. For decades we have spearheaded the cross-category design trend by specializing in multiple categories, namely consumer products, medical equipment, and vehicles of all types. Sundberg-Ferar’s innovation process cross-references multiple user experiences with competitors’ vulnerabilities to reveal uncontested market spaces for our clients. We exist to help our customers uniquely differentiated their products and experiences which increases their profit margins, market share, and ultimately advances strong brands. This creative diversity is our defining strength – a gift that allows us, with each unique project, to improve people’s quality of life and daily experience through impactful “concept–to-completion” product design and development. Contact us at hello@sundbergferar.com
  • Spring BBQ & (Baby) Showers

    May 4, 2017

    Each spring we dust off the grill and open the SF doors to the pine forest out back to mark the official start of summer. This year the skies provided a steady but gentle shower and on that theme, we added a best wishes surprise baby shower to our fantastic Office Manager, Holly Barr who is expecting this summer. Needless to say, Holly, who plans all of our special events, was taken a bit off guard when we co-opted her party!
    There were poems, and unexpected recognition and rewards from the leadership team for the past two months of intensive late nights and staving off foosball and lunch hour jogs in order to get a record amount of great design work back to our clients. Not to mention two extended, successful research trips to China.
    President and Grill Meister, Curt Bailey, braved the rain with a smile and handed off his Bailey branding iron to (vegetarian) designer, Ian Cobb, who torched the metal rod and branded burgers inside, practically on the Business Development desk! It was a Thursday that felt like a Friday and a great launch into our spring design season.




    Sundberg-Ferar at a Glance Sundberg-Ferar, located in Metro- Detroit, is a product innovation studio specializing in product design, innovation and design research, engineering, and prototyping. For decades we have spearheaded the cross-category design trend by specializing in multiple categories, namely consumer products, medical equipment, and vehicles of all types. Sundberg-Ferar’s innovation process cross-references multiple user experiences with competitors’ vulnerabilities to reveal uncontested market spaces for our clients. We exist to help our customers uniquely differentiated their products and experiences which increases their profit margins, market share, and ultimately advances strong brands. This creative diversity is our defining strength – a gift that allows us, with each unique project, to improve people’s quality of life and daily experience through impactful “concept–to-completion” product design and development. Contact us at hello@sundbergferar.com
  • Jeevak Badve Presents at IDSA Midwest: Radical Concepts

    April 29, 2017

    SF would like to congratulate Marianne Grisdale, IDSA, Midwest District Vice President and IDSA member of the Board of Directors on an inspiring conference at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD). The crowd of 400 plus was engaged in high level design conversation with many esteemed guests for two days leaving the SF team with new friends and a lot of energy. Jeevak Badve, VP of Strategic Growth, spoke to the audience on the conference topic, Radical Concepts, and examined it through a complex design lens. With a daily design practice it is easy to fall into a rut and SF’s guiding philosophy is, No More Porridge – or no more lukewarm design solutions. Every day we are tasked with the challenge of helping our customers identify and claim the freshest, uniquely differentiated territory in their category, and with making sure we help them stay at the leading edge each time they innovate on a product, service or process. Badve helped to emphasize this central principle for the audience and illustrated the complexity of overlapping disciplines that continually nudge industrial design, strategic innovation and the business of design forward. More info on the IDSA conference here http://bit.ly/2ql9ECv
    Sundberg-Ferar at a Glance Sundberg-Ferar, located in Metro- Detroit, is a product innovation studio specializing in product design, innovation and design research, engineering, and prototyping. For decades we have spearheaded the cross-category design trend by specializing in multiple categories, namely consumer products, medical equipment, and vehicles of all types. Sundberg-Ferar’s innovation process cross-references multiple user experiences with competitors’ vulnerabilities to reveal uncontested market spaces for our clients. We exist to help our customers uniquely differentiated their products and experiences which increases their profit margins, market share, and ultimately advances strong brands. This creative diversity is our defining strength – a gift that allows us, with each unique project, to improve people’s quality of life and daily experience through impactful “concept–to-completion” product design and development. Contact us at hello@sundbergferar.com
  • SF Engineer Takes Volunteering to the Next Level with FIRST Robotics Students

    April 28, 2017

    The FIRST Robotics Competition is a high adrenaline, time-limited technology challenge launched globally to high school students and their volunteer mentors in January each year. Students and mentors have 6 weeks to design, build (and rebuild, and rebuild) their robot to complete a series of mechanical obstacles for the opportunity to compete on the world stage against the top global teams. This year’s challenge, FIRST STEAMWorks, had a steampunk theme and required these student-built robots to fulfill three activities: shoot a ball at a high and low target, climb a rope, and deliver gears that would then be placed into interlocking formation. The most exciting aspect as a spectator is to see the incredible variations and uncanny similarities that teams come up with to fulfill these challenging tasks with accuracy and speed though they may be continents apart. This FIRST organization founded by Dean Kamen 20 years ago has proven to be one of the most powerful cognitive and self-discovery youth programs in the world. Students, ages 6-18, are introduced to technology in 4 age brackets. Mechanical and electrical engineering and mechatronics is the culmination of the high school learning but marketing, fundraising and communications are a vital roles held by each team. Twelve years after becoming a FIRST Robotics Competition mentor, Lisa Savage, now a mechanical and robotics engineer at Sundberg-Ferar (SF) product innovation studio in Walled Lake, MI, has mentored upwards of 250 students and coordinated FIRST Robotics Competition events large and small for the past 7 years. As an industrial design firm, SF also stands to benefit from this investment in young design minds. Lisa Savage attributes her career in engineering to Team 573, the Mech Warriors from Brother Rice and Marian High Schools, “My teammates put a drill in my hand and said, ‘Go make this part’ and I messed it up several times but I was hooked. That was it.” It changed her life so dramatically that she has been giving back to her home team and others since high school graduation in 2005.

    Students often sign up for FIRST as an extracurricular activity in elementary school with FIRST Lego League Jr. and FIRST Lego League, then progress to FIRST Tech Challenge in middle school, and then graduate to the king of youth robotics—FIRST Robotics Competition. Lisa mentors at all levels except for FIRST Lego League Jr. This year, more than 450 Michigan teams (the most of any state in the United States) competed at 23 district events and the top 160 teams after those district events descended on Saginaw to battle for points to attend the World Championship, which took place in St. Louis in April and hosted teams from 60 countries. To attend ‘Worlds’, as it is called, is like attending the robotic United Nations full of kids who can’t drive a car, but could likely build a small rocket. It is a mindboggling scene to watch unfold – high-tech, colorful, and joyous. Lisa shared her deepest satisfaction in the program. “What I enjoy about being a FIRST mentor is watching the kids learn from their mentors and then applying this knowledge directly to their projects.” Her eyes light up when she speaks of this transformation, but also the long-term nature of these relationships between student and mentor as well as between the students themselves. Often, students will join as freshmen and stay through their senior year, and they will see exponential social and technical learning. This work is more than a hobby to Lisa and her husband (who is a mechanical engineer and also mentors), it is a life-long quest to open doors for young people.

    The core skills are based in science, technology, engineering and math, but the FIRST mentors specialize in teaching broader approaches to problem solving, prioritization, time management, the value of iterations and failure, communication of complex ideas, collaboration as part of a team, leadership skills, resource management, and how to create and execute business and marketing plans – all essential skills in successful businesses of all kinds. Looking back on the past decade, Savage is impressed by the investment made by the State of Michigan and Governor Rick Snyder, whose financial investment in teams has catapulted Michigan to the state with the most robotics teams, the second state being California. Corporate sponsorship has also increased significantly as companies feel the growing talent-pinch and are starting to see themselves as part of the solution. Because of volunteers like Lisa Savage, talented, passionate graduates are entering the job market each year and the future for STEAM fields is looking bright.


  • SF Senior Designer Leads Class Collaboration: College for Creative Studies and Xenith Join Forces

    April 25, 2017

    In January of 2017 SF Senior Designer, Matt McPhail marked his alumnus return to the College for Creative Studies (CCS) in Detroit as adjunct faculty in the Product Design (PD) department. PD Department Chair, Vincenzo Lavicoli invited McPhail to lead a class sponsored by Xenith, an innovative Detroit-based football helmet and equipment manufacturer focused on reducing football related head injury through cutting edge helmet research and design. Xenith COO, David Selby, President, Ryan Sullivan, and Director of Product Design, Kyle Lamson decided to invest in a CCS class sponsorship as many product design companies do to help develop next generation talent for the design industry at large and also to maintain a vigorous design conversation within their own company. The design brief challenged the students to research and design football safety equipment from head to toe. Though most fixed their sites on helmets, there were also proposals for women’s football gear, shoulder pads, and knee and midsection safety design solutions. Selby reflected on the collaboration, "The sponsored studio activity was a phenomenal experience for the Xenith team throughout the project. The opportunity to work with the top caliber students from an institution such as the College for Creative Studies opens all of our minds to the possibilities of what the future can hold. The interaction and participation between the CCS students, Cass Technical High School students, world-class athletes from the Detroit Lions along with our team from Xenith highlights the strength of community we have here in Detroit and the results of these projects showcase the innovation that comes from that community."

    The class of 14 Product Design students, some with minors in accessory design, made practiced professional presentations to the crowd of 85 plus peers, sponsors, family members, and CCS administration. Special guest, Tahir Ali Whitehead, American football linebacker for the Detroit Lions was in the audience paying close attention to each design. Designers and marketing professionals were also present to offer feedback between sessions. CCS President Richard Rogers watched the presentations and was presented a CCS customized Xenith football helmet, appreciated by President Rogers who did not himself play football, but who has been a committed life-long athlete.





    As a newcomer to the conversation it was evident that the Xenith team had made deep personal commitments to frequent class visits and incremental milestone critiques. Rather than a final report, the energy in the room was that of an adventure that had been accomplished with both teams pulling for the other. The SF crew was in-house to cheer on Matt and celebrate the students’ ideas and masterful prototypes through our own design eye. With direction from Krista Gilley, Associate Brand Manager and Kerrie Zagata, Executive Assistant, Xenith, a member of the Quicken Loans family of companies, put on a generous dinner spread during the event hosted on the top floor of the Madison Building - which doesn’t get much hipper in the Motor City. The crowd was still fulsome at the end of the four-hour presentation/critique – a testament to the strength of the projects. It was an inspiration and has the SF studio completely energized, and looking forward to seeing what the next CCS/Xenith collaboration produces.





  • SF Selected to Join 2017 Clio Award Product Design Jury

    April 28, 2017

    SF is proud to have been selected to serve on the 2017 jury for the Clio Awards Product Design category. Founded in 1959, the Clio Awards celebrate high achievement for creative sector businesses. These esteemed annual international awards recognize the work, the agencies and the talent that push boundaries and move the creative bar higher. Joining the jury from Sundberg-Ferar is Jeevak Badve, Vice President of Strategic Growth. Jeevak brings energy, passion & curiosity to his role at Sundberg-Ferar, a full service Industrial Design (ID) Studio supporting the product and vehicle industries, since 1934. Special thanks to Product Design Jury Chair, Roshi Givechi, Partner and Executive Design Director at IDEO, for her contribution and leadership.

    Jeevak is proud to be an industrial designer and also earned his EMBA, to comprehend and correctly position the discipline of design in the entire arc of business design, to prudently leverage the impact of design – products, services, experiences and systems. He relentlessly rallies for the alignment and optimal inclusion of end user’s un-met needs, unspoken wants and un-articulated desires to the crafting of the value proposition to generate significant sustainable business growth. He is actively involved as a volunteer in raising the awareness and importance of ID in the everyday world and lectures in design & business schools. He has served on the board of IDSA.org for two terms and been a conference chair for numerous design conferences. He enjoys taking his two notoriously curious kids on bird watching safari and camping, loves origami and owns more shoes than his wife.
    Clio Award Categories Product Design Print, Print Technique & Out of Home Film Direct & Events/Experiential Digital/Mobile, Digital/Mobile Technique & Social Media Branded Entertainment & Branded Content Brand Design Brand (Brand Partnerships & Collaborations, Innovation, & Integrated Campaign)
    Sundberg-Ferar at a Glance Sundberg-Ferar (SF), located in Metro- Detroit, is a product innovation studio specializing in product design, innovation and design research, engineering, and prototyping. For decades we have spearheaded the cross-category design trend by specializing in multiple categories, namely consumer products, medical equipment, and vehicles of all types. SF’s innovation process cross-references multiple user experiences with competitors’ vulnerabilities to reveal uncontested market spaces for our clients. We exist to help our customers uniquely differentiated their products and experiences which increases their profit margins, market share, and ultimately advances strong brands. This creative diversity is our defining strength – a gift that allows us, with each unique project, to improve people’s quality of life and daily experience through impactful “concept–to-completion” product design and development.
    Contact us at hello@sundbergferar.com
  • SF Hosts Michigan State University Executive MBA Program

    April 26, 2017

    A group of 24 MBA candidates dropped by the SF studio for a conversation and tour, but this was no ordinary group. First, SF host Jeevak Badve, VP of Strategic Growth, is a proud graduate of the program and was able to offer incisive insights having been on both sides of the experience.

    null What also makes the Eli Broad School of Business group unique is they are pursuing an Executive MBA, meaning they are working full-time in significant leadership positions in various industries for companies such as Ford Motor Company, Henkel Corporation, Snap-On Business Solutions, BASF Corporation, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the US Army and Meritor to name a few. This 50-year old MSU program offers classes in three locations, flexible schedules, access to highly accomplished colleagues, and the promise of turning high potential into high performance. Badve attests to the power of this program and was pleased to learn more about what each of these participants are focused on in order to funnel their concerns into a talk about how the design process and innovation principles in the design world can be applied across sectors. There is a lot of current thought and research going into the impact of design thinking to enhance innovation, creativity, company culture, productivity and profits, regardless of category. Greg Janicki, Director of the program and long-time colleague curates company tours and establishes the larger framework for these conversations. One of the most successful aspects of the program is the exposure the cohort gets to these major companies and their leadership team as they tour the state and also trek internationally on business sojourns. This year SF joined Shinola, Bissell and Steelcase on the same tour bill for some heavy-hitting ‘business of design’ content. Looking forward to seeing the class of 2018 next year!
  • SF Presents Keynote at Women in Automation Conference

    April 24, 2017

    On April 24, 2017 the Women in Automotive conference heard insights from thought leaders Jan Griffiths with Inteva Products, Jackie Chizuk with Varroc Lighting Systems, and Elizabeth Griffith with Faurecia North America. Industry experts Ginger Ruddy, additive manufacturing consultant, Jeevak Badve with SundbergFerar.com, Product Innovation Studio, and Elizabeth Barron with Ford Motor Co., shared timely automotive tips and trends. The conference hosted 200 automotive professionals and remains one of the regions most critical platforms for this important dialogue.



  • SF Automotive Research Trip to China

    Apr 6, 2017

    SF Senior Designer, Dan Genord, just returned from two weeks in China where he toured outdoor locations from Dongying to Jinan and then on to Guangzhou toward the south researching automotive support equipment. Dan’s discoveries were multiple, not least of which is always an enormous sense of cultural immersion that informs SF’s differentiated product design. These design clues are more difficult to discern looking online, in books or at product specification sheets- nothing beats onsite observational research and customer interaction. For instance, density and traffic negotiation inform Chinese product innovation in a way that is distinct from the spacious outdoor product use in most US cities. Chinese cuisine and fantastic hospitality provided a great backdrop for getting to know our clients and their needs even better. What intensive research and travel abroad often reveal is the unexpected such as, “we need to add another continent to the research plan!” So don’t unpack your bags, Dan - you are headed back out in a couple of weeks. The SF team is circling the globe in search of the illusive design unicorn – a universally, beautifully and functionally balanced product for this project. We know the answers are out there on the highways and byways!
  • SF Promotes 2017 IDSA International Conference

    Apr 3, 2017

    SF VP of Strategic Growth, and 2017 IDSA International Conference Chair, Jeevak Badve, presented at the Rhode Island School of Design to 200+ IDSA NorthEast District Design Conference participants in late March to help encourage participation in the 2017 IDSA International Design Conference. Badve is a major champion of Industrial Design awareness. He speaks frequently at industry conferences, and to design and business schools across the country to highlight the interconnectivity between the design and business fields, and the benefits that can come from an in-depth understanding of both realms. Register here for the 2017 IDSA International Conference.
  • Flipping the Genesis Mirror – SF Leadership Team Strategic Innovation Session @ Junction440

    Mar 31, 2017

    There are times to reap and there are times to sow. This month our leadership team went off site to take time out at the member-based Junction440 at Detroit’s fantastic co-working space and incubator, TechTown, to revisit the strategic goals of the firm and put development of all kinds under the looking glass. Every time we facilitate our Genesis Innovation Research strategy process with companies from Fortune 500 to start ups, watching them dissect their vision and goals, struggle through roadblocks, then flourish, reminds us to reverse the mirror and become even more clear about what SF is doing, how we are focusing our human and capital resources, and how we are moving actively each day toward our goals and aspirations of improving people’s lives through uniquely differentiated products and growing a staff who is productive and fulfilled in our work. Our leadership team resists the trap of busyness and reactive management in place of a highly focused, mindful approach to maintaining the creative, strategy and outcomes-minded culture of a top-tier design studio. Imagine how careful one must be to create an atmosphere of discipline and delivery without crushing the creative lightness and agility needed to generate landmark design. This doesn’t happen over night. We credit these carefully balanced priorities and atmosphere to our firm’s characteristic longstanding staff of committed people who join and stick around. We pride ourselves on this and believe it is because we present clear aspirational direction, we listen, promote people’s strengths, give them space to imagine and support them in the personal endeavors as well. Our people are the bedrock on which we have achieved excellence in multiple capabilities. Our planning day resulted in a few major decisions and a couple needed changes so we can charge into Q2 and beyond with refreshed energy and clear focus. Feature Image: (left to right) Grey Parker, Senior Engineer David Thimm, Partner, VP Design Studio Manager Jeevak Badve, VP Strategic Growth Jeff DeBoer, Partner, VP Chief Innovation Officer Curt Bailey, Partner, President Above Images: TechTown and Junction440 interior images
  • West Michigan Design Week - Look Behind Design: A Process Gallery

    Mar 28, 2017

    Grand Rapids, MI is hosting some of the industrial design field’s best and brightest this month at the West Michigan Design Week hosted at the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, Grand Valley State University, ArtPrize HQ and surrounds. This conference includes an expansive look at design, but this exhibition, Look Behind Design: A Process Gallery, dials it in close to explores the mysteries of design from A-Z that takes place before your favorite products hit the shelf. From our collaboration with Wiss, SF has selected a dozen steps in the physical life of a prototype from the first sketch laid over foam, to the looks- like, feels- like model that is ready to head toward the manufacturing floor. This process allows the designer to quickly shift into user-mode and identify aspects of the design that are or are not working. It also allows customers, stakeholders, and feedback groups to be an active part of a tangible process from day one encouraging concrete visual and functional feedback. Nothing compares to the (almost) real thing, so our design team gets ‘out of drawing’ and into the model shop as fast as possible. Our vibrant model shop also makes for an exciting work environment. On a given day one might hear proposals being discussed, design presentations going on, and the sound of saw blades and sanding in the background! This team is deeply invested in the 360-degree design experience and making is the beating heart. About the exhibit.
  • Michigan Design Council Design Prize Video World Premier

    Mar 23, 2017

    Since January of this year, significant progress has been made toward fulfilling the Michigan Design Council’s (MDC) mission to: 1) promote the organic development of Industrial Design talent among Michigan youth and adults; 2) establish Michigan as THE destination for individuals in Industrial Design and related design professions to help Michigan based businesses prosper; and 3) encourage businesses to locate to Michigan by virtue of its robust industrial design talent base. The keystone initiative for 2016 was the Michigan Design Prize. The Michigan Design Prize is an annual competition celebrating exceptional Michigan industrial design talent; it is open to ALL Michigan residents and is unique in the Country. Participants tackle a singular design challenge linked to Michigan and larger societal issues. The 2016 Challenge was: Design a physical product solution that allows people to safely enjoy the benefits of Michigan's diverse water resources. Entries in the 2016 Michigan Design Prize were judged by MDC members, based on four key criteria: 1) Creativity: Level of originality of the discovery, approaches and solution; 2) Significance: Level of meaningfulness and relevance to the topic; 3) Quality: Level of design thinking and visualization; 4) Value: Level of potential impact on industry, economy, society and individuals in Michigan, and around the world. Finalists and grand prize winners were selected in three categories; K–5th grade, 6th–12th grade, and collegiate/professional. One example of this novice/expert engagement was 7th grader Jillian Distelrath from Surline Middle School (West Branch–Rose City School District) collaborating with Ian Cobb, Senior Industrial Designer at Sundberg-Ferar, Inc. (Commerce Township based industrial design and innovation firm). Jillian and Ian worked intensely for a day- ideating, sketching, brainstorming, and ultimately creating the “Light Jacket” product concept. This concept, designed to illuminate on contact with water, used technology and an understanding of youth fashion trends to provide a safer alternative to traditional life saving gear, in a form factor that would drive higher usage rates, thereby improving water rescue and reducing drownings. Jillian was awarded the Grand Prize in the 6th–12th grade category. Judges noted that: “..the finalist considered versions for both adults and very young children- great thought process!”. All of the finalists’ designs have commercialization potential. Enjoy the MDC Video here!
  • International Home and Housewares Show

    Mar 20, 2017

    Just when you thought you knew everything about cooking and cleaning!! The Sundberg-Ferar team is just back from the International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago. It was a sea of cooking demos, fragrances and color. We are totally inspired after meeting so many creative people with innovative approaches to our ancient basic needs and how these innovative companies continue to reinvent classic form and function with bottomless variety. It was also noteworthy the exceptional booth design. With home, atmosphere and interiors at top of mind, these companies created spaces that far outstrip other sectors in their conference presentation and sense of hospitality. It was hard to keep moving through the venue as there were so many appealing upholstered mid-century modern couches and chairs, plush rugs, juicy and soft lighting, vaulted or split-level booth spaces with elegant conference rooms. All of this steeped in the aroma of gourmet coffee brewing in every direction. The urge to return home, cook rice, steam some milk, cut a red pepper and light up the gas heat has never been so great. Well done exhibitors, we look forward to designing for you!
  • Michigan Modern @ SXSW: Design That Shaped America

    Mar 11, 2017

    Michigan was the home and destination of modern designers and architects throughout the mid-20th century. Attracted by the state’s thriving post war economy, Michigan offered a place where creativity was celebrated and ideas could actually be put into production. As a result, Michigan's design community became one of the most nationally influential in the postwar world, and today Michigan employs more industrial designers than any other state. This session explores Michigan’s design legacy, which ranges from natives like Alden Dow and Ralph Rapson to European artists like Louis Redstone or Ruth Adler Schnee to imaginative minds like Charles Eames, Eero Saarinen and Minoru Yamasaki. *A question posed to Jeff DeBoer, VP and Chief Innovation Officer, and the panel for discussion at SXSW When you're talking about design and Michigan to those who are outside the field, what parts of the legacy surprise people the most? “Most people I talk to don’t really know where anything comes from or who creates the things we use in our everyday lives- let alone the fact that Michigan’s designers and manufacturers are the source of many of the products we own and cherish as “special”. Michigan was also a magnet for design pioneers from around the world- another fact most people don’t know- which runs counter to the popular current narrative that Michigan is a place people run from, not to! My presentation will look back at Sundberg-Ferar’s role in defining the Industrial Design profession during the formative years of the 1930’s, show examples of SF’s work intersecting with and defining key points in our country’s history. Show how SF is designing and innovating on the global stage today, and then talk about our role and responsibility in creating the next generation of Michigan Industrial Designers- highlighted with a world premiere of a video commissioned by the Michigan Design Council (MDC)- that follows the design journey of a 7th grader in mid-Michigan, as she tackled the Michigan Design Prize competition; it’s a powerful reminder of how mentoring can change the life of a student, and prepare them for a lifetime of creative expression and professional success.” MDC Video Panelists Jeff DeBoer, Partner, VP Chief Innovation Officer, Sundberg-Ferar Brian Conway, State Historic Preservation Officer, Michigan State Historic Preservation Office Amy Arnold, Preservation Planner, Michigan State Historic Preservation Office Susan Skarsgard, Global Industrial Design Manager, General Motors Design
  • SF Welcomes Senior Industrial Designer, Matt Korich

    Mar 3, 2017

    Growing up with a love of American History, all things mechanical, drawing and art in Milwaukee, WI led him to Industrial Design through a chance magazine article at a young age. Later studying at the College For Creative Studies in Detroit, MI, Matt discovered a fascination for product development as an outlet for problem solving. After graduating he worked with specialty automotive firm, Classic Design Concepts and implemented the full design process into their business model. Being involved in a cross-section of creative responsibilities gave him an integral knowledge of the product development process- taking new products from sketch through production tooling and marketing campaigns. Matt can be found most weekends at the Yankee Air Museum chasing his passion for history and WWII war birds while volunteering strategic development, exhibit design and static aircraft restoration support.
  • SF and the Michigan Design Council Host STEAM Leader 2 Leader Collision

    Feb 24, 2017

    On February 24th the Michigan Design Council (MDC) hosted the first Leader 2 Leader meeting and incited a creative collision between educators, designers, industry professionals (and a couple of resident student observers!) for a visionary conversation and progression into the next phase of the MDC’s non-profit’s mission to help generate a groundswell of design talent in Michigan K-12 schools. MDC and WholeMindesign Co-directors Katrin (Katie) Robertson and Diane Tamblyn arranged this meeting-of-the-minds in the stately backdrop of the mid-century-modern home of Katie and Bill Robertson of Ann Arbor with communications support from Michelle Zurowick, SF Senior Design Researcher from Sundberg-Ferar. To represent SF boots on the ground, Senior Industrial Designers Dave Byron, Ian Cobb and Josiah LaColla were on hand to speak about their experience receiving a design education and two of them spoke to their role in teaching the design at the College for Creative Studies. The core work of this meeting was to join these creative leaders with on the ground educators to identify alignments and gaps in the creative education continuum. This conversation occurred with a strong Lansing presence in order to keep the conversation vibrant at the State governance level as the mission becomes clear and initiatives start to roll out. Jeff DeBoer, SF VP/ Partner, Chief Innovation Officer and Chair of MDC stated that, “Our goal is to accelerate the advancement of arts and creative skill development in our classrooms...Industrial Design is the intersection of art and technology- we create functional solutions to design challenges that improve people’s lives in beautiful and emotionally fulfilling ways. Tonight- we are crashing together Educators and Designers- an intersection of necessity!” This initiative joins many impactful STEAM initiatives, but the MDC is differentiating their efforts by leveraging the richness of industrial design practice to introduce a multiplicity of creative opportunities in design related business endeavors. Fabled captains of design history from all over the state have joined the SF team to contribute intellectual input and structural insights as programs and initiatives evolve. The evening included a design-thinking activity, dinner, the premiere of the MDC video and a detailed conversation about the Michigan Design Prize. The group was charged to encourage participation across school systems at the superintendent level and imagine large-scale educational structures in need to deep reformation through design.
  • SF Innovation Roundtable Conversation

    Feb 23, 2017

    At SF we take one day each month to pitch a curated tour and conversation for the innovation-inclined whom we’ve met along the networking trail. This past February we hosted 15 guests across the most amazing variety of sectors – psychology, manufacturing, non-profit, marketing, education, architecture and more. Led by our VP of Strategic Growth, Jeevak Badve, the conversation and tour was a two-hour in-depth discussion about the practice of industrial design and the multiplicity ways it impacts our daily lives across these sectors. Design is at the core of every experience we have, for better or worse. Just imagine your favorite restaurant. Chances are it is equally about atmosphere (lighting, flatware, chair comfort) as it is about cuisine. We kick off the meeting together by filling a whiteboard with innovation questions and spend the afternoon seeking answers and generating more questions.
  • Farm Machinery Show Through the Designer’s Eye

    Feb 16, 2017

    The SF Design team, David Thimm, VP, Studio Manager and Industrial Designer, and Dave Byron, Senior Industrial Designer, packed off to Louisville to see the 2017 National Farm Machinery Show and the images they brought back tell a very specific story. Flipping through more than 500 images (which included some fabulous Louisville bar atmosphere and record of Bourbon Flights at 21C museum hotel- viva Kentucky!) it was impossible to miss that in addition to the incredible capabilities of these impressive utility vehicles was an fascination with color, texture, scale, rhythm, surface and form. Open up this portfolio of images to explore farm machinery in a completely unique way – through the designer's eye. This category is inspiring to the SF team because of the way it turns the stereotypes about 'farming as simplicity' on its head. Despite this outdated and inaccurate notion some impose on farming as a sector, these stewards of our land have been at the leading edge of technology since the first seed was intentionally planted. Their vehicles reflect this savvy innovative spirit, driven by the biggest societal responsibility – sustainability of human life. The fact that farming equipment can also be beautiful and a pleasure to use, gets us out of bed in the morning. We currently have a few projects in this category in house and we are having a blast with our site research!
  • Ditch Witch Launches JT40 Horizontal Directional Drill

    Feb 11, 2017

    The JT40 is a completely re-imagined industry-leading Horizontal Directional Drill and is an extension of a continued design relationship with Ditch Witch in their recent visual brand language across several product lines. Input from Ditch Witch’s experienced Drill Operators and knowledgeable Engineering Department was distilled and refined by the SF designers and engineers to create a striking new engine body with design features that simplify machine maintenance and an operator’s cab with unparalleled ergonomics & un-compromised sight lines. The cab is equipped with full climate control, a full suspension seat, multiple LED monitor layouts, optimized leg-room, and curved tinted glass to reduce vibration & operator fatigue. The cab telescopes along a rail system allowing visual access to all pertinent movement points on the drill, and clear visibility in the drilling direction allowing diligent monitoring. Positioning the operator at this optimum angle takes advantage of floor space and headroom giving the cab an ample feel. Using best ergonomic principles, all the necessary controls are arranged at arm’s reach, and equipment monitors are placed “downline” so movement isn’t needed to switch vantages from the spotter to the monitor. The standard open operators station includes a uniquely designed integrated security/weather shade that covers the operator while sheltering the control and seating layout of the fully-optioned cab. The engine body was designed from the ground-up to make the Ditch Witch brand recognizable from a mile away, with a powerful body-color division that draws the eye straight from the drill motor to the drill site in front of the machine. Extensive considerations were made to allow access to all necessary maintenance points while still keeping a high level of machine security when not in operation. The new engine body is tightly wrapped around a new Tier 4 Diesel engine, and together with industry-leading hydraulic pumps is capable of exerting an awesome 5,500 foot pounds of down-hole torque, and 40,000 pounds of thrust in pull-back.
  • SF Welcomes Award Winning Senior Industrial Designer, Scott Stevens

    Feb 11, 2017

    A love of drawing, building, and sculpting led Scott to pursue a career in industrial design. After graduating from CCS in 2006 Scott started his career working with TRW (an American aerospace and automotive company) to design key fobs for Toyota & Chrysler. Prior to SF, he invested 10 years at The Master Lock Company where he designed products for Master Lock, Ford, Craftsman, Waterloo, Dudley, and American Lock. His expertise is in designing retail/commercial products for the US & European markets that range from smart products for the home to safety products for manufacturing facilities. He holds 30+ patents and has won multiple design awards. In the past decade, he has built relationships by delivering on time and on budget. College for Creative Studies.(B.F.A. in Industrial Design) Best Product award by Master Locksmiths Association, IDEA Silver Award, Edison Silver Awards 2011 & 2016
  • DrinksXDesign, The Pit Crew Hosts

    Feb 9, 2017

    SF is a proud partner in the Detroit design collective called The Pit Crew. The Detroit Creative Corridor (DC3) event series, DrinksxDesign (DXD) and the fabulous coordinator, Kiana Doggan Wenzell, invited The Pit Crew to host the February DXD at Atwater Brewery on the historic Detroit riverfront. The sold-out crowd kept the conversation flowing and Atwater made sure the beer and sausages were at the ready. There were guests from fashion, design, law, museum, educational, and manufacturing communities – a true Detroit cultural cross-section. DC3 really knows how to convene a group of thought and generational diversity. Also, when three of four creative partners are in the marketing space, it’s no wonder the word got around. Special thanks to all of DC3’s funders for making their good work possible, and to Atwater for in-kind donations and to all who joined in to explore the curious world of marketing strategies, print, graphic design, coding, video and industrial design. Special thanks to Heather Saunders, photographer.
  • The Pit Crew Picks Up Speed

    Feb 1, 2017

    SF is excited to announce the revamped Pit Crew website. One year ago, SF helped to found a design brain-trust in the Detroit Metro area to address a phenomenon we discovered independently. Each partner realized our clients were leaving our studios with great creative work and then hiring a new firm to fulfill their next project phase. For instance, SF may design a fantastic product, then another firm is would create the website or video with no access to the intense research the client just paid SF to produce. In the process design consistency are often lost and duplicative research costs can pile up. Each Pit Crew design firm is operating at the top of their field and has a deep respect for the work of the other so bridging expertise seemed natural. The partnership is a non-financial, altruistic referral based partnership that provides day-one design cohesion for complex product development and marketing platforms. The Pit Crew has more than 100 years of collective experience and has exciting projects on the horizon. element H - Digital Strategy, Audience Engagement SundbergFerar - Product Design, Design Research and Strategy Octane Design - Graphic and Interactive Design, Brand Development iwerk - Custom Software Development, Information Technology Visit The Pit Crew.
  • Jeevak Badve's CALL FOR SPEAKERS - IDSA International Design Conference 2017: Design IS Business

    As chair of the IDSA International Design Conference 2017, I invite you to join us Aug. 16–19 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis for Design IS Business. ID is among a handful of disciplines that really, really values and strives to improve the human condition. Not just intrinsic value—but fundamental, instrumental value. Whatever the world throws at us—digitization, electrification, sensorification, autonomy or connectivity—industrial designers surmount barriers, leveraging them as elements. We make “design at scale.” Even if your product/solution is the most meaningful, it has to sell on the fair, open market—giving businesses the confidence to invest in and continue the growth of their portfolios. Now, the business world is taking note of the strategic advantage brought by ID to the table. The world’s most innovative companies are declaring solidarity with design—reserving a seat on the board for a chief design officer; assimilating design strategy; or making room for design to influence business strategy significantly. Business model patterns essentially research the target audience’s desires and meticulously develop meaningful product solutions and relevant ecosystems of experiences to improve the end user’s life—while profiting and—in many cases, keeping a watchful eye on our planet. From Harvard Business Review to Fast Company to The Wall Street Journal—the media, too, has newfound affection for the impact of ID on business—and on a greater scale—the global economy. Where better to make the case with Design IS Business than in Atlanta, GA—with some of the most compelling speakers at the intersection of design and business; studio and other offsite tours; great parties; and family-friendly attractions.“Among the nation's fastest-growing cities, the Georgia capital is attracting newcomers from around the country and people are looking to this part of the country for culture and commerce like never before,” declares US News & World Report in 2016. Atlanta means business—with a population of five and a half million; 150,000 businesses including some of the most iconic brands in the world; the fifth highest job growth rate in the United States; and quite an emphasis on higher education—with nearly 60 colleges and universities. Follow the journey to the IDSA International Design Conference 2017 using #IDSA17Atlanta @IDSA on Twitter; Industrial Designers Society of America on Facebook and LinkedIn; and @IDSAdesign. Apply here. Jeevak Badve IDSA Chair, IDSA International Design Conference 2017 Vice President, Strategic Growth, Sundberg Ferar
  • SAVE THE DATE – Pit Crew (with SF) – Featured at Feb 2017 DXD

    Mark your calendars to come see what the combined talents of four top-notch Detroit Design Firms, Pit Crew, have to offer when they join forces to provide front to back design services to customers. The first Detroit Creative Corridor (DC3) DrinksXDesign event of 2017 is coming up and the theme is "Design Strategy and Innovation," featuring this cutting edge Detroit Design collective. In addition to SF, Pit Crew includes iwerk, Octane Design, and ElementH Solutions. Registration is free and is going to be maxed - so register here!
  • SF Blown Away by 2nd Graders from Roosevelt Elementary

    Jan 19, 2017

    SF VP of Innovation Strategies, Jeff DeBoer, SF Senior Design Researcher, Michelle Zurowick, Engineer, Lisa Savage, and SF Designer, Ian Cobb, spent the day hosting three stellar second grade classes from Roosevelt Elementary School. A huge congratulations is on order for Principal Dennis Rapal, and classroom teachers, Ms. Jeannette Cuda, Ms. Juliann Obrien, Ms. Kathryn Knighton and their accompanying assistants and chaperones for their obvious success with these young developing citizens. In mind and spirit they inhabited the studio with curiosity and zeal and asked some show-stopping questions. Where do you buy your computer chips? How do you get this manufactured? May we start to draw with the computer? And more. It was so fun to see how the classes had been prepared by their teachers to hear about Industrial Design and the technical and creative aspects that can be employed in this career. T
  • Jeevak Badve Returns from Indian Tiger Safari

    Jan 18, 2017

    During the month of December, 2016, VP of Strategic Growth, Jeevak Badve, returned to his beloved Pune, India, to enjoy Tiger watching with his wife, children and extended family. If you know Jeevak, you know that a restful vacation with the family might entail waking a 4 and 7 year old at 3:00am after a 36 hour trip to drive into the Indian outback, unarmed, and in an open-sided Jeep from which you can’t disembark for 5 hour stints! Vacation? NO! Adventure? YES! Family affairs like this are not for the faint of heart but Jeevak seems to take great joy in pursuing thrills of the great outdoors. What is better, is how he brought the trip alive for many of us (who will never attempt such a thing), describing the waiting, the sounds, the herds and flocks and gaggles and batches of monkeys, birds and more that surrounded them as they tracked with a native guide, the mere sighting of a tiger. Three days and 5 safaris in, they achieved their goal. A few breathtaking minutes with two 8-month-old cubs (larger than Great Pyreneese), and a tiger named Maya, distinguished by the trackers from 82 other tigers by her stripes alone. This reserve is distinct in its natural approach. No weapons, no flares, only cameras and stillness. We missed Jeevak for four weeks, but this presentation, some sweet Indian desserts, and a staff lunch was an apt concession—he brought us back a true experience of India.
  • 2017 Michigan Design Prize Challenge Announced at NAIAS During STEAM Conversation with Square One Educational Network

    Jan 12, 2017

    SF's VP of Innovation Strategies, Jeff DeBoer, shared the mic with Karl Klimek, Executive Director of Square One Educational Network, to make a compelling case for hands-on and unconventional approaches to increasing the pipeline of young industrial designers and STEAM talent coming out of K-12 programs. The SF founded Michigan Design Council (MDC) has joined Square One and many STEAM organizations dedicated to the STEAM effort in their respective sectors to create access, raise awareness and locate resources for Michigan children in STEAM. By creating new channels to enhance experiential learning for students, their teachers are getting trained as well. Greater investment in teacher training amplifies STEAM exposure for students – train one teacher and that skillset and confidence jumps to hundreds of students annually. During the conversation, DeBoer announced the much-anticipated 2017 Michigan Design Prize challenge. The 2016 participation blew past all expectations and is expected to surge this year. The 2017 challenge is to design a physical product to help people safely enjoy Michigan winters (apply here). The SF VP also acknowledged the enormous support given by the MEDC to launch the MDC and played a video endorsement by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. DSC08546
  • SF Senior Engineer, Grey Parker at 2017 Plastics in Automotive Conference. Bridging the Gap: the Powerful Alliance of Design and Engineering.

    Jan 12, 2017

    Too often, the automotive design and engineering communities operate in silos with little communication and a disconnect between ideas and execution. Grey Parker, the lead engineer at SF, discussed how new product development can offer greater impact by leveraging a design and engineering partnership. With specific case studies of successful projects and the use of new tools that can help bridge the disciplines, Parker argued a convincing case. Grey Parker spent seven years in the automotive industry sharpening his design skills as a seat engineer for American Honda Motor Co. Grey acquired excellent project management skills while leading complex systems with hundreds of components; for example, the design of all three rows of the 2013 Acura MDX. He joined Sundberg-Ferar Inc. in 2013 and leads the company’s engineering department and specializes in innovation engineering and mechanical concept development. Grey graduated from the University of New Mexico with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. See the Conference agenda here.
  • NAIAS Annual EyesOn Design Award

    Jan 10, 2017

    SundbergFerar’s VP of Strategic Growth, Jeevak Badve was pleased to serve again as a docent to the judging process during the 2017 NAIAS EyesOn Design Award judging process. Dr. Philip Hessberg, Founder and Director of Henry Ford Institute of Opthalmology, introduced the ceremony sharing the impressive 29-year history of the Henry Ford Health System’s relationship with automotive design. Marcus Shelley,Executive Director of EyesOn Design Award and Head of Business Development at ASC, Inc, and Lisa Miree-Luke, Head of Corporate Affairs/Communications at Axalta were distinguished MCs. Awards were determined by leading automotive designers and sponsored by various leading companies in the areas of concept car, production car, concept truck, production truck, graphics and materials, interior design, user experience, and The Designer Catalyst Award presented by HenryFord Health System Department of Ophthalmology. Our partners and staff extend heartfelt congratulations to the 2017 EyesOn Design Award winners.