5 Essential Product Design and Manufacturing Tips — for Artists

Interested in extending your practice beyond the gallery and sharing your thoughts in a practical context? Here, Kickstarter’s Arts and Design and Technology teams offer advice on how to do it.

Prototypes for Little Sun Charge, a portable solar phone charger designed by artist Olafur Eliasson

1. Create a prototype

Kelly Rakowski’s timeline for PERSONALS

2. Research and map out a manufacturing plan

BFAMFAPhD’s Making and Being project in action

3. Showcase your product in your video and rewards

  • Keep your video to three minutes or less, focusing on your product and vision.
  • Demonstrate your product’s core features. If possible, offer a deeper dive on functionality.
  • Introduce your team and your production process.
A sketch from Pope.L’s Flint Water project

4. Highlight your practice on your project page

  • Show off your prototype and work in progress as you would in a studio visit, with sketches, mockups, and iterations. Pope.L’s Flint Water project is a great example of how to do this.
  • Show a few of your past completed works, even if they’re not related to your product, to help readers understand the larger world you’re creating with your work. (Tip: you can also offer past works as rewards for your project!)
  • Include shortened versions of your bio and artist statement in your campaign text. This will help backers who are new to your work get a sense of where you’ve shown before and what you’re all about.
Illustration by Molly Fairhurst for The Creative Independent

5. Promote your project to your network

  • If you have a newsletter, use it to announce your project. You’ll likely want to send two to three newsletters while your campaign is live to ensure your audience knows what’s happening and how long they have to pledge. (See our newsletter template here.)
  • Send personal emails. 60–80% of your backers will be people in your community (think: friends, family, coworkers, collectors, curators, and past collaborators). Sending 15–20 or more of these emails per week is great at converting clicks to pledges. (See our personal email template here.)
  • Share on social media. Self-promotion is tricky for most people, but especially artists. If the thought of promoting your own project makes you queasy, we recommend reading The Creative Independent’s guide to meaningful self-promotion for creative people, which offers helpful tactics.



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