What Makes Product Design Firms In Chicago Unique

As the third metro area in the US by GDP, Chicago is an economic powerhouse that plays a pivotal role across a variety of industries:

  • Financial services
  • Engineering
  • Publishing
  • Food processing

As such, having operated in the area, product design firms in Chicago had the opportunity to gain extensive knowledge of the locally dominant sectors.

Therefore, if you belong to some of these industries, the experience and unique insights of these Chicago-based agencies can be the asset you need to get a product that solves your users' pain points successfully.

Moreover, outsourcing product design in Chicago also comes with other benefits, such as the access to highly competent specialists who provide globally competitive services.

This is because the University of Illinois at Chicago stands among the US institutions with the most degrees awarded in product design. This establishment produces world-leading experts in this field.

As a result, Chicago is the fifth urban area in the US with the highest employment level in industrial design. Though these two fields often overlap, product design is an integral part of industrial design.

In addition, Chicago is home to several major Fortune 500 companies:

  • Boeing
  • Allstate
  • Caterpillar
  • Walgreens Boots Alliance
  • State Farm Insurance
  • And more

Typically, these high-profile clients handle their projects to local designers.

So, we can safely assume that Chicago product designers stay on top of the latest industry trends and continually hone their skills to deliver cutting-edge products and help increase competitiveness in the market.

Aerial view of Chicago city​

 Chicago is the third metropolitan area in the US by GDP 

What Do Chicago Product Designers Do?

Product design firms in Chicago can develop user-centric products for both the physical and digital world.

They can create new products from scratch or enhance existing ones, including:

  • Tangible goods like furniture, fitness gadgets or lightning systems
  • Virtual products like software, applications, websites or any type of digital platform

These specialists focus on designing products that solve a specific user problem and take a multifaceted approach to product development in order to ensure a relevant user experience.

Their offerings most often include, but are not limited to:

  • Market and user research
  • Product strategy
  • Product design
  • UI/UX product design
  • Packaging design
  • Graphic design
  • Industrial design
  • Mechanical engineering
  • 3D product visualization
  • Prototyping
  • Quality assurance
  • Testing
  • Sourcing & manufacturing support
  • And more

Unlike their fellow colleagues throughout the country, product design companies in Chicago tend to be more qualified in creating fully-fledged products for clients within the area’s predominant industries.

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How Much Do Chicago Product Design Services Cost?

Product design firms in Chicago invoice their services:

  • By the hour
  • By the project

The hourly fee is based on how many hours these specialists dedicate to your project. As such, most local companies charge between $150 and $200.

As for projects, depending on how complex your project is, Chicago product design services can vary from several thousand to hundred thousands of dollars.

Several factors can affect the cost per project, including:

  • Planning
  • Testing
  • Management
  • 3D modeling

Why Should You Hire A Product Design Company In Chicago?

Here are two major reasons why you should consider hiring a Chicago product design company:

  • Access to high-end talent pool: Each year, the product design department within the University of Illinois at Chicago produces not only high-achieving graduates but thought-leaders alike in this field. This means that local companies have a resource of highly skilled candidates to hire from. Therefore, Chicago product designers are likely to be some of the finest specialists in the country who can offer services of the highest quality.
  • Experience in the local leading industries: Local product designers have accumulated a deep experience of the locally dominant industries. Aside from knowing the competitors, market trends and audience well, they also understand the opportunities and challenges these sectors may face. For this reason, they have an upper hand on their US competitors and can develop a well-designed product that satisfies local customers’ needs to help you entice and engage local audiences successfully.

How To Choose The Right Chicago Product Designer For Your Business Needs

You can find many maestros of product design in Chicago and picking a sole partner might turn out to be difficult. These few steps can make your decision easier:

#1: Identify Their Service Package

Some product design firms in Chicago provide one, two or a few specialized design services while others offer end-to-end product development, from ideation to launch and even marketing.

So, depending on your business needs and goals, identify the prospective candidates’ service package to ensure they are providing the precise set of services you require.

#2: Study Their Previous Projects

By closely looking into their portfolios and case studies, you get the chance to see their products in action. These will help you evaluate their quality of work and ability to deliver successful products.

Their past work will also tell you if they have created products that solve similar problems. A similar experience would mean that they’re more equipped to handle a project like your own and design high-performance solutions.

#3: Learn About Their Team

Product design projects involve many specialists with various skills and competencies. Therefore, it’s good practice to take the time and learn about the team who will work on your project.

Find out about their skills and relevant industry experience to make sure you get access to a dedicated team that has the ability to meet your goals and requirements.

#4: Read Their Client Reviews

Reading a company’s reviews is an essential step of every hiring process. That’s how you discover other clients’ opinions about their overall experiences and satisfaction rates.

The clients’ feedback will reveal valuable information about their:

  • Reliability
  • Flexibility
  • Transparency
  • Ability to meet deadlines
  • Communication skills
  • Customer service
  • And more

10 Questions To Ask Product Design Companies In Chicago

Take the time to explore each product design firm’s status, core offerings and project costs to ensure that you select a company that fits your budget and can help you foster business growth.

Once you narrow the list of candidates down, make sure to ask these questions before you sign the contract:

  1. Have you designed similar products before?
  2. Do you fully understand our industry and have knowledge about this particular product category?
  3. Can you walk us through your design process?
  4. How will you develop a product design and development strategy?
  5. Can you provide full-cycle product development, from ideation to production?
  6. What tools do you use to perform market and user research?
  7. What specialists will work on our project and do they have experience in our niche?
  8. Who will be the leader of the project and how often will we get updates on your progress?
  9. How much will the project cost?
  10. Do you stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends?
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Takeaways On Product Design Firms In Chicago

Product design firms in Chicago stand out among the rest through their deep knowledge of the locally dominant industries.

They are specifically qualified to develop quality and engaging products for clients operating in these sectors: financial services, food processing, engineering, publishing.

Most product design companies in Chicago have an average hourly rate between $150 and $200.

To choose the right partner for your upcoming project, follow these four steps:

  • Identify their core services
  • Evaluate their previous projects
  • Get to know the team players
  • Read their client reviews

Good luck!


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