Industrial Design in Boston has a long rich history. From the early settlers creating their own furniture to the industrial revolution which spawned a vast shoe industry, Boston has always been a place where great Boston innovation is followed by great Boston product design.
Though the shoe manufacturing industry may have left the region, the design headquarters of companies as New Balance, Saucony, and Rockport have doubled down and expanded their offices to take advantage of all the regional talent. from local schools such as the Mass College of Art and Rhode Island School of design
The invention of the safety razor with disposable blades by Gillette in 1901 led to the growth of an industry in the area, with an acceleration after 1990 as the disposable cartridge was enhanced with multiple blades, leading to multiple innovative product designs as each revision was launched. During the same time, a renaissance in ergonomic design lead to the innovative industrial designs of Oral-B tooth brushes.
As a world leader in medicine, Boston would naturally have its share of medical device designs. Countless catheters, endoscopes, and orthopedic innovations came from the area. And in the same way, the technical innovations out of Harvard and MIT led to startup companies creating scientific instruments and other technical marvels.
Many product design consultancies in the area flourished while innovation in these fields accelerated. A few large players dominated in the 1990s, and most industrial designers worked in one of those design firms.
But as the design consultancies got larger, there was pressure to make more money, and many started gearing their offering to corporate upper management, using design to enhance corporate strategy, instead of making actual products. They even changed their web pages to resemble the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Actual design was secondary, and some firms stopped designing products altogether.
From this environment, a younger group of designers ventured out on their own to create a new set of design companies. Intent on keeping pure the service of industrial design, these firms feature dazzling design in front and center as their core value, while also offering business strategy. Devlin Design is proud to be one of these types of product design companies in Boston.