About

Metaform Product Development is a product innovation, industrial design, and manufacturing company creatively optimizing the value, function, and appeal of products and inventions.

Company Overview

Metaform

Metaform Product Development is an award-winning product innovation, industrial design and manufacturing company creatively optimizing the value, function and appeal of products and inventions.


Metaform works with corporations, start-up entrepreneurs, and even other product development agencies to create innovative new products or improve existing ones. We devise unique, functional, market appealing design solutions with careful consideration to appropriate aesthetics, usability, exclusive features, and manufacturability. Our work spans a wide variety of sectors from consumer to technology, medical, scientific, sporting goods and toy industries. Drawing from this diverse, accumulated experience allows us to cross-reference and cross-pollinate ideas to arrive at even better solutions quicker. Our differentiated product designs often embody novel, unexpected innovations that elevate both actual and perceived value with elegance, beauty, and purpose. 

 

Metaform’s flexible structure and network of resources allow us to custom assemble multi-disciplinary teams to meet project specific needs. Unlike traditional agencies hampered with the talents and sensibilities of a fixed staff, we select the right tools (people) for the job. This approach makes us more efficient, nimble, and agile compared to large, lumbering consultancies. The consistent, unifying aspect is our seasoned principal designer is hands-on and personally involved with the key ideation phases. Beyond our core competency of industrial design, we leverage relationships in the USA and Asia to collaborate with a host of engineering and production resources downstream. 


For early stage start-ups: Metaform creates compelling designs, visuals, and models to elicit feedback, entice venture capital investment or amass crowdfunding pledges. Metaform also makes its own products so we can guide young companies through the daunting product creation process.

For established manufacturers: Metaform can assess and identify opportunities for innovation, add a fresh perspective, audit to improve, transform, and cost reduce existing products, or revitalize stagnant product lines.

 

Our dynamic approach enable our clients to effectively raise, save, and make money while providing enormous value to consumers. Metaform helps businesses secure and maintain market leadership by offering simply better products that keep competitors at bay.


Metaform has earned numerous prestigious international design awards including BusinessWeek’s IDEA Industrial Design Excellence Award, regarded as the “Academy Awards” of the design profession, as well as the CES Innovations Showcase Award, Good Design Award, and ID Magazine’s Annual Design Review Designer’s Choice Mark, and the IDA International Design Award just to name a few. The Bay Area Chapter of the Industrial Designer’s Society of America (IDSA) recognized Metaform as one of the “Bay Area’s Best”. Metaform’s work has been included in publications and exhibitions alongside the very best of the San Francisco Bay Area / Silicon Valley industrial design community with millions of units sold worldwide.


Serving clients since 1990, "Metaform Product Development" was officially registered as a fictitious business name in 1997 as a division of ABD Inc. The company is incorporated and headquartered in San Francisco, California, USA with a network of Pacific Rim resources spanning the Silicon Valley, Taiwan and greater China. This ideal, entrepreneurial, and culturally diverse locale provides an inspirational, creative environment that is in close proximity to the world’s most advanced technology, cutting-edge emerging trends, and high value manufacturing resources.

Founder Profile

David Shaw

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David Shaw is an award-winning industrial designer and inventor with diverse international product development experience. Since 1990, David has served numerous Silicon Valley start-up ventures, product design firms, and a wide range of corporations in the USA and Asia.

David holds both US and EU patents and his work has been published in ID Magazine, BusinessWeek, Innovation, Inc. Magazine, and Young Designers Americas. Awards include the IDA International Design Award, ID Magazine Annual Design Review, Good Design, CES Innovations, and BusinessWeek IDEA. 

 

In 1999, the Industrial Designers Society of America honored David Shaw and Metaform as one of the "Bay Area's Best". In 2006, German publisher Daab GmbH included David among its selection of up and coming young designers in the Americas. David's designs have been selected for exhibition by a curator of the SFMoMA and the San Francisco International Airport Museums.

 

David​ Shaw studied Industrial Design and Honors Humanities at San Jose State University, graduating with distinction in 1992. He has since taught in the California State University system and has guest lectured at universities, public, and professional events in the USA and Asia.

Services

​Metaform Product Development can assist clients in all phases of the product development process. We can help manage the full process or contribute to select phases. Metaform assesses each project and creates a custom tailored development plan to respond to the needs of the client.

Metaform Product Development's services include:

Industrial Design - Devise functional, attractive, ergonomic product designs

​Product Research - Review specifications, competitors, observe target users

​Concept Ideation - Brainstorming and iterative idea development sketching

​Visualization Renderings - Manual and computer generation illustrations

​3D CAD / CAID - Computer Aided Design / Computer Aided Industrial Design

​Model-making - Fabricate study models, appearance models, and prototypes

​Engineering Collaboration - Work with engineers and ensure design integrity

​Manufacturing Liaison - Source and interface with manufacturing suppliers

​Product Auditing - Review, critique, and improve products and quality

​Customization - Altering, modifying, and improving existing OEM products

​Collateral Design Management - Logo, graphics, packaging, web, print

​Education + Evangelism - Lectures, workshops, seminars, expert consultation

Advising + Mentoring - Advise and mentor entrepreneurs and inventors

Philosophy

Great design is about being considerate both literally and figuratively. By holistically considering the requirements, constraints, cost, market, environment, manufacturer, end-users, and consequences of each design decision, Metaform conceives products that are one-of-a-kind, appealing, user-friendly, reliable, and economical to manufacture. The resulting products excel in the marketplace satisfying the interests and aspirations of both the producer and consumers. Our goal is to appropriately humanize products on practical, artistic, and emotional levels.


By propagating our core philosophy of 'Considerate Design' through the large scale medium of mass-produced manufactured goods, we hope to define the material world and bring value, usefulness, and enjoyment to society. Creating artifacts for mass consumption is both an honor and an enormous responsibility requiring no less than total dedication and care.

 

The name "Metaform" is derived from the words metaphysical, metaphor,

metamorphosis, and form. Our unique designs transform and redefine established paradigms. They often embody metaphors that relate to the intended purpose; further interjecting visual cues and associative meaning to facilitate understanding, influence behavior and perception. 

 

Metaform seeks to balance the functional, visual, and tactile aspects of a product or invention to make it simple, useful, and beautiful. The exclusive designs possess an intrinsic value that makes them desirable.

Value

​Good design creates both actual and perceived value and can be directly
attributed to building superior brand experiences, increased market share, and differentiated, higher quality products. Contrary to a common belief, industrial design is a relatively small investment in the total cost of developing and bringing a product to market. The initial investment in design is amortized over the life of a product and becomes minuscule when divided by the overall quantity sold over time. With customers worldwide becoming increasingly design conscious, product developers can no longer afford not to invest in design. It is simply a necessary component of staying relevant in today's discriminating market.

​Design elevates a company's offerings above the competition, especially in commoditized and saturated markets. Embracing industrial design as a strategic tool is one of the wisest decisions a company can make in mitigating risk and establishing itself as a legitimate contender. Design can mean the difference between success and failure and is the ultimate equalizer for smaller companies trying to disrupt markets dominated by industry giants. For established companies, design can directly fend off price based competition by adding unique characteristics that further differentiate the product line and brand. The exclusivity good design provides is truly invaluable as it can help make new companies instant market leaders and revitalize stagnant old ones.

Experience

​Metaform Product Development brings a wealth of experience to bear on its diverse range of projects. Metaform has created innovative designs for a wide variety of sectors and has a proven track record of helping clients succeed.

 

Metaform's clients range in size from multi-national corporations, to early stage venture capital funded start-ups, individual inventors, and even other product development firms and corporate in-house departments. 

 

Metaform also possesses extensive experience coordinating projects not only in the USA, the world's leading economy, but also the Greater China region, the world's largest manufacturing center and fastest growing market. Our ability to communicate in both English and Chinese helps facilitate smooth collaboration with suppliers and clients on both sides of the Pacific Rim. We're able to inspect and troubleshoot issues directly with workers on the factory floor in their native tongue. Our cultural sensitivity allows us to design relevant products targeting international consumers.

The cross-fertilization of ideas and influences that comes from working with diverse clients and teams across a variety of product categories, cultures, and disciplines broadens the thinking we apply to our projects.  Sharing associative knowledge-bases garnered from these experiences enhances the validity and quality of the solutions we propose.