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I started a “home business”, let me tell you how (part 2)


I left off at ”Design”. Let’s jump back into that.


A good design. What does it mean and what’s the most important aspect of a “good design”? It’s admittedly very subjective but let’s look at a few considerations.


Is it aesthetic? Easy to use? Made as cheaply(cost effectively) as possible? Does it catch your eye? Does the packaging match the product? Is your product big enough/small enough? Does the quality meet the intended use? Etc.


When I say design you probably think. What does it look like? But the questions surrounding what’s a good design go far beyond what many of us first think. The process of a good product design is truly end to end. Starting from the idea phase to shipping to product use and marketability. The key is to attack it the same way you would attack the challenge of eating an elephant. One bite at a time.

Truly attack your design phase, accelerating from idea phase to prototype phase as quickly as possible. The goal is to find out what works BEST and it’s highly unlikely that the idea you have rattling around in that old brain of yours can fully contextualize all aspects of a thing before they’ve held that thing in their hand.


This reminds me of the scene from 40 yr old virgin and the ultra talented Steve Carell is asked to describe what a boob feels like. Himself being the 40 yr old protagonist in the movie is forced to describe it to a room full of his male peers. Being as he’s never held said boob he quips. “Yeah , they were nice, like bags of Sand”.


Your ideas are the proverbial bags of sand until you actually hold them in your hand.

My bag of sand moment was when I decided to make the ship design resemble that of an actual battleship. Admittedly it was a cool design but it forced the game size to accommodate around this singular design choice. The ship came first and the box was sized to accommodate the ship which itself was about 9” in length. The grid which the ship at on needed to line up with the Shots and in turn grew accordingly. My first bag of sand was 20”x20”. The thing was a beast. Comically large. The cost to ship it alone priced it out of the range of most costumers and was looking like a novelty piece.



You can see here just how massive it was as my dinner table barely contained it.



I lost sight of the end to end. I approached my design with a priority of making it look “cool”. I accomplished that and lost site of the true goal. Making a product people will actually buy. Remember to not lose sight of the forest for the trees.

Design Design Design


Steve Jobs. Daniel Borden. Two names synonymous with great design. You don't believe me? Just ask my 12 reviewers on Amazon! 5 out of 5 stars babay!


When designing your product/ business sign/ marketing campaign I believe you should not try and reinvent the wheel. Be bold! Be brash! BE YOU! But also remember that YOU is a fluid term, "you" is the amalgamation of the hundreds of people that have influenced you up to this point. Like Steve Jobs I knew that a beautiful product would cause the gaze to linger and hopefully purchases to be made. Let me explain.


I hired one of the best in the Biz to illustrate my board game, Eric Hibbeler. A man whose illustrated board games for Disney and Funko toys. How might I have come to work with such a titan of artistic accomplishment? Well I knew what I liked and I had a vision for what I wanted so I drove to the nearest board game store and grabbed 5 games off the shelf that had art that I simply liked. I googled the illustrator for all of them and wouldn't you know it, 2 of the games had the same artist. Eric got an email that night and he told me that he would love to work on my project but he was booked for the next 4 months. Thus the eternal wait began. I'm not referring to the 4 months but the overall act of waiting become synonymous with game design and launching a product at large. His talent speaks for itself and since the first iteration of BS, Eric and I have worked together on multiple iterations and together we both collaborated on the design of the "New Orleans edition" which came out great!

The "Goldilocks" era

Some waits couldn't be helped, simply the nature of the beast. But I had some waits that were very avoidable such as the ship design and subsequent redesign(s). My first model ship was HEAVY and far too big so I pivoted, unfortunately I pivoted too hard. Its not cheap making mistakes but its a lot more expensive to not acknowledge your mistake and bring forth a substandard product effectively crippling your future prospects. I was determined to get it right so of course I made another mistake! I commissioned my manufacturer to make me a game piece that was as simple and as cheap as possible. Well, not surprisingly, after receiving the prototype I decided that I also didn't like that one either. After two more changes I finally settled on the current design. It fit the bill of being both light but also retaining some creative aspects that make the pieces aesthetic. In the pictures you can see just how heavy just one piece was compared to all of the final adaptations, all of them together didn't equal one ship.

to be continued...


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