Introduction: Your Design - a Designer Tool

About: Hi! since my first toddlerdrawings I am passionate by design, therefore "industrial design engineering" fits lik a glove to me. I really like challenging myself, to reach my skills to a next level.

HI ! We are 4 Industrial Design Engineering students at Ghent University;

  • Bert Vuylsteke
  • Pieterjan Van der Borght
  • Nina Storms
  • Allen Wang

To start of we investigated in the first place on the needs and desires of designers during their design process. As we are industrial design engineering students ourselves, we already knew some desires that most design practitioners have in common. On the base of our assumptions, interviews and user-tests, we eventually developed a tool that supports designers in their design process.

  • Identification of the tool, e.g.; User name, Project name, Phone number, Badge, etc.
  • Management & planning; by use of Trello-board & an overview timeline
  • Paper stock with blank paper for sketching, doodleing, flowcharts, decisions, etc.
  • Design Phase plates, e.g.;
    - Discover, Define, Develop, Deliver
    - Sketch, Decide, Material, Prototype
    - Prototype 1, Prototype 2, Prototype 3, Prototype 4
    - etc.
  • Cutting mat
  • Linen bag

Step 1: Materials, Machines & Abilities


  • MDF wood plates x4 (600 x 450 mm)
  • Felt textile (thickness 2mm - 337 x 580 mm)
  • Velcro (230mm)
  • Magnets (⌀10mm x 5 mm)
  • Magnetic Whiteboard sheets x3 (A4 format)
  • Steel sheet x1 (317 x 215 mm)
  • Rubber bands, 4 different colors, 4 each color
  • Permanent Marker
  • Whiteboard Marker
  • Cyanoacrilate glue
  • Fix all glue
  • Wood glue


  • Lasercutter
  • Metal cutter
  • A pair of scissors for textile
  • Cutter knife


  • Lasercutting
  • Metal working
  • Wood working

Step 2: Lasercutting - Wooden Design Phase Plates

First step is to lasercut the 4 MDF plates of 600 by 450 mm into the right dimensions for the design tool.

In annex you can find the necessary Adobe Illustrator (vector) files, readable for any lasercutter program.
You insert these files in the vector processing program that accompanies the available lasercutter.

Eventually you lay the MDF plates in the right spot.
Then you close the safety cap and finally start lasertcutting.

Step 3: Glueing the Magnet Holders With Wood Glue

In this step you glue with wood glue the "magnet holders".
Thereafter you attache 2 "magnet holders", each containing a magnet, to each phase plate.
The magnets must be put in the circular recess of the "magnet holders".
The pictures might help you in this step.

This step results in a system that enable the designer to easily detach and attach the design phase plates.

Step 4: Glueing Paper Stock

Next up, you will make the blank paper stock.

Firstly the bottom plate is the biggest one, without any wholes.
The second and third plates are similar and are U-shaped.
Then finally the last upper plate has a circular recess.

If you respected this order of glueing, you should end up with a paper stock as seen in the picture above.
NOTE: the wood glue should cure for at least 20 minutes, depending on the amount you used.

Step 5: Steel Sheet - Management & Planning

In this step you will cut the metal sheet in the right dimensions (317 x 215 mm)

Then you glue this steel sheet on top of the blank paper stock with fix all glue.
NOTE!!! the steel sheet should be alligned with its right edge to the right edge of the paper stock.

Ultimately, you write & draw with permanent maker on the steel sheet the "trello board" and "time line" as can be seen in the pictures above.

Step 6: Whiteboard Trello & Timeline Sheets

In this step you cut the "whiteboard A4 Format" sheets to the write dimensions with a cutter knife.


  • 20 sheets of 60 x 30 mm
  • 10 sheets of 30 x 30 mm
  • 4 sheets of A5 format
  • 4 sheets of 60 x 10 mm


  • 4 sheets of 40 x 35 x 10 mm (rectangular trapezium) = as can be seen in the pictures above

Then you only glue (cyanoacrilate glue) the four A5 sheets and the four 60 x 10 mm and the four trapezium sheets to the back of each plate. Also you glue (cyanoacrilate glue) the four trapezium sheets to each plate.

Finally you draw with permanent marker on the 4 sheets of 60 x 10 mm, 6 checkboxes above of each other.

Also not forget to add to your tool is the actual checklist for every plate.
This checklist contains 6 major self-reflective questions about your progress:

  • Did you think broad enough (Have you made enough iterations)?
  • Were you critical enough?
  • Did you document everything well?
  • Did you update the phase mindmap?
  • Did you update the trello board?

Step 7: Glueing the Cutting Mat

In this step, you firstly trim the A3 format cutting mat to 317 x 250 mm.
Then you glue (fix all glue) the cutting mat on the inner side of the backcover plate (plate with 2 rectangular recess').
NOTE! the rectangular recess' of the back cover must not be overlapped!

Step 8: Felt Cover

In this step you cut a rectangular felt sheet of 250 x 580 mm with a pair of scissors for textile.

Then you glue with wood glue the felt sheet to the back and front cover, alligned to the ends of the felt sheet.

Step 9: Velcro & Linen Bag

In this step, you attach the velcro to the linen bag and the bottom of the back cover with cyanoacrilate glue.

Step 10: Rubber Bands

Finally, you attach the rubber bands to any corner of each plate. Make sure the rubber bands of each plate are the same color to distinguish the plates from each other easily.

Step 11: Identification

In this last step, you glue with cyanoacrilate glue a transparent plastic pocket on the front of the design tool for identification papers.

NOTE! Make sure the pocket is faced in the right direction, as can been seen in the picture above.
This makes sure that the designer positions his tool correctly in front of him/her.

Step 12: There You Go ! ;)

We hope we might have helped you in your design proces by enabling you to structure, document, transport and display your master piece easily.

Have fun designing, exploring and chasing your dreams! ;)