When you slide on a set of headphones or feel the vibrations pounding your eardrums through a set of quality ear buds, the details that came together to produce it may not be so obvious. Skullcandy is the designer and manufacturer of headphones, ear buds and head sets for the audiophile with a wide range of sound deploying products specific to your lifestyle or passion. Delivering quality sounds needs to be conveyed in quality visuals; visuals that communicate the attention to detail and the technology that goes into the design of each product. You’ll see this throughout their website, packaging and marketing material and in all of this, they use KeyShot to generate the imagery, animations and interactive visuals. We caught up with Industrial Designer, Dave Vogt, to get an inside look at KeyShot in action.
Modeling software used:
For as long as he can remember, Skullcandys’ Dave Vogt, was always interested in finding out how things worked; both mechanically and electronically. As a child, he would spend hours disassembling anything he could get his hands on. “As I got older, the toys that never made it back to ‘full assembly mode’ helped me realize that I had a passion for making things truly functional.” In high school, Vogt was originally interested in Mechanical Engineering, but quickly realized that there was a need for something a bit more.. creative. “When I found Industrial Design, it was that perfect mix between my mechanical mind and a love for consumer products.”
Dave was working as a project manager for a consultancy in Salt Lake City, when a fellow Industrial Designer recommended him for an opening on the Skullycandy Team. As a 3D/Render Specialist, Vogt was anxious to get back into more of a product development role. “We mostly use SolidWorks and occasionally Rhino for trickier organic geometry that SolidWorks doesn’t like. We’ll then import to SolidWorks, keeping as much parametric data intact as possible.”
If you’re familiar with the Skullcandy product line, you know the how quickly and how often they launch new product. Speed to market and short project timelines is just one unique aspect of their design process.
“With Skullcandy, focusing on a lifestyle product world and being able to quickly develop and launch trend setting, next level product is what keeps you relevant in the industry.” Dave explains.
“Most of that is a huge credit to the team we have been able to build here. In the past few years we have brought almost every aspect of the product development process in house.”
“Designers, Engineers, Model Makers, Sourcing Specialists, and even our own Quality and Reliability Team have helped us turn some products from a napkin sketch to manufactured product samples in as little as 3 months.”
KeyShot has been a critical part of delivering their products. “As a designer, there is nothing more valuable than being able to quickly and clearly visualize an idea to the team. KeyShot is an integral part of our design process, helping us create killer visuals and motion assets in minimal time. With new features like LiveLinking and Model Sets, our process is continually being streamlined. KeyShot also allowed us to bring a lot of previously outsourced render related expenses in house. This not only saved us a boat load of cash, but reduced what use to be a 2-3 week timeline to 2-3 days. It is a truly efficient process integration.”
And they’re using it throughout the product development process creating the company’s public facing asset. From packaging visuals to trade show exhibits, you can see Skullcandy KeyShot imagery all over the place. Ironically enough, KeyShot started as a visualization asset for the Industrial Design team, but once people started seeing the potential, it became a much larger part of the Skullcandy brand.
Dave has some important advice to Industrial Designer and people interested in going into the design field. “Be wary of process complacency. With how fast today’s tech and innovation is progressing, there is always something on the horizon that will take your skill set and potential to the next level.” says Dave as he adjusts his headset.
“In my experience, I’ve seen other designers find a process that works so well for them, they settle in to that MO and develop a heavy resistance to change. It can be tough, and in some cases time-consuming, but do your best to always keep an eye on what’s coming down the pipeline for your industry. It will help ensure you’ll never be left behind, which can happen easier than you think. Especially with all the innovators out there pushing the boundaries of software and associated tech.”