A Glimpse Into the World of Product Design with Tyler Hill

Episode #162 the Wingnut Social Podcast

Tyler is the co-founder of Mitchell Hill, an interior design firm—and art gallery—based in Charleston, SC. His travels, life experiences, and numerous educational endeavors have contributed to his keen eye for interior design. Tyler is particularly talented in lighting and furniture design which allows Mitchell Hill to deliver an exceptionally customized experience for their clients.

What You’ll Hear On This Episode of Wingnut Social

  • [3:34] Tyler Hill’s background in design
  • [4:47] Tyler’s process: how he got into product design
  • [9:04] How did he find a manufacturer?
  • [11:03] How to get over a creative block
  • [12:53] Margins and pricing for custom lighting
  • [16:45] From product design to licensing
  • [18:03] How important is networking?
  • [19:25] Mock-ups for the non-techie designer
  • [21:26] How to get into product design
  • [23:00] All about Tyler’s upcoming collection: Transparent
  • [26:01] What up Wingnut Round!
  • [28:02] Where to connect with Tyler
  • [31:04] Can’t-miss Blooper Reel!

Connect with Tyler Hill

Resources & People Mentioned

Tyler’s product design process

When Tyler was in the market for a sconce for his home, he couldn’t find anything that fit his vision for the space. So he decided to sketch a design, and then he sketched some more—and realized he loved doing it. So he started to build a portfolio and began to show it to clients. Everyone wants their home individualized and unique, so he began creating pieces for his interior design clients. He found a local manufacturer to produce his lighting and he eventually expanded into chandeliers, flush mounts, etc. 

As far as the creative process goes, Tyler notes that he will often wake up in the middle of the night feeling inspired. Or he’ll pull inspiration from Pinterest or Instagram images. He may take a walk or take inspirational photos while traveling. The bottom line is that you can find inspiration everywhere. Once Tyler has an idea, he typically starts with a simple hand sketch. Once he’s done the drawings he imports it into his software program (SketchUp) and does realistic renderings in Adobe Illustrator. 

Keep listening to hear how Tyler found a manufacturer to produce his designs, how he prices his lighting—and even how to overcome creative blocks. 

How to get into product design and licensing

According to Tyler, if someone wants to get into licensing, the best thing you can do is get some pieces made and photographed. As you start building a portfolio of design work, you also need to start building your credibility in the media. Why? Because networking and visibility is a big piece of the pie. You need to become an influencer. Even doing panels at markets will begin to build relationships with other designers. 

He emphasizes that you need to get yourself out there and tell your story—that’s what people want to hear. They want to see where you’re coming from, what’s going through your head as you’re designing, where you’re getting your inspiration, and where you’re heading next. 

Above all else, if you’re passionate about product design you must be patient. Landing a deal requires focus, perseverance, and confidence in yourself that you can make it happen. Tyler also dishes the details of his upcoming collection, ‘Transparent’, in this episode—don’t miss it!

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