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Were you there? NextFab hosted the last day of The Hardware Meetup x DesignPhiladelphia Festival. If you didn’t get a chance to be there, let us inspire you to attend next year’s!

What is DesignPhiladelphia?

DesignPhiladelphia is a festival showcasing Philadelphia’s local design talent, from innovative architecture to cutting-edge fashion. Once a year, we come together to celebrate the power of design which shapes our world, and take a deep dive into the possibilities of our local designers. 

This festival is a testament to Philadelphia’s creativity, innovation, and the designers who make it happen.

NextFab hosted a panel discussion bringing together 3 experienced & accomplished industrial designers in the Philly hardware community as part of the DesignPhiladlephia festival. The planned title of the talk was Design Dogma: How Industrial Design Has Shaped Hardware, but moderator Don Pancoe shifted the conversation in an interesting direction, reframing the central question to How Industrial Design Must Reshape Hardware. This subtle change led the panel to discuss a variety of topics around how industrial designers can lead as hardware moves into the post-COVID era, including:
  • How manufacturing hardware products has changed post-COVID, and how designers can help companies manufacture products more sustainably and with more resilient supply chains.
  • The opportunities that exist to push for manufacturing closer to home and how design professionals can make the business case for domestic manufacturing to their clients or companies.
  • The ways in which design professionals can use AI as a tool (and not as a replacement for human creativity).

Thanks to our panelists Cody Chapman, Eric Schneider, and Drew Jordan for sharing your experience and insight!


Don Pancoe

Don Panco, cofounder, CTO, and Interim CEO of Kapsul, runs Blinkenlights.tech to provide services related to CTO and other executive functions, entrepreneurship, engineering, and design. Their specialties lie in the IoT and Industrial IoT spaces, and product development for both enterprise and consumer-focused clients. Founder Don Pancoe is a mentor with Techstars, Founder Institute, and others.

Drew Jordan

Drew is the Director of Operations & Manufacturing at Design Prosody, a remote Industrial design firm based in the Philadelphia area that he founded with Alex Undi in 2018. Design Prosody uses strategic problem-solving to bridge the gaps between engineering, user experience, and manufacturing in the product process. Design prosody services multiple industries ranging from luxury consumer goods to microgrids and agriculture. Design Prosody has won several major awards for their design work including Red Dot, IDEA Bronze, GOOD Design, and IDA Gold.

Cody Chapman

Cody Chapman is a Philadelphia-based freelance physical & digital designer specializing in medical, tech, and personal wellness design, offering industrial design, UX design, and strategic design services. Get in touch – www.codychapman.xyz

Eric Schneider

Eric Schneider has practiced industrial design for over 30 years and started Phase One Design in 1992 after working in corporate and consulting positions. He has lectured on Industrial design in China and Hong Kong and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Industrial Design program at Philadelphia University where he teaches courses in materials and manufacturing as well as design practice at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. He holds a BFA in Industrial Design from Carnegie Mellon University and a Masters in Dynamics of Organizations from the University of Pennsylvania.

Do you want to be a designer?

NextFab is at the forefront of enabling creators of all backgrounds with the right resources to turn an idea into a reality, especially when it comes to product development. 

At NextFab, we approach industrial design with a combination of genuine curiosity and professional rigor, and we begin the process with you. We work hard to understand both your vision for the product and the needs of your users, which helps us guide the design process. We work our way from hand-sketched concepts, to CAD design, and finally to physical models that you can use to develop the finished product. We use multiple iterations of prototyping to test your product’s assumptions and develop its design.

Our designers are involved in each project from start to finish and work closely with engineers to ensure form, function, and usability are all considered. We are also makers ourselves, so we understand what it takes to design a functional product. Utilizing NextFab’s equipment and resources, we can design, build, and iterate your prototype all within our well-equipped makerspace facility. With this in mind, we will always provide a practical design that looks great, functions properly, and can easily be scaled-up.


Even though this year’s festival is over, there’s still opportunities for you to explore! 

We invite you to join informal, a freelance collective composed of highly skilled independent professionals specializing in hardware and hardtech and this year’s cohost. informal offers expertise in various fields, from consumer electronics to automotive, green tech, and medical devices, helping clients at every stage to design, manufacture, and launch top-quality physical products.

New to NextFab

Did you find out about us through Hardware Meetups or DesignPhiladelphia? Welcome! Allow us to introduce ourselves. 

At NextFab, we provide the resources necessary to help innovators build and scale hardware-based startup companies. From makerspaces to product development services and ventures, they support hardware entrepreneurs from ideation to commercialization.

Sign up for our newsletter for this year’s highlights and to learn about upcoming events. There’s a lot more to do at NextFab, and we’re excited to bring your innovations and creations to life. 

In Partnership with FORMATION. Media