Spark Innovations helps design the future
By Mark Pavilons
The power of creation is an awesome thing. But it’s not limited to gods.
The creators at King’s Spark Innovations do it on a daily basis. There, in the studio in King City, designers and engineers build “better mousetraps” for their wide range of clients.
The calm and quiet studio belies the flurry of the work going on – the hundreds of calculations, 3-D renderings and mouse clicks necessary to produce a multitude of consumer and industrial products. It’s literally life from lifelessness.
That’s what makes Spark exciting, according to CFO Gary Vilinsky. He relishes in the process – taking an idea or concept through to commercialization and on the shelf of a retail outlet.
The award-winning industrial design company specializes in the development of innovative products and inventions. Since 1989, Spark’s professional team of industrial designers and mechanical engineers has taken thousands of products from the early stages of an idea to the mass market.
Take a typical toothbrush for instance. Spark spent more than a decade perfecting some of its rechargeable models. It actually is rocket science in many ways – designing everything from the oscillating movements, handle ergonomics and the bristles themselves. The average consumer may not appreciate the amount of work that goes into a product or even its packaging, but the think tank at Spark is meticulous, paying attention to the smallest of details.
The showroom of the shop is filled with wonders of all sorts – kitchen gadgets, golf training aids, sports products, medical aids, even innovative audio speaker stands. All are a testament to human ingenuity.
Chris Pearen, design director, said given the amount of details in any product, the process can take time. Product development is often learning from mistakes, and improving along the way.
The majority of projects that Spark deals with are the very first of their kind. They begin with a client’s idea and some rough sketches, and continue through 3-D modelling, prototypes and testing. Their customers include individuals, start-ups and large multinational corporations. Spark has earned quite the reputation over more than two decades in the design business.
Pearen said while they’re experts, some of the science comes from the clients. Spark staff largely handles physical composition. “That’s where we shine,” Pearen said. But they do collaborate with the electronic or scientific experts along the way to produce results.
Even something as simple as a potato masher requires a knowledge of ergonomics and the human form. In fact, these are mainstays of the design elements. The staff at Spark draw every ounce of AI from their software. The designers have to have a broad range of skills to wrap up the products and make them sparkle.
While Spark isn’t a marketing company, they do offer some assistance in web design, packaging and product photography. Their work doesn’t typically end with the final product.
Vilinsky admitted there are always challenges, but every day is exciting. Bringing an idea to fruition is an “incredible feat.”
Pearen said they’re in it for the long game. Sometimes, clients have an amazing idea, but it takes a while for the consumer or industry to embrace it. There can be many hurdles along the way.
They often have to educate their clients on the process and the minutiae involved including sourcing, manufacturing, shipping and patents.
Pearen sees it all like a complex puzzle. “We’re trying to crack it; make everything work the way you want it to work,” he said. Sometimes, they have to “tease” the design out of a product, to “find the path through the process.”
Vilinsky said they’re dealing with brand new products – breakthroughs really – every day. Sometimes, their work is buried deep within corporate portfolios, so they remain as unsung heroes.
Make no mistake, Spark Innovations is a small but prolific firm. They likely have a hand in products that you’ve come to know and love. And they will undoubtedly be involved in many more in the future.
For more of a glimpse into Spark and its services, visit www.sparkinnovations.com