Smart Design

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Smart Design
Privately held company
PredecessorDavin Stowell Associates
Founded 📆1980
Founder 👔Davin Stowell, Tom Dair, Tamara Thomsen, Dan Formosa, and Tucker Viemeister
Headquarters 🏙️,
New York City
Area served 🗺️
Number of employees
📇 Address
📞 telephone

Smart Design is a strategic design firm that creates products, services and experiences.[1]

They were founded on the idea that "design should be about people, not things"[2][3], becoming one of the first agencies to employ a design thinking process[4],

In 1990, they designed the OXO swivel peeler, an early example of inclusive design[5] that is now in collections at the Museum of Modern Art[6] and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum[7]

Smart Design was featured in the 2009 documentary Objectified, discussing their user-centered design process.[8]

Selected work[edit]

  • Reach WonderGrip toothbrush (1990) A toothbrush designed to be easy for children to hold[9], for Johnson and Johnson
  • SmartGauge (2006) An instrument cluster that gave drivers feedback around how efficiently they were driving[10], for Ford
  • Flip video camcorder (2007) This camcorder was the first to focus on an easy to use experience rather than technical specifications[11], for Pure Digital
  • Cimzia self-injection syringe and packaging (2008) A syringe and package designed around the needs of arthritic patients who have reduced strength and dexterity[12], for UCB
  • Gx platform (2014) A system for pro athletes that tracked fluid intake in real time and provided formulations specific to each athlete's sweat profile[13], for Gatorade
  • Gx sweatpatch (2019) A self-diagnosing, smart sweat patch and companion app, added to the Gx platform[14], for Gatorade


  1. Greenwald, Michelle. "5 Key Trends Changing New Product And Service Development". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-04-17.
  2. Boone, Louis E.; Kurtz, David L. (2011-07-26). Contemporary Business. John Wiley & Sons. p. 250. ISBN 978-0-470-53129-7. Like many new businesses, Smart Design was founded by a collection of college classmates who wanted to change something. Dan Formosa, along with several college friends, had a background in design and ergonomics. The group believed that design should be about people, not things - and Smart Design was born. Search this book on Logo.png
  3. Berger, Warren (2010-12-28). CAD Monkeys, Dinosaur Babies, and T-Shaped People: Inside the World of Design Thinking and How It Can Spark Creativity and Innovati on. Penguin. ISBN 978-1-101-47806-6. Smart Design was rooted in the notion that product design should respond to the sometimes-mundane but nevertheless important needs of all kinds of people. Search this book on Logo.png
  4. Kuang, Cliff (2016-02-17). "Microsoft's Radical Bet On A New Type Of Design Thinking". Fast Company. Retrieved 2020-04-20. And that idea would be taken up by the design agencies that came to invent “design thinking”—notably Smart Design, which was co-founded by Dan Formosa, Moore’s husband at the time, and Ideo, where Jane Fulton Suri helped reinvent the process of design research. (Smart Design of course made its name by designing kitchen tools for OXO, with the arthritic in mind.) Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  5. Wilson, Mark (2018-09-24). "The untold story of the vegetable peeler that changed the world". Fast Company. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  6. "Smart Design, New York. Good Grips Peeler. 1989 | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  7. "Good Grips Peeler, ca. 1990". Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  8. "Objectified". Gary Hustwit. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  9. Louis E. Boone; David L. Kurtz (26 July 2011). Contemporary Business. John Wiley & Sons. p. 139. ISBN 978-0-470-53129-7. Search this book on Logo.png
  10. Walker, Alissa (2009-03-20). "Ford's SmartGauge Improves Fuel Efficiency Through Better Instrument Design". Fast Company. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  11. Alan Siegel; Irene Etzkorn (2 April 2013). Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity. Grand Central Publishing. p. 58. ISBN 978-1-4555-0968-3. Search this book on Logo.png
  12. "The Ripple Effect: Cimzia Syringe". Metropolis. 2010-03-01. Retrieved 2020-04-15.
  13. Greenwald, Michelle. "The Key Ingredients Behind The Great Gatorade Gx Platform". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-04-16.
  14. Greenwald, Michelle (24 September 2019). "5 Key Trends Changing New Product And Service Development". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-04-17. Smart also worked with Gatorade to further its transformation from a sports beverage to a sport nutrition company and expanded their business model to include customizable hydration based on each athletes’ unique physiological needs and exercise programs. With Epicore Biosystem, they recently developed a self-diagnosing, smart sweat patch that was showcased at TED 2019. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)

External links[edit] - Smart Design website

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