Product Development

Essential Resources For Product Design On A Budget

Running a small business or startup is always difficult but especially challenging in today’s economy where consumers and investors are far more cautious with their money. A successful startup is a master at running lean. If you need to be that team, fear not, others have blazed the path before you and figured out ways to get high quality results without spending the kind of dollars that the 800 lb gorilla in your industry does.

At Leardon, small businesses and startups come to us at all different levels of preparedness, from the back of the napkin drawing to a fully functioning prototype that has been through the product development lifecycle and is ready for manufacturing.

If you are having trouble communicating the product vision to your startup team and the back of the napkin pencil sketch isn’t doing it, try something a little more advanced.

 Google Sketchup

Google Sketchup offers the artistically challenged several ways to take basic to advanced designs into a 3D world with a very easy to learn and use interface. You don’t have to be an AutoCAD master to use Google Sketchup. There are a LOT of tutorials and a huge library of shapes to choose from that will help get you started.

If you download the free version and find it frustrating and taking too much of your time, perhaps a better choice is an affordable industrial designer or specialized product designer.


If your small business or startup team is not in the position of purchasing expensive software like Adobe Photoshop but you need a solution for image manipulation software, you can download the open-source leader in this category for either Mac or PC. Gimp has been around a longtime and it’s impressive when it comes to it’s abilities. If you have spent any amount of time with photo manipulation software such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, you will find Gimp a great no-cost work around until you land that first big purchase order, raise venture capital or an angel round.


If you are looking for something that is vector based and could be similar to Adobe Illustrator, but open-source and free, Inkscape might be your answer. It is available for both Mac and PC and is great for product logos.

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