How to Make a Product: Product Design Checklist

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Learn all about the product design process in Liz Long’s HOW U course, How to Make a Product: The A-Z Guide to Product Manufacturing.


Have you ever wanted to learn how to create and distribute your own product design?

Liz Long, co-founder of reusable bag company Bag the Habit has designed and distributed her own products, and now she’s teaching a course on it.


In this course, you’ll learn:

  • How to take the entire product design process from concept to retail

  • What goes into product design, production and sales

  • The process of finding the right supply partners

  • The importance and process of quality assurance and quality control

In the meantime, we’ve shared Liz’s checklist for the first step of the product design and manufacturing process. The course also includes step-by-step instructions for implementing these steps, as well as checklists and guides for production, material sourcing, quality assurance and distribution.

You can use this checklist as a step-by-step guide when executing your design and development process.

Product Design Checklist

1. Examine the Competition

  • Review 2-3 competitors’ products.

  • Observe a broad range of un-related products for inspirational design, materials, packaging and more.

2. Make a Visual Representation

  • Make a visual representation of your product. Programs like PSD Covers turn flat images into 3-D Renderings.

3. Select Materials

  • Make a list of all the materials needed for your product.

  • Research available materials and their ‘technical names’ by visiting sourcing websites, requesting supplier catalogs, going to wholesale stores, or looking at other products in the marketplace.

  • Get materials for a rough sample. They don’t need to be exact, but should function similarly to what you ultimately plan to use.

4. Make a Rough Sample

  • Make a sample by hiring a sample-maker or doing it yourself.

  • Test the function, construction, durability, and style of the sample.

5. Create Working Specs

  • Start a working Spec Sheet for your project. The purpose of a working Spec Sheet is to identify the ideal materials you want for your product. This includes the style, size, color, finish, and any other relevant details about the material. It’s okay to leave things like finish and costs blank when you begin. As you research and move further along with the design and sourcing process, you’ll continue to fill in the document until it’s complete. Register for Liz’s HOW U course, How to Make a Product: The A-Z Guide to Product Manufacturing to learn how to create a Spec Sheet.

6. Make a Professional Prototype

Assess your working sample and make changes to the design.

Gather additional materials for your prototype. They should be as close to your final selection as possible.

Make a prototype by hiring a professional or doing it yourself.

7. Gather Feedback

  • Host a feedback circle or sit one-on-one with people in your target demographic and request input about your product.

  • Test your product for a minimum of two weeks.

  • Make design/material adjustments as needed.

8. Add Colors, Prints & Finishes

  • Create a color mood board using Pinterest, Evernote, or a good old-fashioned homemade collage.

Product Design Mood Board

sample mood board, courtesy of Liz Long

  • Make a list of items to be designed. Examples include fabric patterns/graphics, color of plastics, metals and other materials, sewn labels/tags, interior care labels, and colors/imprints on zippers, buttons, snaps etc.

  • Using your mood board as a guide, execute the design for these items. You may need to enlist the help of a creative professional.

9. Create a Tech Pack and other design documents for your product.

  • A Tech Pack is a set of technical documents that act as a guide for how to make your own product. You can have one made or make your own for each product you are going to produce. If you want to lean how to create a Tech Pack, register for Liz’s HOW U course, How to Make a Product: The A-Z Guide to Product Manufacturing.

  • Facilitate any supplementary items you’ll need. For example, garments require a pattern, marking, and grading. Plastic or metal items may need CAD (Computer Aided Design) Drawings.

Don’t know how to put together mood boards, tech packs, CAD Drawings and other items in the checklist? Register for How to Make a Product: The A-Z Guide to Product Manufacturing to learn more!

Register now!

Want to learn more about Liz and Bag the Habit? Check out an interview with her and see her products over at

More product design resources: