Justin Siebel is the man behind the napkin dispensers at Citizens Bank Park.
Siebel, 28, who runs a one-man design firm called Exit Velocity Design, said he knows it’s not the most glamorous product. But that napkin dispenser, which he designed for SCA Americas, is used all over the world, and you can’t deny its utility.
Also: “It’s nice to see your product in real life,” he said.
His work ranges from product design to industrial design, that is, instruction manuals and packaging.
Below, get Siebel’s take on 3D printing, his favorite job out of college and his reasoning for starting his own company.
- The basics: 28 years old, grew up in Northern New Jersey and came to Philly in 2003 to attend Philadelphia University, currently living in Center City
- When did you found Exit Velocity Design? In 2011.
- Why’d you decide to start your own company? It’s always been tough to get a full-time position, so I always made myself available to multiple consultancies and freelance positions. I learned that small consultancy mentality and I enjoyed the freedom, as well as having the opportunity to develop my own products. I like being able to touch every part of the process: the sketching, the research, the production, the vendor communication.
- Favorite job before you founded Exit Velocity Design? Bala Cynwyd-based Mike Leonard, Designer, where I interned and eventually worked full-time after school. Mike has been a mentor since. At a very young stage of my career, Mike put me in front of clients and gave me design responsibilities I wouldn’t have gotten other places. I’ve modeled my business and design mentality after his.
- Favorite project you’ve worked on? The napkin dispenser I designed for SCA. It’s not the most glamorous project, it’s not anything that’s going to make the front cover of Dwell or Metropolis but I enjoyed working on this napkin dispenser because I was able to do the concept sketching and research. I was also able to test [the user experience] at QVC. It’s rewarding to see it off my computer screen and actually in plastic and making profit for the company I work for.
- What does an average day at work look like for you? I work out of my apartment and my time is split between searching for new projects and working on current projects. I’ll work on instruction manuals for people who will use my products, and I’ll also spend time on sites like Craigslist trying to find new work. I write a lot of proposals.
- Have you considered joining a coworking space? I’m interested in Indy Hall or NextFab. It’s a financial decision right now — I have to make sure that I can make good use of that space. By the end of the summer, I hope to be able to have enough steady work where I can operate out of a coworking space.
- Show us your workspace, please!
- What’s your take on the 3D printing trend? I feel it’s very important for an industrial designer to not only design on a sketchbook or a computer but to design with physical models, to take the product out of the virtual world and into the physical world. Stuff like 3D printing is making that possible.
- Can you introduce us to someone in the broad local tech scene who you think doesn’t get enough attention? Bryce Beamer, designer director of Pennsport’s Studio KMD, a design and prototyping studio.
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