SkillCoach is a new series where Vince Haley, Product Dev. Professional, and Educator, provides a virtual design critique of new product designs or processes with an aim to help you strengthen your creative and technical skills. Feel free to participate in the discussion via sharing your comments below! Connect with Vince on Linkedin here or via Instagram here. Have a design you would like to submit for a review and critique? Contact us here.

Vincent Haley and Niels Diffrient celebrate their successful collaboration at the 38th International Design Conference in Aspen - circa 1988. The two along with Gordon Bruce served as Industrial Design panelists exploring the theme
Vincent Haley and Niels Diffrient celebrate their successful collaboration at the 38th International Design Conference in Aspen – circa 1988. The two along with Gordon Bruce served as Industrial Design panelists exploring the theme “The Cutting Edge: An Examination of the State of Things.” | IDCA theme poster shown below.

Todays Virtual Design Critique (VDC) is perhaps as much a design celebration as it is a critique. Its a celebration of youthful design talent on the rise! I’m delighted to showcase Jacob Dawson and Jimmy Huynh two fledgling designers who are finding success hosting Industrial Design video-blogs aka “vlogs”. Presently vlogging about design is their “sweet spot.” Both are passionate about learning and have adopted a share as you go approach which vlogging is perfectly suited for. Our aim in this VDC will be to root out every morsel of skill strengthening and career building goodness that we can!

Both of these youngsters quickly won my subscribership and I’ve been gobbling up their content. Perhaps I’m so excited about these guys because, like me, they are educators at heart. They are skill-coaches in the making! Also in them, I’m reminded of the youthful passion, energy, and resourcefulness I too embraced in order to jumpstart my ID career.  While vlogging was not available to me at that time, scholarships, conferences, design competitions, and TV broadcasts were. Over my career, I’ve been blessed to fully leverage each of these platforms.  As with me, Jacob and Jimmy are leveraging today’s platforms as they navigate through the fledgling stage of their ID career.

Each of these guys is cultivating a brand. While their vlogs share the mechanics of being well-paced, engaging, and visually striking, the similarities diverge in terms of presentation styles and breadth of focus. Without further ado, let’s meet these guys!

Jacob Dawson | Vlog – Myrin 3.3k Subscribers

Jacob is still drinking the milk of academia at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) New Zealand. He crafts episodes that are full of wit and humor. He uses various antics to help chronicle his design odyssey. His target audience is primarily newbies. He makes the process of learning design less intimidating, even fun! His transparency is refreshing and he’s not afraid to share his flaws and failures. For example, almost every first-year ID student has had a shop folly. Watch closely and you’ll see Dawson vs. Disc sander in action!  If I were to tag Jacob with a persona I’d say he is something in the order of an Adam Savage or perhaps the Rhett and Link of ID.

Jacob’s big break came when he entered a vlogging competition sponsored by Worldskills. He won and came away with an all-expense paid trip to Abu Dhabi to capture by way of vlogging, the massive skill-based jobs competitive event! This is but one of many opportunities that convinced Jacob that vlogging should be a part of every student’s university experience. Jacob’s Youtube channel is Myrin.

YouTube video


Jacob Dawson | Antic that won him a vlog competition

 At the end of 2016, I made the decision to begin vlogging. In 2017, I can say it totally changed my life! Because of my vlog, I have been paid to travel to different countries and so much more!

Jacobs 5 Tips for Vlogging

1 – Do not buy an expensive camera

  • Canon G7x on a Joby tripod or Smartphone are Jacobs common tools of choice.

2 – Storyline and pacing

  • A good storyline that is well paced will keep your views attention and have them coming back for more.

3 – Editing

  • Follow the editing golden rule –  “When in doubt cut it out” If a shot does not push the storyline forward, leave it out.

4 – Just Start!

  • Don’t wait until you get a good skill. Start pointing straight away while you are bad.

5 – Expect your first few vlogs to be sub-par

  • Finally, know that your first three blogs are going to be Cr*p!
  • When you begin learning a new skill you’re never good at it. So give it your all and push through.
  • Somewhere around vlog number six, you will start finding your voice and personality and vlog production will really start flowing.

Jimmy Huynh | Vlog – How To Be An Industrial Designer – 4.9k Subscribers

Jimmy has been christened “professional” and is cutting his teeth on the meaty stuff of industry. He is a 2017 graduate of  California State University-Long Beach. According to LinkedIn he’s secured a spot at Kingston Technologies, Fountain Valley CA. In contrast to Jacob, Jimmy is smooth as silk. He’s got an element of swag, from his signature “This is Jimmy” intro, to dropping select tunes with a mellow beat. Owing to these tidbits, I’d tag him with a persona on the order of a  Jony Ives with a smidgen of iconic designer Issey Miyake mixed in. Now if that’s not a recipe for success I don’t know what is!

Jimmy’s big break came in the form of being selected to compete on Wilson Golf’s Driver vs. Driver  Product Design reality show! Jimmy is prolific in cranking out vlog posts with an aim to help Industrial Designers strengthen their skills. He is passionate about the Industrial Design profession. He enjoys celebrating the role ID plays throughout the product development process. His Youtube vlog is How To Be An Industrial Designer and he has garnered an impressive following.

YouTube video

Jimmy Huynh | The Product Designer Vlog

Not to say that I’m like super successful or anything but I have done some things that I would say not every single industrial designer has done…..”What’s crazy for me is that I’ve never had to look for a job. I attribute this to just putting myself out there (Vlogging).”

Jimmy’s 5 Success Factors

1 – Know that Industrial Design is what you want to do

  • Be courageous and put yourself out there.
  • Don’t let your perception of others advanced skills or talent hinder you from striving to grow.

2 – Have good time management skills

  • Start promptly. When you receive a project brief from your instructor start thinking about what you want to do and map out your plan of action.
  • Pace yourself such that you avoid high-pressure crunch time and unnecessary all-nighters.

3 – Don’t fear that you are not good enough

  • This is the quickest way to hinder your success. Such thinking will stifle your ability to grow and excel.
  • Take the risk and put yourself out there. Apply for scholarships, competing in design competitions, or pursuing internship opportunities.
  • Don’t let fear cause you to be the source of your own demise!

4- Keep Producing  Works of Design

  • A natural designer tends to be one who observes design in action daily. Let these observations fuel ideas and motive to want to design.
  • Post your work on social media. Don’t be afraid to publish Work In Progress (WIP). Let others join in on your design journey and provide valuable feedback.
  • Opportunities and People will inevitably start seeking you out!

5 – Design Studying

  • Frequent design related blogs daily. Set aside a dedicated chunk of time to explore the creative works of others.
  • Critically analyze each project or presentation.
  • Don’t re-invent the wheel.

SkillCoach | Expanded Tips & Comments

Let’s wrap up this VDC with a few additional tip that I gleaned from looping and re-looping through Jacob and Jimmy’s vlog posts.

  • I believe Jacob and Jimmy are finding success owing to their propensity to MUSE as oppose to seeking A-muse-MENT. They make the most of their time and opportunities. Jacob used his time as a postman to reflect on his 2015 Kickstarter failure the Myrins Keepsake NFC tags product and app. This musing lead him to realize it was the design process that he loved. He promptly applied to the ID program at AUT.
  • Both are TEACHABLE – They seek out ways to learn and accept advice and input from anyone willing to share skills and insights.
  • They are RESOURCEFUL – There are all kinds of free software available to students. A healthy dose of self-discipline coupled with the “20 HOUR” learning approach is a viable way to expand your skills and to create employment opportunities.
  • A spirit of “STICK-TO-IT-ness” yields proficiency and stamina. In his vlog, Jacob says straight out that consistent vlogging is hard as a full-time ID student. However, after vlogging for an entire year, his testimony is that it is well worth it.
  • Glean all you can from peers, be it by direct inquiry or observation. Find ways to fold these learnings into your work but with your own style or flare.
  • Resist the urge to do the bare minimum. Make it your habit to go the extra mile.
  • Document early, often, and for each different activity, e.g. research, ideation, model-making, CAD, etc.
  • Pace yourself such that you avoid high-pressure crunch times and unnecessary all-nighters.
  • Experiment with as many mediums as possible mixing the use of both analog and digital skills in the body of work you produce.

So there you have it, a wealth of goodies to add to your design arsenal! Perhaps you’ll get the itch to give vlogging a try yourself. As always….Keep learning!

Vince Haley | SkillCoach





Vince has worked as Studio Engineer for consumer and medical product brands such as Whirlpool, Newell and ResMed Ltd. Australia. He's garnered 39+ patents and has designed everything from totes to toasters, and fiddles to furniture. He enjoys all things 3D and has carved out a niche as a Class-A Surfacing Guru. Active in both industry and academia, Vince serves as a Creative and Technical Skill Development Coach providing hands-on training and workshops pertaining to CAID/CAD. Vince relishes opportunities to keep learning and sharing what he's learned!