From Conception to Launch: How Beyond Design, Inc. Helped One Client Protect Dentists & Patients in a Pandemic

February 23, 2021

At Beyond Design, Inc. every project we take on is an inspiring challenge. Some ideas, though, offer that special combination of challenge, urgency, and public benefit that energizes our entire team. We recently completed just such a project with a first-time client. 

In this case, a dental professional approached us about a problem that’s never been more relevant. Dentists spend all day, every day hovering over open mouths. They use tools that send aerosols and particles spraying from patients’ mouths into the air around them. In the world of COVID-19, you can see how this is a major concern — not only for dentists and their staff, but also for patients.

The big question was: How do you create a barrier over the mouth when the mouth is exactly the place dentists need to access for their work? This is the unique challenge we faced in designing a product and going — well, beyond design — to help them bring the product to the world.

Together, we created the AirGuard™ — a see-through panel between dentist and patient that allows the dentist to complete treatments without limitations while keeping both parties safe. It also features a built-in vacuum attachment that sucks away aerosols and removes them safely.

So, how did we get from a client’s vision to a finished project? We’d love to tell you about it!.

Designing the AirGuard™ Product Line

As with all well-planned design products, our team started with research. We visited multiple dentists’ offices and watched dental work in action. This research phase is essential for identifying the real needs of a product and the challenges along with limited space we’ll face in designing it. 

In this early stage of design, next came a series of concept sketches. These initial sketches help our designers visualize products, imagine shape, features, form, and more. In the case of the AirGuard™, we needed to create a product that was effective at its primary goal — protecting dentists and patients from exposure to airborne viruses — as well as several secondary goals, like allowing dentists full access to patients’ mouths and maintaining a positive experience for patients.
Once we had some early sketches, the design team fabricated foam core sketch models, which helped determine the product’s size and positioning around the patient — making sure Human Factors and ergonomics would function and fit into the real world. All along the way, we talked with medical and design professionals to get important insights about the environment where the AirGuard™ would be used and what it would be required to accomplish.

Connecting to Manufacturers

Sometimes at Beyond Design, we work with clients who are deeply connected in the world of manufacturing, marketing and packaging products. In other projects, we work with clients who have very little reach into these areas and need more support. The AirGuard™ project was a case of a client who not only needed product design, but also what you might call ‘product launch design.’ They didn’t just need us to design the product, they needed help with manufacturing, brand development, a web site and marketing the product, too. 

That’s one of the benefits of working with a holistic design firm like Beyond Design: When your needs for support go beyond the more limited definition of product design, there are advantages and efficiencies to having a partner that can deliver a more complete range of services.

Designing a Marketing Strategy

At Beyond Design, it is important to us to support our clients beyond a finished product. In this case, we helped our client find the right ways to present their product to the right markets. Our expert team helped design assets including marketing materials, a complete and fully functioning website, social media presence and more that created a consistent and compelling narrative for AirGuard™. 

As the product’s designers, we’re uniquely suited to tell its story on social media. It’s a natural extension of the work our team is well-versed in handling. We even have our own in-house sales and marketing team for these exact needs. In fact, this holistic service model is the reason our firm is called Beyond Design.

A Full-Service Solution

For this project, we started with a design problem: Create a product that complements existing safety precautions to further protect dentists and patients from aerosolized viruses while enabling dental work to proceed unhindered. But we went further. We connected our client with manufacturers, investors, and even potential customers. We developed a marketing plan, created collateral and helped them identify the most compelling ways to talk about AirGuard™.

In the end, we didn’t just create a great product that was urgently needed and would be guaranteed to have a successful life after COVID-19. We helped AirGuard™ enter the market the right way, ensuring a long and successful product life.

Learn more about AirGuard™ and how it helps dentists and patients breathe easily.

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