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​If you are a maker, inventor, designer, or engineer with an idea, you can design a product that people will buy and love
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The Heroic™ Design Process is rigorous

Heroic™ Design offers a rigorous design process you can trust to deliver professional and remarkable product designs.


The Heroic™ Design Workbook breaks down the process and explains it well, so designing your product is achievable.


With explanations, examples, and templates for your design—right in the workbook—you can create the most generous design possible for your users.

Chances are, you have an idea for a new product, but what do you do next?

Designing a remarkable product is difficult

There is a lot of competition

The bar for
success is high

And it's tough to get noticed

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The Heroic™ Design Process is a full system of design
The Heroic™ Design Process brings ideas to life

The Heroic™ Design Process was created over 25 years to bring ideas to market. These designs have appeared in Popular Science and Oprah, and sold over a million units in stores like REI, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bed Bath & Beyond, Crate and Barrel, and Sur La Table.

It combines unique and proven methods

This is not process for its own sake.

Each step is necessary and builds on your previous work. All of the tools are clearly explained, and the example design shows how each step in the process works together to advance your design.

Then it's your turn to create, using the templates in the Workbook:

  • Ideation: connect users, a problem worth solving, and your expertise.

  • Quality Function Deployment: capture the voice of your user.

  • User/Problem/Design Definition: summarize your users, their problem, and how they describe a remarkable solution.

  • Requirements: set the bar for performance.

  • Functional Mapping: break down the problem into a system of solvable parts.

  • Brainstorming: maximize the number of creative solutions.

  • Weighted Decision Matrix: make the hard decisions, objectively and correctly.

  • Design for Manufacturing, Assembly, and Sustainability: optimize your design.

  • Costed Bill of Materials and Cost Models: model profit and cost (so you get paid).

  • Design Failure Modes and Effects Analysis: find problems before your user does.

  • Design Verification Plan and Report: prototype, test, and get user feedback.

  • Conceptual Design Review: ensure you've chosen the most generous design for your users.

  • Detailed Design: document your design so it can be launched.

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And yes, it is a physical workbook

There are many ways to digitize a design. But while you are creating that design, nothing beats connecting your mind to paper.

With explanations, examples, and templates for your work—right in the workbook—you will always know what to do next. The workbook is always ready to capture your creativity.

The Heroic™ Design Workbook is a functional work of art

The Workbook has been meticulously written and designed to encourage you, so you will boldly work on your design. It is the best of functional and aesthetic design.

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Cover: Holliston Arrestox®

  • Thick and solid writing support

  • Durable & textured cotton weave

  • Water resistant acrylic coating

  • UV light and abrasion resistant

  • Eye-catching Scarlet Vellum

  • Classic silver embossing

  • Material made in the USA

  • Covers made in Canada

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Paper: Domtar Lynx®

  • Easy to read 96 Brightness

  • Precise sketching and writing

  • Thick and smooth – 118 g/m^2

  • Minimal show-through

  • Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) Certified

  • Rainforest Alliance Certified

  • Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF)

  • Made in the USA, printed in Canada

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Binding: Wire-O

  • Durable metal binding

  • Easy page flipping

  • Full 360° opening

  • Flat and stable writing surface

  • Bound in Canada



  • Headings: Avenir Next LT Pro Demi - bold, clean, and well balanced

  • Body Text: Charter - serifed, strong, and highly legible

  • Callouts and tables: Nunito Sans - well-balanced, simple, and straightforward

  • Examples: Handlee - very legible, human-like text

Start your design journey today
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There is a way to be both creative and effective
Designing The Process

My name is Christopher McLean. I'm a professional mechanical engineer with over 25 years of design leadership in start-up companies.

I started my career designing gas purification plants for renewable energy: hydrogen for refueling stations, oxygen for fuel cell vehicles and medical oxygen, and biogas for energy recovery and greenhouse gas reduction.

I also co-founded Espro, a company that improves coffee quality and consistency for home baristas and coffee shops. I used this process to design consumer products featured in the New York Times, and sold in stores like Starbucks, Williams Sonoma, and Nordstrom.

Since selling Espro, I have been teaching design as an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia, mentoring students and companies, and perfecting the Heroic Design Workbook and Masterclass.

Through the Heroic Design Workbook, I will guide and mentor you
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You can avoid making the same mistakes that others (including me) have made.


Each step is explained well, an example is given, and there is a template for your design, right in the workbook.

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The design story is told in a way that emboldens you, and encourages you to design at the limits of your creativity.

It won't be easy, and
I can't promise success

You know there are no shortcuts to greatness.

Your creativity and discipline will be challenged, but I've done my best to make the process clear, achievable, and rigorous.


I will explain the next step well, then give a specific and detailed example.


With a clear explanation and example, you can achieve that next step.


All of the steps together will take you from idea to product design.

What types of products can I design?

The Heroic™ Design Process is a general design process: choose a great problem to solve, define the benefits of a good solution, brainstorm, make great decisions, remove or mitigate risk, and minimize cost.


Small to medium sized physical products are ideal for the workbook. The process works for any size of project, but there are only so many pages (184 to be exact), so an airplane is too big.


Services also work, but some concepts will mean different things. For example, the materials will be the materials and objects surrounding the user, rather than the materials that make up the device.


Applications also work. Materials would now be graphic design. The manufacturing process would be the coding language used.
M. S.

With big dreams of success, I've attempted to create many products over the past 15 years. Unfortunately, I spent a lot of money and time and ultimately didn't see any of my ideas through to a sellable product.

Heroic Design's process helped me break down the large problems involved in product design, into small, manageable ones. The rigor provided by Chris' guidance and workbook decreased my feelings of overwhelm and resistance, emotions which had always sabotaged earlier product design attempts.

The workbook also encourages organic brainstorming giving me a pathway to design features I hadn't thought of before. The process was fun and super creative!

I'm close to finalizing a digital product I feel will be a game changer in my market.

J. H.

I can't say that I have ever followed a design process quite as robust as the one outlined in this workbook.


I went into this course with a very complicated idea in mind, but following the workbook and masterclass really helped me break it down. It introduced concepts I hadn't heard of with great detail, but in a manageable way for new designers like myself.


Despite facing a lot of challenges, Chris' support always guided me to come up with my own solutions. He really challenged my design thinking skills in an encouraging way.

It's not an easy process, but it's a very rewarding experience and I will gladly recommend it to anyone who has an idea for a design. It provided me with so much value, and I hope it does for you too.

A. P.

Heroic Design paves the way from an idea to an actual product. It teaches you the process step by step, and gives you a tool that can be applied to any design project.


It helped me immensely to organize my thought process and pay attention to important details that I would have missed otherwise. For me the experience was invaluable and joyful.

What background do I need?

Creativity is a process and a skill, not something you're born with. If you have the heart of an inventor, maker, designer, or engineer, the Heroic™ Design Workbook contains the instructions, examples, and templates to turn your ideas into designs. But beyond that, it will encourage you to start—and finish—the journey.


Inventors have solved many of our most difficult problems. The Heroic Design Workbook will accelerate your work by helping you identify the ideas most likely to succeed.


Makers find joy in creating and building new things. For your masterworks, the Heroic Design Workbook will help you create a thousand ideas before you perfect the best one.


Designers create beautiful and useful objects. The Heroic Design Workbook will help you match the functional aspects of your design to your user's needs.


Engineers create products that are functional and safe, within the constraints of manufacturing and cost. The Heroic Design Workbook will help you make these trade-offs.
Start your design journey today
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With every idea, two journeys begin.
The first is a battle for the life of your design itself. The second is your journey to become a better designer.

As designers, we willingly and joyfully enter the creative world. It is chaotic, and has different rules. Learning to design is learning these new rules, so that we can generously create solutions for our users and gain a mastery of this creative world.

We also join the companionship of designers, working through time to capture Chaos within Order. We collaborate with all of the designers before us and keep their work alive.

This is all an adventure, and I will do my best to encourage you on both journeys.

  • The Heroic™ Design Workbook – to guide and encourage your design

  • The Heroic™ Design Masterclasses – to share designer wisdom

  • Regular free lectures – to help you grow as a designer

I can’t wait to see what you design.

Best, Chris

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Start your design journey today
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