How Do Things Work In This Industry??

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by jdworld, Nov 24, 2009.

  1. jdworld
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    jdworld Junior Member

    Yeah, I know, silly title - but i couldn't really think of how to summarize my big questions any better. I'm a newbie to this thread, and the world of boat design. I come from the building design end of the spectrum. So lets get right to it:

    1)How do you people make your money? I mean with buildings, a house for example, someone comes to you and hires you to design their dream home for them. You design it, draw it up, and it's handed off to a contractor to build. Is it the same with boat design? Does most of your work come from private individuals who just need their dream boat designed for them and they pay you for your time to put together a design and some drawings? Then they go and have someone build it for them? Are there that many people out there with that kind of dough able to just hire someone to design their dreamboat for them? If so, seems like as a boat designer, you'd have to have a side gig to sustain you in between the occasional big yacht design job that might come along. Yes?


    2) Or do you make your living(s) designing as sort of an outside designer for the boat manufacturers? Don't they have people do that in house?

    3) And most important, If designing for mfgrs and not private individuals, we're no longer talking a one-off thing. It's intellectual property that can be replicated. So do you license the final design to them and get royalties from the manufacturers? Or is the standard rule that they just hire you as a work for hire type arrangement?

    4) I see pictures of boat designs getting freely posted on this forum left and right - which is great in a way, but then I keep wondering - aren't you worried about the chance of a manufacturer stealing your super duper design? This world isn't like the world of building design. Typically, buildings are always specialized one off designs for a specific site that take a year and tons of money to build therefore don't lend themselves to being replicated. But a 20' boat design for example? That's a different story.

    Just curious - thanks!
     
  2. boat fan
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    boat fan Senior Member

    Pretty renderings of boats are everywhere like you say.
    But that`s all they are .Not much to "steal" apart from a rendering .

    Super duper ? maybe , maybe not.

    Back to renderings ....
    What can you do with one , really ?
    Not much.

    You will notice that small scale lines plans are sometimes shown.
    Still not much to " steal " .

    The offsets are not published.
    Offsets have more " value" for someone intending to "steal" a design.


    Having said that ...
    You need much more than offsets .......


    Can you see where this is going ?

    All ORIGINAL artwork , lines , renderings , sketches are the property of the original author.
    Copyright applies automatically.


    As far as design fees and such...I doubt there will be anyone qualified that would openly disclose such things.
     
  3. jdworld
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    jdworld Junior Member

    not exactly sure how to get quotes to show up in a box but hopefully this will work:


    I guess i'm thinking that with boats, a big percentage of the design is it's outside appearance, the hull shape, the windshield, the "look" of it - all of which can be revealed even with one exterior 3d rendering. So if you have something pretty unique, well what's to prevent an "slightly different" version from showing up at a boat show someday?

    What is an offset? The technical drawings?

    Really?? That's disappointing. I'm not looking for income numbers here - more interested in just where the income might come from. I hope someone will atleast answer #3 - if designs are typically licensed to a mfgr? Or sold for a lump sum? Or just designed on a consultation work for hire basis? I don't care about actual figures, just the common method. Speaking as someone who might be going that route soon.

    Maybe my question should be instead - say you have a great boat design you think would sell zillions, but you don't happen to own a boat factory - what do you do? What's the common route a designer might take?
     
  4. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The last time I checked, there were about 500 real honest to God NA's in this country. About half of them worked under contract or were employed by a manufacture, be that production or custom. Of the remaining 250, about a 100 were independently employed and had "hung a shingle". The remaining 150 could be divided into two groups, hobbyists and entertainers. The hobbyists just "dabbled" a little with primary earnings coming though other means and the entertainers "played or are playing" with the idea of yacht design as a career path, but still rely on other means of support.

    This was about 10 to 12 years ago, so the numbers will be larger, possible twice this, but it's still a small field of endeavor. Couple this with a market handcuffed to the discretionary funds of most of it's clients and you have a limited arena, limited clientele and economic ups and downs with the rest of the country, that'll break your back.

    This said, a wise designer has a number of options available to them. They may just accept a commission and work up drawings. This is the traditional role, but not the only one. It's common to have the designer as the project manager as well, which is the "full Monti" version of the profession. He would select a builder, serve as the contractor, hire the sub contractors, align deliveries, Oversee the building process, arrange transport from the building site, conduct launching and sea trials, literally the whole ball of wax type of service.

    What aspects of these tasks you as a designer can muster, from a client is of course a case by case basis type of thing, begging the question, how good a salesman are you? If employed, you're a paid minion, so you have a boss tell you what is required. Some manufactures have a loose grip on staff designers, others hire an independent.

    Boat Fan, I can build from a set of lines, so can any reasonably skilled builder. This is one reason all my posted drawings include intentional distortions, omissions and errors. If you tried to build from one of the posted lines drawings, the result would be quite unfair and possibly have stability issues.
     
  5. boat fan
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    boat fan Senior Member

    Exactly.You would have to assume that anyway.You are not the only designer to do so. Prudent .

    It would be a considerable effort to " build from a set of lines " if the lines plan is small.

    A lot of trouble to loft a large full size boat from lines ,and then fair them sweet and balanced , only to be short of construction drawings , hydrodynamic calcs , ballast requirements , systems ,scantlings etc etc. Just buy the plans.......You know the deal......Honestly......what`s there to " steal " with renderings ?
    Worthless.
     
  6. boat fan
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    boat fan Senior Member

    offsets......

    jdworld :


    Offsets define the hull shape and enable you to " loft " (or draw) the boat`s lines full size.

    Referred to as "TABLE OF OFFSETS"........
     
  7. jdworld
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    jdworld Junior Member

    Ahhh, ok , exactly what i was wanting to know. ok, so zeroing in on the ones that work for a boat mfgr......Say a Bayliner or Reinell or some type of biggie like that. Those guys are probably just part of a design staff of a few people who get a salary and a desk to sit and design boats all day. So am I right in suspecting that a Bayliner or Reinell or other biggie probably would not feel the need to "license" some outside guy's boat design and therefore it probably doesn't happen very often?

    And the guy who comes up with that best seller for a company like Bayliner probably doesn't get any intellectual property rights to the design and therefore any royalties?
     
  8. boat fan
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    boat fan Senior Member

    I could be wrong here, but I believe that if the boat is designed " in house "
    the yard / manufacturer retains the rights / royalties of the design.

    Independent designers have produced designs for the exclusive use of some manufacturers.
    Terms ....Who knows ?

    All manner of combinations possible I guess.
    May even depend on the Company`s business plan.
     
  9. pamarine
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    pamarine Marine Electrician

    Yes, if you are employed by a company in a design (or engineering, or scientific role, or similar) any works you create as part of that employment are property of the employer, not the employee.

    As for independent designers operating under contract, typically the contracts specify that the designs are the exclusive right of the company hiring the designer. The Designer can use the design for promotional purposes, but cannot sell or give it to someone other than the original customer.
     
  10. baeckmo
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    baeckmo Hydrodynamics

    Jdworld, there is a similar discussion going on in "A career in yacht design"! I believe that an important note came from "Daiquiri", marking the distinction between "design, as in creating an artistic and appealing shape" and "design, as in engineering functionality related to shapes". In many languages, we see the use of synonyms for "construction" when we talk "engineering design". I feel that maybe the linguistic distinction in English is a bit diffuse (or is it my lack of understanding ??).

    Industrial design is seen as a discipline of its own, linking appealing shape to funktionality, but not necessarily having the engineering capacity at hand.

    Just as in the (house)building industry, you will see these professions in any combination, internal or external. Comparing the Naval Architect to a Building Architect, you would probably see the NA more technically/engineering oriented than the BA. Perhaps you could say that for the bigger yards with focus on the leisure market, the "appealing design and layout" is generally more of an inhouse speciality; the "engineering design/construction" easier to buy externally.

    At the other end of the span you find specialized yards, producing one-off or small series of commercial vessels, where customer's demand for technical "specialities" are important. Here you often find the "engineering design" capacities inhouse; function is dictating shape, while flashy images and advertisement pamphlets are less important.
     
  11. jdworld
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    jdworld Junior Member


    ok, starting to get the picture here. So it seems it's pretty much a work for hire industry, not a license to a mfgr industry. So If you have a fantabulous boat design that you think would sell zillions, I guess your best bet (only hope) is to build and sell them yourself.

    It's still kind of mind boggling though. Just thumbing through all the galleries on here, there's so much cool stuff that people have come up with......that "miss sweden 2" on the home page for example. Wow! But that probably was either a one off commissioned for some wealthy client, or was it done on a consultation basis for some mfgr to build at will? And if the latter, and the mfgr sells millions, the designer still only gets whatever he was paid to come up with the design?
     
  12. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Again, payment for services can be worked out many different ways, it's all subject to how effective you or your representative are at the presentation. Speculation by builders, designers and combination's thereof can be profitable, but you can also lose you butt. I can think of many more occasions where the speculation didn't sell a single unit (some from personal experience), then the much rarer case when something takes off, such as the Hinkley Picnic Boat for example.

    It's less a matter of what has been done or what is the usual course, then what can you as the NA do. I've had some pretty interesting payment schedules and compensation packages over the years, one included a dog. (yes, the things that bark).
     
  13. jdworld
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    jdworld Junior Member

    haha, well a dog would add more weight so that's no good. Ok so for your past spec experiences - what was the path? You designed something, paid out of your own pocket to have a builder build it, then show it off at a boat show? Or did you and a builder split the cost of the fabrication and have some sort of agreement to split the winnings if you sold one?

    And how do you think the Hinckley Picnic Boat happen? Was it a one off commissioned by some client of an NA, or was it the designer who had it built on his nickel?
     
  14. boat fan
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    boat fan Senior Member

    It didn`t ( happen).

    That boat ( lobster boat )was already there. A work boat .
    All they did was add a cruiser layout / interior and polish the paint.
    That idea of fitting it out as a "yacht" was what "happened".
    People liked what it actually looked like.

    Not a 'new' hull design at all....cosmetics, new name.
     

  15. boat fan
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    boat fan Senior Member

    You got to love that.....:D
     
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