16. Designing Better Research

“Boy, wouldn’t it be neat if we could fix this?” That question guided Thomas Newmaster, an art director in a boutique package-design firm run by art directors, in his quest for something faster and cheaper than a focus group for trying out new packaging. So he used his firm’s expertise to create a unique online test-marketing program. Design Check gives Newmaster and his clients data on whether a candy bar is more appealing in red or black, whether people absorb a wrapper’s main message (such as “all natural”), and how the product fares in its “natural environment,” such as by the cash register. It produces usable research in just five business days. “It enhances our design capabilities,” he says. Rolled out late in 2004, Design Check already helped the firm wrap up seven new clients last quarter, a record in its 32 years.


Thomas Newmaster, 37

Owner and COO
William Fox Munroe Inc.
Shillington, Pennsylvania