Christopher Ioffreda

Chris is a strategic designer tackling today’s biggest challenges.

Chris leads projects from concept to launch, productizing research and ushering new technologies into the hands of users in order to solve big problems. He uses design to help organizations develop clear and compelling visions of the future. And he drives clarity in highly ambiguous and complex problem spaces by leveraging his deep experience in ideation, prototyping, and storytelling. 

Chris has a strong commitment to collaboration and relationship building across disciplines and organizations. He works at the intersection of industrial design, tangible interaction, design strategy, and future studies and has successfully shipped hardware at several premiere innovation centers and startups including: X - the moonshot factory, Verily, Pebble, and Disney Research. He is an award winning designer whose products have raised millions on Kickstarter and he holds several US Patents.

"[Chris] combines an excellent suite of core skills with expertise in future visioning, strategic thinking and a broad cultural and technological understanding. At X he was a key member of our team, helping transform complex new technologies into viable, well researched and manufacturable products."
Nick Foster - Head of Design - Google X
"Chris is one of the most talented design strategists and industrial designers I’ve ever worked with at Google, IDEO and beyond... As a design strategist, he quickly groks highly complex systems issues."
Emily Ma - Head, Food for Good - Google
"Chris takes a thoughtful approach to design, considering both how to solve the big strategic problems, as well as doing the hands on work to create the right designs for users."
Shannon Fong - UX Lead for Medical Devices - Verily

Work

Light Beam Infrastructure for Taara

Born out of project Loon, Taara uses Free Space Optical Communications, beams of light, to deliver high-speed, high-capacity connectivity over long distances. The technology is being piloted in India as a means of bringing low cost connectivity to rural areas. The X Design team worked with project Taara to design a robust piece of infrastructure that can stand up to the elements.

My Role:

Industrial Design

Collaborators:

Matt Day, Carsten Schewsig

COVID-19 Testing at Verily

I had the privilege of working on Verily’s COVID-19 unsupervised nasal swab kits, which were deployed as part of the company’s Healthy at Work program. The user experience team conducted extensive usability studies to develop an easy-to-use nasal swab kit and clear instructions to help individuals take samples independently. The Kit was granted Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA in March 2021.

My Role:

Product Design, Packaging, & Instructional Design

Collaborators:

Christine Wu, Sky Eurich

A Food for Good Moonshot

I worked with Project Delta, an early-stage X team tackling the related problems of food waste and food insecurity, to help them define, prototype, and explore the potential futures for an intelligent food distribution and food waste reduction project. The work included piloting new technologies and interfacing with external partners to showcase our vision for unsiloed food data. The project has recently moved to Google where it plans to scale its efforts.

My Role:

Design Strategy & Speculative Design

Collaborators:

Nick Foster, Emily Ma

Pebble Core - A New Kind of Wearable

Pebble Core is a device built for runners and hackers who do not want the hassle of carrying a phone. The device streams Spotify, tracks runs, makes emergency calls, and features Amazon Alexa integration. I led the Industrial Design and Product Definition of Pebble Core.

My Role:

Product Definition Lead & Industrial Design Lead

Collaborators:

Mark Solomon, Marcus Townsend, Justin Lambert, Kacie Vitucci, Megan (Shia) Knight

Pebble 2 - A Sportier Pebble

Pebble 2 was a shift in Pebble’s design focus from a lifestyle to a health oriented brand. The watch featured overmolded buttons, a heart rate monitor, and was an update to the original Pebble’s iconic “H” design.  I primarily supported the project during the early design and ideation phase as well as during manufacturing and CMF execution.

My Role:

Product Definition & Industrial Design

Collaborators:

Mark Solomon, Justin Lambert, Kacie Vitucci, Troy Tye

Pebble Time and Time Steel

Pebble Time and Time Steel are reimaginings of the original Pebble watches. Designed to preserve the features that made the original watches so popular, with additional consideration given ergonomics and hardware hackability, Time and Time Steel set the tone for all future Pebble products. I worked on Pebble Time and Time Steel from initial concept meetings to the first product coming off the line - touching everything from product and packaging, to photography and messaging.

My Role:

Product Definition & Industrial Design

Collaborators:

Mark Solomon, Marcus Townsend, Troy Tye

Selected Press:

Surround Haptics at Disney Research

Surround Haptics allows an array of vibrating motors to mimic the sensation of a single vibration traveling across your skin. At Disney I worked to translate this research into demos, prototypes, and consumer product designs - including a prototype haptic seat pad, connected to the game Split Second, demoed at SIGGRAPH’s 2011 Emerging Technologies Exhibition and the Vybe Haptic Gaming Pad, a first of its kind consumer product that converts audio into haptic sensations.

My Role:

Industrial Design & Technology Prototyping

Collaborators:

Ivan Poupyrev, Ali Israr, Joel Bell Design, Black Rock Studios, Comfort Research

Design Approach

Be the steward of a process, not an arbiter of aesthetics

Solving big and complex problems requires cross functional teams with highly skilled technical experts. In these environments it is a designer’s role not just to advocate for the user and the product, but also to bring others along for the journey. Ideation can break organizations out of a box, prototyping can make technologies tangible for project teams, and storytelling can reveal the true potential of a project to executives - but only when partners are invited to be part of the process.

Do the work, show the work 

There are no shortcuts to building good products. When productizing new technology, the challenges that need solving are often unknown at the outset of the process. Teams need to be willing to put in the work - for designers this means solving problems, testing solutions, and keeping the ball moving forward even if that means flexing outside traditional discipline boundaries. Rigorously documenting this development process is the best way to share the work and audit decisions after the fact. There’s enough junk in the world; if you’re going to build something, do it right.

Bet on the future you want to see

The future is both unpredictable and uncertain. The best way to see a preferred future realized is to help build it yourself. Even under ideal circumstances, with thorough research and a robust business strategy, startups and speculative projects are still just educated guesses. At some point, you have to be willing to take the leap - that means forging partnerships, prototyping, running pilots, and building the infrastructure needed for a venture to flourish. Teams don't always control the outcome, but they can focus on their approach and learn by doing.