Our approach

Our approach

Crucible's product design services are delivered in a friendly, collaborative way and backed up by over thirty years of practical experience. Our work combines creative ideas with practical solutions and commercial experience. For us, good design is about how to make something look great, cost less to make, work better and be easier to use. 

What is now Crucible Design started in September 1990, when Mike Ayre (below) started working as a freelance product designer. Prior to this he had spent ten years designing rural development products in several African and Asian countries, followed by a post-graduate degree and research into CAD at the Royal College of Art in London.

Mike’s background had given him a passion for seeing design projects through to manufacture, and this was the basis of his work in the UK – delivering product development services that involved everything from background research and concept design to tooling drawings and production support. Working with manufacturers became – and still is – a central part of Mike’s work, particularly when it provides opportunities to make something look better or reduce costs.

Mike Ayre product designer

After a few years of working freelance, a limited company was set up and the business began to grow, occupying several office units in the small Oxfordshire village of Ardington. Many of the company’s clients were scientific and laboratory equipment producers and similar businesses who made high value products in small quantities. Product design offers numerous challenges, but finding ways to create exciting, attractive parts using low volume production methods is one of the more interesting ones.

In the mid-2000s, Hugh Raymond, who Mike had worked with at a previous consultancy in London, joined the business. Hugh’s background was completely different, with a strong track record in consumer products and high-volume plastic mouldings. This was a perfect complement to Mike’s background and provided Crucible with a much wider set of skills, particularly in terms of complex plastic moulded parts.

Our work continues to focus on delivering the full range of product development services, creating products that look great, are economic to make and profitable to sell. We like to invest a lot of time before the project even starts, finding out what our clients want to achieve and understanding their market and technical issues. 

If you would like to know more, or just talk over a possible project, please call Mike on 07786 262989 for an informal chat.


Product design consultancy

T: 01235 833785 E: info@crucibledesign.co.uk

Crucible Design Ltd, Boston House, Grove Business Park, Downsview Road, Wantage, Oxfordshire. OX12 9FF