The 2014 Tech Impact Awards: Design




Location: Seattle | Employees: 60

On the walls of Artefact’s offices in South Lake Union, a bright neon sign poses a simple question: “What if?” It’s the company’s ability to answer this question, uniquely and effectively, that’s made it a leading light in the world of technology product design and development.
Artefact employs psychologists, industrial designers and software engineers to offer an exceptionally wide-ranging design expertise. Its clients run the gamut from tech giants like Samsung and Microsoft to global problem solvers like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

“The problems we are trying to solve are becoming more and more complex and require more than just deep technology understanding,” says cofounder Gavin Kelly, who touts the company’s human-centered approach. “We’re excited by the sheer diversity of opportunities … and the opportunity to have a positive impact in the world.”


Stratos Product Development

Location: Seattle | Employees: 80

In its nearly three decades, Stratos has helped design everything from Apple laptops to Microsoft’s Xbox controllers. But these days, CEO Allan Stephan says the company is most excited about using high technology for higher purposes. A vaccine storage system it developed is in use in Africa. Other projects are aimed at training surgeons using virtual reality and tracking detailed health data using a skin patch. If a client has a product idea, Stephan says, Stratos’ job is to make it possible.
Devices that address epilepsy and Third World energy, or simply the taking of better photographs, all fall within Artefact’s wheelhouse. With end-to-end design and development services, Kelly says, Artefact aims to take the tech world cliché of being “disruptive” and add purpose and comprehensiveness to the equation. 

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Susan Gates, left, and Kate Isler

Longtime friends Kate Isler and Susan Gates encourage consumers to shop with purpose