Who We Are

Smallfry is a strategy led, Industrial Design and Development consultancy based in Coventry, at the heart of the West Midlands. Operating globally, we offer research, innovation strategy, marketing, industrial design, engineering, and 50 years of experience to deliver market leading products and services across the consumer, industrial, FMCG and medical sectors.

Our methods are informed by a deep understanding of the needs, desires, and drivers of people; be it customers, consumers, patients, or those who make their organisations work. Smallfry aims to make a difference to people’s lives, ensuring customer needs are at the forefront of the design process.

What We Do

Our product design and development service will help take your business from where it is today to where it needs to be in the future.

Smallfry provide a complete  conception-to-commercialisation service that enables our clients to identify and exploit market opportunities and access design, manufacturing, and marketing expertise to create original product propositions and ideas which will add value and drive consistent, sustainable growth. Our process focuses on balancing both creative and technical aspects of product development to produce a well-rounded outcome, unique to the clients needs.

We work within tight technical and budgetary constraints to maintain a sustainable pipeline of opportunities so that your product is a success. Our product design and engineering experience covers a wide range of industries, projects, materials, production specifications and budgets.

Our Approach

In short, we use a diverse mindset and principles to engage both analytical and creative thinking to successfully solve any problem or brief.

Our new product development process (NPD) starts with understanding market context and building knowledge of what’s currently happening in the client’s industry. This means defining the competitor landscape and developing insights and marketing strategy.

The product range or service can then be aligned to this rationale and improvements and opportunities can be discovered. We focus on a human centered approach to our design process, ensuring the end user is at the heart of the solution to produce meaningful, worthwhile outcomes that will be suited for the target audience, resulting in successful products and services.

For this, a suite of Human Centered Design (HCD) tools are explored and implemented throughout the design process, with a structured approach of constant validation and strategic thinking to ensure nothing is missed along the way, and for the final outcome to be as expected.

Once we have a market validated product, our team of experts will make sure that it meets its full potential whilst ensuring that the product design intent is maintained throughout the manufacturing process.

Innovation Strategy

With proven success in creating innovation strategies and future road-maps, Smallfry offers coaching and guidance in this area. By using a collaborative approach with clients to deliver their innovation strategies, Smallfry assist with generating future idea pipelines which are strategically aligned to promote a sound vision for future success.

Our innovation process rapidly identifies which ideas should be developed, propels these to realisation and enables organisations to foster a culture of innovation for significant future growth.

This business approach is aimed at management teams, to get beyond incremental development and achieve transformational change – bridging strategy, innovation, customer experience and employee engagement to deliver tangible outcomes.

Our systemic and repeatable process guarantees:

– Team alignment and buy-in to strategic business objectives
– Consistent and transparent idea evaluation with quantified creativity
– Building new sustainable growth plans exploiting fresh perspectives
– Instill enthusiasm and passion while encouraging entrepreneurial behavior
– Maximise return on innovation outcomes

The Team

Smallfry takes pride in having a diverse, user-focused innovation team of industrial and product designers, mechanical engineers and software engineers, technicians, strategists, human centred designers, marketeers and problem solvers, with each individual bringing something different and unique to the group, whilst all being creative, pragmatic, focused and driven to achieve the best for our customers desires.


Steve May-Russell (CEO of Smallfry) is a well-respected regular speaker at international conferences as an innovation coach and design mentor by many global organisations, working with board members and senior managers to help invigorate and develop new and refreshed product and service offerings.

Steve has run numerous innovation workshops across multi-disciplinary teams, with notable projects including M&S Learning and Development Academy and the EPSRC award ‘Supply Chain Innovation Towards A Circular Economy’. He was also invited to provide expert knowledge to diverse multi-layered organisations such as Panel Advisor for Innovate UK and the Satellite Applications Catapult.

Steve has specialist knowledge in industrial design and innovation strategy and a vast personal portfolio of appointments and awards, specialising in:

Market Insights, Segmentation, Innovation Strategy, Commercial Strategy, Product Development 

50 Years Experience

We take an idea, or conceive a new one, explore its potential and then make it commercially real – whether that is a new product or service, a new strategy, or a whole new way of thinking.

We’ve used this approach for almost 50 years, with numerous success stories proving its value, including:

– Created a transformational product range which delivered £500m in incremental sales

– Smashed first year sales target of 800k by achieving 6m units sold within 12 months

– Grew a static category 600% without any PR or marketing support – purely by in-store impulse impact.


Smallfry have been developing commercially successful products across a wide range of industrial and technology sectors since our foundation in Britain’s industrial and automotive heartlands almost fifty years ago.

Smallfry was founded in 1971 by Anthony Smallhorn and Tim Fry (hence our name). In his early twenties, Tim designed the Hillman Imp motor car, which was designed to challenge the Mini – a small car which could easily fit a 6-foot man with room for a child’s car seat in the back. The engine was originally from a Coventry Climax Fire Pump where the mechanical layout was repackaged to accommodate the new functionality in just 6 weeks.  It was the first Aluminium Cylinder Head car seen in mass production. He went on to head the Advanced Engineering and Advanced Styling teams at the Chrysler Rootes Group before setting up his own design consultancy – Smallfry. 

Our Journey

Over the past 50 years, Smallfry has been through a great amount of change and development, creating memorable key achievements and forming long lasting client relationships, some which are still ongoing today. Some of the most memorable milestones for Smallfry can be seen below.


Smallfry are proud to work with companies of all shapes and sizes, from individual ‘start-ups’ to global corporations. No matter who, our approach will be tailored to suit, and our commitment is guaranteed.


We are proud to showcase a collection of awards won from past projects, with the list constantly increasing with new, innovative solutions being produced in our design studio.