Optimal system design of “smart” products requires optimization of both the artifact and its controller. When the artifact and the controller designs are independent, the system solution is straightforward through sequential optimization. When the designs are coupled, combined simultaneous optimization can produce system-optimal results, but presents significant computational and organizational complexity. This paper presents a method that produces results comparable with those found with a simultaneous solution strategy, but with the simplicity of the sequential strategy. The artifact objective function is augmented by a control proxy function (CPF), representing the artifact’s ease of control. The key to successful use of this method is the selection of an appropriate CPF. Four theorems that govern the choice and evaluation of a CPF are given. Each theorem is illustrated using a simple mathematical example. Specific CPFs are then presented for particular problem formulations, and the method is applied to the optimal design and control of a micro-electrical mechanical system actuator.