You might have seen industrial designers sketching different product ideas on their fancy interactive displays. It looks like they are creating beautiful products out of thin air. It seems like they are performing magic.
In reality, it is not that easy, and industrial design is not magic. Industrial designers base their creative process on multiple parameters, and employ of methodical, well thought out process. At Creaform Engineering, we believe that a great design is fundamentally functional and therefore needs to be thoroughly analyzed. There is no point in asking for quick sketches of a good-looking, optimal design. Specifications and requirements are needed in order to make an outstanding, high-performance product. This is what makes industrial designers thrive. Let us explain.
Good Industrial Design Is Good for You (and Your Customers)
There are different schools of thought when it comes to industrial design. The human-centered design made popular by Don Norman, a renowned researcher, professor and author, ensures that every decision made throughout product development will not hinder its usability. The logic is simple: at the beginning of humanity, we accelerated our growth by crafting tools which made our life easier. Anything that goes against this premise is bad design. As a result, product usability is the end goal for industrial and product designers. While it may seem like a tall order, it is facilitated by those infamous specifications and requirements. The clearer these are, the easier it is to know how product concepts will evolve.
In Industrial Design, Continuously Ask Yourself: Why?
When it comes to guiding product development, industrial designers play a special role. They ensure that every action is geared toward solving the right problem. But problem solving alone is not effective without proper insight. Non-stop questioning (although it drives managers crazy) is often the best way to get to the bottom of the issue. This is the reason Toyota originally developed the 5-Whys method to ensure that their solutions address the source of problems rather than their symptoms. Therefore, when a client puts in a request, industrial designers make sure that the request fulfills a need. The effort can be entirely directed towards improving design rather than making constant changes to address problems throughout the design process. This is what we call the Double-Diamond model of design (image below). This model can fuel the design process with relevant innovation opportunities and turn them into added value for the user/customer. Overall, user experience greatly benefits from this process.
The Influence of Aesthetics in Industrial Design and Commercial Success
Product design is a process that takes multiple parameters into account to provide solutions based on data. The more we know, the better your product will be. The most striking (and obvious) aspect of an outstanding product is how it looks. Why do well-designed products look so good? It is mainly because they target specific markets and customers. What is the point of making a good design if no one will buy it? With marketing driving product sales, unimaginable volumes of data have been gathered in order to understand why consumers react to shapes/colors/smells the way they do. Geometry and colors influence the way people perceive and react to products. When the customer target has been properly identified, it is easier to use shapes and colors that will appeal to them, making it more likely for them to buy a certain product. This is the main reason why trends are a big factor when it comes to aesthetics. Are you making a product with a short lifespan? Maybe you should investigate the latest trend to make sure you get the biggest wow effect from the start. If the product is going to be on the market for the long run, maybe you should use shapes and colors that will stand the test of time.
Why Industrial Design Makes Sense for Manufacturing
Manufacturing is also a huge input to the design process. Industrial designers also need to take production challenges into account. What is the point in coming up with an impossible geometry or material behavior? Design for manufacturability is a stage where product concepts must adhere to manufacturing standards in order that production runs smoothly and at low cost. Industrial designers must make sure that manufactured products will retain their most critical features even after going through the design for manufacturability stage.
The overall objective is to make sure that the product price will be accessible to the targeted customer base. Industrial designers therefore need to know as much about the manufacturing processes as possible to achieve the lowest production costs—without compromising on quality. Industrial designers need to know every constraint that comes along with these processes to ensure that the design will closely resemble the original concept at the end of the production line.
Industrial Designers: At the Heart of the Product Development Process
When you consider all the aforementioned concepts, industrial designers have a decisive role in the manufacturing and commercial viability of a product. While industrial designers are creative professionals, they must also consider the many parameters which will ensure that the final product will meet the necessary specifications , allowing it to be enjoyed by customers and users alike.
At Creaform Engineering, the industrial design team prides itself in providing our clients with the most accurate and relevant industrial design services. Combined with our various other complementary expertise, our industrial design skills help us see the big picture when it comes to product design.
Are you interested in finding the perfect balance between innovation, aesthetics and functionality? Contact us !
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