Industrial Design (ID) or product architecture is the process of creating valuable, functional and aesthetically pleasing products for the benefit of both users and producers. Industrial designers collect and analyze data to develop products and systems in accordance with client requirements. They employ the use of drawings, descriptions and models to create and improve products and use multi disciplinary approaches and teams to ensure the creation of useful end products. An industrial designer will typically meet with a client to assess their requirements, prepare drawings and models to client specifications, confer with clients about different design ideas, agree on material and budgetary requirements, seek patents for the design and ultimately test the final product to ensure that it meets the clients specifications. Successful product architecture incorporates the following basic elements;
1. Problem Identification:
This involves finding out what a client needs or the particular problem they need to solve in order to come up with solutions that move them from the undesirable state to the place they want to be. Discovering the job that needs to be done enables a designer to communicate the actual problem to the design team so that they are working with real situations and not speculations.
2. Goal oriented approach:
Innovative product design requires setting targets that will get a client from one point to another. Having clearly set goals will help an industrial designer to determine the best approach to take, the materials needed for the project and to determine budgetary requirements for successful completion of the design process.
3. Comprehensive research:
Before setting anything in motion, an industrial designer will need to conduct research on all the viable options available, material and cash outlay requirements and any other variables in order to ensure a smooth transition into the next stage in the design process. Comparing the current project with previous similar ones will provide strategies for handling any situations that may be proving challenging to the designer. Research will also help to discover any other competing products in the market in order to develop a product that is unique to the customer’s requirements and not a copy of another similar product.
4. Real life modeling:
One of the best ways to design the best product is to look at the simple items people use to solve problems before the ideal solution or product is provided. Many life hacks, for example, putting scotch tape on a smart phone to protect the screen have provided inspiration for ingenious solutions. Artifacts, as these simple solutions are known, can help to come up with the useful features of the final product.
5. Cost Management:
Managing costs is an essential part of product design. Making sure that products are designed in the most cost effective way ensures that a designer can come up with the most functional product without breaking the bank which ultimately results in a product that the company or client can create a product that is affordable and attractive to the customer.
Technology has ensured that there are myriad resources available for the creation of a functional and utilizable product. Product architecture needs to develop in tandem with growing technology but the end product, and not the technology is the goal.
7. Product Usefulness:
Good industrial design must ultimately result in the creation of a product that is useful and solves the problem it was designed for. Products that do not meet this criterion cannot be considered to be successful.
8. Aesthetic Value:
On top of resulting in the creation of useful products, good design must ensure that the end product is attractive. Beautiful products have a positive effect on people psychologically and affects their sense of wellbeing. A product is considered successful if it is something that people enjoy looking at and using.
9. Thorough Review:
Good product design ensures that the final product is reviewed thoroughly to ensure that everything is in place and that it meets the client’s requirements. All aspects of the final product must be checked for functionality, aesthetic value and safety. Testing the product with a review group will also help to determine its success.
Good industrial design will continue to grow in importance as consumer demand for better and higher quality goods increases. By employing a few crucial principles, designers can meet customer and client requirements and ensure the creation of great products that result in the improvement of the overall quality of life for their clients.