Industrial Designers are responsible for designing everything from cars to toothbrushes. They create products that are both functional and beautiful. Here are four ways to create an effective industrial design.
There are a few basic steps to creating an effective industrial design. First, understand what makes a product successful. Then, identify the needs of the market. Then, research competitors. Then, develop a prototype. Then, test the prototype with users and begin conversations with your regulatory team if applicable.
UNDERSTAND THE PURPOSE OF THE PRODUCT
Understanding the purpose of the product will help you determine how to make it better. Do market research on similar ideas or products that exist in the market today. Don't just look at the competition online, buy their products and use them while you are designing yours. If its a completely new idea, look for similar product uses and solutions to draw from when completing a product profile to design from.
IDENTIFY THE NEEDS OF THE MARKET
You should also consider the needs of the market when designing a new product. This includes understanding what features consumers need and what they expect from the similar successful products.
DEFINE THE USER EXPERIENCE
An effective industrial design should focus on the user first. This means understanding
what users need and how they use the product. Once you understand these needs, you
can start designing the product with them in mind.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT MATERIALS
There are two main materials used in industrial design: plastic and metal. Plastic is often cheaper and easier to work with, but it has its limitations. Metal is stronger and more durable, but it costs more money and requires more skill to work with.
DEVELOP A PROTOTYPE
Once you have an industrial design and producible CAD design its time to build a rapid prototype. Depending on the product, there are many methods for making prototypes including SLA / SLS / RDM and others. You may end up needing to design a prototype version specifically for the process you select. This will most likely be a different model than the production model.
As an example, you may be injection molding the final enclosure parts, but find SLA is too brittle for humans to test and use it without it breaking. You elect to go from SLA to SLS and use a glass filled nylon to make the prototypes so they can be manipulated more without breaking- this often requires different wall thickness and feature minimums that you can achieve with injection molding so you are forced to create 2 separate model sets.
FOCUS GROUP AND TESTING
Once your computer models are in-line and ready for testing, prepare a few models that will be used by various teams. You will need industrial design prototypes for your user focus groups and well as to hand off to your compliance teams for their initial conversations with their regulatory advisors. If your product requires regulatory testing and certifications like FDA or UL, the initial models can be used in the pre-compliance and design control conversations.
When you are ready to see new industrial designs, or need an industry expert to guide you through your product development journey— consider reaching out to me at Lars Owens Design.
"A well designed product brings users to your products. A well designed product user experience brings customers to your brand for life."
— Lars Owens