20 Jun UNDERSTANDING THE INDUSTRIAL DESIGN PROCESS
Taking product design ideas from inception to reality
What is industrial design?
Products fills gaps in our lives that we didn’t even know existed. Industrial design is the process of identifying that problem, and designing a solution that fits perfectly.
Do you have a product or solution in mind? Get in touch with PARAFORM. Using tried and tested industrial design principles, rapid prototyping, manufacturing, and market research, we can help you create products that sell.
New products can act as a catalyst for massive cultural shifts, purely because they exist:
- The ballpoint pen replaced the fountain pen and made writing cheaper and more accessible to all people.
- The intuitive design of Apple’s iPhone ushered in a new era of handheld computing and telecommunication.
Sometimes, new products are created to solve problems present in other products:
- Although they are inexpensive and widely available, outdoor clotheslines would be pretty useless without the invention of clothes pegs.
- In the 1940s, surfers began applying candle wax to their boards to increase traction, leading to a multimillion dollar international surfboard wax industry.
- As wall-to-wall carpeting began to replace timber flooring in bedrooms in the early 1900s, vacuum cleaners became an absolute necessity in the home.
All of the aforementioned products were designed to fix a problem, and likely went through the following four fundamental industrial design steps.
Step one: Identification and ideation
The first step of industrial design is to define a problem that needs solving. Inspiration can come from anywhere. You may have uncovered a problem in your day to day life. You may have overheard someone talking about an issue. You may already have a product that needs a refresh.
After identifying the problem you wish to address, you should ask yourself some key questions. All of the following will have an effect on the rest of the industrial design process:
- Who is the target market for my product?
- Will my product be a single use, multi-use, or legacy product?
- What kind of consumption trends will affect its sale?
- Are there similar products currently in the market?
Answers to these questions will help you shape your idea for the next phase of industrial design.
Step Two: Initial design process
Once you have a solution in mind, it’s time to move into the initial design phase. This can be anything from rough drawings in your sketchbook, to detailed digital schematics of what you want to produce on a mass scale.
Here are some things to consider in this phase:
- Draw from your imagination and don’t let your idea become stifled with the confines of reality.
- Imagine yourself as the end user and create designs based on what you think will work for you.
- Build a thorough design brief to describe the opportunity that your potential product presents.
- Create specifications for your product: its size, scale, and functionality at a minimum.
Step Three: Testing and refining
Here’s where your idea takes a truer shape. By enlisting the help of industrial design professionals like PARAFORM, your ideas can leave the page, and enter the digital world. Creating high quality 3D models are essential before moving towards the manufacturing phase.
There are many benefits to using professional industrial designers, including:
- Full 3D CAD designing to give you a feel for your product before it is actually made.
- Design with a focus on manufacturability and cost, to ensure that your product will remain profitable when in production.
- Virtual test fitting and construction, to ensure that your product fits and works exactly as you envisaged it.
Step Four: From intangible to tangible
Now it’s time to ramp it up. In order to fully realise how well your product addresses the problem at hand, it must leave the design phase and enter the physical world.
Rapid prototyping takes your signed off 3D designs and creates physical, working prototypes that can be used as a basis for cost effective manufacturing.
By being able to hold your product in hand, you can test, tweak, and optimise your designs to further appeal to your target audience.
As a boutique industrial design firm, PARAFORM offer our clients a bespoke, and personalised service. We will work with you throughout every step of the industrial design process to get your product made in a profitable way. We are proud to offer our clients an all-encompassing service that includes:
To start designing products that sell, get in touch with our team of industrial design experts.