Creating the most effective industrial design is no easy task. Achieving the best design that accommodates all aspects of a great product which can be produced for a profit is a tricky proposition that takes more than a just a great design eye to achieve quality fit, form and function.
It is important not to over complicate the process of finding the right design for your product idea. Here are some tips that may help guide you down the right path and help you avoid getting overwhelmed or frustrated to the point where you throw in the towel.
1) Do not re-invent the wheel
Are there products on the market that have functions or designs similar to yours, but you think your product can do the same task faster, better or cheaper? Head to the store to play with those products and ask yourself what they did right with their designs and what they didn’t do so well. Are the buttons in the right place? Does the chosen material make the product feel like a quality product? Is the product worth the price they’re asking for it? Does it stick out from the crowd sitting on the shelf? What other types of products does it look like?
2) Hire an industrial designer with access to a product development team
Few things are more frustrating than spending months on an awesome design only to discover that it can’t be manufactured on a larger scale. You will discover that the best industrial design ideas incorporate design for manufacturability. Keep this in mind as you look for an industrial designer that fits your style and ask if the product is being designed with manufacturability in mind. Often, experienced industrial designers will work hand in hand with a product development team as they develop the concept.
3) 3D printing vs. real world manufacturing
While there a number of ways that you can create great a 3D embodiment of your product, don’t fall into the trap of believing a 3D / rapid prototype is going to be final product design. While 3D printing a rapid prototyping is a great and inexpensive way to get an idea of your industrial design, it falls short of proving fit and function verification. If you have a product with multiple moving parts and complex internal functions, a machined prototype mock-up will help prove the concept more effectively and expose any major problems early on in the product development life cycle before those problems are uncovered in production.
4) Hire an experienced industrial designer
Even if your product has the best fit and function, it may not sell simply based on it’s appearance. The best industrial designers understand design, usability, design trends, human behavior and some engineering. A great industrial design places a product within a industry but also makes it stand out. It’s a fine balance.
5) The Wow factor
If you are aiming to sell your product in retail, one of the most important aspects of drawing the consumer in is the “Wow!” factor. The “Wow!” factor is a combination of great design, function, fit and magic. It’s a product that doesn’t scare a consumer off, but instead draws them in by combining familiar fit, form and functions with innovative and outside the box thinking added to all three.