Product design is defined as the process of generating and developing ideas that are used for creating new products or improving existing ones. Unlike creative arts, design uses both art and science to visualize ideas or deliver a message to the consumers. This concept behind design can be applied to product design, industrial design, graphic design, and other branches of the design industry.
The Role of Design in Our Life
Product design is one of the core fields of design that are deeply involved in our daily lives, furthermore, the aim of creative product designs is to make our lives much easier and happier. When you go to the store and grab a shopping cart, you never think of the creative idea, science, and art that lies behind this unnoticed product of our everyday life.
Let’s do a little hands-on practice, try to visit your nearest store or have a look at your desktop, choose one product and think about it. How is it designed? Why is it designed that way? Is there a better way to design it?
After answering these questions, start to draft a new design for the product on a piece of paper, just a very quick draft that visualizes your idea. Do not be afraid of adding lines over lines to modify or add a new idea to your design.
Did you answer the questions above? If you did, then you are starting to think like a product designer. Although product design is much deeper and more complicated than this simple example, this basic practice can give you an idea about the product design process.
What Makes a Product Design Successful?
As we mentioned, there are many factors that affect the final design of a product. This is why some products are much more useful and easier to use than others. In order to create a successful product design, you need to go through the following steps of the design process:
Step 1: Write a Design Brief
This is the first step of starting a product design project, and it can be as simple as a few words to describe the needed task i.e. “Design and make an office chair”.
Step 2: Determine Product Design Specification (PDS)
The Product Design Specification (PDS) is a document-based step that defines every detail of the project and includes the problems that the design should solve. It builds a reference for the whole process, therefore it is considered the most important element of the design process.
The Product Design Specification includes what is really expected from the designer as well as the product design requirements. In order to collect this information, an intensive analysis process – including a marketing analysis – should take place before preparing this document. At this stage, you should study the market, your competitors, and most importantly the users and how they use the product or similar products.
Step 3: Create a Concept Design
At this stage, the designers start their favorite part that is sketching ideas on paper and building the basic visualization for the idea. This can include creating multiple mock-ups and drafts to have a variety of ideas.
Step 4: Concept Development
Once the ideas are drafted, the next step is to develop the concept mostly through creating thinking groups and brainstorming to improve the concept and fuel it with different ideas and suggestions.
Step 5: Concept Design Evaluation
After choosing a number of concepts that the team thinks can qualify for the final product, the evaluation process can use different techniques, such as the Matrix Evaluation. In this technique a table is created with a list of the features and requirements. The comparison table relies on the Product Design Specification (PDS) document. In this table, the team compares the different concepts and how much they meet the PDS requirements.
Step 6: Final Design Specifications
Finally, the team determines the final design concept. Then, the designers set the specifications and final design information such as the shape, size, etc.
Examples of Creative Product Design Ideas
As we take a look over the product design process and how it is essential for the success of any product. There are many unique and creative ideas that can help you learn more and fuel your creativity. In the below list are a number of creative and extraordinary product design ideas:
Julia Knonenko, from Ukraine, wanted to solve the problem of living space and create a sofa that can be converted to a dining table. The sofa turns to a table and the seat turns to six padded stools.
This product design is solving the problem of holding pans for people who have arthritis problems. So, the question that designer Alberto Vasquez from Hungary had to answer is how to provide a comfortable way to hold things especially in the kitchen. His Fogo concept design is a removable handle that any one can use to hold various types of objects including the hot objects.
In this concept, Vladimir Khramov tried to find a better solution to the old traffic light and turn it to one light panel instead of the three light red, yellow, and green. This way, the new concept can save more space and allow the display of multiple traffic instructions.
I like this concept and find it useful for many Macbook Pro users as it solves the cables problem and the lack of slots in Macbook. In this concept, Bostajan designed an extension for your Macbook that you can attach and insert in your mobile, memory cards, and even charging cables.
Again, here is another design concept to save space. Many people face the problem of having too many cleaning objects. This design by Dylan from New York tried to solve the lack of space problem and created a cleaning device that includes one long arm and many tools that can be attached to it. This product saves the space of three different tools in your kitchen or home.
In sum, product design can help us to improve our life and make it much easier. From the business point of view, this means that many people will like the creative product as long as it solves their problem and provides to them what the other products do not do. If you notice a new and creative product on the store shelves, will you try it or just stick with the old fashion products?