What is Industrial Design?

Industrial design exists at the confluence of avant-garde design and cutting edge technology. It took birth in the studios of the royal craftsmen of Louis XIV; and evolved with the onset of the Industrial Revolution. And today, it is indispensable to successful production – right from conception all the way to a product’s scale manufacturing.

Suppose that you have an idea for a consumer electronic product. You are convinced it can improve the lives of its users. But in order to make it commercially viable, you will need to go a step beyond. A professional industrial design incorporates design elements along with a utility to create an unforgettable product.

So, what goes into a good award-winning design?

  1. Functionality:  What does your product do? In what ways will it interact with the user? How will it be powered? Can it work in sync with any existing product – such as a cell phone? These factors determine whether the product is unique or whether it acts as a supplement to existing products.
  2. Form: How does your product look? Designers evaluate aspects such as shape, colour, material and ergonomics to arrive at appealing and effective forms. How a product looks can set it aside from all its competitors.
  3. Manufacturing:  Whether you intend to mass-produce or custom-produce the product, you need to strategise manufacturing. Projected sales volume, material cost, and logistics are some of the factors you need to take into account. With efficient planning, you can reduce production costs, making your product available to your customers at affordable prices.
  4. Quality: Ultimately, it’s the quality of the product that brings in new customers. Connecting the product to your brand’s core value is quintessential.

Well, that seems like a whole lot of work! How is it done?

  1. Engineers work on the functionality aspect of the product. They configure the electronic, mechanical and software components that go into it.
  2. Working in tandem, a team of designers draw and create models for how the product would look and feel.
  3. Prototypes are made and tested – multiple times to avoid any form of glitches.
  4. Finally, with the right packaging, the product is ready for the market.

All this sounds fine and dandy, but what value addition does industrial design bring to a product?

  1. Increases usability: The rigorous development process followed by industrial designers ensures that the final product is as close to perfection as possible.
  2. Increases desirability: With their expert insights into market trends, industrial designers increase the desirability of a product.
  3. Feasible manufacturing:  Creating some “thing” and creating many of the same things are two different things altogether. While prototypes can be quite expensive, the final product available in the market cannot be unaffordable. Prohibitive pricing can drive sales down. Aiming at efficient production usually results in cost reduction.
  4. Responsible Production: The world is now, more than ever, more environmentally and socially conscious. Industrial designers work actively towards reducing the negative impact of a product on nature and society.
  5. Commercial success: The above factors combined ensure that the product finally tastes commercial success.

Whether you are an entrepreneur starting a biz or an established world leader, industrial design is the need of the hour. While rapidly advancing technology has enabled myriad products to impact millions of people around the world, a well-designed product can improve each and every one of their lives.

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