Classification and Product Design31st January 2021
Product design as a verb is to create a new product to be sold by a business to its customers. A very broad coefficient and effective generation and development of ideas through a process that leads to new products. Thus, it is a major aspect of new product development.
Due to the absence of a consensually accepted definition that reflects the breadth of the topic sufficiently, two discrete, yet interdependent, definitions are needed: one that explicitly defines product design in reference to the artifact, the other that defines the product design process in relation to this artifact.
Product design as a noun: the set of properties of an artifact, consisting of the discrete properties of the form (i.e., the aesthetics of the tangible good or service) and the function (i.e. its capabilities) together with the holistic properties of the integrated form and function.
Product design process: the set of strategic and tactical activities, from idea generation to commercialization, used to create a product design. In a systematic approach, product designers conceptualize and evaluate ideas, turning them into tangible inventions and products. The product designer’s role is to combine art, science, and technology to create new products that people can use. Their evolving role has been facilitated by digital tools that now allow designers to do things that include communicate, visualize, analyze, 3D modeling and actually produce tangible ideas in a way that would have taken greater human resources in the past.
Product design is sometimes confused with (and certainly overlaps with) industrial design, and has recently become a broad term inclusive of service, software, and physical product design. Industrial design is concerned with bringing artistic form and usability, usually associated with craft design and ergonomics, together in order to mass-produce goods. Other aspects of product design and industrial design include engineering design, particularly when matters of functionality or utility (e.g. problem-solving) are at issue, though such boundaries are not always clear.
Product design process
There are various product design processes and many focus on different aspects. One example formulation/model of the process is described by Don Koberg and Jim Bagnellin in “The Seven Universal Stages of Creative Problem-Solving.” The process is usually completed by a group of people with different skills and training e.g. industrial designers, field experts (prospective users), engineers (for engineering design aspects), depending upon the nature and type of the product involved. The process often involves figuring out what is required, brainstorming possible ideas, creating mock prototypes and then generating the product. However, that is not the end. Product designers would still need to execute the idea, making it into an actual product and evaluating its success (seeing if any improvements are necessary).
The product design process has experienced huge leaps in evolution over the last few years with the rise and adoption of 3D printing. New consumer-friendly 3D printers can produce dimensional objects and print upwards with a plastic like substance opposed to traditional printers that spread ink across a page.
The product design process, as expressed by Koberg and Bagnell, typically involves three main aspects:
- Accept Situation: Here, the designers decide on committing to the project and finding a solution to the problem. They pool their resources into figuring out how to solve the task most efficiently.
- Analyze: In this stage, everyone in the team begins research. They gather general and specific materials which will help to figure out how their problem might be solved. This can range from statistics, questionnaires, and articles, among many other sources.
- Define: This is where the key issue of the matter is defined. The conditions of the problem become objectives, and restraints on the situation become the parameters within which the new design must be constructed.
- Ideate: The designers here brainstorm different ideas, solutions for their design problem. The ideal brainstorming session does not involve any bias or judgment, but instead builds on original ideas.
- Select: By now, the designers have narrowed down their ideas to a select few, which can be guaranteed successes and from there they can outline their plan to make the product.
- Implement: This is where the prototypes are built, the plan outlined in the previous step is realized and the product starts to become an actual object.
- Evaluate: In the last stage, the product is tested, and from there, improvements are made. Although this is the last stage, it does not mean that the process is over. The finished prototype may not work as well as hoped so new ideas need to be brainstormed.
|Definition||Product development refers to the complete life cycle. This starts from market analysis to goes up to the final product launch.||Product design is only a part of the cycle where the design of the product is created.|
|Supervision||The product developer supervises each stage of development.||The product designer has to report to the developer for approval. But he cannot supervise anything beyond his design aspects.|
|Decision making||All the decisions of marketing, finance, sales and logistics are taken in the development stages.||The design decisions are taken during product design after consultation with other officials.|
|Prototype||In the development phase, it is evaluated by the developer, that forms the basis of the product.||The prototype is designed in the product design phase.|
|Team||The product development team includes designers, manufacturers, marketing staff, engineers and sales staff.||The design team consists of technical staff consisting of illustrators, UX designers and Interaction designers|
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