What is industrial design / product design?

Industrial Designers are a cross between a mechanical engineer and an artist. They study both function and form, and the connection between product and the user. They do not design the gears or motors that make machines move, or the circuits that control the movement. And usually, they partner with design engineers and marketing specialists to identify and fulfill needs, wants and expectations.

Industrial Design is the professional service of creating and developing concepts and specifications that optimize the function, value and appearance of products and systems for the mutual benefit of both user and manufacturer. Design, itself, is often difficult to define to non-designers because the meaning accepted by the design community is not one made of words. Instead, the definition is created as a result of acquiring a critical framework for the analysis and creation of artifacts. It has been said that design is the process of taking something from its existing state and moving it to a preferred state. This applies to new artifacts, whose existing state is undefined and previously created artifacts, whose state stands to be improved.

Who needs industrial design?

As industrial designers we like to think that almost any product needs some industrial design input. If you have an idea for a new product and you can loosely define its purpose, it is the industrial design which enables the idea to develop around usability, functionality, aesthetics and sustainability. Industrial design gives a product function and form. Industrial designers have the ability to think analytically and anticipate the likely use of a product. Whether you are an inventor, an entrepreneur, a manufacturer or a trading company, professional industrial design will provide product development in a visible predictable process to you.

But that is not all! Industrial design is used in conjunction with other disciplines in the product development process and touches on all areas of manufacture. From the transport design for a bus seat or aero plane interior, the development of garden tools or surgical instruments, the manufacture of video recorders or ticketing machines, industrial design is the essential link between the ‘fit for purpose’ and the process of manufacture.

What is the history of industrial design?

When our forbearers made their first stone blades by chipping shards of a stone, it was the idea of improving the efficiency of the cutting edge, even if it was discovered by chance. Human curiosity and the need to improve ‘product’ led to the existence of specialized crafts people of many different genres. Several hundred years ago the first guilds formed in Europe to unify particular skills for particular purposes. Soon schools were formed to allow people to train away from traditional apprenticeships into more generic forms of training.

Movements such as the ‘arts and craft movement’ defined different styles at the end of the 19th century. This was followed by the ‘ Deutscher Werkbund’ (German Work Federation) and the first specialized design schools such as the Bauhaus, one of the cradles of industrial design.

The discipline of industrial design is a natural development out of the industrial revolution of the 19th century. It is an important professional discipline in product development now and all industrialized countries offer design degrees at their universities.

How do I start the development process?

In the first instance you would need to document your idea one way or another. You could either define it in writing, listing all the criteria you can think of. Equally, or even better, do some drawing or a sketch. Don’t hesitate, even if you think you cannot draw. The visualization will help you communicate your idea to us. Now, contact us! We would be happy for you to sound us out, bounce the idea off the Designbrand team, get some more food for thought, and get inspired. That is the start of the process of product development.

Depending where you are with your idea and how far it has evolved we can help you further with a catalogue of questions which will help you define how big the task of product development will be for your idea or product. You might well have something in production already. Do you want us to design the next generation of your product?

Once we know some detail about your idea or product, existing or new, we can give you initial feedback about industrial design or product development in general. When the catalogue of questions has been answered, Designbrand would provide a design project proposal to show you all the steps of the development process. The design project proposal would give you a budget estimate, a time line, the different outcomes for presentations and other deliverables and answers to the most important question: What does it cost? If you would like to get an initial estimate as a first cost indication then fill out the online form!

You would then be well on your way with information to allow you educated decision making in the first stage of your product’s development. Contact us with your idea or requirements.

What is ergonomics?

Ergonomics is the scientific discipline concerned with designing according to the human needs, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance. The field is also called human engineering, and human factors engineering.

Ergonomic research is primarily performed by ergonomists, who study human capabilities in relationship to their work demands. Information derived from ergonomists contributes to the design and evaluation of tasks, jobs, products, environments and systems in order to make them compatible with the needs, abilities and limitations of people. Ergonomics is an important part in industrial and product design, enabling the designer to develop products fit for safe and efficient use. In New Zealand the professional body for ergonomists is the New Zealand Ergonomics Society (NZES) of which Designbrand is a member

Where does Designbrand fit into the oroduct development process?

This question is often phrased: “When do I involve Designbrand in the product development?"

As product designers we believe that we provide valuable input at every stage of the product development process. Designbrand has been designing products for over twelve years. In this time we have come to understand the many different facets of the process. From formulating a brief to pitching for investment, cycle testing prototypes to designing user manuals, we have helped our clients achieve their development goals.

Initially, most clients approach us for product design. Often it would have been even more beneficial to involve design at the early planning stages. At every stage we will keep our clients informed of how to make best use of design. We always ‘give it our best’ to make sure that the product performs well within all of the requirements.

We suggest that you contact us now, while your idea has not cost you too much of your development funds. We are happy to discuss your project confidentially without charge and help you avoid major and costly pitfalls. The earlier we get involved the sooner we are able to share our extensive knowledge of the product development process. Do you have other questions? We welcome your inquiry! Contact us Now!

We also offer a free initial estimate for industrial design projects. This is a good way to get an idea of how much your project is likely to cost. Fill out the online form now and we will send the estimate back to you!

Do we do CAD design?

This is a common question that needs clarification. Generally what is meant by this question is: Can you turn my simple sketch into a CAD model that contains all the detail necessary to take it to manufacture? The short answer is: Yes! However there are some considerations you should make.

Firstly, product development is a complex process – don’t expect that your sketch can fully resolve all the issues involved. Even experienced industrial designers run into complications once they translate their ideas into 3D.

Secondly, you may have spent quite some time on your concept but there is almost always an alternative that has merit. So the long answer to the question is: yes, but in most cases it would be advisable to allow us to do some product development work on your idea. Our experience in product design will ensure that your concept turns into a successful and affordable product, specifically designed for particular manufacturing techniques and target markets. In short – as industrial designers we can take the guess work out of your product development! Contact us with your ideas now and we will suggest the best way forward.