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20 Principles for Good Industrial Product Development


20 Principles for Good Industrial Product Development

This article covers the 20 core principles that we should apply and consider when developing a good industrial product. These 20 Principles of development of an industrial product are classified into three segments: the musts, the shoulds and the woulds.

Cost Reduction: Before we start our discussion, I believe it is important to remember that an industrial design product has at least two raisons d'être: 1. To satisfy the needs of the buyer (consumer, customer, client). 2. To satisfy the needs of the seller (manufacturer, producer, seller, distributor). The need of the seller is simple; it is profits; i.e. the profit = price – costs must be as high as possible. Good design will help increase sales, and good design will help decrease the costs, thus, a good industrial design is a profitable product. First principle of good industrial design is to design a profitable product. A good product design must reduce costs at each of the following steps: 1) Production 2) Marketing 3) Distribution 4) R&D 5) Maintenance 6) Disposal. Furthermore, a good industrial product design should increase sales price or volume.
20 Principles for Good Industrial Product Development
Function: How to increase sales price or volume? It depends on appealing to the buyers’ desires. The need of the buyer is simple; it is utility; i.e. happiness derived from the product. The happiness is derived through consumption and continued usage through product function and performance. The purchase decision is fueled through the need, and thus the initial sales decision is based on the prime function; i.e. if a person is trying to buy a comfortable office chair, the purchase decision is based on the following question first: is it a chair? And followed by is it an office chair, and followed by is it comfortable? And finally, of course the person will think many other questions starting with if it is affordable; Is it safe? Is it humane? Is it easy to recycle? Is it easy to carry? etc. etc. Thus a good industrial product design should be, above all, in the eyes of a consumer must be 1) Functional 2) Good Performing 3) Context/Market Relevant.
20 Principles for Good Industrial Product Development
Realization: Thus when we are thinking for 20 Principles for Good Industrial Design, we have to consider both the buyers’ needs and the sellers’ needs. In this perspective, going back to the producers’ viewpoint of good industrial design we shall firstly consider the production cost. The production cost is effected by several elements but most importantly it is based on available technology or cost of new machinery, choice of materials, amount of materials, amount of manual labor required. Thus, a good industrial product design, from the production side must firstly fit within the production possibilities of the manufacturer; i.e. a good industrial design should preferably be producible with given machinery and available technology.
20 Principles for Good Industrial Product Development
Marketability: When we consider the marketing side, we have several main questions: who to sell, how to sell, where to sell etc. The answer to the first and the most important question; Who to sell? (Who is or market?): is about the target demographics; i.e. the buyers’ profile, their needs and amount of money they could pay for the product; thus when designing a good industrial product, we must give importance to the market needs and structure. Since I will emphasize more on the market needs, let’s focus on the second question: How to sell? (How to attract market?) This is rather easier to answer, and in most cases, the answer is simple: Aesthetics. A good industrial design must be beautiful, aesthetically appealing to the consumer, i.e. easily marketable.
20 Principles for Good Industrial Product Development
Distribution Friendliness: Distribution is yet another cost element of a product, and it includes; Warehousing, Transportation and Exhibition. A good industrial product should be easy to distribute; i.e. easy to be warehoused and stored, easy to be transported and easy to be exhibited. In this perspective, we must consider that this product should preferably be either stackable, flat-packable, space-friendly transforming or lightweight. Furthermore, during the transportation, the product must not get broken or damaged; in this case, the product should be durable and must feature a protective packaging that is preferably also suitable for exhibition. Within all these aspects, being durable, featuring a packaging and being space-saving are all three important aspects a good product should have.
20 Principles for Good Industrial Product Development
Best Practice Compliance: R&D stands for research and development. A new product design that does not require further R&D could be considered a good product since it could be easily producible by the producer and it would take less time to release to market. In this perspective, an important element to consider during the design process is the best practices or the industry best practices; i.e. what other companies do and how other products look like. If we know the best-practices i.e. what and how every producer produces, we are more likely to come up with a more standard product design that fits the expectations of the target audience i.e. the market and thus could be sold easier.
20 Principles for Good Industrial Product Development
Differentiation: We must be careful, as if we make a very standard product through following all the best-practices, we are potentially making a commodity; a product no different from others. If we make a commodity we cannot put a premium and thus the value of product could decrease; thus we must find ways to make sure that the product is unique, in order to have a control over price and in order to be the monopoly on the market. Thus our product should not be just easily realized but it should also be differentiated. In this case, we could state that a good industrial product should have a gimmick; a gimmick is a unique or quirky special feature that makes something stand-out from its contemporaries; i.e. a good product design must differentiate, and it is usually very easy to do so through what we simplify as unique design.
20 Principles for Good Industrial Product Development
Durability: Maintenance cost is the cost to make the product continue to function. For the buyer, in most cases it is the cost of energy such as electricity and occasional repairs. For the producer and for most products, the maintenance cost is the cost of free repairs under the guarantees. To decrease the maintenance cost, the product should be long-lasting and durable; i.e. well engineered; it should be able to withstand user-errors, material fatigue and unexpected usage. In this case, a good industrial product should be well engineered; i.e. choice of materials, the structure and form must provide additional durability and extended protection and life for the product, furthermore the product should not cause any problems itself.
20 Principles for Good Industrial Product Development
Ecological Factors: Manufacturers could be liable for products that are harder to be recycled, reused or reduced and could potentially need to cover for disposal costs in the forms of taxation or negative subsidies or anti-subvention; i.e. it could be desirable to have products that could be easily disposed to benefit from tax reductions, subsidies and subvention. Furthermore, awareness of recycling, re-use and reduce concepts are slowly being pushed to the consumers, thus a good industrial product would better be easily disposable or recyclable. In this case, the choice of materials is once again of relevance and important, but using less number of materials is indeed more relevant since not only it leads to easier disposal but also as it decreases the direct production costs.
20 Principles for Good Industrial Product Development
Pricing: If we are to return to the buyers’ viewpoint of fulfilling dreams and desires, in this case a good product design is a totally different phenomenon. The buyer does not care about the production, marketing, R&D and distribution costs, unless it increases the price she would pay. For her, yet still, the final price is important. In any condition, designing a product that costs slightly less than others, could therefore would also benefit the buyer, thus as a bridge between the buyer and the seller, the pricing should be considered during product design; it should fit within the range of affordability of the sellers’ target audience.
20 Principles for Good Industrial Product Development
Functionality: Meaning that the product should have the Required Adjectives: Ergonomic, Safe, Efficient, Standard, Functional etc. These are the adjectives that almost all buyers require to consider a product as a valid product; taking these adjectives away from a product would reduce the value of the product significantly. The required adjectives are different and varied for all products, for example an office chair must be ergonomic, a reclining chair must be able to recline but not flip-over, a folding chair should fold to a minimum space, an arm chair is supposed to have hand-rests, a chair should provide a surface to sit on etc. When designing a good industrial product, especially the required adjectives must be though and considered.
20 Principles for Good Industrial Product Development
Performance: The product should have Performance Adjectives: Comfortable, User-Friendly, Highly Efficient, Highest Standards, Works Great and similar. These are adjectives that add further value to the product and helps differentiation. For example a comfortable office chair sells easier than a normal office chair. Like the Required Adjectives, Performance Adjectives also do vary based on the product. Good product designs have multiple performance adjectives; a comfortable, adjustable office chair for example.
20 Principles for Good Industrial Product Development
Legal Issues: In many cases, products do have legal requirements or already set standards they should comfort to. For example contract furniture for airports are legally required either to be difficult to burn or made of auto-extinguishing materials. Furthermore, the products for indoors must not be harmful and non-poisonous. Last, the product that you are designing should not be already patented. When designing, a designer should consider the required laws and standards if any. In some cases, even if there is not a specific law, there could potentially be strong, widely accepted standards that your product should be supposed to comply with.
20 Principles for Good Industrial Product Development
Context Relevance: An important element that should be considered during design of a product is the context in which the product should be used. Context Relevance usually refers to where the product is used; i.e. the ambient and environment, and further effects the form and material. For instance a chair for outdoors shall preferably be made of materials that could not deteriorate easily with sunlight and rain. Likewise, a chair for the dining room shall look different from an office chair. Therefore when designing a good industrial product, the context in which the product would be placed must be considered; the product should preferably compliment the environment.
20 Principles for Good Industrial Product Development
Needs: The desire of the buyer is to enjoy life by satisfying her needs. After a product satisfies the most fundamental needs i.e. in most cases the physiological and safety needs, consumers look for other values; for example luxury products provide confidence, respect and esteem, while some other products are designed to give a feeling of friendship, family and intimacy, and a group of products are marketed as enabling as they help us be creative, free etc. The fundamental needs of products (safety and physiological needs) are satisfied by the majority of products and therefore a product that only satisfy these fundamental needs is called a commodity, thus a good industrial product must satisfy more than the fundamental needs to be successful and differentiated. A chair should not be just safe and ergonomic, but it must also look good. The additional adjectives matter.
20 Principles for Good Industrial Product Development
Emotions: We could say that industrial design is about improvement, to make a product that fulfills a specific need better than competitors’ products. The need is divided into two: function and benefits. The function is what the object is about and effects the form significantly, the function is what we expect first from a product; for example: a chair should provide seating, an automobile should provide transportation, while benefits are what we expect second from the objects; a chair for example, should be comfortable, aesthetic, mobile, and we expect an automobile to be safe, fast, energy efficient. Benefits strongly effect the purchase decision, because the core function is given; it must already exist. Benefits are adjectives that we impose to a product relating to performance and added functionality; such as a comfortable chair, a safe automobile, but most effective benefits are emotional; emotional benefits are added to product through firstly by aesthetics and secondly by over-performance which helps us add superlatives to the object; the best, the foremost etc. Since emotional benefits make an object truly desirable and memorable, an industrial designer should think of it very good; the most comfortable office chair, the fastest car, these are all things we would want.
20 Principles for Good Industrial Product Development
Mass Market: A good industrial product must have a good market to appeal to; a designer should determine a common need existing in a group of individuals (as well call them the market). An industrial product provides function to the mass; the needs of the population must be satisfied; an industrial design is not produced to satisfy the need of a single person. Since a good industrial product should appeal to the mass market, ergonomics and usability becomes relevant together with configuration and adjustability because; if more people could use the product, more people will buy it. Thus a good industrial design should satisfy the overall needs of the market; i.e. respond to the demand.
20 Principles for Good Industrial Product Development
Six Drivers of Form: Ergonomics, Function, Economics, Markets, Technology and Law + Standards are the main drivers of industrial design form. Ergonomic drivers effect form based on the physical properties of the average market user or anthropology. Function defines form based on what the object is supposed to do. Market drivers affect the form based on what users expect the product to look like. Economic drivers shape the form as they impose restrictions based on efficiency, cost of production etc. The production technology effects the form as it limits the way of production, material choices etc. Laws and Standards impose restrictions on form and materials as required by the legislations or international standards. A good industrial design should consider all these six elements.
20 Principles for Good Industrial Product Development
Archetype: An archetype is what the common object should look like; it is the average product with form, function and shape; it is a hybrid of market-drivers and industry best-practices. It is a starting point from which we should deviate from the form and function of the product to differentiate, to improve and to cost-reduce. Knowing the archetype is highly important in order to design an object that could be easily introduced to the market. A good industrial designer should be able take the archetype into consideration, to improve and differentiate it in ways to create a new product. Finding the archetype is simple; it is the average of all designs within the market segment; it is what comes to the mind first.
20 Principles for Good Industrial Product Development
Trends: While a good product design should be evergreen i.e. good looking at any age or era, in most cases this is really difficulty to achieve since the technology and society rapidly evolves, making products that were introduced to market in prior years looking outdated. Thus a good product design should be contemporary; fitting to the era in which it has been designed for; it must be fashionable; uses popular colors, forms and materials that are trendy. A good industrial design process should also include a moodboard where the trends could be discovered and utilized within the product.

This article was added on Monday, 27th of January, 2014 at 08.26 am by author Onur Cobanli Tags: design disciplines, design practices, good design, industrial product design. Read our copyright policy here.
 
 

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