We have been doing industrial design for 6 years. During this time we had many projects : sensors, watches, bracelets, cases, and even toys. For 6 years we have learned a lot and in many ways radically changed their view of industrial design … Therefore, I want to convey several important things that can facilitate the work of customers with design studios and, of course, take a look from the inside at how an industrial design studio works and why she does it.

Sit back 🙂

How an industrial design studio works

Industrial design is not art

And this is the first thought that we try to convey to the people who come to our studio. The task of an industrial designer is develop and design an item. This means that it should be convenient to use, understandable, focused on a specific consumer, realizable, and only then beautiful. “Make it beautiful” is for artists.

How an industrial design studio doesn't work

The designer has one head, and the industrial designer has 4

Not literally, of course. The peculiarity of an industrial designer, in contrast to a graphic one, for example, is that he has to simultaneously be a constructor, a material scientist, a marketer and, finally, a designer. Of course, this does not mean that an industrial designer should have all the knowledge required for the 4 professions. But the basic knowledge for communicating with these specialists must be. Therefore, they create industrial design studios. All the necessary specialists are gathered under one roof, who form a team and, as a result, issue a finished product that the potential consumer will like it.

Why is a freelancer not a good idea?

The objection we hear most often is, “Why is it so expensive? A freelancer will do it for three kopecks. ” Usually we do not argue, some projects really have such budgets that it is absolutely unrealistic to work with within the studio. industrial design … And then it’s easier to go to a freelancer for a quick and cheap result. It would seem ideal. Why are we against this approach? No, not because we want more money and more orders. But because:

  • the freelancer is NOT responsible for the product;
  • a freelancer is NOT a technologist, not a marketer or a materials scientist (and if so, he is at the studio level) and there are no such specialists in his team (and if so, this is already an industrial design studio);
  • A freelancer will NOT prepare a model for production and certainly will not make it for you.
Industrial designer - freelancer

So, our advice to you, if you don’t have enough budget – look for investors … Do not hope that it will be of high quality and cheap. Because it won’t work. And the money spent will go nowhere.

Where is your hard earned money spent?

Let’s try to figure out what stages a new product development project consists of, and how much work it involves. To make it easier to understand, let’s take for example smart bracelet development (because we have created more than one).

A customer comes to us and says: “ I came up with a cool gadget , I want to blow up the world market. This is a smart bracelet that will count the number of calories, the level of HR and predict the mood of the wife for tomorrow. Research has been done, the filling has been developed, let’s do the design. ”

Ingenious industrial design

We admire the idea, praise the customer and proceed to drafting TOR … I will not describe in detail what is included there, this is a topic for a separate article, but here are a couple of general points:

  • target audience (gender, age, place of residence, interests, lifestyle, etc.);
  • sales markets;
  • application of the gadget;
  • full functional description;
  • the marketing goals of the company;
  • liked references (if any);
  • design requirements (if any), etc. etc.

After we have understood what the customer wants, the second stage begins: study. This is where marketers come in who need to collect large amounts of data and share it with the rest of the team. The market is studied, references are selected, trends are displayed, expectations of the target audience are formed, etc.

Only then can you start develop concepts … This is most often done in the form of sketches. An industrial designer develops from 3 to 15 options (and sometimes more) depending on the customer’s requirements. The most successful options modeled in a special program and is being prepared visualization for the customer.

The customer looks and says what options he liked, where to make edits, what should be removed and not shown to anyone, etc. The industrial designer refines the options, adds what is needed, removes what is not needed, and sends it back to the project manager for presentation. In a perfect world after the first presentation everyone likes everything and you can move on.

Industrial design studio - customer

In practice, one more presentation may be needed so that the studio and the customer come to a common decision. But the work does not end there either. After we approved the option called “This is cool guys, let’s do” it is time adventures preparation for production.

This is the hardest and most interesting part. We select materials, consult with engineers, designers and other smart people. All this is done in order to make sure that perfect balance between design and optimal production price found.

And when we did this too, we are still about half way to the finished product. After all, you need to create a mold, make the first sample, test it, modify it if necessary, check the first run and other interesting things 🙂

The implementation of the project takes from several months to a year. For each project, a separate team is assembled from at least six people. Alas and oh, these are huge resources: time, money, nerves. But the result will meet expectations.

Money is the result

How to avoid a fatal mistake when choosing an industrial design studio?

Choosing a studio is a responsible process. And this, in my humble opinion, should be dealt with directly the project manager not his deputy / secretary / office manager.

What you should pay attention to?

  1. The presence of complex industrial design objects in the portfolio … Some companies with a clear conscience claim that they are engaged in industrial design, when in fact they are developing the geometry of the bottles. And this, of course, is also industrial design. However, a complex device is unlikely to be up to them.
  2. The presence of a marketer on the staff. An unobvious advantage, but it is the marketer who is able to lay the foundation for the high popularity of the future product with his recommendations at the design stage.
  3. Availability of production or adequate contractors. An industrial design studio is not required to have its own production. But experience suggests that if it exists (or regular production partners), then the studio will definitely take care to reduce the cost of production without harming the quality of the product.

I hope I’ve helped you understand what an industrial design studio is and why it’s cool. If you have any questions / objections / additions, write in the comments, let’s talk 🙂