What is Industrial Design?

What is Industrial Design?

We all use hundreds of products every day; some we love and some we loathe. But have you ever stopped to consider where they come from or how they came into being? If the answer is no, then you’re not alone.

Whenever I meet someone new and they ask what I do, they’re usually surprised to learn that I am an Industrial Designer, and even more surprised when I explain what an Industrial Designer actually does. It’s a job title that most people haven’t even heard before, yet Industrial Designers are responsible for creating many of the products that we use each day. Our phones, furniture, appliances, electronic gadgets and even our cars and transportation systems are designed in whole, or in part by Industrial Designers.

Industrial Design

Essentially, Industrial Design describes the design of products for mass-production. It’s a holistic process and takes into consideration a range of factors such as ergonomics, materials, aesthetics, form, function, production cost, reliability, servicing and even environmental impact. The Industrial Design process generally starts with a pencil and paper and ultimately results in the creation and documentation of a completed design that can then be sent to production.

What’s Involved

Along the way, the designer works through a number of stages. This often includes;

  1. An initial research phase

  2. Concept development

  3. Design refinement

  4. 3D modelling

  5. Prototyping

  6. Testing

  7. Creation of production drawings.

A Few Examples

While you may not have heard of many Industrial Designers, I’m sure you’ll be very familiar with some of their work. A few of the most influential and best-known Industrial Designers are;

  1. Kenneth Grange: A great British Industrial Designers and one of my all-time design idols. Over the course of some 60-odd years, he has designed some truly iconic products, ranging from Kenwood mixers, to London taxis and even the Intercity 125 high-speed train (for those like me who are old enough to remember it).

  2. Jonny Ive: Another Brit and Chief Design Officer for a little company called Apple (you may have heard of them). Whether you love or hate Apple’s products, their impact on modern culture is certainly undeniable.

  3. Marc Newson: An Australian designer with a huge body of work. He has designed everything from aircraft, to furniture, kids’ toys, appliances, luggage and much more. His customer’s include Qantas, Louis Vuitton and Ferrari – say no more.

The truth is that good design often goes unnoticed, and I think that’s exactly how it should be. Products that are well-designed are easy to use, intuitive and fit into our lives so well that we rarely give them a second thought. And well-designed products are quite often the simplest with regard to their form and function. Quite often though, this simplicity belies the thought and development that went into designing the product. A good and effective design process takes into account every consideration and every stakeholder – more on that soon though, so stay tuned.

What’s Your Idea?

Have you got a new product idea? If so, we’d love to hear from you. You can contact us via email at enquiries@designvisionid.com.