Product creation is an exciting, yet challenging journey. It begins with nothing but an idea, transitions through a sketch, and ends with a result.
The world of a product designer is a combination of pragmatism and vision, with a pitch of creativity, entrepreneurship, and technical skills.
Oftentimes tasked with the demanding task to put together logic and creativity, a product designer needs to have extensive knowledge when it comes to model making, serious knowledge in computer-aided design (CAD), enviable technical skills and, of course, good project management.
Having said that, what are the things that a product design agency should be focused on in 2019? With a new year unfolding upon the horizon, let’s have a look at 10 essential tips for any product designer or product design company to consider.
Functionality Over Features
As a product design company, your main goal should be to create something functional. Sometimes, this comes at the expense of features.
It’s particularly easy to get bogged down with far too many details. However, there are occasions when your customers won’t long for a clever and multi-functional device — they might just want something that works.
As a general rule of product design, the more features a device has, the less intuitive it will become.
Think of it this way — sometimes a simple screwdriver is far better than a swiss-army knife.
It’s very important to consider what’s current and what’s not within the field that of the product you’re creating. For instance, if you’re creating a smartwatch design, it might be a good idea to be aware of the essential rules of wearable design.
It Needs to be Useful
It’s probably as simple as it gets but it definitely needs to be stressed out. As a product design agency, your designs need to be useful.
The utility is always something you ought to have as a number one priority. One thing to consider here is that as a product designer, you should be applying this requirement to every aspect of the design and not just to the product itself.
Every single component of your design needs to serve a certain purpose. There needs to be a point to it. If you can’t find one — you might want to consider if the element should be included in the design at all.
Solve Actual Issues
This product design tip comes as the roundup of the above two. Neither the functionality or the utility of your product design would matter unless they solve an actual, real-world issue.
You need to aim at solving existing problems. A good product designer will find a need which is well-felt.
It’s a lot more challenging to convince someone that he has an issue he’s not aware of than it is to provide him with a solution to a problem he’s already facing.
And while this is mainly a job for marketers, product design companies are oftentimes tasked with conceptual work, where this comes as a top priority.
The main goal of your product design is to result in something people will buy. In other words, you’re going to have to accept the fact that there’s going to be competition.
It’s particularly rare for a product to make it as a jack of all the trades. Cornering a market niche is effective and if you want to do it, you need to focus on a single, particular consumer need.
As soon as you’ve done it, make sure to offer the best way to satisfy it. Remember what we said about problems and solving them?
Simple Thought Process
Product designers shouldn’t overly complicate the development process. In fact, your main job is to guarantee that there is a perfect fit between the product’s functionality and its design. Hence, each new product needs to be effective, user-friendly, and simple.
Product designers can easily collaborate with different team members such as engineers, for example, through CAD software.
This way, they can easily control how the simplicity of the design fits the overall goals of the new product and coordinate it with different links in the production line.
Take A Look at What’s Already Out There
You don’t really need to reinvent the wheel to create an effective, selling, and reliable products. Customer needs are practical — remember that.
Before you start with the product design concept, it’s a good idea to invest some time in going through what’s already on the market.
Take a look at your competitors’ products, their features, their functionality. You can even take it up a notch.
You can have your partners and existing or potential clients preview your prototypes through a simple digital image, for instance. This can happen on any mobile device.
Collect feedback and adjust accordingly.
Testing is Critical
It’s impossible to stress this out enough but as a product designer, testing is something you should never get enough of.
You need to benchmark your new products and evaluate how their features and functionality can be implemented in your design.
Before the manufacturing process, it’s important to make sure you’ve tested the product as many times as it’s needed.
Of course, with the advent of technology, you can do that both virtually and physically with the help of elaborate software.
Simulation is Also Critical
As a complementary step to physical prototyping, engineering simulation is a very cost-effective way to test your designs through practices such as numerical analyses, for instance.
This will help you determine whether or not there’s a need for a change or improving the design prior to the phase of physical prototyping which can get rather expensive.
Attention to Detail — It Matters!
The devil hides in the details. As a product design agency, this is the general rule you’d have to wake up and fall asleep with.
Fit, form, and polish. Don’t expect immediate appreciation, though. These things might not be quick to jump out at your customers. However, their cumulative effect is going to make a difference.
Getting every single detail right is what’s going to impress your consumers. That’s especially true in the age that we live in — that of mass-production and cheap, interchangeable goods.
Perfect design and execution is going to stand out in 2019 — keep it in mind!
Design With Longevity in Mind
One challenge that a lot of product designers face is the test of time. Long-lasting products are far more valuable to consumers but that’s not all of it.
They are also better for our planet and, hence, attest for the skills of the one who designed them. You want to be that product designer.
You want to design with longevity in mind. A good design is timeless. It doesn’t fade and it doesn’t get old. Better yet — the older it gets, the more valuable it becomes.
Product design is challenging. There are a lot of considerations to keep in mind. Each year poses new challenges.
However, the above product design tips are hopefully going to help you out when establishing the founding principles of your work.
Remember to always keep your consumer in mind to an extent that drives your product design to the necessary levels.