Product design is the process by which new, innovative products are created and marketed to businesses and consumers. Most product designers do not work on previously released products, although some industrial designers will work to improve an existing product’s form and function. Product design is all about creating something new, something the consumer public has not seen before. A product designer must see a project through from conception to delivery of the final product. Combining arts, science, and technology, product designers enjoy an ever-evolving creative role as consumer needs shift and available technologies continue to change and improve.
Although creativity and progressive thinking are critical skills for any product designer, the ability to follow specific design and development processes are equally important. Product design involves analyzing the client or consumer need, identifying a solution to the given problem, provide a design concept, create product prototypes, and evaluate the overall quality, form, and function of the product. If approved, the product then moves to mass production and becomes available to the consumer public. If prototypes are not approved, product designers must identify any quality issues, functional issues, or design issues and create an improved product.
Product designers must be aware of the consumer public. Not all product design is limited to the conception and production of new prototypes; product designers must consider their consumer audience. Product designers must anticipate how products can be used, abused, and potentially used. Understanding consumer trends can lead to a greater variety of cutting-edge technologies in the marketplace. Consider all the items and appliances you have in your home. All of these products have been made possible through product design in one form or another. It all starts with a need and a creative idea, followed up with research, design, and the creation of prototypes. Once the product has been tested, approved, and modified, it is ready to hit the market. Every new product must first originate as an idea. Product design ensures that these ideas become viable, three-dimensional reality.
Today, product design relies on the use of computer design technologies to create product prototypes. Product designers must be well versed in the latest drafting and modeling software in order to create detailed designs for potential products, which can then be shared and discussed with a design team or with clients. Traditional drafting and drawing skills may also be used during the initial concept phase.
Most product designers hold advanced degrees in graphic design, commercial design, or industrial design. If you are interested in learning more about design degrees or finding top design schools, see our School Sorter and related links below.