New product design is crucial whether you are a new entrepreneur or creating a fresh product design & development strategy for your company. There are a few things you need to keep in mind, that I’ll show you here, when beginning the product design process.
For instance you want the most commercially viable as well as innovative product design possible in order to make it stand out from everything else in the market.
When it comes to innovative product and design work there a few steps you have to follow In your new product development process to help you through the process.
Key Steps For Any Good Product Design Process
- Preparation of Concepts: The first thing you need to do in any new product design is to answer the questions of why you are designing the product and how you will go about the process.
- Detailed Design: Of course you will then need to design the product. This can be a detailed blueprint at first but you will eventually need to design a prototype.
- Production of Prototypes: Once you have created a viable prototype you can begin to produce as many as you need to continue to the next step. Having just one prototype is limiting to your tests, since you’ll always need something to compare your product to (i.e. comparative performance tests).
- Testing: You will then need to find the right niche audience with which to test your prototype so that you can figure out what functionality & specifications does and does not work with your product. You then make improvements where necessary.
- Final Design: After you have worked out all the kinks in testing you can then work on the final product that you will eventually put on the market. Many companies may resort to outsourcing this work to product development services but the crucial thing for your firm should be to retain your unique intellectual property. For example, car manufacturers regularly outsource blocks of components (gearboxes, wiper motors, etc.).
Don’t Forget the Big Picture: Production, Maintenance & Support Functions
There are also other practical factors you will need to consider with your product design process. For instance you need to consider whether or not your facilities are capable of producing the product. Business process modeling using applications like Visio can help define workflows, resource bottlenecks, etc.
A huge factor will be how much the product will cost to design. However perhaps the most important factor you need to consider is whether or not you are manufacturing a product that people will want (i.e. marketing). There is no point in going through the process if there will be no market for it.
I’ve detailed previously how to market a brand new product and the brunt of that is that the features and benefits your product designs include should be of paramount importance in getting right in production and emphasizing in advertising.
Getting Into the Details: Just What is Product Design Anyhow?
Product design is your creative process in which you & your team’s ideas are generated and developed into new products. I’ve found certain methodologies that are followed almost religiously by product designers: initial stage; mid stage; and final stage.
- The initial stage has the idea generation or need based generation (step 1 above).
- The mid stage has solution design and production (step 2 & 3 ab0ve).
- The final stage has marketing as its focus (steps 4 & 5 above).
Modern design tools such as product design software ease the process in an ever evolving way for you that allows designers to complete their tasks more efficiently and effectively over time.
No matter how efficient the process becomes however the basic process stays the same. The development of the new product is started from a totally new idea and this idea is always based on the needs of the end users. So, if someone asks you what is product design please do not say it is a type of software. The software is simply a tool used in the design process.
Making Your Design-Life Easier by Using Product Design Software
There are numerous types of product design software available. Also known as Computer aided design or CAD software the use of CAD is in itself an engineering and architectural skill (you’ll often find course modules specializing in key tools on college design programs).
Your CAD software helps you streamline the design process by automating it and digitizing it all for ease of modification, transmission and application. Since the sixties CAD has reduced the need for draftsman and made the design process exponentially more efficient.
Nowadays you’ll find a product design project will use fewer people and take far less time than any time in the past. As technology continues to evolve progress will continue to be made in the design process. Not only are products designed in less time for less cost using advanced technology but they are designed much better. Understanding what does being innovative actually mean to your product lines takes less people, less time and less money to incrementally redesign your future products.
The benefit to you is that this trend of designing products faster, better and at less cost will no doubt continue as time goes on.
Or Maybe You’d Prefer to Branch Out – Creative Careers at Product Design Firms
Creative people are always looking for an outlet for their creativity. In a perfect world there is always some way for them to get paid for it. It actually is possible to get paid at several workplaces one of them being product design firms. It is the closest a person can get to the product origin short of inventing original products.
Product design jobs can be an excellent career option for the more creative breed of people. Although it does not require all of the background and though that is required from inventors it is close.
Product design firms often hire teams of people to modify the design of products for several reasons. The way a product looks is actually crucially important. You’ll find that much of the time why a person buys a product depends more on the way it looks than anything else. And this means your product design! The way a product works however is also very important (your functional design & user experience).
A good idea is a good idea from the point that you invent it. It can usually have some improvements made by someone other than the you or original inventor. And this is really one of the most important tasks of product design firms come in, by providing you with incremental design improvements and left-field ideas.
Improvements are crucial in developing your products or creating newer better models of your pre-existing products. As long as there are still inventors, consumers and products there will always be available product design jobs. So remember, this will always leave the career option open as a paid outlet for creative people.
In conclusion: Implementing new product and design processes can be an exciting endeavor. However you will need to make sure you have the means and drive to endure the process.
Not only do you need an innovative product design that can capture your intended audience but you will also need the capital and materials to create and eventually distribute the product. Still you should keep in mind that having a product is only one part of the process to seeing that you are successful.