Product design covers a huge range of potential products. The product could be a new and improved mobile phone, or a fuel-efficient automobile. Maybe there’s a need for an innovative gym bag beyond the classic duffel bag, for either new sports in the 21st century, or a previously under-represented demographic, like the newly emerging baby boomers who want to keep fit as they enter their senior years. It could be a high-fashion item, or an industrial design.
First, the need is identified. Without a need being filled, you’re creating a gimmick with a limited shelf life. It’s best to first look at the market and decide what problem your product is going to solve, whether it’s improving an existing product or developing something completely new.
Next, you have to conduct research to see what’s already out there. You might find a similar product already out there. It might be time to move on to a different product idea entirely rather than waste time, money and resources duplicating an already existing product. However, if you find upon examination that the existing product could be made better, you might proceed to create that new and improved version.
It’s time to go from 2 to 3 dimensions. Your first model of your product doesn’t have to work, but you have to start to get an idea of what this product is going to look like. This is where you will work out the design bugs before actually starting production.
Once the product is on the market, your job isn’t over. Product design changes from year to year, as the designers and manufacturer get more feedback from consumers. It’s a continuous loop of listening to the customers, and refining the design to create a new and improved model which will better meet the needs of the public.
Product design is intrinsically meshed with marketing, as it is a field that depends on an understanding of what people need to or want to buy. Good product design will lead to quality consumer goods which will avoid the pitfall of being gimmicks with a short shelf life that end up being thrown away because they were not what the customer actually needed.