Sunday, September 22, 2013

Is Industrial Design about cool concepts or mass manufacture?

Industrial design is all about designing products for mass manufacture that are intended for the average person. But then that makes me wonder, why are there so many industrial designs out there that look amazing but are left in the concept stage? 

A design for a future city bike

 I am constantly delighted by beautiful renders and designs that I see on Industrial design websites. I look at them and think ‘WOW that looks awesome’. This is because CAD programs are so clever these days and we can make things look so impressive and life-like. Many people may however confuse these renders for actual products, and think because they look real they can easily be made real too. This, unfortunately, is far from the truth.

The reality however is that you probably can’t buy the product on the market, or find anyone willing to manufacture it for you. This is because manufacturing such complex shapes is not simple or cheap. The process is already extremely complex, and when such wild designs are attempted to be put to manufacture, flaws in the design often arise. 

Pushing for manufacturing requires a whole team working together at every stage of the process. Putting an industrial design concept to manufacture is not impossible but it is incredibly expensive and a lot of time must be put into it. If you have the money to do this it is amazing to be able to push manufacturing techniques to the limit to create amazing and fantastic products. However if you weren't born with a savings account left from a great great wealthy grandfather then the only other option for manufacturing is to re-design the product. This is achievable however some elements of the beauty of the design may be lost to allow for easier processing.

I really admire designers who create beautiful designs from the manufacturing process, rather than the other way round.   (See next weeks blog on Thomas Heatherwick)

The main problem with these designs is that essentially the design is going to be extremely expensive to manufacture. This means that the end price is going to be very high. If the design is really beautiful and clever than I have no doubts that people will want to buy it. However this will limit the buying market drastically. 
Although I admire many design concepts, I can’t help disagreeing with how they are labeled ‘industrial design products’ as many of them are barely manufacturable and not in a high enough demand (likely due to price) to be produced on a mass scale.

The moral of the story (as we know too well here at Mindsparkz) is simply to start designing with as much knowledge for mass manufacture as you possibly can. We know from experience how much manufacture knowledge can help even at the very initial design stages.

Creating New Products this Christmas

Christmas is coming! This season is filled with love, joy and most importantly, gifts! During this period of time, our designers begin desig...