Industrial Design Company

The advancement of different technologies that impact the product development process has made it possible for companies to develop and manufacture consumer products on a global scale in an agile manner. In addition, rapid prototyping and automation have made it possible for large quantities of standardized products to be produced while keeping manufacturing costs low.

Every mass-produced product, from your office chair to your mobile phone, coffee maker, car, etc., has been brought to life with the help of industrial design.

In this article, you’ll learn about industrial design, the services offered by industrial design companies, when a business needs to employ the service of an industrial design firm, and the benefits of employing the services of an industrial design firm.

What is an Industrial Design Company?

Industrial design, as a process, involves designing products to be optimized for customer interaction. Industrial design is part art, part design, and determines and creates a product’s layout and form factor. Industrial design is to product development what architecture is to building development. It focuses on the aesthetics and ergonomics of a product.

Industrial design firms are companies that specialize in developing the concepts for products that will ultimately be engineered for manufacturing. In addition to developing the product’s design and specifications that optimize the ergonomics (how a customer engages and uses a product), industrial design firms create an appearance or aesthetic for a product with the intention of creating an emotional connection with users. That connection gets them excited to use the product and share it with friends. This process can actually help lower the acquisition cost of a product by creating organic word of mouth marketing that costs nothing for the product development and industrial design company.

The industrial design aims to improve the overall lasting value and experience of a product or service for the end-users. As a result, the industrial design process is a combination of art, business, and engineering to make product designs that people use every day.

While industrial designers are known to focus on the physical appearance and usability of a product, they can also be involved in the entire development cycle of the product including functional design. There is some overlap with what a product engineering company is responsible for which is detailed functional design, and design for manufacturing. Using the building development comparison, if industrial designers are the architects of a product, design engineers, or product engineers, are the civil engineers.

Services Offered By Industrial Design Firms in Product Development

An industrial design firm is one part of a product development team. While they don’t oversee the product development process in its entirety, good industrial design firms will be involved in the development of a product from start to finish. The majority of work done by an industrial design firm is done in the beginning of a project to set the aesthetic and ergonomics of a product, but they can still impact the project throughout the product development process by working with engineers to create the best balance of form factor, function, and manufacturability. Industrial design without engineering can lead to products that aren’t easy to manufacture, while engineering without industrial design can lead to a boring, basic, industrial looking product that’s not exciting to interact with and makes little connection with the user.

A significant advantage of a product development company like Stoke Ventures is they integrate industrial design into the development and engineering process seamlessly without requiring the client to interact with multiple companies. This makes it much more cost effective and efficient for inventors, startups, and established companies to develop and launch their products.

While industrial design companies will typically be focused on developing the concept design for how a product will look and “feel”, they are usually involved in the entire product development process and can give valuable input to the following product development tasks:

1. Design

Industrial Design describes the process of designing a product with good ergonomics and aesthetics, so that it can be completed by engineers who will refine every detail and ensure it can be effectively manufactured. A design agency will apply the design process in creating a product for customers. The process can be summarized as follows:

  • Get Feedback from Users: a design agency communicates with the users in one of the earliest stages in creating a product. It gives the producer an idea of the problems being faced by the end-users.
  • Define the Problem: By interacting with the consumers, industrial designers and product developers can define the challenges the users face with the products they’re currently using.
  • Analyze the Problems: By analyzing the users’ challenges, a project manager should determine if a new product is necessary or if improvements can be made to products that company is already producing.
  • Design and Engineering: After you have a clear understanding of the problems you’re trying to solve for your customers, you can start to flesh out the design of your product. If it’s a physical product a design engineer will be using 3D CAD programs to define the product, and if it’s a software or mobile app product a design engineer will use wireframe and software development apps.
  • Build a Prototype: A prototype should be built to a product specification (CAD models and drawings) so it can be tested and optimized.
  • Test Your Solution: After the prototype has been created, the design agency will test the product’s functionality and marketability. If the product does not meet the set goals, then the product design process should be repeated. However, if it does, then you can proceed to commercialization.
  • Commercialization: This is the final stage of the development process in which the new product will be launched to a particular market(s) and monetized.

With careful design application, industrial design experts can create a product with maximum adoption by making it more attractive to customers both before (look and feel) and after (user experience) purchase.

2. Engineering
  • Mechanical: Hardware products require a mechanical engineering team to design and construct a prototype and manufacture a working version. An industrial design company would usually have a mechanical design team or product engineers that focuses on creating products from the specifications of clients. Initial product prototypes are usually created from plastic, wax, clay, foam, wood, ceramic, or metal.
  • Electrical: Many modern products are built with electrical components to make them more useful and powerful. Industrial design firms have an electrical engineering team that designs reliable and sophisticated products with electrical components and technologies including LEDs, Wifi, Bluetooth, PCB’s, sensors, HD displays, cameras, and more to work together seamlessly.
  • Software and Firmware: Some products require software and firmware to control its electronic and mechanical function. For those products, software development is necessary. A UI/UX designer is needed to design, develop, maintain, test, and evaluate computer software for the product.

Industrial design firms usually have software development teams who specialize in designing virtual solutions to business problems. They offer both front-end UX designs as well as back-end development to ensure that software solutions work quickly and intuitively.

A UI/UX designer ensures that a system offers a great experience to its users. User Interface design or UI design involves the visual elements in software, website, and mobile app development.

3. Prototyping

Prototyping is a crucial step in turning your idea into a product. It gives you physical proof of your product’s feasibility and makes it easier to spot design flaws. A product development firm will typically offer the following:

3D CAD Services: three-dimensional computer-aided designs, also known as 3D CAD, allow design experts to create virtual prototypes of three-dimensional parts and assemblies known as 3d models. With 3D CAD, project managers can create 3d models of products whose every detail can be modified parametrically.

With a digital product prototype, for software, websites, and apps, businesses do not need to create physical prototypes for upgrades. This saves both time and cost required in creating multiple iterations of a product design.

Functional Prototypes: unlike a digital product that is computer-based, a functional prototype has both the function and appearance of the intended design. In product testing, functional prototypes are created to determine the user experience.

4. Manufacturing

Manufacturing involves the large-scale transformation of raw materials into finished goods. As a result, manufacturing has close connections to the engineering and industrial process design sectors.

The manufacturing process involves constructing a product based on the desired specification. The processes of design manufacturing involve the following:

1. Identify the notion of utility before production.
2. Ensure the product is marketable.
3. Ensure the availability of raw materials.
4. Develop a prototype that matches the design concept.
5. Finalize a detailed design for manufacturability.

5. Commercialization

While this service is not offered by every industrial design company, there are marketing companies dedicated to helping businesses communicate a sustainable competitive advantage over rival companies.

In creating a marketing strategy, marketing companies begin with market research to start creating a long-term, forward-looking plan that will give their business at least one unfair advantage against competitors in the market.

A marketing agency creates a game plan to help a business effectively reach its target audience and turn them into customers. A marketing agency may also offer digital marketing services, which involve promoting brands to connect with potential customers using the internet.

Digital marketing has been and is becoming increasingly popular among businesses because marketing companies can easily track and monitor their campaigns. Additionally, with digital marketing, many marketing agencies are able to achieve a higher return on investment and a higher conversion rate, which means more profit.

There is a wide range of product marketing strategies for businesses to adopt. However, a marketing agency would typically conduct user research to determine which strategy is particularly suited to fit a business model at different stages of growth. These are some of the most used marketing strategies today:

1. Business to Business (B2B) Marketing Strategy

Business to Business, or B2B marketing, involves getting consumer products from a business (usually a small start-up) to a much larger business to increase the market reach. Although the consumer products are marketed along a longer distribution chain, the products are made available to a large market.

2. Business to Customer (B2C) or Direct to Consumer Marketing Strategy

With Business to Consumer, or B2C marketing, the business is in a better position to market its products or services directly to consumers. B2C is most times used to refer to online retailers who sell products and services to consumers through the internet.

3. Digital Marketing

A content marketer can be used to connect with consumers organically by creating relevant content that people are interested in learning about. This technique helps get people to a brand’s landing page and builds trust that’s critical to converting visitors into customers.

A content marketer usually works with social media platforms, onsite and offsite SEO, email campaigns, and video to attract and convert prospects into customers.

4. Co-Branding or Affiliate Marketing

When a business needs to expand its market reach and sales, a content marketer can create a bridge with other companies that complement its products or services. The goal is to increase sales by leveraging the audience of a relevant affiliate content marketer.

5. Offline Marketing

Offline marketing can also be referred to as traditional marketing. Here, businesses employ conventional channels for marketing. Some of the core, traditional marketing channels are TV, radio, print media, billboards, pamphlets, and newspaper ads.

While these are just a few from the wide range of marketing strategies available to businesses, marketing companies will usually conduct user research to determine the best and most cost effective product marketing strategy.

Why Do You Need an Industrial Design Company?

While you now know the wide range of services industrial design companies offer, knowing how they can help you with your product development is critical.

1. Product Update and Improvement

Change is one constant in any market, and businesses that can’t keep up with evolving market demand by doing good, in-depth market research and by keeping their finger on the pulse of particular markets, usually have their products lose relevancy over time. When an existing product loses its relevance, it will begin to lose its place in the market to other newer products that are better suited to meet customers’ current demands.

By conducting market research of a product’s competition and getting user feedback, companies are able to design and develop updated products that meet the current demand of the market.

Developing new products or improving existing products are two effective strategies to combat against the decline of a product portfolio’s relevance. Industrial design experts are experienced at helping companies recapture lost market shares by coming up with product design and development updates that will resonate with customers. As a result, products that have lost their market share can benefit from the services of these firms to bring relevance back to a brand and company.

2. Designing a Product for the Marketplace

Another time when you need to employ the services of an industrial design company is when the technical design team of your business needs help to elevate the aesthetic and ergonomics of a product. When a business lacks design experts capable of handling the entire design and product development cycle, it’s necessary to call in an industrial design firm. Working with an end-to-end product development firm like Stoke Ventures ensures both industrial design and engineering are being considered simultaneously for every project.

Product development companies are skilled at conducting user research and creating product designs that meet user’s needs. Industrial designers, in particular, are experienced at making otherwise boring products exciting, allowing customers to make an emotional connection when they see and interact with the product.

3. Failing or Difficult to Use Product

When customers of an existing product give negative feedback, for any number of reasons, it’s time to make modifications to the product. That may very well include the collaboration with a skilled industrial design company. Through user research, product engineers and industrial designers have experience in developing products around the wants and needs of their customers.

Evaluating how your customers interact with your product is essential in determining how an industrial design company can help restore the strength of your brand.

Benefits of Working With a Product Development Firm

A product development firm designs the aspects of a product that creates emotional connections with the user. They ensure that the product meets the aesthetic and ergonomic requirements of customers.

Industrial designers are part of the design team and need to work closely with the product engineers throughout the production process to deliver innovative designs that have unique and memorable usability. They do this by helping the design team integrate all aspects of form, fit, and function, optimizing them to create the best possible user experience.

Industrial designers are also responsible for creating visually appealing designs that can stand the test of time and ensure that the product is ergonomically suited to fit the user.

They work to balance creativity and freeform design thinking with the practical, industrial constraints of creating a working product. By interpreting feedback from consumers, they create visually appealing designs that are likely to be adopted and enjoyed by the target audience.

The benefits of industrial design are only achievable when an industrial designer or industrial design company is involved in the early stages of production. By participating early and often industrial designers have the opportunity to make the most effective impact on any product.

EndNote

An industrial design company can play a pivotal role in the company’s product development process, and its success. They help businesses establish the design language of their products and the corporate brand identity. Without industrial design, many of the products in our daily lives, that we may take for granted, would be a lot less exciting, and more challenging to use.