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Product Design – Phases, Examples, Importance and Case studies

Every product manufactured by any company needs to have a differentiating physical characteristic which will make it attractive to customers; this characteristic is known as a design. Product design illustrates the process of conceptualizing, creating, and iterating products that solve consumer’s problems or address specific needs in a market.

Product designers use both empathy and knowledge of their prospective customer’s habits, behaviours, difficulties, needs, and wants to attempt in solving real problems. The basic necessity for successful product design is to make it keeping the end customer in mind.

Considered amongst the most popular and well-known product shapes in the world today, the Coca-Cola curvy glass bottle was designed in 1915 in an attempt to create a bottle so distinguished that one would recognize it by the feel of it in the dark or seeing it lying broken on the ground.

Apple iPod – Click Wheel

While the first three generations of Apple’s iconic music player get points for introducing the world to the iPod, it was with the fourth generation and later that the basic compact design was reduced to the market.

The Click Wheel which acted not just as a touchpad but as a four-point button for playback control is nothing but genius along with its simple yet life-changing device is a testament that simplifying a design makes it stronger, not weaker.

Change in Product Design is Inevitable

Product design is nothing but the way the company arranges the characteristics and benefits of the product in an appealing way for the customers.

1. Booms Box

Just when people would listen to the Boom box, Sony introduced the Walkman, which was an instant hit. The new product just developed the product design, which involved a different technology.

2. Apple iPod

Later, Apple further improved the design and launched the iPod, which again dominated the markets. And lastly, Smartphones are driving away from the market share from the iPod.

Phases of Product Design

Product Designers take charge of all 5 phases of the Design Thinking Process + the Product Roadmap

  1. Empathize
  2. Define
  3. Ideate
  4. Prototype
  5. Test

Did you Know?

Co-founded and led by Elon Musk; Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink and The Boring Company hold a significant share and name in the market.

As the acting Co-founder and CEO of Tesla, Elon heads all product designs, engineering models and global manufacturing of the company’s electric vehicles along with battery products and solar energy products.

Why Product Design?

Due to the globalized society nowadays, product design has become of utmost importance than before. While the needs for goods are still basic, whatever we desire is a different story.

An excellent product design uses both customer’s needs and desires to capitalize on rampant consumerism. The market is cluttered with similar products, and distinctive design is the only element that differentiates a brand from another.

The Importance of Product Design to Marketing

Better product designs give a competitive advantage to the company over other brands as it is preferred more by the customers. Product design significantly pulls the crowd, especially for technology abled offerings such as Automobiles, Laptops and Smartphones.

The design also plays a huge role in heavy machinery or services as it marks the difference between efficiency and chaos. There can be various kinds of designs, and it could better the acceptability of the product design more over time, and better the brand built for the organization.

Apple in the late 90s introduced the all-in-one, brightly-coloured translucent computer which made its competitor’s beige boxes look incredibly mediocre. Since then, its progression has seen it grow more sleek, slim, and minimalist, but no less iconic.

Examples of Brand with Excellent Product Design

Apple dominates the world in product design with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV.

Its product design comprises of a hefty R&D budget.Apple Inc. spent an amount of $16.22 billion just on research and development in its 2019 fiscal year, increasing by about two billion from its 2018 total.

Where do Apple’s great products come from?

Most of them come out of Apple’s Industrial Design studio which is a small and secretive group of creatives. These industrial designers are the principal inventors at Apple.

They conceptualize and build new products, hone existing ones, and conduct some in-depth fundamental research and development, though they are not the only R&D group within the company. They examine new materials and production manners and continuously hone and enhance Apple’s products along with its manufacturing techniques.

During the ideation of a new product, the design team is cut off from the rest of the Apple business. The company may even implement physical restrictions to prevent the group from interacting with other Apple employees during the day.

The Man Behind Apple’s Famous Product Designs

Being the Chief Design Officer of Apple Inc., Jonathan Ive joined Apple in September 1992, where he consistently delivered until his retirement in November 2019.

I’ve and his design team lead the company, and they do not report to finance, manufacturing, etc. They were given free rein to set their own budgets and are given the ability to ignore manufacturing practicalities.

Examples of Brand with Excellent Product Design –

  • iPod
  • Tesla