Products don’t just appear out of thin air; there is a lot of nitty gritty work behind taking an idea and getting it onto a shelf. But where do you start?
As designers we follow our beloved ‘Product Design Process’ a step by step guide that allows designers to proceed further with a light bulb moment.
So what is the Design Process? Lets break it down.
Start with your problem space what is the real issue or opportunity? What do you want to achieve? Starting here can allow you to brainstorm your ideas further- gain insight through talking to friends, family and strangers to help you define what your product could be and what you want it to do.
Once you have defined your idea you can’t just start building it! You need to come up with what designers like to call ‘concepts’. Product design concepts are a way of visualising your ideas, this can be through quick rough sketches, mock-ups made of cardboard to communicate a function, or a product journey map to define the user experience of your product.
Ideation is where your ideas start to come to life and you can begin to get rid of what you don’t want and move forward with what you do!
You now have what you want your product to look like and what you want it to do. It’s now time to begin prototyping. Prototyping allows you to build mock-ups of your product which can explore both functional and aesthetics aspects. These prototypes allow you to test your product out and arrive at conclusions on parts of the design, identifying what is working and what is not. Rapid prototyping allows you to quickly find the answers you are looking for.
Once you have your prototype feedback it’s time to review! You may have realised your design isn’t working and needs major changes! Or maybe it is nearly there and modifications only need to be minor. It is hard to tell how many prototypes it will take you until you arrive at a final product, and this is because every design is different. Stages 3 & 4 can take a couple of attempts until you achieve the final concept.
So you’ve got your final design. It looks good, you’ve created several prototypes and finally you’ve arrived at your final concept which works- so what’s next? What people don’t realise is that the next stage is highly important, and that is setting your product up so it can be made! (or manufactured, if we want to get technical). Here manufacturing processes need to be identified, materials need to be confirmed and the product needs to be set up to go into production. Depending on what process you are using whether that be injection moulding (plastic), die cast (metal) or CNC machined (wood), the list goes on, you need to tweak your design for these processes. Identifying your bill of materials and parts and providing technical drawings so it can be made are all important steps before you had it over to who is going to produce it.
Once all the nitty gritty parts have been finalised for DMF you can begin your first production! Whether you are planning on 100 or up to 100,000 units there might be some minor road bumps along the way.
You might fine there needs to be revisions to your design after the first production due to manufacturing slip ups, or maybe you do market research and you find your consumers aren’t 100% satisfied. In this scenario some more prototyping or slight tweaks might be necessary before moving into your second production
The road to a successful product may look like a long one but at B.Product we are here to assist you until you reach your goals.