CH 10 – Industrial Design
Characteristics of a good industrial design:
• Small size and weight
• Performance features
• Superior ergonomics
• Responsible for the aspects of a product that relate the user’s experience (how it
looks, sounds, feels, smells) and its functional interfaces (how it is used)
• Today, a product’s core technology is generally not enough to ensure commercial
success. Fierce competition makes it unlikely that a company will enjoy a
sustainable competitive advantage through technology alone. Companies are
increasingly using industrial design as an important tool for both satisfying
customer needs and differentiating their products from those of their competition.
What is Industrial Design?
• The birth of ID is often traced to Western Europe in the early 1900s. They
emphasized the importance of geometry, precision, simplicity and economy in the
design of products. In short, Europeean designers believed that a product should
be designed “from inside out”
• In the US; however, early concepts of ID were different. While Europeans were
mostly engineers and architects, the US were theater designers and artist-
illustrators. Therefore, in the US. ID believed that the exterior was more
important than the interior. For example, cars in Europe were small, but in the US.
Car were big with non-functional designs in the outer car such as tails.
• The industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) defines industrial design as
“the professional service of creating and developing concepts and specifications
that optimize the function, value, and appearance of products and systems for the
mutual benefit of both user and manufacturer” • Dreyfuss (1967) lists five critical goals that industrial designers can help a team to
achieve when developing new products:
o Utility: The product’s human interfaces should be safe, easy to use, and
intuitive. Each feature should be shaped so that it communicates its
function to the user
o Appearance: form, line, proportion, and color are used to integrate the
product into a new pleasing whole
o Ease of maintenance
o Low Costs
o Communication: product designs should communicate the corporate
design philosophy and mission through the visual qualities of the products
Assessing the need for industrial Design
• Expenditures for Industrial Design
o For products with relatively little user interaction such as some types of
industrial equipment, the cost of ID is only in the tens of thousands of
dollars. Oppositely, the development of an intensely visual and interactive
product such as an automobile requires millions of dollars of ID effort.
• How important is Industrial Design to a product
o Most products on the market can be improved in some way or another by
good ID. All products that are used, operated, or seen by people depend
critically on ID for commercial success. we can also asses this issue by
looking at ergonomics needs and aesthetic needs.
• Ergonomics Needs
o How important is ease of use?
When ease of use is an important criterion, industrial designers
will need to ensure that the features of the product effectively
communicate their function
o How important is ease of maintenance?
if the product needs to be serviced or repaired frequently, then ease
of maintenance is crucial. o How many user interactions are required for the product’s functions?
In general, the more interactions users have with the product, the
more the product will depend on ID. Eg, a doorknob requires only
one interaction, whereas a laptop requires a dozen or more
o How novel are the user interaction needs?
E.g. the buttons on a new mouse and the click wheel on the Ipod.
o What are the safety issues?
• Aesthetic Needs
o Is visual product differentiation required?
Products with stable markets and technology are highly dependent
upon ID to create aesthetic appeal and, hence, visual
differentiation. In contrast, products such as hard drives is less
dependent on ID.
o How important are pride of ownership, image and fashion?
A customer’s perception of a product is in part based upon its
aesthethic appeal. When such characteristics are important, ID will
play a critical role in determining the product’s ultimate success
o Will an aesthetic product motivate the team?
A product that is aesthetically appealing can generate a sense of
team pride among the design and manufacturing staff.
The impact of Industrial Design
• Is Industrial Design worth the investment?
o Direct Cost: it is the cost of the ID services. The quantity is determined
by the number and type of designers used, duration of the projection, and
number of models required, plus material costs and other related expenses.
ID consulting services in the US cost from 75-300 and hour.
o Manufacturing Cost:
o Time Cost: • Benefits of using ID
o Includes increased product appeal and greater customer satisfaction
through additional or better features, strong bra