Product Design | Product Components | Definition | ENGINEERING STUDY MATERIALS
Product design as a verb is to create a new product to be sold by a business to its customers. A very broad coefficient and effective generation and development of ideas through a process that leads to new products. Thus, it is a major aspect of new product development.
Due to the absence of a consensually accepted definition that reflects the breadth of the topic sufficiently, two discrete, yet interdependent, definitions are needed: one that explicitly defines product design in reference to the artifact, the other that defines the product design process in relation to this artifact.
Product design as a noun: the set of properties of an artifact, consisting of the discrete properties of the form (i.e., the aesthetics of the tangible good and/or service) and the function (i.e. its capabilities) together with the holistic properties of the integrated form and function.
Product design process: the set of strategic and tactical activities, from idea generation to commercialization, used to create a product design. In a systematic approach, product designers conceptualize and evaluate ideas, turning them into tangible inventions and products. The product designer's role is to combine art, science, and technology to create new products that people can use. Their evolving role has been facilitated by digital tools that now allow designers to do things that include communicate, visualize, analyze, 3D modeling and actually produce tangible ideas in a way that would have taken greater manpower in the past.
Product design is sometimes confused with (and certainly overlaps with) industrial design, and has recently become a broad term inclusive of service, software, and physical product design. Industrial design is concerned with bringing artistic form and usability, usually associated with craft design and ergonomics, together in order to mass-produce goods. Other aspects of product design and industrial design include engineering design, particularly when matters of functionality or utility (e.g. problem-solving) are at issue, though such boundaries are not always clear.
Product design process
There are various product design processes, and many focus on different aspects. One example formulation/model of the process is described by Don Koberg and Jim Bagnellin, in "The Seven Universal Stages of Creative Problem-Solving." The process is usually completed by a group of people with different skills and training - e.g. industrial designers, field experts (prospective users), engineers (for engineering design aspects), depending upon the nature and type of product involved. The process often involves figuring out what is required, brainstorming possible ideas, creating mock prototypes, and then generating the product. However, that is not the end. Product designers would still need to execute the idea, making it into an actual product and evaluating its success (seeing if any improvements are necessary).
The product design process has experienced huge leaps in evolution over the last few years with the rise and adoption of 3D printing. New consumer-friendly 3D printers can produce dimensional objects and print upwards with a plastic like substance opposed to traditional printers that spread ink across a page.
The product design process, as expressed by Koberg and Bagnell, typically involves three main aspects:
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